Friday, December 7, 2018


Downloading videos from YouTube can have a number of uses for intervention.
-Downloaded vids don't have the sidebar of distraction from which students will ask to see other things.
-Or ads (another way to avoid these is to insert a video in a Google Slides presentation, sometimes also helpful because you can put a story grammar visual or other support on a following slide, or otherwise put the video in context)
-If you download, you can keep an archive as you wish
-Downloading helps you skirt blocking within a district, or poor wifi
-Occasionally I have found a video that is perfect to illustrate a concept except for one sweary or inappropriate-to-show part- in those cases I have downloaded and used iMovie to edit out that part.

Previously I have recommended a website to do this downloading, but it appears to have become no longer useful for the purpose. You can now download the free application ClipGrab from here for your Mac or PC. It's very easy to use, just copy the YouTube URL (the address at the top bar when the video is playing) and paste into the bar, or ClipGrab also lets you search YouTube from the application. Click Grab This Clip! and you can save to your Downloads folder.

To get started with YouTube clips with some great models of clinical uses, be sure to see Anna Vagin's website and books.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Tech-based sources of clinical information and research

As I just finished writing a presentation for PaTTAN that has a ton of EBP references, I wanted to give a round-up of some of my favorite sources of information. We live in a time of great access to research digitally, and it's important for us to keep in the loop!

First I want to give a shout out to The Informed SLP. I subscribed earlier this year and find it a terrific resource. Each month, Informed SLP produces a friendly and accessibly written digest of clinically relevant research, with a variety of reasonably priced membership options. They also have a free area with great information. Follow them on Facebook or other socmed channels for informative blurbs too. I appreciate Informed SLPs recent messaging about the importance of the other two sides of evidence-based practice: clinical expertise and client values.

I'm not ashamed to admit how much I nerdily visit ASHAwire. This is the launch page for all the ASHA publications. Its search algorithms can be a little hinky but it is always a good place to start, or just to skim recent issues of journals such as Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools. I also find a lot of value from the ASHA's Perspectives journal, which has practical clinical information throughout the year. Join one Special Interest Group ($40) and you have access to all the publications from all the interest groups. Click PDF on any article now and the website loads up ReadCube (you'll need to click add to library and open a free account), which allows you to save articles to your library and annotate them as well!

By the way, the above newly-published article, as a complete Teresa Ukrainetz fan (Ukrainiac?), made me more gleeful than attending Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour this summer. Which I did. I'm 45. It was my birthday present.

I have found ASHA's Evidence Maps website very useful. This is organized by disorder/intervention area and emphasizes higher levels of evidence such as meta-analyses and systematic reviews.

Finally, I'd encourage all of you who supervise graduate students to use or advocate for access to their university libraries online. Boston University provides this benefit to supervisors, among other schools. It is cost-prohibitive for any clinician to subscribe to other journals besides ASHA's, and it behooves any university to help keep its supervisors informed so that their students receive the best experience possible in their clinical placements.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

ASHA Recap

I was happy to attend and present at ASHA in my hometown of Boston this past week! I am still suffering from what we call the #ashahangover, despite being able to drive to the convention center. It is still as always an exhausting and overwhelming three days with a lot to absorb!

In one of my sessions I again presented on the strategic pairing of picture books and apps/web resources to establish context, this time emphasizing how SLPs can integrate science and social studies contexts. This could be with the goal of improving comprehension and expression of macrostructure (story grammar and expository text structures) or micro elements. See my slide below re: social studies summarizing the work of Fang (2012):

Additionally, when we look at our state standards, we can see the connections between content objectives and what we could call language underpinnings (see the work of Wallach and Ehren via ASHAWire)

To take a specific pairing, I presented Scot Ritchie's great Look Where We Live: A First Book of Community Building. This book literally explores community buildings, but more deeply ideas of civics and how people in a community help one another, providing good social studies connections but also social cognition concepts.

As a pairing idea, take Google Earth (via the app on your iPad or Google Chrome, free). Construct a lesson where you "travel" to an example of each of the buildings listed in the book, but within your community. Students can be prompted to describe what they see, and you can produce model narratives about your experiences with these places, in order to elicit the same from your students. A good post-post activity would be to create a map of these places on paper, thus targeting spatial concepts and visual organization (executive function experts such as Sarah Ward stress that map making of different spaces can develop situational awareness and planning).

Monday, November 12, 2018

See you at ASHA!

Hope to see some of you this week, as I have two presentations scheduled for ASHA Convention 2018 in Boston! My first one I am going to try to deliver start to finish in my best Boston accent!

Here are some details on them below. Also see my convention tech preview published on the ASHA Blog.

Topic Area: Language and Learning in School-Age Individuals
Session Number: 1327
Title: Pairing Picture Books & Apps for Contextualized Intervention: Hub of History & Innovation Edition
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours
Day:  Friday, November 16, 2018
Time:  8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Author(s): Sean Sweeney 

Another edition of this popular presentation from ASHA 2012-2017 describes pairings of picture books and apps setting intervention contexts related to science and social studies curriculum areas. Boston, a center of history and scientific innovation, is the perfect location for exploring connections between language intervention and these content area contexts, with picture books and apps providing tools for linguistic interactions.

-Identify 2 apps and picture books containing language structures and contexts within text, visuals and interactions
-State 4 features of disciplinary language within science and social studies providing contexts for language intervention
-Describe 2 session plans pairing books and apps based on contextual overlappings

Topic Area: Telepractice and Technology
Session Number: 1752
Title: Evolutionary Telepractice Approaches: Bridging the Gap Between Integrating Evidence-Based Methodologies & Methods of Delivery
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours
Day:  Saturday, November 17, 2018
Time:  8:00 AM - 10:00 AM 

Author(s): Amy Reid (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting), Sean Sweeney (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting), Nathan Curtis (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting)

Speech-Language Pathologists aim to meet the goal of evidence-based practice by integrating clinical expertise, scientific evidence, and client/patient/caregiver perspectives. This presentation discusses how to utilize evidence-based methodologies in telepractice. We will present the underlying research and methodologies as the framework upon which to make clinical decisions about context. We will share video demonstrations of materials and approaches.

(Note: Amy and Nathan are the tele-experts in this one, as I'll be talking tech and context. You might be interested in the material regardless of whether you are involved in telepractice)


List three ways to include evidence-based methodologies in telepractice sessions
Describe two clinical techniques applying technology with curriculum-based materials to complete evidence-based approaches in telepractice
State three ways to engage clients on curriculum-based content using digital and “hands-on” resources  

Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Plotagon for Mac or PC

Plotagon Story is a very useful app for iPad and Android (free) that is now also available to download for Mac or PC. Plotagon represents the type of creative app that allows us to create models of concepts, skills or narratives, but also then to use as a co-creation tool so students can apply their understanding while having fun. With Plotagon, you choose a scene (many available for free) and create or use characters, then can type in a dialogue between them (2 characters only). You also can add emotional reactions; see my post walking through Plotagon in relation to the 6 Universal Feelings and Mindwing's Story Grammar Marker® (including a printable visual) here.

For another specific example of a clinical use of Plotagon, consider the Peers® Curriculum, which includes a breakdown of strategies in "trading information" in conversation. One of these includes the twofold moves of asking questions and then answering your own questions (basically topically commenting). In providing an overview of these moves week by week with a group of teens, Plotagon was useful in providing an engaging visual example before practicing the moves in conversation. Here's an example (this took me all of 5 minutes to make).

To download Plotagon Story, you can start from this page (scroll down for Mac and Windows downloads).

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Lesson: 5 Point Scale of Halloween Problems

The Five Point Scale is one of my favorite tools. It is versatile to talk about many different kinds of social observations, norms, problems and nuances; it is also narrative in form and sparks discussion about perspective taking.

So I made you a lesson! Use this Google Slides, uh, slide as a template to have kids generate examples of problems that occur on Halloween. I like the framework contained in both this TpT packet by Speechie Musings and Social Thinking's® Size of the Problem book: problems become bigger with 1) time needed to solve 2) needing help 3) someone being physically or emotionally hurt and 4) affecting other people. So, a 3 might ruin your day (time) and cause light physical or bigger emotional hurt, and you may need to talk to someone about it.

You can use humor and lightness/darkness appropriate to your group in developing examples, so, a 5 for your HSers might be "your friend becomes a zombie" where with 2nd graders maybe "a ghost decides to live in your house."

To use this template, please do not request access. That results in my getting emails...thanks. Open a browser and sign into your Google account. Go to this link. From the file menu, choose Make a copy. Then it is yours. Consider duplicating the slide or the file itself to use for many groups. Also, Tools>Explore will let you search for images to add extra visual support (e.g. "throwing up," a 3). This activity is great for pairing with a book about Halloween.

Have a great Halloween!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Explain Everything in Chrome

Explain Everything has historically been a great "whiteboard"/"explanimation" app allowing us to create a series of slides so to speak, with recording capabilities making animations as we draw, move images and drawings around, and speak to record narration. However, I have found their rollouts and pricing very confusing; they have had a number of versions of their iPad app and it is currently $14.99, which I believe is overpriced for education markets (I'd accept $9.99 for an app this powerful).

In any case, particularly in our school environments where Chromebooks are often available, you'll want to take a look at least at their free account now available through the Google Chrome browser. You can log in with a Google account and make 3 projects (delete-able and downloadable). Explain Everything is unique in allowing you to make stick figures and animate them- think a teched-up version of Comic Strip Conversations or Stickwriting (for social cognitive or narrative representation, respectively). One trick you need to know is to make drawings move independently, as shown below, go to the [i] inspector icon and select the items, then Ungroup.

There are many uses of a tool such as Explain Everything, and one is narrative retelling. I love books that unfold over one setting, such as The Runaway Pumpkin, in which a humongous pumpkin is pushed down a hill. Here you see an example of a recording you could make with students to retell this story:

Image from Gyazo

Friday, September 28, 2018

Peanuts Minisodes on YouTube

Cartoon Network has recently produced a series of Peanuts "minisodes" available on YouTube through this playlist. As a general strategy, locating playlists of videos on YouTube can help us find resources on a theme or potentially useful for similar clinical targets. Additionally, identifying YouTube channels we find useful, always represented by a circular icon and a red button to subscribe (the circle for Cosmic Kids, below, is a little hard to see with all the white) when you search, also helps us find a flow of resources:

Subscribing to a channel (red button) or saving a playlist (nearby orange circled item with lines and a check) will add resources to your menu (upper left circled item when signed in to YouTube with your credentials):

Regarding the Peanuts minisodes, these are short, engaging videos for kids and a great way to explore and identify the Zones of Regulation® and to map narratives. Peanuts interactions often also have a lot of figurative language and reference to seasons and holidays useful for these themes.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Tinycards, teched-up flashcards

I have previously written about our potential role in promoting study skills through a) targeting connections and categories b) promoting use of metalinguistic "tricks and b) motivating our students' participation as at some point, tests and grades matter to them. Duolingo's Tinycards- Fun Flashcards is another nice (100% Free) app for SLPs to look at because it provides access to appealing interactive flashcards. These let you move through a category by responding in different ways e.g. identifying via typing, describing, multiple choice to promote different connections within the category. For SLP students also, there are quite a number of anatomy categories available. Note: you can also make your own cards!

Friday, September 14, 2018


Lookup: An elegant dictionary ($2.99) would be a useful app for MS and HS clinicians to have in their library. The app contains cool, attractively designed posters that illustrate the meaning (more precisely, often a semantic association) to a word. The array of posters is not yet of true dictionary breadth, but the ones contained within would provide a great inspiration for students to make their own posters. Consider doing so with construction paper, or with Pic Collage or Google Drawings. The Expanding Expression Tool and Beck/McKeown/Kucan's contextual vocabulary strategies would be good methodologies to employ alongside the use of this app.

Here's an image I whipped up in 5 minutes using Google Drawings, related to a vocabulary word I heard targeted in a HS classroom this week:

To create this I:
-started a new drawing, go to, Google "Google Drawings" or from your Drive click New, then More, then Google Drawing.
-used Tools>Explore and looked up an image of "dollar"- dragged it in, selected it and copied/pasted a number of times, rotating and resizing.
-Used the Line>Scribble tool to draw a stick figure, then changed the line weight
-Added and reformatted text.

Here's a complete tutorial on using Google Drawings, a tool with many uses, particularly in Chromebook environments.

Creating visuals with Google tools has the advantage of creating collaborative and sharing opportunities between students and possibly making collections for studying. 

You'll find that the above features (web search, doodle, backgrounds, text) are also available in Pic Collage EDU.