FREE Activity for Complex Language


Did you know that the cochlear implant companies have free materials on their websites?  Let’s look at the wealth of materials offered by Med-el.   In addition to their online activities,  sets of materials are periodically posted that can be downloaded, printed, adapted and used in articulation, language and auditory skill development.

The latest lesson focuses on body parts:  teaching the vocabulary as well as using it in a multitude of language and listening activities.  Lesson plans are included!  Check out everything included:

Med-el lesson description

For my current caseload I have a couple of older elementary students with auditory memory and complex expressive grammar goals.  I printed out the pictures on Pages 18 and 19 of the downloaded kit onto card stock and cut them out.  Each picture contains 3 directions, for example;  “Touch your wrist, your nose then your knees.”  or


Then I created directions using complex grammar such as “After I blink my eyes, touch your hair, nose then stomach.”  Here are a set of directions using complex grammar with a data sheet, explanation and variations.  If the directions are too long for a student, they can be shortened on the data sheet then printed.  I hope you find it helpful!

Fun with Yes-No Buttons

October 15, 2017

I see these buttons everywhere around schools.  Then I read about some fun ideas on  using them in speech-language therapy from SLP Talk with Desiree.   Her blog and video describe how she uses them in phonological awareness, language and articulation activities.

I thought they sounded like a lot of fun for the kids.  But, as an itinerant teacher of deaf/hard of hearing students my first thought with any materials needed during a session is the size and weight since I will be carrying them.  However, I found an old plastic container that worked perfectly.

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The lid was complete with dog tooth marks!


So how could I use these in working with deaf/hard of hearing students?

My first thought was a self-advocacy activity.   I came up with some statements for the students to judge if it was something they should or should not do.  I made these into Yes-No Questions that you can use if you like!   I also added them to the Free Resources page of this website.  My younger students loved it!

Another way to use these buttons is to tie into retrieval practice from the previous blogs and review the vocabulary for hearing aids and/or FM.  This is really important for ADD students.  There are three sets of cards that are part of Hearing Aid Bingo, FM inspiro Bingo and or Roger Pen FM Bingo.  One set is pictures, one is labels of the parts and the other is function of the parts.  Select any two of the decks and shuffle the cards but keep the decks separate (EX:  Shuffle all the labels together.)  The student selects a card from each deck.  If they go together the student presses the “Yes” button; if not then the “No” button.  The student may keep selecting cards from 1 pile until she gets a “Yes”.  This can be used as a quick review of 3-5 vocabulary words. 

These buttons can be used in the same way for any kind of vocabulary practice.  I love the website Quizlet.  You can print the word and definition cards off and play a similar game with the two decks.

Another idea is to create a set of sentences with some containing grammatical errors that the student typically makes.  The student or adult reads a sentence and if it is grammatically correct, hits the “Yes” button.  Examples:  “The dog eating” –  hit the “No” button.  “She is cutting the playdough” – hit the “Yes” button.

That makes me think of “ear training”.  Van Riper, anyone?  OK, how about Hodson?  You could produce the student’s target sound correctly or incorrectly and they have to listen to judge Yes or No.  You could also say words and the student must listen for the presence or absence of the target sound.  Example for /s/:  Student hits the No button when the adult says “football” and Yes for “basketball”.

Thanks, Desiree, for your ideas!

How else would you use these fun buttons?

Bingo and TicTacToe Games for Retrieval Practice

October 11,  2017

Here is another post following up on the all-important retrieval practice – a learning strategy where the student tries to recall information from memory.  It’s effectiveness and variations have been explained in this book Make It Stick by Peter Brown, et al.   See this previous blog post for more information.  

Rule the School’s mission is to foster the independence of students with hearing loss through self-advocacy.  To that end several products have been developed in the format of bingo or tictactoe games to use as a brain-based way for kids to learn and practice this highly functional vocabulary.  They can also serve as retrieval practice.


TPT covers

hat3b number3

Students with hearing loss are guaranteed the right under IDEA 2004 to have the same access as their typical hearing classmates to their school environment.  One support to achieve that is through the use of amplification.  But what happens when the amplification is not working?  Does the student know what to do?  Does the student know how to troubleshoot her amplification to help maintain that access?  Does the student know how to inform an adult of amplification difficulties?  Many, many professionals assume that a student automatically knows this information.  However, that is not the case.  I have had the following same answer from many new hearing aid users.   When I ask what he should do if the hearing aid is not working, he responds “Tell mom when I get home” because he has no other ideas of what to do.  These skills must be explicitly taught. 


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A “dead” hearing aid

That begins with vocabulary – knowing the names of the parts of her amplification.  In order to learn to troubleshoot, the student must know the names of the parts of her amplification.  Fun ways to teach and practice this vocabulary is using Hearing Aid TicTacToe Bingo, inspiro by Phonak FM Bingo TicTactoe and Roger Pen by Phonak Bingo TicTacToe.  These products are all in a similar format on TeachersPayTeachers and as apps


     60% cover sheet FM Bingo     rule 190



roger cover sheet6            Phonak_RogerFM_Bingoboards_Opt8_Page_3

All 3 

60% Aud Access Cover


Each product teaches the names and functions of the parts and includes directions and  variations on ways to play for a multitude of forms of retrieval practice! 

Each of these games will be on sale in TeachersPayTeachers for 20% off October 11-14th.

Follow Up on Retrieval Practice with Learn the Lingo

October 7, 2017

My last post explained the research and effectiveness of Retrieval Practice from the book Make It Stick.  Retrieval Practice is simply trying to answer questions or explain words without looking at the answer first.  Research has shown it to be the single most effective study strategy!

make it stick

Rule the School has several products designed to assess, teach and/or practice the very functional vocabulary associated with kids learning about their hearing loss and advocating for themselves.  All are available at TeachersPayTeachers.

Today I am highlighting one fun way to make retrieval practice easy for you, the professional working with students who are deaf/hard of hearing.  But don’t take my word for it – it is my top-selling product in my TeachersPayTeachers store!



      What vocabulary is targeted?        Directions + Data Sheet

Why is it easy to use?

    Print out the pages that go with the words you want to target.

   Cut the pages in half so that one clue is presented at a time.

√  Attach the clues for one word together with a paper clip, staple or binder ring.

  Present the clues to the student one at a time.  Directions are included for making it a game by earning points.

√   The last page of each booklet contains further activities in either grammar or self-advocacy



Learn the Lingo is on sale for the next three (3) days for 20% off.





Ideas for Applying Successful Learning Strategies to Self-Advocacy

October 5, 2017

A few years back I wrote a post about a great book that pulled together the research and strategies on how we learn best.

Research showed that retrieval practice is the best way to learn material.  What does that mean?  Retrieval practice happens when a student answers questions about material to be learned or that has been learned.  The key is that the student must use their memory to try to retrieve the information without looking at the answers. 

Self-advocacy skills come with their own unique but highly functional vocabulary which students must understand and learn to use.  How can we teach and assess this vocabulary?  This is where retrieval practice comes in.

Examples are:

√     Using Quizlet flashcards to write questions and answers or words and meanings then use 1) the test function  2) play a game or  3) print.  If you have purchased any of my Book Boosters, they come with a Quizlet link for the vocabulary in that particular book.

√  Answering questions that come at the end of a chapter, from a study guide or that the student makes up herself.     This strategy is one that I figured out in college.  I used to take notes in a spiral bound notebook with multiple sections.  In one section I would write out questions that I made up to test myself.  I would skip a page then start writing out the answers.  I used this to quiz myself in preparation for a test.  I now share this information with my students.  (Yes, I know this is not specially designed instruction by a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing – Shhhhh!)

√  Use “low-stakes” quizzes which are assessments used to only gauge retention of information and not for a grade.  An example of this could be Self-Advocacy Trashkit.  You can also use this game as an Exit Ticket.  Simply print out the cards and data sheet.  Cut up the cards and have the student select 1-2 questions to answer before leaving your session.  If you would like more information about what Exit Tickets are, here is a helpful explanation.

Since I am an itinerant teacher, I am in my car a lot and like to listen to podcasts.  I recently discovered Jennifer Gonzalez at the Cult of Pedagogy which is about all things educational.  She is determined to bring awareness of this research on successful learning strategies to educators so we can use it with our students.  To this end she has done two podcasts on retrieval practice here and here.

Cult of Pedagogy

Retrieval practice is a necessary strategy for vocabulary and concept growth!  Check out more information at



September 4, 2017

I’m gradually getting my self and my binders organized for this year.  I have 3 schools on A-B day schedules this year which makes it difficult to make a schedule for service delivery.  Last year I was in the same situation so I made a schedule every Friday for the next week.  To help me do that I make an Availability Schedule that looks like this:

Blank Availability Schedule

I also make a chart to track how much service delivery is remaining for each student.  It looks like this:

Blank Service Delivery Documentation

Would you like to share forms that are helpful to you?