Learning and Sharing

Sentence Building


I cut my speech therapist teeth on The Fokes Sentence Builder in 1977.  Wish I could get my hands on one now!  Since I cannot, I was lucky to find “a close enough” product by called Monster Sentences: Interactive Sentence Building and available on



Love this product!



My clients like the Sentence Builder, Sentence Builder Teen and Clicker Sentences apps.

After practicing with one of these apps, I get out a colorful pacing board and work toward generalization.




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Sharing an Imagination


Wonderful morning at the JCC preschool!  The targeted Social Thinking® concept for today was Sharing An Imagination.  A shared imagination is the ability to imagine what another person is thinking, feeling, and/or pretending.  Through Shared Collaborative Imaginative Play children learn an essential skill set to enable them to work and learn in groups, develop social relationships, and engage in socially-based critical thinking or social problem solving.



When is a spatula not a spatula?  When is a cardboard tube not a cardboard tube?  Francis and I stepped through The Hoop of Change and pretended to be a reporter and her cameraman.  We pretended that the spatula was a microphone and the cardboard tube was a video camera as we interviewed the children and asked about their spring break adventures.  Others stepped through The Hoop of Change and pretended to be cheetahs, lions and tigers hunting on the savanna.  Once they stepped back through The Hoop, they were children again!

Often, children with social learning challenges have difficulty joining and staying involved in this type of play and conversation.  Some children find it difficult to imagine someone else’s experience or point of view if it’s not their own.  Shared imagination helps us to imagine what characters are thinking and what might be their intentions; it is at the heart of reading comprehension, narrative language, and written expression.

Working through We Thinkers! Series Vol. 2 Social Problem Solvers Curriculum ( has been a blast for all of us!

Not a Box, by Antoinette Portis, is a beloved book with this group; it inspires conversation about sharing an imagination.







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Choosing reinforcers


I always try to associate myself with good things.  Finding a perfect reinforcer that matches a clients interest is so sweet!



The stacking robots are awesome.  Articulation drills can be tough but when you know these robots are waiting for you at the end, the hard work seems easier to get through.


My clients who work on executive function skills seem to love games of logic.  Lazer Maze is a magic reinforcer.


The right reinforcer means everything!

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We Thinkers! Social Problem Solvers Curriculum

I have been having so much fun at the JCC Preschool working with some sweet five year olds. The We Thinkers! Social Problem Solvers Curriculum is providing a wonderful framework to extend social learning.  In the fall, we started with the Incredible Flexible You covering Social Thinking® concepts such as whole body listening, the group plan, and thinking with your eyes.  Now we are working on even more complex concepts like hidden rules and making smart guesses.  The teachers in the classroom have given me positive feedback about how easy it is for them to use the social thinking vocabulary throughout the day.



Understanding social thinking concepts supports our ability to demonstrate social skills.





I learn so much from the Social Thinking® conferences.   In addition to learning how to use the tools, I get great ideas for books and games that enhance the teaching of each concept.  I leave the books and games behind at the preschool so that teachers can follow through during the week until I return.




Next week we will learn about flexible thinking and stuck thinking.  When we are flexible thinkers we can keep moving forward.  Flexible thinking means trying it another way or changing your plan to stay in step with what someone else needs you to do.


I’ll be using this youtube video created by




And I will be using  my flexible thinking script that I created using Custom Boards a Smarty Ears app.


In the words of Pete the Cat, “It’s all good”.



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Fun February!



Today, I am sharing some things that I love.  Some are old and some are new but they are all good!




When I am tutoring clients in reading, I rely so much on my training and experience as a speech/language pathologist.  This game has been used and loved for many, many years.

  • Targets

Auditory Discrimination (minimal pairs, word parts, sounds in words)
Auditory Memory (numbers, words, sentences, facts / details in a paragraph)
Auditory Integration (interpretation of directions, listening for key words, following multi-level commands)


This works!

071d713c4cc13629773539a608ea433a  is a fabulous resource for interactive books and ideas.  I used Where is the Heart? this month.  The packet includes a storybook, interactive comprehension activity and a sequencing activity.  Love it!   It does require time and effort to make, so plan ahead!


Gravity Maze is a wonderful incentive for my clients who are working on executive functioning skills.  It is worth working through the “not so fun stuff” to get to this.



Happy Valentine’s Day to You!





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Starting the New Year with Some New Games that Promote Executive Skills



Games of strategy allow us to work on strengthening and teaching executive function skills in a FUN way.  Card games in which children have to track playing cards exercise working memory and promote mental flexibility in the service of planning and strategy. Games that require monitoring and fast responses are great for challenging attention and quick decision-making.

Games involving strategy provide important practice with holding complicated moves in mind, planning many moves ahead, and then adjusting plans—both in response to imagined outcomes and the moves of opponents. With practice, children can develop real skill at games of strategy, while challenging working memory and cognitive flexibility.

Just this morning I worked with a client who struggles to stick with a task and not give up, even though it becomes very challenging.  As he played Towers of HanOink!, an app for executive functioning, he wanted to start over every time that he got stuck.  I encouraged him to play through, persevere, and figure out a solution. 



Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes, while providing players with intense strategic and tactical decisions every turn.



There is only one rule in Blokus, but each player will have to plan ahead and self-monitor.



A twist on the game of Tic Tac Toe, Goblet Gobblers, requires sustained attention and often self-control.

These new (to me and my clients) games are going into rotation this week.  Your clients might find them to be fun and interesting as well.




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Chicken and Noodle Games



My Top Ten reasons why Chicken and Noodle Games are the BEST:
1.   Promotes social coordination.
2.   Allows the player to share fun, pleasurable moments with others.
3.   Provides opportunities to practice referencing another for information, reading the plans of others, impulse control and     self-regulation.
4.   Promotes cognitive and emotional processes, rather than behavior skills.
5.   Everyone playing can scream with laughter and be silly!!
6.   Assists with focus, attention, concentration, and perseverance.
7.   Enhances perceptual motor development.
8.   Fun!
9.   Fun!
10. Fun!




A big thanks to all of you who follow LunchBuddiesPlus!


I learned about Daily Word Ladders during my Orton Gillingham training.  Since then I have added the activity to the plan for each of my reading tutoring clients.  The 10 min. exercises require the client to read clues on each rung of the ladder, then change or rearrange letters to create words until they reach the top.  Clients are analyzing sound-symbol relationships, expanding their vocabulary, and building spelling skills to become better readers.  I choose the grade level workbook depending on the reading level of the client.





Zingo! Word Builder is a fun, confidence building game to get a tutoring session off to a great start.  It is just challenging enough for beginning readers and a confidence boost to more experienced readers.



Working memory is a core executive function.  We use our working memory to hold, process, and manipulate information.  It is an important process for reasoning and the guidance of  decision making and behavior.  I read that working memory is the search engine of the mind.  We use it constantly to perform efficiently and effectively in academic and social settings.  Working memory is necessary for staying focused on a task, blocking out distractions, and keeping us updated and aware of what is going on around us.

I use these exercises with my clients who are building and strengthening executive function skills (they are good for me too!).


When coaching a teenager on how to get organized and learn planning skills, it is important to choose a calendar that will interest them and keep them interested enough to use.  One of my high school aged clients is a runner.  I chose this calendar for him because it is high interest and for each month there are training tips and words of inspiration.



All of my executive skills coaching clients are doodlers!  Doodling can aid memory by expending just enough energy to keep a person focused.  We are learning together about visual note taking.



I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!

My Best,






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Music and Movement



I have always enjoyed adding movement and music to my speech/language therapy sessions.  I started with Dr. Jean many years ago and added Brain Gym  Practicing kid’s yoga poses and yoga stories prior to therapy sessions enhanced focus, self-regulation, and social interactions.






SmartMoves™ is a welcome addition to intervention/coaching/therapy/tutoring as we continue with purposeful movement to stretch our minds and bodies ( The CD’s are great but I wished for a more portable way to use music and movement with my clients as I work with them in their homes, schools, and in study rooms at the public library.  I love it when wishes come true!  I learned about the Me Moves™ app for iPad during the Integrated Listening Systems training.  I like to do a focus sequence before reading tutoring sessions.  Calming + focus sequences are appropriate for executive skills coaching sessions.  The joy sequence is good anytime!


If you haven’t added music and movement to your therapy yet, try some of these.  I think you will like the results.



PS  If you are looking for the MeMoves app in the app store, you will not find it.  Google Me Moves and open up their website.  Click on Guide and you will see instructions for downloading.





How much time do you spend planning each week?  I probably spend more than a few hours each week setting goals, organizing, planning and prioritizing for my therapy and coaching sessions and specialized reading tutoring.  The progress of my clients depends on it.  Today, I wrote reports, created rubrics, put together executive skills workbooks, and printed/laminated/cut out activities for the coming week.  These are some of the tools and activities I’ll be using:

There is always room in the multi sensory reading program for fun activities.  After all the drills, my clients enjoy these games designed to support Orton Gillingham multi sensory reading instruction.


Syllable Patterns



Short vowels

As an Executive Function Skills Coach, I find these fun, humorous sticky note pads helpful in assisting my clients with organizing, planning, prioritizing and juggling multiple tasks.



I am working with some adorable first graders.  These cool activities boost naming and rhyming skills.


Whew, that covers some of my week.  Now for the social learning plans…



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