Review the Lesson

The Dilemma:

One of my favorite ways to wrap-up a session with some of my upper-elementary and middle school students is to make THEM wrap-up my lesson. This demonstrates to me what they’ve learned and also helps them solidify it in their own mind. It also avoids them being able to say “nothing” to their parents asking what they’ve learned! The “review” typically involves them telling me what they learned in our session through a handout. This holds it own limitations. Many of my students have  writing aversions and difficulties, anxiety about saying/doing the wrong thing, and difficulty working with others. I realized I needed to find a way to help them review the lesson that was motivating, allowed them to use their strengths and removed as many barriers as possible to really get a solid picture of their learning.

The Solution:

If I need a motivating activity, I always go straight to my iPad. But I still wanted something that could go home for them to review and show parents their learning. Imagine my excitement when I began using the Educreations app! There were so many features of this app that really motivated and enabled my student’s to review their sessions using their strengths while supporting their weaknesses.

The Features:

Click on the image for a larger view


The Lesson

I introduced the app by teaching a mini-lesson through it – usually no more than a few minutes of a new concept or a review of an older one. Most of my students are extremely tech savvy, so it didn’t take long for them for them to master the app. The first few reviews we planned out on the whiteboard to make sure they were able to identify the key points from the lesson and discuss why we had worked on those areas today (Example: Today we talking about ______ to help me with ______). Then did a few “takes” on the app until we got it right and had a finished product to send home! Over the following weeks I was able to lesson the support and pre-thinking I gave them. Soon we were down to me just listening in while they did the review off of what we’d put on the board throughout the lesson (no structured planning needed) to now, where my students do the review when I leave to go discuss the session with the parents! They are motivated to do their review and get to do a “free time” activity afterwards until I return. And with Educreations, I can privately share the Reviews with them and their families. The Review makes it home before they do when I send it home in a quick e-mail!


  • It can be easy for students to accidentally delete all their work if they don’t save it correctly and close out the app. I’ve had this happen a few times and it can be frustrating for all of us! Making sure you know how to save them, and making sure to emphasize to them the importance of saving before they exit the app usually solves this problem!
  • There is no erase button – so those students who see mistakes as “big deals” or may become fixated on their mistakes might have a lot of difficulty with this!
  • Fingers work ok – but I highly suggest a stylus for this app. It allows students to copy down drawings and diagrams from the lesson with less frustration and more clarity. There is a text button for writing, but most often I find we all resort to writing it out.
  • There is a little arrow in the bottom right corner of the app – play with this! It allows you to make multiple “page” presentations.
  • There are other apps out there with similar functions (Doodlecast, etc). But this one was the right price (free) and after meeting the creators at the Bay Area Maker Fair, I was really impressed with how receptive they were to suggestions! The sold me on their app all over again!

Let me know if you try Educreations, or if you already use in interesting other ways!

– Tara, the SpeechyKeenSLP

Meet Heckerty

Heckerty is a witch who just can’t seem to get things right… she flies her broomstick backwards and jumbles up the words to her spells. But in the end, she still wants friends. Will you be her friend? …. even if she turned her face green?


Last week I was given a free download code for Heckerty. I had never heard of it before, nor did I know any of the background (check the website out for the amazing history!). It came through the pipeline thanks to my connections with Hacking Autism. So I downloaded it and gave it a try – and by give it a try I meant really went through the whole thing, reserving judgement till the end. Although it wasn’t an app designed for children with Autism, a lot of success stories were coming to the company from families with children impacted by Autism. Last night Allen and Jan (the voice of “Heckerty”) called me to talk to me about their plans for Heckerty and to hear what I had thought about the app. I don’t want to get into too much of my own opinion, that will be a future post. Also, I would hate to taint your thoughts because ….


They have provided me with a few free download codes! That’s right – we need YOU to be the reviewers here. There are some easy steps to redeem your copy of Meet Heckerty…

  1. Send me an e-mail requesting a code: admin at speechykeenslp dot com
    Let me know if you’re a teacher, therapist, parent etc!
  2. *IF* there are any codes left, I will e-mail it to you!
    NOTE: Codes expire tomorrow night, so redeem as soon as possible! 
  3. If you are an educational professional, please review here (preferred) or e-mail thoughts/comments.
    Parents, please leave a comment here on the blog or e-mail reviews to the address above!

Only 10 codes – good luck!

– SpeechyKeenSLP

#ASHA Recap – Apps, Apps and More Apps

“App” was the buzz word this year at ASHA, with every talk resuling in crowds overflowing from their rooms. I don’t think I was in a single talk about apps where people weren’t sitting on the floor or where overflow rooms being opened. I believe the interest is two-fold – SLPs wanting to know how to use this new tool in therapy, and SLPs worrying about how this new tool is being used in our field. Before you jump to conclusions, it isn’t just the “old school” SLPs who are doing the worrying. It’s also the tech savvy who have been keeping a close eye on these developments. Everything is good – in moderation. But too often people are quick to jump onto the latest fad, forgetting their “smarts”. One of my favorite quotes from ASHA was heard by one of my fellow SLPs @apujo5 – “Apps do not make a therapist better, a good therapist can creatively intrigue and engage clients technologically using apps.” Are we using apps to run our therapy, or running the therapy ourselves and using apps to support our work?

I went to a pretty uneventful talk on apps at one point during the convention, but tucked somewhere in the middle of the talk was a nougat that grabbed my attention. They were talking about the need for standardized reviews to be completed by therapists in the field. The iTunes ratings are informative, but they are filled out by parents more than those of us in the speech and language/special needs fields. So although they can give us an “idea” ofhow we could use them, we aren’t getting the big picture. Where else could we get the “gestalt” than from those in the trenches just like us? They suggested an outline of information that was pertinent to us in the field, yet quick to reference – just like the iTunes store. I created the form below and would love to hear:

  1. Your feedback – what else should be on this form? What is not as important to you?
  2. About the apps you love! Any information submitted may be posted on this blog in the future unless you note you would not like it included in the box at the bottom. It can be annonymous as well.


The form can also be found here.


– Tara, SpeechyKeenSLP

#ASHA11 Recap – Apps

The iPad and Apps were an even bigger part of the ASHA convention this year compared to last. The exhibit hall had multiple apps booths, with people willing to demo the apps and let you play yourself.  Some companies present were established and well known in the SLP community, like SmartEars, while others were newer and just breaking into the therapy world. I currently do not own many of these apps, but wanted to get this information out there for you to access. I plan on purchasing some of these in the future, I’m going to have to set an app budget each month or I could be in big trouble!




One of the first app booths I found was MouthWorks. Tucked into one of the first rows in the exhibit hall, I was very excited about playing with this app.  An exciting mix of real mouth videos and adorable graphics, this app offers practice at the single phoneme level up to CVCV combination for younger clients. Although you cannot transfer the data out of the app currently, a recent conversation with the company indicates it might become an option down the road.  It will soon be hitting the iTunes store, estimated arrive is the end of November or beginning of December – I plan on giving it a try!


Little Bee Speech showed off their app on the floor as well. A phoneme based menu, you have the options of the word, sentence or reading level. The app offers a lot of customization throughout, with the ability to make changes to selections during activities. And it has one of my favorite features – the ability to save data and e-mail it to yourself! I just downloaded this app today, so a longer review coming soon!In the meantime, a video walkthrough of the app can be found here.


Pocket SLP was another app company on the floor. They explain how they are SLPs by day, on the floor with their students, and programmers by night, creating apps that are motivating for their students. This company has multiple apps, including ones for articulation, minimal pairs and one with the anatomy of the mouth for speech modelings with older clients. They are advertising a lot of apps coming soon, covering language, reading and even opposits! And always a favorite feature of mine, you can keep data within the app and e-mail it to yourself at the end. And the fact that they are available on the android market AND in the Apple app store? I love an equal opportunity app!


Tactus therapy had a different approach to their apps. Their focus is for individuals with aphasia and brain injury. A husband (programmer) and wife (SLP) team, they have three apps currently on iTunes: Comprehension, Naming, Writing. Reading is coming soon.  Although designed for a different target population, many SLPs have been reporting great results using these apps for their language students. Another one that allows you to e-mail results, I’m excited to possibly play with this app in the future.




A pretty popular app company, Smarty Ears Apps has 30+ apps available in the iTunes store. Covering a variety of therapy areas, their app topics include dysphagia, articulation, AAC, bilingualism, fluency, questions, articulation tests and productivity apps for the working SLP. With such a wide variety, you’ll want to visit the site the really explore each app in depth. I have heard great things about the artic test!



Be sure to check out these companies and see which apps will work for you! More in depth reviews will be coming in the upcoming weeks as I begin to play with them more. Happy app shopping!

– Tara, SpeechyKeenSLP