Speech/Language Story Companions {Andrea Beaty stories}

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2 3


In this story, we explore Iggy’s love of building (and my love of travel!) Learn about famous structures and the details of when, why, and where they were built.  Students enjoy making connections to other stories they have read and pictures they have seen about these places.  This is a great story to discuss perspective taking and overcoming fears.
5 6 7



Rosie is a classmate of Iggy.  My kids loved finding Iggy in her story and going back to look for Rosie in his.  Together with Rosie, we learn more about flight and the historical figure Rosie the Riveter.  Perseverance is a main theme in this story and we can use her example to stick with our own challenges.  9 10 11



With Ada, we continue to learn more about the students in Miss Lila Greer’s class.  Ada is curious about the world around her.  This gives us a great opportunity to teach WH- questions within a natural context.  Ada Marie Twist is named after Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie.  We extend our learning to include these two famous female scientists as well as Jane Goodall and Sally Ride.  Computer science, physics, space exploration, animals…there are so many aspects of science just waiting for a new generation to take an interest in! 13 14 15


emily blue16

Not all students need to practice each of these language concepts, so I customize a packet for each one.  Using the same story and set of characters allows us the backbone to accomplish a lesson with mixed goals.  The stories can stand on their own, or you could read all three over a period of time.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if Andrea Beaty decides to profile each of the students in their own book?!?  I love the story messages, built-in language concepts, and the clever illustrations by David Roberts.

Check out these book companions and explore your inner architect, engineer, and scientist!  Iggy Peck, Architect        Rosie Revere, Engineer        Ada Twist, Scientist

emily purple


Monday Motivation (Freebie & a giveaway)

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think positive cover


silver lining terms





This is how I approach my life.  It just makes me happier.  And by not occupying a negative space, I find myself around others who also approach set backs and challenges with a problem solving approach.  I was inspired recently to collect some of my favorite motivational quotes to share with my students each week.  Some of these include some helpful life lessons so I am sharing them with my own children as well.  {The phrase of the week at my house has been “The best apology is changed behavior”} At the start of each week I will share a new quote.  This opens the door for us to talk more about the person behind the quote as well…inventors, children, presidents, inventors, actresses, authors, philosophers.


triple example pink

I have chosen a quote for each week of the calendar year.  This way you have options. Some of you do see students/clients year round so you will have enough to present a new one each week.  If you don’t, you have options to be able to swap out quotes or even use multiple in one week.  I have them organized in a thematic way, however you are obviously free to use them as you see fit for your space.

two formats

There are two different versions of each quote…one is on the outline of a face and would be ideal to put in frame.  I have chosen to print the faces on colored paper and cute around the face to then place on a coordinating background color.  I found them to be pretty easy to cut out…some of the hair has more angles to cut, but I didn’t find it cumbersome.  It also looks good all on one color if you choose to not cut.  The other version is just text and fills the whole page.  These are ideal to print on colored card stock of your choice to match your room environment or time of year.  Or colors that just plain make you happy!

writing template

I also have included a template to use for an extension activity.  Students will be able to write the quote, draw a picture, and jot down thoughts of how they interpret the message.  Differentiated for your needs, I have a version with the quote already printed (for students who may have difficulty spelling/writing it all but also for therapists/teachers who may be short on time and want to get to the meat of the lesson) and one blank template that could be mass printed and used for all quotes because students will write in the quote.  You could also use this blank template and write in the quote yourself before copying for your students.   Students can collect these in a cumulative “Motivation Monday Notebook”.  These are also great to display.

four square

I would also like to carry this positive thinking into their home conversations.  I have made these smaller to stick in my communication folders.  These could also be put into a notebook where students then journal on the topics.  My vision is that these will also make great tools to periodically place on students desks with personal notes on the back.


doorMy therapy room is unfortunately situated right next to the student bathrooms. The paper towel dispenser is on the adjoining wall and sounds like a jackhammer in my therapy space.   But in the spirit of seeing the silver lining, I realized that because classes line up right by my door, this opens up a whole new population of kids (and teachers)  that might benefit from the positive messages displayed on my door weekly.  So I chose to display mine in a sparkly frame on my door. (I spray painted a lightweight wooden frame from a craft store and used the removable velcro strip.  Do y’all remember the plastic used for overhead projectors?!? That is my frame’s “glass”.) This will also serve as en entry thought and/or a parting thought for my students.  As we prepare to enter the classroom I have been greeting each group with the quote.  Then as we leave we read it together (quick target for artic too) and I ask them what they think it means.  I haven’t had a group yet that has really been able to rephrase or define the message, so I love that we are taking a minute to explain it and that they get repetition of it through the week.


And now it is time for the giveaway!  TPT generously offered a $10 gift card for giveaways with the back to school sale.  I am still learning the tools of the blog and I just couldn’t turn around a giveaway that quickly.  I’d rather do this slow and correct than turn out a quick mistake (a lesson I’m desperately trying to teach my third grader too!) The great news is that the code doesn’t expire, so you can choose to use it now or keep it for the next sale. To enter, leave a comment on this post…you can share your source for inspiration, a quote that connects to you, or feedback on the Motivational Monday packet.  I am going to push my “select a winner” button on Saturday, so you have through midnight on Friday 9/16/16 to comment in order to be entered in the giveaway.

cut out


I have put in hours and weeks on this project…researching, designing, revising, and creating multiple versions, but I want to offer it to you as a freebie.  It is important to me that we lift each other up and sometimes you just need a happy thought and a freebie :) If you don’t already follow Cult of Pedagogy you should!  Last year I posted about how her article on being a marigold impacted me.  I hope these Motivational Monday Quotes will be some marigold seeds that you can plant in your garden.  I wish for you a successful school year!

emily blue


#septslpmusthave Iggy Peck, Architect book companion

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Iggy cover


My #septslpmusthave is my book companion for Iggy Peck, Architect.  I adore the writing and the illustrations.  And once you fall in love with this story – you will want to share Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist with your students too!  These characters are great models for designing, creating, and exploring.

Because I am about to fall asleep standing up, I am posting the sale now.  This packet is very comprehensive and is 50% off through 9/7/16 (and a few bonus hours until I wake up Thursday!) Here is a peek:

Iggy 1

Iggy 2

Iggy 3

I was beyond thrilled to receive Ada’s story in the mail today (I pre-ordered it on April 28th!) and will be working overtime this weekend to create that story companion, so stay tuned.  Enjoy! emily teal

Back-to-School as easy as 1-2-3

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It is always tricky to trade in my slow-to-rise summer mornings where I may or may not get out of my pajamas for a routine with a 5:30 alarm clock and the grind of packing lunches. But with these staples in my routine, back-to-school is as easy as 1-2-3!  Here are my top three…

1- I need the warmth of my morning tea to center my focus. I love this corksicle mug given to me by a special student. 2- For better or worse I need to know how my day will begin so I wake up and check my email. 3- With 4 of us headed to school together, we have our own mini carpool karaoke!

1- I need the warmth of my morning tea to center my focus. I love this corksicle mug given to me by a special student. 2- For better or worse I need to know how my day will begin so I wake up and check my email. 3- With four of us headed to school together, we have our own mini carpool karaoke!

top 3 authors

Andrea Beatty, Laura Numeroff, Drew Dewalt, Leo Lionni, David Shannon, Oliver Jeffers… oh i can’t pick three, are you kidding? These just scratch the surface…it would be hard to narrow down to 300 favorites let alone 3! These are a few that I love to start the year with.

1- If you are still cutting your velcro strips STOP now! Buy the velcro dots and CHANGE your world!! 2- I still prefer a paper calendar and these flair pens help me to color code. Plus - they are so much more fun to use on my data sheets than blah black ballpoint! 3- On a clipboard, on my lanyard, on my name tag, all over my walls - visual cues are my lifeline!

1- If you are still cutting your velcro strips STOP now! Buy the velcro dots and CHANGE your world!! 2- I still prefer a paper calendar and these flair pens help me to color code. Plus – they are so much more fun to use on my data sheets than blah black ballpoint! 3- On a clipboard, on my lanyard, on my name tag, all over my walls – visual cues are my lifeline!

top 3 music

1- I can’t stop listening! And singing! And dancing! 2- Whether he is singing as Hootie or Darius, his songs make me happy. There is an honesty in his message that I connect to.         3- I have been known to jam to “This Girl is on Fire” with my EC team before IEP meetings!

top 3 unwind

1- I will admit that I don’t always show up at my book club with the book read (All the Light We Cannot See…I’m talking to you) But I always enjoy that time to unwind with girlfriends and talking about topics with different perspectives. Two of my all time favorites…The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. They took my breath away! 2- Baking – and eating – always relaxes me. Just don’t ask me to clean up. 3- I have been known to plan multiple (sometimes hypothetical) trips at once. Planning makes me happy!

I’d love to hear your TOP THREE as you start a new school year.

emily purple




One organized room coming up…

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cover for room pics

Even with all of my good intentions, my therapy room always has at least one stack of things to file, do, make, or read. Or one of all of the above. Never-the-less, it is important to me that I begin the year as neatly organized as possible. I am so fortunate to have a spacious and comfortable space in our school! Believe me, I know how fortunate I am to have a room with various zones for us to work. Over the years, I have been assigned rooms such as the back office of a conference room, tutor rooms, a shared nurse’s office, a janitor’s closet, and probably my all-time “favorite”…the coach’s office overlooking the middle school gym and shared with the psychologist. I can still hear the basketballs bouncing in my nightmares! It probably goes without saying – I learned how to advocate for my students very quickly! My current room used to belong to our classes for students with Autism, however when our school expanded, they moved to a proper sized classroom and this space opened up for my students. Not a week goes by that I don’t remind my administrators how important this space is for my students and how I utilize every inch!!

Here is a little tour…







I hope you enjoyed the tour!  Are you inspired by something you see?

These are all FREEBIES!!!

Memory Strategies & Visual Cues – The ones on my board are my original set.  I later made a set to share as a freebie, so they will look different.

Hand sanitizer labels – Various styles and sizes

Common Core vocabulary – I chose to print these color coded based on the lists by grade level.  It helps me to know which grade level has these explicitly taught in their curriculum.  However, I don’t restrict myself to that.  If i am using that vocabulary or teaching that skill – I pull the cards no matter what grade!

Goodbye Rhymes – My kids love these!!!  There are some general ones (animals) but also several groups of thematic rhymes (holidays, seasons, Dr. Seuss).  I use them for exit tickets.  We choose one as we leave and practice all the way back to class and then they use it for a final farewell.

Also, here are the links to some items displayed that I purchased from other SLPs: 

Speechopoly – Sublime Speech: I use this as an intro conversational tool to talk with students about “what we do in this class”.  I have also used it as a behavioral reward system.  I printed mine smaller, but it can be used to make a 4×45 bulletin board.  She explains how she uses it in her room here.

Cycles for Phonology toolkit – Speech Musings: The labels are part of the set.  She also shares the name of the storage system, which I purchased and loved!  I then bought a 2nd and made artic labels (not pictured) to store all of my Super Duper and miscellaneous speech cards.  She explains her toolkit in detail here.  I just started using it in the Spring and i found it very helpful.

Photo of the Week – Super Power Speech: I adore this set.  I use it in several ways (she has coordinating worksheets that are leveled for language and include speech and social).  I use photographs from this set for my “close thinking” board.  You can also use pictures from newspapers and various photographs.  See it in more detail here.

Inferencing for a Year – The Speech Bubble SLP: I use this with some groups as part of our routine.  As they become familiar with the routine, we are able to do it as a warm up to our main lesson.  I chose to print them on colored paper and display then in the pocket chart.  Find more details on how she uses them for a bulletin board here.  Day 1 we read through the clues together and try to guess the thematic item. We turn over the picture to see if we guessed right.  Then on Day 2, we use the same structure to describe the item.  I found the little magnifying glasses at Party City for maybe 15 cents each and the pocket charts at my second home (Target’s dollar section).

Have a wonderful start to the school year!!!!

emily blue

Countdown to the Summer Games

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Happy Summer everyone!  I am trying to savor the last few weeks of no alarm clock and not really knowing what day of the week it is.  We have been enjoying our lazy mornings and days at the pool.  In my house we are getting pumped about the Summer Olympics starting later this week.  I love sharing the nostalgia of past Olympic heroics with my kids as we watch new accomplishments and make memories together.  I am always amazed at the level of determination these athletes display and am touched by the sacrifices made by their family in order for them to live out a dream.  Go Team USA!!


Using an Olympics theme to teach is really fun because it naturally leads into conversations about perseverance, determination, hard work, setting goals, working through disappointment, and success.  I always find it fun to introduce unfamiliar vocabulary into units to help students expand their base of knowledge…judo, badminton, fencing, and dressage will be so interesting to learn more about.  The Summer Games: Language Style is jam-packed with summer sports vocabulary to teach skills of categorization, describing, and comparing and contrasting as well as thematic multiple meaning words and idioms.  Summer games cover

Summer games 1 Summer games 2 Summer games 3


For students focusing on articulation sounds, this FREEBIE is a fun way to practice skills of sorting by beginning, medial, and final placement while practicing speech placement.

Gold medal Summer cover


Gold medal Winter 2

Word lists target 5 different sets of sounds

Gold medal Winter 1

Have fun with magic reveals or writing & coloring


Follow the Clues: The Summer Games promotes descriptive language skills, social interaction with questioning and answers between peers, and expanding sentence structure.  Students will describe sports and items related to the Summer Games.

FTC summer games cover FTC summer games 1 FTC summer games 2 FTC summer games 3

I hope you are enjoying your Summer days and have fun watching the Summer Games!

emily blue


Happy Birthday Sale!

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happy birthday to me

It’s my birthday today!!  Which means that today is all about making me happy.  And one thing that makes me so happy is a sale!  And cupcakes.  And cupcakes on sale! Since I can’t share birthday cupcakes with all of you, let’s share a sale instead!  Check out my store for 20% off everything – today only, March 8.

happy birthday sale


Maybe you could use some Functional Communication Song & Story boards (individual months or by season or in a mega bundle)…

song boards red hen

bear more

story board brown bear i have who has

Or maybe you are looking for some March Madness materials (three individual packets or they are also grouped together in a bundle) …

march madness tou

March Madness: Articulation Brackets

Introduction to Multiple Meaning words

March Madness: Crazy for Language

Follow clues bball 1

Follow the Clues: Basketball


How about Would You Rather Questions…

Using "Would You Rather" for questioning, conversation, and to answer WHY

“Would You Rather” St. Patrick’s day

Would You Rather: Spring

Would You Rather: Spring


You can get ready for Spring with some of these materials…

Book companion combos

Book companion combo

Follow the Clues: Spring

Follow the Clues: Spring


Don’t forget to check out my FREEBIES like this St. Patrick’s Day activity

Some students needed visual answer choices.

Follow the Clues…St. Patrick’s Day

or this Earth Day FREEBIE

Earth Day definition sort

I Love My Earth: Multiple Meaning Words


I hope you find something useful that will save you time and bring happiness to your therapy room!  Don’t forget to sing happy birthday while you finding some new therapy materials :)

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I am excited to share this book companion for the #MarchSLPMustHave!  Last year I used Judy Blume’s Freckle Juice for my first novel study in speech/language therapy.  It was new territory for me to use such a lengthy story in my small little moments of time with students.  I was worried about getting started with something that I wouldn’t have time to finish.  It turned out to be so successful!  We worked on vocabulary and comprehension one chapter at a time, then worked on many other literacy/language skills like characters, visualizing, comparing/contrasting, summarizing, sequencing, and predicting.  My students were begging for more. After some extensive searching, I chose Judy Blume’s The One in the Middle is a Green Kangaroo.

GK cover

If you have used the Freckle Juice packet, you will see that this story companion uses the same framework to structure the lessons.  I put a lot of thought into this format, and the familiarity across stories helps my students with the new content.

GK preview pg 1

GK preview pg 2GK preview pg 3

I am using this packet with many different levels, both in my therapy room and in a 3rd grade push-in class.  For the most part, I use the packet in it’s entirety with each student.  But the beauty of having so many skills addressed in one packet is that I can pick and choose the target skills for each student or group.  One group doesn’t need to work on categories at all, so I just omitted that piece.

GK vocab application


There are also differentiated formats for expression throughout – drawing, writing, using pictures.  When I was in the 3rd grade classroom, we were all working together on the applied vocabulary page.

GK dictation


Two students were writing their responses independently while I was dictating to scribe another student’s response.  Because he was at that stage where I am really modeling the responses for him and guiding him through the procedure, I chose to use a reusable format instead of copying a separate packet.  I slipped the paper in a plastic cover sheet and used a dry erase marker (saved some paper this way).

If you would like to explore chapter books with your speech/language students, check out The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo.  On 3/7/16 only it will be half price!

emily logo

Welcome MARCH!

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March is here!  I love the month of March for so many reasons, not the least of which is my birthday!!  March also brings warmer sunshine, blooming flowers, a sneaky little leprechaun, and March Madness…oh how we love March Madness in my therapy room! The basketball hoop is set up and ready to reinforce good effort! March also brings me so much more inspiration for thematic therapy plans.  January and February always feel a little daunting with the holidays/events piling up around each other on the calendar and I need to plug in the holes with thoughtful instruction.  I tend to pick and choose different lessons each year depending on the current needs/interests of my students.  I do like that variety.  This year, I plugged in those holes with some great ideas/materials from other therapists.  Through blogs, instagram, and TPT, we all have marvelous accessibility to the strategies and ideas of other SLPs! No need to sail this ship solo!

One of the new strategies I tried was from Speech Time Fun’s post about POQ (parts of question).  I have been working with several students on expanding sentence structure to comment and answer questions.  We use all kinds of visual (color cubes, written words, highlighted lines) and tactile cues (tapping arm from shoulder down to hand).  Her explanation of the idea to color code what stays and what goes had been a missing piece for me.

As I asked the question, I wrote it in red and green. When the student answered, I added the response in yellow.

As I asked the question, I wrote it in red and green. When the student answered, I added the response in yellow. (I did have to add “is” and modeled the response).  We repeated this structure replacing “sheep” with other animals and food.  The familiar structure was helpful through repetitions.

Not only is this helping my students working on expanding expression, but this is helping many students organize their responses to questions in their writing.

As we practiced more, we were able to expand the sentnece structure. In this example, he answered a one word reply "house". The visual color coding helped him identify my question and then all the words required for his response.

As we practiced more, we were able to expand the sentence structure. In this example, he answered a one word reply “house”. The visual color coding helped him identify my question and then all the words required for his response.  We repeated each question/response several times.

I was able to immediately teach this just using markers and a white board.  My plan moving forward is to create some story/lesson specific questions using color coded cards to have a few pre-planned materials.  They beauty of this strategy though is that once you have taught the principle, you can incorporate it on the spot!  Please check out her post and video that explain this very useful strategy!  Thanks Speech Time Fun!!


dr-seuss combo

I also love the transition from February to March because it means Dr. Seuss is in the air! Everywhere!  Every year I realize that even though I have a ton of his books, I need more!! (I can’t believe I don’t own Wacky Wednesday!)  The primary targets were categories, sight words, articulation, descriptive language, following directions, and expanding sentences.  And of course, being silly and having fun!

Keep an eye on my store this week…On March 7th I will choose a product that will be 50% off for the #MarchSLPmusthave sale.  Tuesday March 8th is my birthday and since I can’t share birthday cupcakes with everyone, I thought the next best thing would be throwing a birthday sale!


emily logo

Text Dependent Questions and the SLP

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TDQ and the SLP


Oh man, my mind is exploding with information on close reading, text complexity, and text dependent questions!  In my 16 years working as a school-based SLP, I have learned so much about applying language into an academic context.  All along I have observed that there are a lot of parallels with how I teach articulation skills and early reading instruction.

Lately, I have been a part of a school team diving deep into the instructional practices of close reading.  And I do mean deep!  We did a book study using Fisher & Frey’s TDQ: Pathways to Close and Critical Reading.  At first I was worried that I would be out of place on this team, but then I quickly realized that somewhere in the midst of the close reading gurus, there must be an SLP!  It is centered around learning with a deep understanding, making connections, exploring vocabulary, and applying knowledge.  I have used some of these techniques with my language students (more to come on that – with photos!).

At the same time that I was taking in all of this knowledge about close reading, I kept hearing teachers talk about text dependent questions.  These are used in ongoing reading assessments and students now need to be able to answer questions in a way that demonstrates their knowledge with supporting details…much more expansive than basic WH- questions about the text.  My language instruction is focusing on concepts and vocabulary that tie in to these expectations: explain, compare, describe, support with details, predict, summarize, relate, apply.  All skills I have taught before, but now I have a greater understanding of classroom expectations and application.

Image result for text dependent questions meme

I push into a third grade literacy class this year and the teacher was ready to do a novel study.  She showed me a list of literacy skills to address…it is amazing how much of this list are really language concepts/skills!  We split the class in half and each chose a novel to work on these concepts.  Freckle Juice was in the reading level range for my group (grade 3.6, level M).  I selected this one because I already had a base of materials to work with and *amazingly* none of the children had read it before! When I was organizing my materials, though, I started to worry that I didn’t have enough grade level material.  The packet was useful for my language kiddos that needed the extra support and visual structure, but could it stand up to the test of a real, live 3rd grade class?  Turns out, yes!  We worked together throughout the whole packet on expanding, explaining, and applying.


I also added several components in to my existing Freckle Juice Packet.  These include

  • a writing prompt for character
  • a writing prompt for sequencing
  • a novel contract for organization (students worked with me two days a week and independently for three so I needed to keep them on track)
  • chapter thoughts – text dependent questions that took their thought process to another level.  It also gave me a differentiated set of questions to work with.  Now I have a set of more literal WH questions and a set that requires more application of concepts. I used both with my 3rd grade class, but you could also use one or the other depending on how you needed to differentiate.

FJ questions in book

If you are also looking for ways to connect your language lessons with classroom expectations, you can check out the Freckle Juice packet here.  You can read more about my process in creating it here (with pictures).

emily blue