Paperless S/L Activities You Can Make in a Flash

There are several free or cheap iPad apps that you can use to create your own paperless vocabulary and language-building activities.  I use Goodnotes, but Notability is another option and I’m sure there are more.  These apps allow you to annotate documents and photos, and this opens up a world of possibilities for language lessons!  Import into the app any document you have downloaded, scanned, or created, and have the student highlight main ideas and supporting details, cross out incorrect spelling or grammar, circle correct choices, connect words to definitions, and any other worksheet-type task that supports their curriculum and IEP goals.  When the lesson is done, clear the screen and your worksheet is ready to be used by the next student.

Even more fun is using these apps with imported photos and drawings to create your own version of I SPY for speech, fluency, and vocabulary practice.  On the iPad, go to Google Images, type in any thematic keyword, such as “zoo scene” or “farm scene,” or  even “spot the difference.”  You’ll be amazed at the selection of photos and drawings that come up. Of course, these are subject to copyright and some have watermarks across them that make them unusable, but others can be easily downloaded for non-commercial use in your therapy room.  Touch and hold the desired picture and tap “save photo” to put it in your camera roll.  Then, open Goodnotes, import the picture, renaming as needed, and you are ready to have the students pick a pen or highlighter in the color of their choice to circle, underline, or cross out items in the picture. Multiple students in a group can each choose their own color.  You can have students name an item they see, use that word in carrier phrase, or use that word in a novel sentence.  You can have the students listen to your descriptive clues, then identify the item by circling it.  You can also give students directions:  “put a blue circle around the tallest animal,” “draw a pink line under the animal that has a trunk,” “put a green X under the tiger.”  The website,, offers free articulation scenes for /l/ and /r/ words, that can be used in this way.  And you can take your own photos with the iPad’s camera or scan in any materials you already have. There’s really no limit to the paperless lessons you can create.  Are you doing this already in therapy?  Leave a comment to tell us what app you use and how you use it.


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