Have you been wanting to try my progress monitoring tools for speech and language, but not sure if they will work for you?  Or have you already purchased them, but have been missing the /dg/ sound?  You are in luck!  I just uploaded this free add-on sample to my bestselling Articulation Progress Monitoring Tool.

In it, you will find one record form and nine stimulus pages.  You can indicate what level the student is working on (words, phrases, and/or sentences), and then take quick data using the nine pages of stimulus items.  For each position (initial, medial, or final), you will find a page of stimulus pictures at word, phrase, and sentence level.

FREE Articulation Progress Monitoring Sample from Natalie Snyders

I keep mine in a binder with the rest of my articulation progress monitoring tool probes.  I have plastic binder dividers that separate each section - I prefer the dividers that have pockets, so I can store extra copies of the record forms.  This makes it easy to grab off the shelf and go!

I typically administer these probes about every nine weeks (when my progress reports are due) and/or before a student's annual IEP meeting to have up to date information on his/her present levels.

Is this something you think might be helpful for your caseload?

One thing I struggle with is finding materials for my upper elementary and middle school students that have age-appropriate graphics and topics, yet are at the level of my students.  This is particularly difficult when it comes to holiday-related materials, such as for Halloween.  I still want to be able to have a little fun with my older students around these holidays - just like I do with my younger students - but I don’t want them to be embarrassed or insulted by graphics that are too juvenile.

Last year, I created a quick unit on werewolves for my middle school language students, and they loved it!  When I was thinking about my October plans this year, I remembered it from last year, and pulled it out (ok, found it on my flash drive!) to update a bit and share with you!

The basis of the unit is a two page “newspaper” that covers the legend of the werewolf.  The accompanying worksheets target comprehension questions, vocabulary matching, describing, comparing, contrasting, conjunctions, and irregular past tense verbs.

I have been able to use this unit with two or three sessions with my 5th through 8th grade students.  It has sparked some great discussions, and I love being able to sneak in some language skills while having fun!
Is this something you might be able to use with your students?  I plan to add similar short units for other holidays/seasons for this age level, too!

Apparently, I'm not the only SLP who struggles with the /r/ sound!  In my last "Quick Articulation Tip," I shared how I started using dental floss picks to help students find the appropriate tongue placement for the /r/ sound.

This tip helped several of my students, but several still struggle with the rest of the tongue position for the /r/ sound, especially the amount of tension required in the tongue.  I think a big problem with this sound is that it is just so hard for kids to grasp what exactly they have to do with their mouth, even when they have a verbal description or picture example.

Yesterday morning, I decided to grab a can of Play-doh off my shelf, and see what would happen if we made a model of our mouth and how it moves for the /r/ sound.  

I started out with a piece of paper, so my student could see roughly where I was talking about in the mouth.  I made a few "teeth" to demonstrate how the tongue has to push against the back top teeth for the /r/ sound.  Then, I made a "tongue" out of the Play-doh, and we talked about different ways the tongue can move for different sounds.  First, I demonstrated some very "visible" sounds like the /th/ sound, and we looked in a mirror while we made the sound, then made our Play-doh tongues show the correct placement for the /th/ sound.

After this, we talked about the different ways we can make the /r/ sound - the bunched /r/ where the tongue goes up in the back of the mouth in a bunch or hump, or the retroflexed /r/ where the tongue is more flat in the mouth, but the tip is lifted and curved towards the back of the mouth.  (This is a hard one for me, because I think I do both in my normal speech without thinking about it!)  We moved the Play-doh tongues to show the different ways the tongue can move for this sound.

Then, I had my student try putting his own tongue like the Play-doh examples and try an /er/ sound.  To my surprise, I heard a great /er/ from a student who had never said it correctly before!  I had him say it ten more times like that without moving his mouth position, and it was beautiful!  (I don’t know about you, but hearing the perfect /er/ after months of trying with a student is music to this SLP’s ears!)

I quickly grabbed my iPad, turned on the camera app, and recorded him while he said it correctly, and then had him explain what he was doing with his tongue while demonstrating with the Play-doh.  My goal was for him to not only put his “Eureka” moment into words, but also for him to be able to watch this video next week to remind himself in his own words how to make a good /r/ sound.  It is so much more meaningful when the student is able to explain it, rather than just me.

I am definitely going to continue using Play-doh with my stubborn /r/ cases, but I think I will also start using it when I am introducing any new sound to a student.  What do you think?  Do you think it is something that might help your students, or have you tried this before?

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This week, as I was screening one of my first grade students for his present levels of performance for his upcoming annual review, I realized I didn't have anything to measure how he felt about his speech.  Sure, I have my progress monitoring tools for phonology and articulation that tell me objectively he has made gains in his speech sounds over the past year, but I realized that I never really stopped to ask him how *he* felt about his progress.

As my student is still fairly young, I knew I needed something with simple visuals, but also with some open ended questions.  Thus, my Student Self-Rating Scales for Articulation, Phonology, and Fluency/Stuttering were inspired!

There are four versions for both artic/phonology and fluency.  There are two pages with smiley face visuals (appropriate for preschool through about 2nd grade) - one is for a student currently enrolled in therapy, and the other is for a student who has not yet begun therapy.  There are also two pages for older students (3rd grade through high school) - again, one for a current student, and the other version for a new student to therapy.  Also included are two pages of teacher rating scales (one for artic/phonology and one for fluency).  There are a total of 10 pages included.

As I filled these out with some of my students this week, I was really quite surprised some of my students' responses.  My most severe phono student is well aware that people have a difficult time understanding him, but it doesn't bother him a whole lot when he has to repeat himself.  Another student who has a few sound errors (but I consider to be fairly intelligible) feels much more upset when others don't understand him.

I plan to use these at the beginning and end of the school year, as well as before any IEP meetings.

I feel like these rating scales have helped me fill in a missing piece to my overall therapy as a school based SLP.  Progress isn't just measured on percentages and how much better a child can say her sounds this year than last year - it is also about how the child feels about her own progress.

I plan on working on a version for language skills, too, but as language covers so many more areas, it is going to take me a while to tackle them!  :)

Tell me, is this something you feel like you could use?
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