The Language Fix

A blog for sharing language and learning information


April 2017

Language Therapy Ideas – Helping Verbs

Blurt!  Students are instructed to state the helping verb in orally presented sentences.

First write the helping verbs on the board:  For example,  “Is Are Am Does”

Then say a sentence with a helping verb.  For example, say: “I am hungry.” The first student to say the helping verb, am, gets a point. Increase sentence length to increase complexity.

For a noncompetitive activity, write each word more than once, and instruct students to work together to eliminate all the words on the board.

Surprising Statements.  Use tag questions to verify surprising statements, such as,  “My son is seven feet tall.” or “My pet birds wear shoes.” The student is instructed to create a tag question with the helping verb.

Examples:  “He is?”  “Sarah did what?”  “Your pet birds do?” “I should have?”  “Ben Franklin did?”

Persuasion.  Write target helping verbs on the board. Student is instructed to convince a reluctant friend to go somewhere using target words. Examples of possible places:  an amusement park, the zoo, a skating rink, a rodeo, etc.

Examples:  “The rides are great.”  “There are a lot of elephants.”  “It was not crowded the last time.”  “You will have so much fun.”

Zig Zags.  Write target words on one side of page or board, and matching pictures on the other side, not directly across from each word.  When the page is finished have the student match the pictures to the words, or send home for quick and easy homework.  Zig Zags work great for differentiating common confusions, such as singular and plural helping verbs, e.g. is, are, was, were, has, have, do, and does.Screenshots_2017-04-17-15-02-35

(Find many more activities, in many other areas under the menu header above labeled, “Language Therapy Ideas.)


Objective Language Therapy Update

There are several posts here on making language therapy objective, but because they’re scattered and hard to find, I’m combining the information into a page that can be accessed from the top menu.

Objective Language Therapy is an attempt to shift SLPs’ traditionally subjective, scattered approaches into an approach that can be used to know where language impaired kids are at and where they need to go.  Instead of statements like, “He’s doing better with making sentences,” Objective Language Therapy encourages objective statements like, “His use of age appropriate prepositions in sentences has increased from 20% to 90%.” or “He requires minimal cues to produce sentences with basic prepositions, an improvement from last year when he required extensive cueing.”

True, this approach is a little tricky to learn at first, but it works.  It removes the guesswork so long a part of language therapy.  It replaces the discomfort so many SLPs feel with language therapy with the knowledge that what we’re doing is really helping kids achieve their language goals, and when they’re not it tells us what exactly we need to change.  Anybody who’s comfortable with articulation therapy will recognize several of the same concepts that make it so comfortable, with the tweaks needed to accommodate language’s unique complexity and variety.  Objective Language Therapy transforms language therapy from an art to a science.

Best of all, it’s free.  Just click on the top menu’s Objective Language Therapy title to learn all about it!

The Same Story – The Factors That Are Keeping American Education Mediocre

Yet another study popped up in my feed saying the same things about what successful educational countries are doing that America isn’t.  This study, as many of the others have been doing, looked at what foreign exchange students are saying when comparing their systems to ours.  If America ever wants to compete, these are things that have got to happen:

  1. School is harder. There’s less homework but the material is more rigorous. People take education more seriously, from selecting the content to selecting the teachers.
  2. Sports are just a hobby. In the U.S., sports are a huge distraction from the business of school, but that’s not the case in other countries.
  3. Kids believe there’s something in it for them. The students in other countries deeply believe that what they are doing in school affects how interesting their lives were going to be. Even if they don’t like a class, they see their education as a stepping stone to their future.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if all the parents in the U.S. pressed their kids to succeed as much academically as they do with sports?  What if every community member knew not who had the better football teams, but the better mathletes or young scientists or writers or artists?  The sad truth is that especially in poor and rural America, not only are we a long ways away, but we’re still falling.  Here’s the original story:  This researcher asked kids what’s wrong with U.S. schools. Here are their ideas.

Philosophy’s Best Bits – Aristotle

Virtue Theory

  • His definition of virtues divided them into two types: moral, which are shaped through early training and reinforced to become matter of habit, and intellectual, untitledwhich can be rationally taught.
  • All virtues have the common structure of falling between two extremes at a point called the Golden Mean. Virtues are the mean between excess and deficiency.
  • He believed that because every action and decision aims at some good, the good has been well described as that at which everything aims.
  • A virtuous response or action is intermediate. For example, it is not good to feel angry too often, or too little, because then one can be taken advantage of.
  • There are child prodigies in chess, math, and music, but never in morality, because moral knowledge comes not genetically, but only by experience.
  • According to his virtue theory, philosophy should concern itself with defining conditions of flourishing, or eudaimonia, for humans.


  • His concept of eudaimonia, which is sort of like human flourishing, is promoted by certain ways of living, just as certain ways of caring for a cherry tree will cause it to grow, blossom, and fruit.
  • We are what we repeatedly do.
  • According to his concept of eudaimonia, a tragedy toward the end of your life can potentially put a slant on whether your entire life as a whole went well. This implies the truth of the converse; that a wonderful event toward the end of your life can positively alter an otherwise bad one.

Ancient Science and Logic

  • Begins with the conviction that our perceptual and cognitive faculties are basically dependable, that they for the most part put us into direct contact with the features and divisions of our world, and that we need not dally with skeptical postures before engaging in substantive philosophy. Accordingly, he proceeds in all areas of inquiry in the manner of a modern day natural scientist who takes it for granted that progress follows the assiduous application of a well trained mind, and so, when presented with a problem, simply goes to work.
  • Aristotle saw logic as a tool that underlay knowledge of all kinds, and he undertook its study because he believed it to be a necessary first step for learning.
  • Aristotle’s most important contribution to logic was the syllogism. A syllogism consists of certain assumptions or premises from which a conclusion can be deduced. Aristotle referred to the terms as the “extremes” and the “middle.” The middle term is the conclusion that links the two extremes. A traditional example runs as follows:
    • All men are mortal.
    • All Athenians are men.
    • Therefore all Athenians are mortal.

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