Dynamic Assessment: my tool kit

Hello Everyone,

So I know I’ve mentioned Dynamic Assessment (DA) in past posts, but today is the day we will begin the discussion! I want to first say that I planned on just writing about it, but I’m a multi-sensory learner, so I really learned how to use this approach through…YOUTUBE! Yes, Youtube can be a great resource for learning many things :-).

I happened to find this series of instructional videos on DA last year and have been able to create and implement this with my students with success! Dr. Cate Crowley, founder and director of the LEADERSproject, is the instructor in the videos. To learn more about The LEADERSproject and her work click here.

You can also hear her description and examples of Dynamic Assessment in this short 11 minute Youtube video.

I took  a picture of the tools that I created/collected for my DA tool kit after watching a series of Dr. Crowley’s videos. My tool kit includes: 1) Pictures for the fast mapping task and a “basket” to put them in 2) List of nonsense words for the nonword repetition task 3a) A wordless picture book “Chalk” by Bill Thomson, 3b) A simple book “Me Gusta Mi Sombra” by Hans Wilhem, that I read and then discuss (in Spanish) with my students.


Tomorrow I will post about two of the three tools in my DA tool kit. I will also post the videos by Dr. Crowley, that show you step by step how to implement the tasks using the tools.

Have you heard of Dr. Crowley and her work? Have you used any of the tools within my DA kit with your students? Tell me about it in the comments!



Spanish Phrasing for SLPs

Hello All,

I found this little gem of a book while perusing the web and social media today and thought to share! It is a book that is no longer in print but has been made available FREE through pediastaff.com. As the title of this post suggests, the book is called “Spanish Phrasing for SLPs” by Dorothy Miranda Esckelson and Adulfa Aguirre Morales. To directly quote from the intro of the book, “Spanish Phrasing for SLP’S was written to provide speech-language pathologists with language to use with their Spanish-speaking students and their families” (Esckelson & Aguirre Morales, 1998). From my brief review, it has a parent questionnaire with useful questions to ask during a parent interview with the English translation beneath it. My favorite part is the glossary which contains common words and phrases that SLPs use on a daily basis; but in Spanish!

I have not read the entire book…(I literally just found it) but from what I have seen, I will say that an intermediate level of knowledge and use of the Spanish language is recommended to have an effective communication exchange. This includes the ability to pronounce words; especially when speaking/reading in past tense, because those accent marks make a difference!

The direct link to the book is: http://www.pediastaff.com/blog/a-gift-to-the-profession-spanish-phrasing-for-slps-2799

Once you check it out, I would love to hear how helpful it is to you in the comments below!

Reference: Esckelson, D.M., & Aguirre Morales, A. (1998). Spanish phrases for slp’s. Ann Arbor, MI: Language Pathways.


Update to the “Helpful Resources” Page

Hello All,

Since I am always looking for new blogs and articles on bilingualism/multilingualism and the monolingual SLP, I decided to update the “Helpful Resources” page with some of my latest finds.

I added two new blogs and a link under the “Links for Therapy and Assessment Ideas” section. One of the updates I made was to add the blog “2 Languages 2 Worlds” which has four contributing authors. Two of which I have come to recognize through their research: Dr. Brian Goldstein and Dr. Elizabeth Peña. Their blog encompasses various aspects of bilingualism in the areas that include:  research (of course), language acquisition, bilingualism in the media, and assessment/treatment of bilinguals/second language learners. It’s good stuff so check it out!

I also found another blog by an SLP (Megan-Brette Hamilton) who is also a PhD student! The blog is titled “Honeybee Connection.” The origin of the name is awesome! She uses the analogy of a honeybee versus a bumblebee. How they are both bees but do not communicate in the same way. Same as with humans. We all communicate in different ways…and that is ok. In summarized form from her home page,  “We all speak many Englishes [or Spanishes]…no one is better than another, it’s just different.”

My last updated link comes from the ASHA Leader blog. I think it is a great article that should be printed and taped near your desk at work. It sums up in a nice simple and direct way…what should be included and considered when assessing bilingual children (or monolingual NON ENGLISH speaking children). I actually had a chance to present something similar to this article last week at one of my school’s faculty meetings. The title was “English Language Learners: Difference vs. Disorder” (more on this another day). I want to emphasize how important it is to not just take this knowledge for ourselves; but distribute it to our co-workers and colleagues.

Are you familiar with any of the blogs mentioned? How have you used the information found here to educate others?

Espero que encuentre esto provechoso! Hasta la próxima!


italki.com Update

So I have been receiving Spanish language lessons through italki.com for a little over a month now and I have definitely seen some improvement in my communication skills! I have been taking lessons 2-3 days a week for 60 minutes with a native Spanish teacher who holds credentials in teaching Spanish (and English) in Costa Rica. My lessons have focused on grammar, conversation skills and communicating effectively with my Spanish speaking students and their parents. With the school year now back in full swing, I have had the help in writing a “Welcome Back” letter in Spanish, as well as practice communicating common conversational phrases with parents such as “En la semana que viene, vamos a reunirnos para discutir el IEP de su hijo/a” or “Por favor, traiga todos los documentos médicos del nino/a.” We have worked on “por” vs, “para”, indirect and direct objects, and listening comprehension with various podcasts/videos. I truly have been getting my money’s worth! The best news is…my teacher has a package deal of 5 lessons for 60 minute…which is budget friendly and altogether costs less than a mani/pedi!

I highly recommend for anyone who is serious about learning/developing their Spanish language skills to give this website a try. You have three opportunities to take trial sessions (discounted 30 minutes sessions ranging from $1USD to $10USD depending on instructor) with professional teachers to find your best fit. Then, when you have found the teacher you connect with, schedule your lessons whenever it is convenient for you! I have two small children so weekdays after 7:00 is best for me…so I found a teacher who has availability then.

I have also taken advantage of the “notebook” feature where you can practice your written language skills and get feedback from native Spanish speakers once you post. I usually write about how my session went. They also have discussion boards  and answer boards where people learning other languages can ask and answer questions as well as connect to participate in language exchange (for free).

The best thing you can do is to at least try it and see if it is something beneficial to you. I definitely have noticed that I am becoming more comfortable with the use of the preterite and imperfect tenses…an area that really was challenging for me at the beginning.

I am placing a link in this post because they have a referral program. If you click on the link below and sign up for a paid lesson, WE BOTH get 100 free italki credits ($10USD) once you complete the session!


If anyone has used italki.com to improve their Spanish (or any other language), tell me about your experience in the comment section below!

My Resources for Learning Spanish…in the U.S.

Hello all,

I know I have been gone for a while! Well…let’s get to it!

I was really hoping to travel to Panama City, Panama for a week this summer to take part of a language immersion program. I have a friend/co worker who has family there, so the possibility of going with her would have been great! Unfortunately the logistics did not work out the way I wanted them to; so in regards to that, I have been trying to find other ways to continue practicing the Spanish language.

As the title of this blog suggests, I have been using and looking for resources to practice my Spanish since I can not have the idealistic ability to travel to a Spanish speaking country at the moment. Some resources that I have used and some that I currently use as an intermediate Spanish speaker are listed *below:

1)The Everything Spanish Grammar Book: All the rules you need to master español by Julie Gutin
–I bought this book after my trip to Madrid and I still use this as a reference.

2)Barron’s Foreign Language Guides: 501 Spanish Verbs 7th Ed. by Christopher Kendris & Theodore Kendris
–I bought this book because I remember people in my college Spanish courses had one. I use it every now and then to look up how a word is conjugated. It comes with a CD that I have not used. I sometimes wish it had examples of English equivalents (when applicable), so I can get a better grasp of the “hows” and “whys” of Spanish verb conjugations.

3)Barron’s Spanish for Reading: A self instructional course by Fabiola Franco and Karl Sandberg
–I have not read this in its entirety, but I have gotten some good nuggets (i,e. vocabulary) from it. I am not that disciplined to read a book to learn a language; I prefer to talk!

4)Langenscheidt Diccionario Básico Inglés
–A dictionary I bought en una librería cuando yo estaba en Madrid. I have an English version too…I had accidentally left it in the States!

Rosetta Stone Levels 1-5
–So I actually bought this five years ago right after I got back from Madrid for…over $700!! YES! Crazy! Unfortunately I only completed levels 1-2. It is a program that just shows you pictures, and words/phrases that go with the pictures. From what I can remember, you have opportunities to speak, to practice pronunciation, and then at the end listen to a story that uses all the vocabulary you learned within the lesson. I am not sure what upgrades/revisions it has received since I bought it, but there are too many FREE programs out there now with the same concept that spending that type of money on a computer based language program is not truly necessary. If I could do it all over again…I would have booked a flight to Panama City!

–I was recently introduced to Dualingo this past Spring. It kind of reminds me of Rosetta Stone…but it is absolutely FREE! It can help you with vocabulary and basic grammar, but like my experience with Rosetta Stone, my fleeting interest in sitting down at a computer or tablet combined with a crazy schedule, really impact my ability to use the program with consistency. 😦

HUMANS: – At the end of the day, learning a language is learned best…with another human being!
–I have been a part of various Spanish language meet up groups in various cities that I have lived. The people have always been friendly with native speakers always willing to help me get through a conversation! My only thing is…since there are SO many people in these groups on different speaking levels, it is sometimes easy to fade in the background and not talk as much because…everyone that can talk in Spanish is talking. The bright side is you get to build your listening comprehension! Especially when there are several accents in the room 🙂 I still attend a meetup group, but I tend to be shy and self conscious when I speak…so I’m really looking for a more structured setting like…the next resource!

Community College Classes
–This resource, I can not speak of just yet…but I do plan on taking a course this fall at a local community college to work on speaking,writing and reading! I will let you all know how that goes!

–Have you heard of it? This is news to me as of this month. It is an online community that connects you to professional teachers, tutors and other language learning enthusiasts from all over the world! For the professional teachers and informal tutors, you have to pay, but the online forum where you can connect to do language exchange is FREE. I recently signed up as a paid member because with the goals I have…I need a professional! I have my first session tomorrow so I will update when I am able!

So are there any books, software/apps or human interaction resources that you use? Please let me know!


* The opinions I expressed in this post are completely my own. I bought all books/software with my own money and am not being compensated for anything mentioned in this post. 

Untapped Resource: ESL Teachers

With over 15 IEP/RTI meetings the past two weeks, I have not been able to write a new post! Now that it is spring break (SO grateful!)…I have some time to provide some food for thought on…ESL Teachers.

¿Tienes muchos estudiantes que reciben clases de inglés como segunda lengua? I know I do! but in my journey in understanding how to better service my Spanish ELL students…I never thought to tap into the knowledge of the ESL teacher! My district had a presenter at a recent district meeting who mentioned  the importance in collaborating with the ESL teacher to gain more insight on the type of children that we encounter on our caseload. For example, ESL teachers (whether they speak the primary language of the children or not), may have exposure to students who have the same linguistic background as the ones on your caseload. For example, they can give you information regarding how a first grade student’s language ability is similar to his first grade peers within your school community.

I now have decided to not just include the ESL teacher’s input during assessments, but also when I am writing goals, quarterly progress notes, and conducting annual IEP meetings. They are a valuable resource since they are the other professional in the building that you can discuss second language acquisition skills with as well as the impact on academics!

Have you interacted with your ESL teachers lately? Let me know how in the comments!


Wordless Picture Books In Therapy

Happy Monday!

So, I LOVE incorporating books into my lessons because of the tremendous amount of value they have in facilitating language and articulation during therapy. This school year, I began using wordless picture books with my students–why I waited so long…I do not know?! Wordless picture books take things to another level, especially for English Language Learners (ELLs) because there are.no.words! So it may seem a bit strange for someone unfamiliar with the benefit of wordless picture books to be inclined to ask, “Why use books with no words to teach language?”

Great question! I use them because with them, students can create their own stories in their own words–with respect to their cultural background as well as dialect. This gives me a window into the student’s ability (or lack thereof) to tap into background knowledge, vocabulary, inferencing, syntax and so much more! They are also great as part of your dynamic assessment toolkit; but more on that another day.

An article I found in preparation for this post is a really neat oldie but goodie by Flately & Rutland (1986). The title is: Using wordless picture books to teach linguistically/culturally different students. Its focus is on how to teach reading with the use of picture books, with some awesome strategies that I look forward to implementing with my non ELL students as well!

As I mentioned, I began using wordless picture books in therapy quite recently (better late than never, right?) and below are the ones I have used and ones that are on my list to use soon. Do you have any favorites?

Pancakes for Breakfast – Tomie dePaola
Good Night, Gorilla – Peggy Rathmann
Chalk – Bill Thomson
A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog – Mercer Mayer
Bee and Bird – Craig Frazier
Trainstop – Barbara Lehman

reference: Flately, K. & Rutland, A.D., (1986). Using wordless picture books to teach linguistically/culturally different students. The Reading Teacher, 40(3), 276-281.


Blog Building

Today, my focus was placing pictures and content on the different pages of the blog. I encourage you to check each one of them out! You will not be disappointed…unless you look at “SLP Cheat Sheets” :-). Since I am only a three day old blogger, I am still learning the mechanics and lingo of the blog world as well as deciding on what content I will upload for that page.

Let me know in the comments what you would like to see on the cheat sheets page.


Do you conduct your sessions in Spanish?

Now that this Spanglish SLP has finally decided to create a blog, my brain has been in overdrive with ideas and topics that would be beneficial to you as a reader! Since I work within the public school system, many of the topics will be specific to the pediatric population…specifically preschool through 5th grade since those are the grade levels I serve. I have a significant number of Spanish speaking preschoolers this year and I have found myself using more and more Spanish as part of my lesson; especially with the limited English speaking preschoolers.

Because I consider myself an intermediate Spanish speaker, I do have some confidence in administering simple directions and lessons (especially for my preschoolers) in Spanish. Very popular phrases that I find myself using are: “siéntate bien”, “espera un momentito” , “dime en inglés por favor”,  “¿y qué es esto en inglés?”, “repitemelo por favor”,  “¿estas escuchando?” and my favorite for my fidgety little ones “manos quietos.”

What are some of your most common phrases that you use in therapy?


¡Bienvenidos! Allow me to introduce myself!


Spain (JG)

I am a state licensed ASHA certified speech-language pathologist in a public school district in North Carolina. I have a very diverse caseload and particularly enjoy working with children who are English Language Learners (ELL) at the elementary level.

In undergrad, I participated in a short term study abroad program in Mexico where I traveled to various cities such as Guadalajara, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, and Mexico City. The experience sparked an interest in learning the Spanish language outside the classroom walls and I found myself spending the summer after graduate school in Madrid, Spain as an English tutor. I will say that I learned the bulk of my Spanish during that immersion experience!

Now that I am married with two little girls, traveling is a bit more challenging, but my passion for the Spanish language and culture is still strong!

My goal with this blog is to share my experience as an English speaking SLP who works with Spanish ELL students. Look out for blog post topics that range from assessment and treatment ideas, goal writing, and any fun research articles I find, to app reviews, and any miscellaneous topics that relate to bilingualism.

I truly hope the information on this blog is resourceful to you as a reader, and you leave with a little more confidence on how to effectively service your caseload of bilingual Spanish students!