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A summer of bathroom remodeling and getting my own children ready for college left my wallet a little empty. When I got my official assignment 20 days before students returned and found out I would be moving, I quickly realized a needed a budget. $25 it was!

The school's space is pretty nice. It will hold me, a licensed assistant (M), and student groups. The first thing I did was review tips for setting up rooms. My goals were to make it student-centered and functional.

Note: I will be serving two schools. I'm showing you one room right now. It's nicely located in the center of the school, so it had to be ready for Meet the Teacher Night. The room at the other school is larger and in a portable, so I'm still working on it.

When I first set up the room, M didn't think it had the right "energy". We angled the horseshoe table in front of the mirror. Students will sit on IKEA stools. They are so much better than chairs, and the wooden stools are lasting much longer than the metal stools I tried 2 years ago. Another IKEA product - the storage shelf - is within reach during therapy sessions to save time.
The items in the picture are things I already had, so the cost so far is a whopping $0!

This is the beginning of my 25th year. I have stuff. After purging, we filled up the bookshelves already in the room. The materials still looked distracting, so all of my budget went to fixing that. I found tension rods at Big Lots for $2.25 each and fabric shower curtains with hooks included at Wal-Mart for $9.88 each. I'm not crazy about the pattern, but they will do for this year. Total cost - $24.26.
To make the shower curtains fit, we doubled them over on the tension rods and hot-glued the bottom hems.

Next to the shelves are therapy cards in shoe holders. The pockets are labeled.

Other areas include the desk:
The thirty-one bag holds my PLS-5 manipulatives so I can grab it and go. The phone and electrical plugs are to the bottom left of the desk. Notice the fan? I'll be using that while M operates her personal heater.

 Lightbox Inserts for SLPs by All Y'all Need
Of course, we have a welcome sign that will change each month and lots of books. Organization of the books comes courtesy of my librarian sister, Amy.

NOTE: Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that if you should choose to click on them and buy an item, we may get a percentage of the sale at no cost to you.

And how wonderful is the school's theme - Happy Campers?!?! Upon my cousin Lisa's recommendation, I bought fadeless paper and a bunting from Amazon. I'm sure you're wondering how I bought those for 74 cents. I used some Amazon reward points, and I already had the chevron ribbon and an IKEA frame, so this cost me nothing!
I'm super happy with our room. It's student-centered, functional, looks nice while still having space, is welcoming without being over-decorated, and it's within budget!

As I set up my classroom, I can't help but think about all of the labels I need to create for my new students.... Come on class list!!!! However, I rest assured because ESGI totally has all of my labels covered. The Classroom Management Tool saves me so much time! Here's how:  

First, Sign Up for ESGI:

Here's How ESGI Can Save You HOURS During Classroom Setup: 
Y'all, the classroom management tool is going to be your best friend. After plugging in your student names, look what all the Classroom Management Tool automatically generates! 

(Click on the image below to watch an overview of the Classroom Management Tool)

Here are some helpful demos of how to use the Classroom Management Tool: 

Class Management Tool:

CMT Cubby Names Report Printing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBhayuyPtk

Look how great these look! 


The first 60 days are FREE! Just sign up for the 60 day trial!
After you have fallen in love with this assessment tool, the usual yearly subscription fee is $199.
But, I have a code that will make this product $159 instead!
Just enter the code: B7165 to save $40

ESGI is also doing a HUGE Back to School Giveaway! 

Here's How to Sign Up:

Sign up for a free trial using our code B7165 and you will be entered into a raffle to win one of ten $50 Amazon Cards!

Sign up for the free trial! You won't regret it!

Have a great school year!

You might be waiting for me to say, "I love summer because I get to sleep in, go to the bathroom when I want, and travel." While those are MOST DEFINITELY TRUE, my favorite part of summer is that I get to reignite my passion for teaching and my kids.

Here's how I recharge my batteries:

Catch up on reading

I try to do all of my "teacher book" reading in the summer. I really want to devote my entire focus to digging into content and figuring out how I can use the content in my classroom to help my kids. So far, my favorite books have been Kids Deserve It! by Adam Welcome and Todd Nesloney and Engaging Young Writers, Preschool - Grade 1 by Matt Glover. I'm currently co-hosting a book study with some coworkers via Facebook and I can't even begin to describe how inspired I have been by all of the ideas and passionate conversations happening.

Have meaningful conversations with passionate people

While in Vegas, I had dinner with some very dear friends, Greg and Jason from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard, and two new acquaintances, Joyce and Eric from SitSpots. I honestly have to say, it was a dinner I will never forget. We talked about life, our passion for teaching, hard work and funny stories of "being in the trenches" of our classrooms. I also heard the story of how SitSpots came to be.

See the people my Mom calls "My internet friends." 😜

My cousin, Amy, and I just got back from the TPT conference in Anaheim, California. We had such  a blast connecting with old friends and making new ones. Every time I go to a conference, I come back energized and my passion for making a difference is reignited.

This summer, I've also spent some time catching up and working with Amy and Laura. I love this crazy journey of blogging, tpt, laughing, joking, social media-ing we are on together! I wouldn't trade it for the world!!! While summer may be winding down, I hope everyone has had a chance to rest, reflect, and recharge!

We are so excited to be taking over Target Teachers today! If that's new to you, Target Teachers is an Instagram account for educators who loooove Target - which should include about 98.9879% of you.

I'm always looking in the Target Dollar Spot for therapy activities. These inflatable dice looked like a lot of fun! I'll be sharing with you how to play a life-sized game with them, and it only takes about 7 minutes to set up (with 5 of those minutes being blowing up the dice)! So for about 2 minutes of prep and less than $10, I made a game that several of my students called "the best ever!"
Use inflatable dice and sidewalk squares to make the students themselves a game marker in speech and language therapy!
* inflatable dice - 4 10-inch dice come in the $5 pack from Target
* sidewalk chalk - the sidewalk chalk is also from Target - I bought it in the toy section. It has a holder for people who don't like sidewalk-chalk-dust fingers, like me.
* a clipboard for data pages
* cards for each student. All of my cards are on a binder ring. These artic cards are from Gold Country SLP. Each student was responsible for carrying and flipping through their own cards.

Optional: an IKEA cart to hold everything

To set up:
* go outside, use the existing sidewalk squares or hopscotch squares for game squares, and write START in the first block and END in the last block.

Seriously, it's that easy. I mean, you could go all out and decorate squares and add go forward and move back spaces, but it's not necessary. It would be really cute, but I only used START and END, and the game was a hit.

After a student practices a skill, the die is rolled and the student moves that many spaces forward. That's it. And the kids love being the actual game!

I did learn a few things.
1) One of the inflatable dice had a hole that I could never quite completely cover, so only 3 of the 4 dice worked. If this is a concern, buy more than one package of dice.
2) The dice are pretty round when blown up and do roll more than I thought they would.
2) The two days I did this were pretty windy. I ended up having the students toss the dice to me as I stood about a foot away. I twirled the dice, tossed it back, and whatever number their right thumb was on was the number they "rolled".
3) Of course, one student will roll all 6's and be the first one through. To slow that down, the students had to roll the exact number to get to the END. So if they were two spaces away and rolled a 4, they couldn't move and had to continue to take turns until they rolled a 1 or 2.
4) And to add to that, one student will be lucky and finish quickly. I had my students continue to take turns and give their rolls to another student. IDEA: You could use this for behavior, as in having the finished student give their roll to the quietest student, the one standing in their space the whole time, etc.
5) If you need to stretch out the game, students could move backwards. So if a student needs a 2 to get to the END and rolls a 4, they have to move BACK 4 spaces.

After we played the game, students wanted to play it again, said it was the best game all year, and asked to play it the next session. I sincerely hope this helps your students!
"Be nice to your secretaries and custodians."

That's my advice to every CF and grad student I've supervised.

It may seem weird. They are probably expecting pearls of wisdom about working with mixed groups, how to implement behavior management, or encouragement or affirmation.

And I  just toss out those words - "Be nice to your secretaries and custodians."

They are the words my own mother told me 23 years ago. They've held true.

Today, I'm focusing on the unsung heroes in schools - the custodians. They clean for not very much money. And they clean yucky stuff. That alone is enough to boost them up on the pedestal. They will do so much more for you. Last year, a glass-framed picture above my chalkboard fell to the floor. I don't know how. It was up when I left in the afternoon and then laying shattered on the floor when I returned the next morning. I went to borrow a vacuum. The custodian wouldn't give me her closet keys - instead, she left her breakfast post to vacuum for me. And when I forgot to take the frame home to try to fix it, another custodian fixed it for me and hung it back up. Custodians have our backs.
Here are 5 tips that don't cost anything and go a long way in establishing a relationship.

1) Learn your custodians' names

Say hello and good-bye with their names. Say "thank you" with their names. It's common courtesy, but it is so appreciated.

2) Show interest in the custodians

If I have their children or grandchildren, that's a powerful common bond. And it seems to mean a lot when I ask about their children who are older and are in secondary or even graduates.

3) Place the trashcan next to the door

If I have to set it closer to the other side of the room for an activity, I try to remember to move it back before trash pick-up. Seriously, they are emptying so many trashcans. I can try to make it a little easier for them.

4) Show the custodians respect in front of students

Point out how we need to use the rugs to clean our shoes so we can help keep the floors clean. Teach students the names of custodians as part of back-to-school or vocabulary activities. Say hello to the custodians in the hallways.

5) Share with the custodians

For example, I don't keep play-dough over the summer because it gets hot and melty. Instead, I offer it the custodians, who are usually more than willing to take it to their children and grandchildren. I learned sharing the hard way when I threw away an empty gift basket. I didn't think anything about it. The next day, the custodian approached me shyly with the basket and asked if she could have it. Now, after cleaning out my room at the end of the year, I keep a stash and give first dibs to the custodians before putting it in the "share pile."


If you work in a school, you know what I mean. If you are new, follow this rule. No questions. Even if you go to school when no one is there, you will be tracked down and become the subject of an email sent to the whole school. Even worse, you'll be on the custodians' bad list. You really don't want that.

And now, here's some kindness for you from the Frenzied SLPs! We are sharing kindness this month the way we know best! We have collaborated to create FREE materials for use with your students centered around a kindness theme. Target a variety of speech and language skills with these products!

Pronouns, Places and Possessives: Kindness focuses on friendships and working together in the classroom while also targeting pronouns, prepositions, and possessive /s/.
Check out The Frenzied SLPs Sharing Kindness Blog Hop for more freebies by starting at Talkin' with Twang.

 The Frenzied SLPs Kindness Blog Hop

To continue with the hop, click below to go to Speech Sprouts.

We graciously thank you for downloading and using these materials with your students/clients. If you would be so kind, please leave feedback in our TPT stores if you find a few spare moments!
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