Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Middle School Confidential: Be Confident in Who You Are {Review}

Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are is a stellar graphic novel app I couldn't wait to get my hands on. It is an engaging comic that brings readers into the lives of middle schoolers who are simply trying to figure things out. Issues such as bullying, blowups, looks, popularity, stress, peer approval etc. are all addressed.

Readers get a glimpse 6 middle schoolers (colored)
Jump to any of the 8 chapters

What I love:
  • Not only does this graphic novel address hot-button, relatable issues middle school students face in their daily lives, they also offer strategies for dealing with them.
  • The layout deviates from the typical picture books for those in elementary school and thus makes it more appealing to adolescents. 
  • Stories involve kids talking to other kids and doesn't come off as "preachy"
  • Chapters are broken up in a manner that allows for users to work on and address issues and concepts over a period of time, not all at once. This gives users time to process what they've heard. 
  • Users are able to view the full page or view it panel-by-panel. The zoomed in panel view allows for prediction and foreshadowing to take place.  
Users can view the comic via full page or zoom in and view each panel
  • Each frame is accompanied by music and sounds. No narrator here, the user is the reader. 
  • It's a great jumping off point for deeper discussion on the issues addressed in the comic. Important language skills/concepts such as perspective taking, foreshadowing, problem solving, can all be targeted.
Bottom Line: This is app is a gem and worth more than the $2.99 price tag!

App Compatibility:

Be Confident in Who You Are is Compatible with NOOK, Kindle Fire, nabi, Android tablets, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Take a look at this demo provided by Apps for Children with Special Needs

Disclosure Statement: I was provided a copy of this app by the developer. No other compensation was provided. This review includes solely my opinions. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tense Builder {Review}

Identifying and conjugating verbs is a skill that many of my middle schoolers need improvement on. Tense Builder contains engaging animated video lessons to assist users in gaining a deeper understanding of tenses.
Home-screen view
For $14.99 users get:
  • 42 verbs with accompanying animated lesson (will expand to 58 by December)
  • Audio instructions (can be turned on/off)
  • Verbal reinforcement (can be turned on/off)
  • Sentence recorder - users are able to record their sentence and play it back to check for accuracy
  • 2 levels of play. 
    • Level 1 plays a video clip and gives you 3 pictured option. Users select the image that goes best with the sentence.
    • Level 2 plays the same clip as Level 1 and asked to fill in the blank ("The man ____ the painting")
  • Choose between 2-7 choices when playing at Level 2 (see below)
Example of 7 options when selecting a response
  • Select the type of tense(s) you would like to target (future, past, present, or all)
  • Choose verb type to be targeted (regular, irregular, or all)
  • Select specific verbs you would like targeted  (42)
  • Choose from the "long" or "short" lesson style. This lets you decide what happens when a student selects the incorrect response.
  • Access to the video tutorial.
  • Users are able view lessons regarding the respective verb prior to making selecting a response
  • The ability to track and email user results (see below)
Users are able to have their performance tracked and shared
Things I liked:
  • The graphics are very engaging and will grab anyone's attention 
  • There are a great variety of verbs to choose from
  • Users are able to obtain and share data regarding performance  
  • Great way to elicit receptive and expressive language use
Some things I'd like changed:
  • The video tutorial is a great way to acclimate users to TenseBuilder. I would have liked to pause the video and come back to where I left off, but was unable to do so as the tutorial does not have this capability. 
  • Price: Although Mobile Education Tools have churned out quality apps,  $14.99 is costly for the average SLP/educator. 
  • This is a great app to use 1:1, however it isn't able to be utilized in groups (how I mainly service students)
  • The wording can make selecting a correct response difficult (even for me!)
This was one of the more confusing sentences
App Compatibility:

Tense Builder is Compatible with the iPad and requires iOS 5.0 or later.

Take a look at this video to see Tense Builder in Action:

Disclosure Statement: I was provided a copy of this app by the developer. No other compensation was provided. This review includes solely my opinions. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lesson Plan Cover {Freebie}

In an effort to get myself more organized this year I've decided to use 3 ringed binders to keep track of all the worksheets and activities that I've discovered online. To give the binder some pizzazz, I've created a binder cover sheet. See below for a preview or click the link to download a pdf version.

My latest creation

Monday, October 22, 2012

SLP Resources {Handout}

Before I began this blog I had no idea the amount of resources and free materials that were available on the web. Thanks to sites like Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers, Teachers Notebook and Classroom Freebies, planning has become so much easier for me!

Download this free handout and share
In an effort to share the wealth with my colleagues (and my readers), I've compiled a list of the sites I've found most useful. I plan on giving this to the other SLP's in my department when we meet this week. These sites are by no means the "be-all and end-all" of resources. However, I felt this was a decent list for those who are beginning to use technology and the web as a therapeutic resource. Feel free to print and share this handout with your colleagues (leave a comment if you do).

What sites that I haven't mentioned do you find most useful?


I added one more link that I found useful ( Click here to view the updated handout.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Speech Cards {Review}

Hate not finding flash cards that target specific phonemes or concepts? The Speech Cards Pro app offers a solution. Users are able create their own flash cards as well as utilize the preloaded selection (4 decks with 10 images each).

Home screen with 4 preloaded decks containing 10 images each

Tapping on the image allows users to hear the name of the item on the card. Users are able to make their own recording and compare it to the already recorded target.

Users are able to be given no/full/partial credit

Some things I found useful:
  • Users are able to select their own images (24 decks with 20 images per deck)
  • Users are able to create their own recordings
  • Users are able to create their own text to go along with the image
  • Instead of just a "correct" or "incorrect" response, users are able to be given partial credit for their response
  • Accumulated data can be emailed to parents/teachers
  • If you decide to keep student data over a course of sessions, their performance will be summarized with percentages (Session Summary Reports)
You can choose to discard or keep student/session performance

Users are able to make their own deck with their own images.

I would like to see Speech Cards support more than 12 users (for data collection purposes) as I have way more than that on my caseload.
This app would be great to use to create theme related decks (curriculum, holiday, concepts etc.), sound specific card decks for articulation therapy, reading/sight words/literacy, social stories decks, etc. There are a variety of ways to use Speech Cards, how have you or do you plan on using it?

App Compatibility:

Compatible with the iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later.

Disclosure Statement: I was provided a copy of this app by the developer. No other compensation was provided. This review includes solely my opinions. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Language Builder {Review}

I had a great time reviewing Language Builder.  Rightfully so, as they were voted 3rd Best Educational app of 2011 by Language Builder is a great app for children who need a fun and interactive way to address their receptive and expressive language skills. Real life pictures are used to stimulate production of a specific sentences. 

Users formulate and record a sentence based on a variety of pictures.  Users have the option to replay and rerecord the sentence as many times as they like.  Once happy with their sentence, users are able to save their recorded sentence and even email the photo and recording to friends and family.  Multiple user profiles can be created with Language Builder. Players are also able to switch back and forth between users.

For those who need some prompting, Language Builder offers three levels of hints.
  • At level 1, users are presented with a sentence on the screen with two blanks that they need to fill in.
  • At level 2 hint provides the user with a prompt such as "The girl..." and the student needs to formulate the remainder of the sentence
  • At level 3, an audio clip is played that encourages players to use one or two key words in their sentence.
Level 1 hint where user is prompted to fill-in the blank.
There are a variety of themed photo modules preloaded onto this App.  Modules include themes related to pets, sports, school, places etc.

Home-screen where preferences can be selected.
Saved sentences are able to be accessed through the archive page. While on this page you are able to play, delete or share the sentence. If you decide to share it you can email the audio file and the image.

Saved sentences can be accessed via the archive.
An array of grammatical structures (pronouns, verb tenses, plurals, etc.) and language concepts (complex sentences, prepositions, synonyms, etc.) are targeted by this app.  Language Builder can also be used to work on sentence recall for those with auditory processing impairments.

Language Builder is a wonderful engaging app that my middle schoolers can greatly benefit from. I appreciate that its latest update includes all the modules (was available for purchase at $1.99 previously), providing users with over 200 images for only $9.99! Overall, this is a great app and well worth the price.

App Compatability:
Language Builder is compatible with the iPad and requires iOS 4.1 or later.

Disclosure Statement: I was provided a copy of this app by the developer. No other compensation was provided. This review includes solely my opinions. 

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