Category Archives: Uncategorized

One Million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


YEAHYipee!! Weeha!   My website has now had over 1,000,000 hits as of TODAY!!!!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to the many personal and professional folks that have supported social/emotional work with kids!  Just about 3 1/2  years ago, I started this little web venture.  I started speaking and presenting locally about 5 years ago and folks would continually ask me to email them documents that I spoke about.  Finally, I decided that if I just posted them online, they would be easier to get access to.  Now, three years later I have been honored to be invited to speak to many audiences across the country as well as all over my home state of Minnesota.  Over the past few years, I have met so many wonderful new colleagues, educators, families, and fellow bloggers.  Thank you so very much for accessing my site and all the stellar work you do I want to offer a special thanks to my fabulous husband, Bryan, and our 2 sons.  Bryan does so much to inspire me, support my crazy travels to speak, and pick up the slack around home when I am spending hours on my laptop at night.  Thank you to my family…

My goal has always been – and ALWAYS will be – to share teaching  resources, inspire educators, and collaborate to meet social/emotional communication needs of children.   I am truly humbled by the thousands of folks who subscribe and follow this site.  Thank you so very much…. Jill

New YouTube Social Skill Video Links added!


Hello all!  Well, today we had an ice storm in Minnesota, and our school district called a 2 hour late start.  Much to our surprise and excitement – we also found out that the power was out at the elementary school I teach at (and our sons attend).  So – here it is, a Wednesday – Leap Day – and I am surfing the web!  I think the chance of having this happen again will likely be on the next Leap Day we have 🙂

Many folks especially like the YouTube video clips I post on my web page here for social skill teaching.  I decided to surf around and add some more.  WOW – are there some great resources out there!  I have posted about 40 more links that I hope people will find useful.  But, remember….I do not always watch the entire video – so please preview them in full yourself before showing them to students!

To access the links – Look at the black page titles in the header of my site here.  Right in the middle on the right-hand side you will see the title, YouTube Links for Social Skills.  Click on that and you should see a listing of all the links I currently have listed.


Enjoy!  – Jill

Sequence cards for Re-telling – iPad story App: “Cooper’s Big Hug”


Hello all – a quickie post here tonight as I get ready to get the sons to bed…..

Hallmark has some wonderful interactive storybook apps for the iPad.  One darling story is called, “Cooper’s Big Hug” – the story of a little bear on the search for a way to show his mother how much he loves her.    I created some sequence pictures from screenshots on my iPad, and a word bank to guide the re-telling narrative for students.  This story is also fairly “loaded” with the /k/ and /g/ sounds (“big, hug, cooper, frog, acorn”, etc.), so I plan to use this with a little articulation kindergarten friend working on these speech sounds at the sentence level currently.

So – here is a PDF of the sequence pictures and word bank:

Cooper Big Hug


GREAT Speech-Language Blog to check out – Speech Room News


I have to give a shout out this morning to one of my absolute favorite speech-language bloggers, Jenna Rayburn.  Her blog, Speech Room NewsFree Materials from my Speech Room to Yours.  Her site address is :  I have followed this blog for about 9 months or so, and I have used to many of the ideas presented here with my elementary-age students.  Jenna shares the same philosophy on her blog as I do – sharing FREE materials with other educators.   Some of you have probably seen some of these great ideas floating around Pinterest, but might not realize which blog they came from – well, here is the GREAT blog! I really appreciate Jenna sharing and her creativity.  Here are the links to some of my favorite blog entries she has written in the recent past:

   St. Patrick’s Day activities for Upper-elementary students

  Using the popular Angry Birds game and for speech-language intervention


  Using Sunday paper shopping ads to teach inference skills

   McDonalds French Fry articulation

    The movie, “Cars” themed games for Articulation, Multiple Meaning Words, and WH Questions



I could go on and on posting links to the great ideas on the Speech Room News website!  You must check this site out!!  Have a great week!  – Jill 🙂

Extra-Curricular Resource for Mpls/St. Paul Kids..and a Give-Away!


I want to tell folks in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area about a wonderful extra-curricular opportunity for kids.  In the Company of Kids Creative Arts Center has a variety of programs for children of all ages to experience the fun, social environment, brought by the performing arts.  Artistic Director, Bonnie Kaye, has been in business in the performing arts field for over 38 years offering classes for all ages in an array of the arts. There are classes throughout the school-year and summer camps offered throughout the Twin Cities area, including Burnsville, Maple Grove, and Woodbury in the fall of 2012.   Bonnie has put together a phenomenal staff of highly gifted teachers.  In the Company of Kids still remains the first social skills theater, dance arts center providing a wonderful safe environment for all children to experience the arts.

I personally became interested in this organizations efforts five years ago when In the Company of Kids began expanding their programming to include specialized accommodations and teaching methods for children on the autism spectrum and those with various other cognitive and physical challenges.    Staff believes that finding the gifts and strengths in each and every child through the arts, music, dance and puppetry – places the focus on ability rather than disability.

I invite you to check out their website at:  They are taking registrations for Summer Camps right now!  Summer camps run Mondays-Thursdays, both full and half day options.  IN FACT……  my friend Bonnie is giving away one free ½ day summer camp 4-day session to one of my blog followers!    To be entered in this contest, please COMMENT back to this blog post below about why you are interested in this fun, social day-camp experience for your child, or a family you work with as an educator.  Comments will be accepted between  2/19/2012 – 3/1/2012.    All comments posted will remain private to myself as the blog moderator.  The WINNER will be notified by the email associated with your comment within a week after the close of the contest!

What a wonderful opportunity to give a gift to a student you have worked with this year, or to your own child!

Tool to Help Kids Understand and Handle “Change”


Hello again everyone!  In the past month or so, I have been working on a few materials to help kids understand and handle CHANGE.  Most of the kids I work with are elementary-age, and on the “high” end of the autism spectrum.  It seems that more and more of my students – no matter what the label is on their IEPs – have executive function needs.  This is kind of a buzz-word in education now, and it seems it can encompass so many skills!  This is one of my newest areas of interest.

In the meantime, I have been searching for materials out there to help kids with understanding change, “quantifying” degrees of change, and building skills to help a child who has difficulty with changes – like my ASD friends.  I really have not come across many resources that fit what I am looking for, so here I am – creating my own stuff again.  There will be a few posts over the next couple of weeks with different tools and resources I have put together.  Feel free to use these materials as you see fit, and once again…please leave my name attached to the document 🙂

This first tool is a PowerPoint slide show which kind of follows a “social story” format.  The slides define CHANGE for kids in terms of those changes one knows about ahead of time, or those that are predictable (“expected” changes), and those changes that one cannot predict – those little surprises that can throw a person for a loop (“unexpected changes”).    The slides go on to describe that these changes can also be categorized as “welcome” or “unwelcome”.   One theme of the story is that the unexpected, unwelcome changes are the toughest to deal with, and many times these types of changes mean you have to do something you don’t want to do.  And of course, EVERYONE has to do stuff they don’t want to do.   And, by the way – refusing that stuff…brings you more trouble.    The lesson slides conclude with listing 5 tools that you can use to help handle CHANGES.

Presenting these slides to my students took about three, 20-minute group sessions.    I used this with my kindergarten friends, all the way up to my 5th grade kids.  The level of discussion complexity and examples we all shared is what was varied.  I would recommend having a list of CHANGE examples that are relevant for your students prior to beginning this lesson sequence.   I found the most value in sharing my examples, and hearing examples that the kids came up with – and was pleasantly surprised at how astute my little friends were in sharing personal connections to the information on each slide.

So – I have attached a link to the PowerPoint file here.  I will also post it on the webpage in this blog under:  Friendship and Interaction Skills – Teaching Ideas.

A Kids Guide to Understanding and Handling CHANGE (PowerPoint format)

Check back later this week for more tools related to this topic… Jill 🙂

Winners of the Articulate It apps


The winners of the Articulate It!  app by Smarty Ears are…..

  • Maureen McGarry, – an SLP in the West Des Moines school district in Iowa
  • Holli Boelz, an Autism Specialist in the St. Cloud, Minnesota school district

I want to give a special thanks to my fellow SLP blog friend, Cindy Meester, and Barbara Fernandez with Smarty Ears!  Check out Cindy’s blog at: and the Smarty Ears site at


Articulation App I tried out…Articulate It! by SmartyEars


Hello again…..well, I have not blogged for a while since an uninvited guest known as, “Mr. Pneumonia” has come to visit 3 out of 4 of us  in my household for the last couple weeks.  Me included.  Not the “quiet-comfy-hospital-stay-with-room-service” type of pneumonia, it was the “buck-up-and-get-on-with-life-walking-pneumonia.”  Whatever “walking pneumonia” means – not much walking for me.   I could barely get my achy body out of bed long enough to pick up my kids from school and run through yet another drive through for dinner.  I think we are on the mend though.

While I was sick though, my friend Cindy Meester from a wonderful Speech-Language Sharing Blog at, sent me a promo code on behalf of Smarty Ears, for a wonderful articulation app called, “Articulate It!”.  Smarty Ears was founded in 2009 by Speech-Language Pathologist, Barbara Fernandes (also know as blogger, GeekSLP) and they have about 30 educational apps now available for mobile devices.



This articulation app is a great supplement for speech therapy and price ($38.99) is about what a clinician would spend on a box of articulation stimulus picture cards.  The app has over 1200 stimulus cards, which a great value when one considered how much they have spent over the years on boxes of cards, or making their own stimulus cards with clip art, etc.

The app has a short, user-friendly tutorial which I recommend taking a few moments to watch – you will pick up on all kind of tips for customization and data collection.  A clinician can set up separate accounts for students/clients, and track progress easily.   The app offers work for all phonemes, and even phonological processes as well.  You can have individualized programs (called “sessions” in this app) for multiple students running simultaneously.  So, if you are working with a speech group with three students working on different phonemes, you can have the app programmed to show individualized stimulus pictures at the same time while working with the group.

One of the best part of this apps is a Phrase/Sentence level offered as well.  Some of the other articulation apps I have explored just have stimulus items at the word level.   The voice recording mechanism is very good quality and is useful for student self-monitoring.    On future app updates, I would love to see some more features to increase the app’s entertainment value for kids – perhaps fun reinforcement sounds or simple games.  But,  I can see the value in this app for the 1200 stimulus cards it offers – you could use the app for stimulus cards, and pair it with other games or activities you might do in your speech room.

Check out Articulate It! at the AppStore.  This is a universal app compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPads.

And GUESS WHAT???!!!!!  My blogger friend, Cindy Meester and Smarty Ears have given me 2 more promo codes to give away for this app!  Here’s how you can win a code:  Become an email follower on my blog by noon central-standard time on Monday January 16th, 2012 and I will randomly draw 2 folks from the pool of the current and new followers to win the promo codes.  I will email the winners privately first, and then I will publicly post the winners on the site next week!  THANK you so much to SLP blogger, Cindy Meester and Smarty Ears for providing this opportunity!

Apps on Sale today!


Quick post here  – here is a link listing some apps on sale today! There are over 180 popular iOS apps on sale today for the iPhone and iPad.   Here is the link from a wonderful blog called, AppAdvice:

I took this opportunity to get some classic games that were deeply discounted, such as:

Trivial Pursuit – Master Edition is on sale right now for .99, from the original price of 4.99




Scrabble is on sale for .99 from the orginal price of 9.99!


Yahtzee is on sale for .99 from the orginal price of 4.99



Classic game show, the Price is Right – Decades is on sale for 1.99, from the original price of 4.99



No whammies!  Remember this game show?  Press your Luck is on sale for 1.99 from the orginal price of 4.99


I’m not sure how long these prices last – so check out this link as soon as you can!  All the discounts are listed on the link.  Enjoy!  – Jill