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If you ever see me when I'm at work, you're sure to hear the sound of some musical toys ringing, beeping or mooing every time I put my bags on the floor, this is because my bags are usually full of toys and objects which can all be used to support early language development!  One of my favourite things to use in therapy is my "feely bag"; it's full of toys and everyday objects which can all be used to elicit language from young children on my caseload. Over the years I have found this to be a fun and effective activity to use with children who have language delay! Today I wanted to share why I like using them so much and some ways which you can use 'What's in the Bag?' activities in your therapy sessions too!


Why do this activity?
The 'What's in the bag?' activity is fun, engaging, easy to implement and free! You can use toys and objects that you have readily available in the home, nursery or clinic setting.  This activity is great at eliciting language from young children and I find it easily keeps them engaged throughout my full sessions!  You can also target other useful skills, such as play skills and social skills (such as turn taking, sharing etc.).
This activity also requires little to no pre-planning or preparation! All you need to do is put a handful of toys and objects into a bag and you're all set! Perfect!


What you need:
Setting up and using the 'What's in the bag?' activity is easy! All you need is:
- A bag: I like to use a drawstring bag because it means my toys don't fall out when I'm travelling between visits, but a pillow case works just as well too!
- A range of familiar toys/objects: I like to have selection of small toys such as pretend food, a hairbrush, some cars (different sizes and colours if possible), a cup, a plate, a spoon, a ball, a teddy, some bubbles and some pretend animals. I typically have around 10 or so items, but this can vary depending on the child's language and attention skills and the number of children I'm working with in each session.


How to use it:
- Put all of the toys in the bag, the adult holds onto the bag and gains the child's attention. The adult then asks "What's in the bag?" (I often shake the bag so the toys make a noise too as this really grabs their attention!)
- Take it in turns to take a toy out of the bag; name the toy and encourage the child to play with it.
- Use simple language to comment on the toy and what the child is doing, for example, if they take a car out of the bag, you could say "car", "blue car", if they push it, you could say "pushing the car", "fast car" etc.  When you model the words, be sure to keep the language simple and emphasise the key words.


- If the child is not sure how to play with the toy, you can model how to play with it, for example pretend to drink from a cup, use the brush to brush your hair or make animal noises when holding the cow/pig etc.
- Once the child has played with that toy for a short while (or for as long as their attention lasts!), you can hold the bag up and ask the question "What's in the bag?" again, then get another person to take something out of the bag!  If it's just you and the child, then take it in turns with each other, but if parents or caregivers are present, you can encourage them to join in too!
- Encourage the child to take turns and wait- emphasise 'my turn', 'your turn', 'mummy's turn' etc. You can also ask, "who's turn next?" to try elicit more language.


Things to remember:
- Be excited and interested when you're reaching into the bag and when you pull a toy out- this really helps keep young children engaged.
- Balance questions and comments- when you're modelling simple language to the child, try and comment on what they're doing rather than asking questions.  For example instead of saying "are you eating the banana?" You could say "eating the banana", "nice banana", or simply "eating" (with an eating noise!) etc.
- Follow their lead and talk about the toy that the child is playing with or looking at there and then.  If you pull an apple out of the bag, but the child is pretending to brush their hair with the hairbrush, there's little sense in you focusing on the apple! The child is clearly indicating that they want to play with the hairbrush, so name it, comment on that and join in with their play, you can then model "eating the apple" afterwards.



Two little tips...
1. When I pull an object/toy out of the bag, I hold it up near my face, so that the child is looking at me and my mouth when I say the words.
2. When pretending to eat the food, it's fun to act like it tastes nice or horrible, or that it's hot or cold. For example, if I'm pretending to eat an ice cream, I'd pretend to lick it, then rub my stomach and go "mmmm yummy ice cream", or I might eat the lemon and go "bleugh! Sour lemon!" Modelling this during play is not only hilarious to young toddlers but it can help elicit more language because they (often, but not always) try to copy my actions and noises too!


Language you can target:
Some of the vocabularly you can target during this activity includes:
- "my turn", "your turn" etc.
- "more"
- "open" (when opening the bag)
- animal and vehicle noises
- single word naming of all the objects
- two word phrases- e.g. fast car, big cow, blue cup etc.
- concepts (big, little, colours etc.)
- verbs (pushing, eating, drinking etc.)
- "all gone" when the bag is empty
...and lots more depending on what you put in the bag and how the child is playing with the objects!


Other ways 'feely bags' can be used:
- When playing with a jigsaw puzzle, put all of the pieces in the bag, encourage the child to ask for 'more', then take two pieces out of the bag, offer a choice of which puzzle piece they want; give them the piece they requested and put the other piece back into the bag.

- To help elicit 'I' (when children use 'I' instead of 'me'), you can do the same 'What's in the bag?' activity as described above, but model "I have a X".


Using a 'feely bag' with older children:
It's also possible to use 'feely bags' with other groups of children and not just young toddlers. The activity can be modified so that you have the objects in the bag and you take it in turns to choose an object but rather than pulling it out straight away, the person has to describe it (talk about it's shape, size, how it feels, what you do with it etc.) and the other person has to guess what it is!  This is great for working on vocabulary and word finding skills with other children.



Over the years I have found the 'What's in the bag?' activity to be a great way to encourage children's language skills and I hope this has given you some ideas of how to use 'feely bags' with young children with language delay in your therapy sessions!


Do you use 'feely bags' and 'what's in the bag?' activities already in your therapy sessions? How do you use them? I'd love to know, drop a comment below!






I love celebrating Valentine's Day in Speech Therapy sessions! It is so much fun talking to the kids about people they like and gifts they have given/received and doing Valentine's Day themed activities! Since Valentine's Day is fast approaching, I thought I would share some of the things I'll be doing next week, and share some no/low prep resources and craft ideas that you might be interested in too!


A Foody Craft



I saw this adorable chocolate pretzel recipe/craft on Pinterest and thought it would be such a good idea to use in social skills groups next week!  You can target so many skills with this one recipe! Use the conversation heart sweets to target social skills; work on following directions while following the recipe and making them and target describing skills when you eat and evaluate them afterwards! Perfect!



Books



I love using books in my speech therapy sessions too, and I found a great list of books on Pinterest which are perfect for Valentine's day!  Books are great for working on comprehension skills, story recall, describing, sentence formulation and more! You don't need any fancy worksheets or plans either! I just use post-it notes and spare paper; we make a note of key points from the story and any words we didn't know, then we look at the pictures to help us to understand what's happening and make sense of those words. We also look through the book for our speech sounds and practice those while talking about the pictures.  It's amazing how many targets you can address with just one book!  I like to use a book called You and Me  (Note, that's an Amazon link for your convenience, not an affiliate link). This book is such a beautiful story about friendship which is great not only for Valentine's day, but all year round!  I'll share more about how I use this book in therapy on the blog next week!



No Prep Resources

In our TPT Store we have a range of Valentine's Day themed, no prep resources which are great for targeting different speech therapy goals! Pronouns, prepositions, following directions, synonyms, antonyms and more! We've got you covered!! All of the resources are ready to just print and go, so there's no laminating or prepping to worry about! Here are a few resources you might be interested in...




Games
We all know that games are super motivating for kids anyway, but I like to use themed games in speech therapy sessions for extra motivation!  I like using games that have a therapy goal tied in too! When working on prepositions, we usually play 'Hunt the Heart' (this game requires a few minutes of prep beforehand), in this game I hide hearts (that I've cut out from paper) around the room, they'll be under/in/on/behind/next to etc. different things.  Kids then have to find the hearts and tell me where they found them, e.g. "under the chair". It's super fun and ties in their targets perfectly!  We then use our 'Where is the Heart?' Interactive Book to continue the practice. 



Another game I like to play is 'Heart Hopscotch'. I originally saw this idea on Pinterest and adapted it for speech therapy sessions!  I draw hearts on pieces of paper and put them on the carpet in a hopscotch layout (I stick them to the carpet with double-sided sticky tape), and I get some articulation cards and put them in a pile at the end of the hopscotch. We then throw a small teddy onto the hopscotch, we hop along (missing the one that has the teddy on!) and choose a card from the pile. We then say that word the same number of times as shown by the teddy, for example if the teddy is on number 4, we hop down the hopscotch, miss out number 4, choose an artic card then say the word 4 times.  It's so fun and motivating- the kids don't realise that they're practising and I'm getting loads of trials! Perfect! 



So these are just a few ideas of what I'll be doing this week in my Speech and Language Therapy sessions! Do you do Valentine's Day themed activities? What do you have planned? Drop me a comment below, I love hearing new ideas!



A TPT Sitewide sale is a special thing. There are only a few of these each year, so they're a great time to stock up on all of those resources you've been wanting for a while!  Today I wanted to share with you a 'step-by-step guide' for helping you make the most out of the sale, and to highlight some resources you might be interested in too!


Step 1: Claim Your Credits!
Did you know that you earn TPT credits when you leave feedback on your paid purchases? You can then use these credits towards future purchases, so you save money! Awesome right?!
Here's how:

Head to 'My Purchases', found here: (You click on the drop down arrow by your name, and select 'My Purchases').

This then shows you all of the purchases you have made. Select the 'Paid Purchases' part. It will be organised by your most recent purchases, but you can sort this by 'needs feedback', like so:


This saves you a tonne of time searching through all your purchases, and makes it super easy to leave lovely feedback on all of your purchases! :)

You earn 1 credit for every $1 you have spent, and TPT rounds it up too! So if you've spent $3.75, you'll get 4 credits! Great huh?  You can check your balance too by selecting 'TPT Credit Balance' from the account drop down menu! 



Step 2: Empty that Wishlist!
Have you seen a great resource on Pinterest or Instagram lately? Been eyeing up a big bundle for a while? Now is a great time to get it! During a sitewide sale, most sellers (including us!) will set their entire store at 20% off! and yes, for our store, that includes bundles!
(Note, not every seller takes part in the sale, and some may choose to set the discount to a little less than 20%, but you will still be able to save when you use the Promo code). 
Be sure to go through your wishlist/favourite seller's stores and have a think about the resources you need for your classroom/caseload currently. If you think you need it, pop it in your cart!

You can easily check your wishlist by heading to the drop down menu and selecting 'My Wishlist' like this:




If you're thinking of things you might like to add to your wishlist, why not check out a few of these resources...


 

    





Step 3: Redeem Your Credits!
So, once you've fully stocked your cart, you need to redeem your credits!
Before you press the 'Checkout' button, be sure to redeem those credits, which saves you $$!


You'll easily see how many credits you have available, and how many you can redeem.  It instantly changes the price, so you know how much you've saved!



Step 4: Apply the Promo Code!!
Do not checkout until you've applied the sale Promo code!! TPT has a new code for every sitewide sale, if you apply that, you save an extra 10% off the cost of the resources! Pretty great, right?!
Here's how:



Then, once you've redeemed your promo code, you can checkout. If you have a Gift Card you can type the code in the 'Redeem a Gift Card' section too. 

All of your purchases can be found in the 'My Purchases' section!  It's also super easy to buy an additional license that way too, so if you've got a colleague who's in love with the resource as much as you are, you can buy another copy of it for a discount (usually this is 50% off the original price, but you'll want to check that as each product may differ!)




I hope this post was helpful for you!  What are you hoping to purchase during the sale?  Have you got any other awesome money saving tips? We'd love to hear them, drop us a comment below!



"He disturbs others while I'm talking!", "She never listens!", "He always does things wrong... but he can do it when I show him!" 
Do those statements remind you of a child in your class??

In the UK, it is estimated that around 10% of school age children have some form of Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). This can include difficulties with speech sounds, using and understanding words and sentences and social communication skills, as well as associated conditions such as autism or ADHD. That's approximately 2-3 children in every classroom! (Afasic. (January 2017)).  Although SLCN comes in many forms, in this post we are going to focus on receptive language difficulties.


What are Receptive Language Difficulties?
Receptive language difficulties (also known as comprehension or understanding difficulties) can present in a variety of ways in different children; for example, children may have difficulties with following verbal instructions, understanding new vocabulary, answering questions, and understanding stories.
The classroom environment can be a confusing place for a child with comprehension difficulties; there's lots of new vocabulary to learn and instructions to follow; it's fast paced and there are many distractions!

A child with these type of difficulties may be accessing support/have previously accessed support from a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) (also known as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) in the US). It is important to follow any advice that you've been given by the SLT/SLP previously, however this post provides some simple strategies you can use to help a child with comprehension difficulties in your classroom!


How you can help:

1. Make sure you have the child's attention: Before you give an instruction or ask a question, make sure that the child is listening and paying attention.  If they're not listening, it is unlikely that they will understand what is being said to them. You can gain their attention by saying their name or tapping them gently on their arm. If you're giving an instruction to a whole group, you could go over to the child and repeat the instruction to them directly, or say their name within the whole group, so they know it applies to them too, e.g. "Right everybody... Jack, are you listening? What you are doing is..."




2. Make it visual: Visual clues help most of us work out what someone means when we don't understand, and pictures, objects and gestures are really important to help a child's understanding too. Wherever possible you should try to present the instructions and information visually.  This could mean using real objects, pictures, symbols, drawings or gestures alongside spoken words.  Examples of using visuals are:
  • A visual timetable with images to show what you're doing 'now' and 'next'.
  • Using real objects when talking about new vocabulary
  • Using gestures or signing when giving an instruction


3. Keep your language simple: Try to keep sentences as simple as possible; use shorter sentences and avoid long, complicated words. When giving instructions it is useful to break instructions down into small steps (chunk them).  Often children with language difficulties cannot remember or process multiple pieces of information, so it is easier to give them one instruction at once. You could also try to emphasise the key words, which can help a child focus on the key information.




4. Show them what you mean: If you have given an instruction and the child is still struggling to understand, you could support their understanding by demonstrating the task and showing them what you mean! Show the child how to complete a task so that they know what to do. For example "fold your paper in half... watch me, I'll show you... now you have a go".



5. Check their understanding: Ask the child simple questions related to what you have told them, get them to tell you have they have been asked to do, or ask them to repeat the key points.  If the child is struggling to answer your questions, you could offer them forced alternatives, for example "what do you have to get?"... "is it your book or your pencil?"




6. Allow extra time: Children with comprehension difficulties benefit from extra time to process information. Try talking a little slower than usual and pause after you have said a sentence- try counting to 10 in your head before you prompt them. This can help the child think about what you have said and begin to process what they have to do and what they will say too. 



I hope you find that these practical strategies can be easily applied in your classroom! Hopefully they will support a child with comprehension difficulties, but you may find that they also support other children in your classroom too!

Have you got any other strategies that you use in your classroom to help children with comprehension difficulties?  I'd love to hear about them, drop me a comment below!



As Speech and Language Therapists, we're used to attending our fair share of Annual Review meetings! These are a great chance to review a child's progress over the past 12 months and a time to set new goals and plans for the coming year.  2016 has been a busy year here at The SLT Scrapbook; so we decided we'd have our own mini-review of 2016!


Here's 5 things we've loved about 2016!

1.  We got married this year! July 2016 will forever be a special month for us! Our wedding day was the most perfect day- a beautiful venue, beautiful weather, beautiful guests and everything went to plan (thankfully!!).

2. We've made huge improvements to our house! We bought our 1930s "fixer-upper" house a few years ago and we have been slowly renovating it! This summer saw us completely rip out the living and dining area downstairs and build it all back again! We've still not finished those rooms, but we are getting there!

3. Our TPT Store has continued to grow! We have loved producing many new materials throughout this past year! From adding more packs to our range of Following Directions Colouring Packs to giving huge updates to our best-selling Articulation Screener, 'Full of Feelings' Emotions Pack and our Ice Breakers and Team Building Challenges resource!  We have many more activities and resources planned for the coming year too!  Be sure to follow our TpT Store to keep up to date with all of our new releases!

4. We have wonderful jobs that we love! In late summer this year, I started a new position as a Speech and Language Therapist covering clinics and schools... and I absolutely adore it! I'll be sharing more about the things I'm learning and therapy approaches I'm using throughout the next year!

5. We have made some fabulous memories! We have had loads of family time this year! From pre-wedding preparations, to post-wedding celebrations and everything in between! 2016 has been an amazing year for us, we have made some wonderful memories and we are so excited to make more memories next year!

We also have some big things ahead for 2017! More weddings, more house renovations, many more therapy resources and loads of therapy posts planned for the blog!  Be sure to follow our blog, Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up with it all!


I'm sure you've probably seen the #2016bestnine posts on Instagram, well we have done ours and thought we would share it here! It's nice to see our posts from throughout the year!



Are you on Instagram?  Be sure to follow us @thesltscrapbook! We share all about what we do in therapy sessions, lots of therapy ideas/inspirations and fun & motivating quotes.  



How was 2016 for you?  What are your stand-out moments?  What are you looking forward to in 2017? We'd love to hear about it! Drop us a comment below!


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