Thursday, August 24, 2023

Finding Categories Everywhere

This summer I became addicted to the New York Times' new Connections puzzle. I enjoyed each morning tackling this often-tricky categorization activity and comparing results (or sometimes providing or receiving hints) with my husband. I've always thought of categorization as one of the most important skills--it's how we organize information, and much expository text takes on a list structure--and our literature backs this up. Approaches like the EET also use Green-Group to target describing by category, among other attributes. We can be explicit with our students (see Ukrainetz' helpful RISE acronym) and teach that categories are important ways to organize and describe words and information. 

ABCYa provides a wealth of categories through its activities- you just have to look for them. 

Take Dress for the Weather- here you've got an engaging activity which contains both weather conditions and clothing items. Take screenshots of relevant items and paste into Jamboard and you've got a followup sort for repetition of the concept, category and skill. 

You can practice contextualized language intervention by locating a narrative picture book about weather, dogs and weather, or weather and clothing and target another skill within the same topic. 

Here's five more categories you can target with ABCYa:

Bandemonium: musical instruments
Find the technology: electronic devices
Make a House: Parts of a house, building materials
Seasonal Shuffle: seasons, months

I'm sure you can identify many more opportunities from this site.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Music LM

Proceeding from some ideas about the role of music in speech-language therapy (and social coaching), back in the spring I did some activities with MusicLM. This tool is available from Google's AI Test Kitchen, which is free, though you currently have to sign in with a personal Google account and may have to wait a short while to be approved. With Music LM you "Describe a musical idea and hear it come to life." More specifically, type an activity, setting, situation, style, mood, or specific musical instruments, and it will create several examples for you.

The language and/or social interaction can come in through providing schema with the above italicized connections to music, using this as a conversational "add a thought" type activity, and allowing flexibility- as maybe your clients will think of possibilities that fall out of these categories. You can also be more structured and gear a lesson around, say, emotional vocabulary.

Friday, August 4, 2023


The title of this post is both an encouragement and some specific features I wanted to let you know about!

You first of all probably know singing is a hobby for me and a self-regulation strategy. My husband and I have been back on our BS and adding to our playlist monthly.

There are good resources and research for using music in speech and language therapy, and we of course know that for many of our students it is supported by the client values prong of EBP (a natural motivator and therapeutic avenue for those of you working with older clients as well). I've written before about using music for figurative language and narrative

If you are an Apple Music subscriber, they have recently added features they call Sing, including synced displayed lyrics (think literacy as well) and volume control for the vocals within lyrics. Meaning you can have the student(s) sing along with the artist, or be the artist on their own. 

This video shows how:

For the karaoke singers like me or those working in professional voice, did you know it is also pretty easy to change the key of a song? Why would you do this? Let The Honest Voice Co demonstrate:
@thehonestvoiceco Replying to @willow ♬ original sound - The Honest Voice Co.

As to how, however, that's easy. I currently use the app Anytune to do this. If you have the song purchased from iTunes and downloaded to your phone, you can simply import the song to the app and change the pitch or tempo (which may help with processing or speech production):

Below the soundwave on the left are tempo controls and on right is pitch