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Hello, my name is Laura, I'm an SLP, and of course I play card games with my students. I have a confession to make. I played them wrong, oh-so-wrong, for longer than I want to admit. Don't do what I did. Learn from my mistakes.
In the beginning of my SLP life, I played card games with my artic and language groups. It was engaging and hit a lot of goals. Then, a few groups came along that changed the way I do things. You can read about the 2nd-grade group here. I noticed a pattern emerging.

The student with a language disorder would draw a card, not know the answer, I'd tell them to remember it, and put the card on the bottom of the stack. Lather, rinse, repeat.

What was I thinking?

I started to notice frustration in the students with language disorders. The card would go to the bottom of the deck. The student might or might not get it again. If they did get it again, they probably wouldn't remember the answer.

Meanwhile, the students who were artic-only knew all of the words and picked up the new ones quickly. They always won the games.

This was not going to do. We were focusing on the game and not on goals. I had to change. I had to go back to basics.

I mean, I was working with students with language disorders. I had completely forgotten about the number of exposures to learn a word. I was frustrating these students by asking a question, telling them to remember the question, and then pulling out another card they didn't know the answer to. I wasn't even giving them the minimum of 6-12 exposures to a new word or concept.
 Squirrel Fact and Opinion by All Y'all Need
In this picture, we are playing Squirrel Fact and Opinion. (It's in our store. Amy made it. It's wonderful. Go take a peek. I'll wait).

If a student misses a question, I tell them the answer. That's right, I just give it away. We practice saying it. We discuss it. I lay the card in front of the student and tell them I'm going to ask them the same question on the next turn. They practice saying the answer to themselves. Now, I'm targeting exposures, strategies, and even short-term memory.

In the picture, the student on the left has answered two cards. The facedown card is the one they are remembering.

And if a student forgets the answer before it's their turn again, I give them the answer again. There are some rules, of course, The student remembering the answer can't interrupt others. They can raise their hand, and I will tell them what they are remembering between turns.

The students with language disorders get instruction, exposures, practice, and longer to process the concept. Plus, they feel more successful by knowing what's expected and by being able to answer the question given more appropriate therapy. The artic kids have to practice saying their words to themselves using their target sounds when it's not their turn. They also get more practice.

Play games wisely. Target goals. Use exposures and practice. After all, in therapy, it's not just a game. It's communication.
You've set up your therapy room. There are rolls of stickers, decks of cards, shelves of games, and a 3-foot stack of IEPs to address. Everything is ready to go, right? Not so fast. I have a few items that you seriously absolutely NEED to make your SLP life easier.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link and buy the item, we get a percentage of the money. This is at NO COST to you. You are under no obligation to even use the links. We just want to let you know about helpful tools.


1. Tim Holtz Scissors

You have scissors. Maybe even a couple of pairs, one for regular cutting and one for cutting Velcro. If one of those pairs isn't Tim Holtz Scissors, you need a third pair! They have an easier grip than regular scissors, the blades are shorter for more precise cutting, and they slice through lamination like nobody's business! If you cut for visuals - I have several students who need them - these scissors will cut your prep time, and who doesn't like that? Plus, they're eligible for Amazon Prime. And they will probably replace your first pair of scissors.

Tonic Studios Tim Holtz 819 Titanium Kush Grip Non-Stick Micro Serrated Shears

2. Sit Spots

Sit Spots are colorful little markers that stick to the carpet. They are fun and students love them! I've used them to work on sitting on the floor and respecting social boundaries as well as following directions (stand on the orange star and hop to the green star). I've hidden small artic pictures under them. 

Sit Spots stick to the carpet and the school custodian can vacuum right over them! How cool is that? You can use them practically, the students love them, and the custodian doesn't have to pick them up off the floor!

3. Mighty Magnets

Mighty Magnets are small and oh-so-strong. I've bought bigger cheaper magnets and thrown them all away. Mighty Magnets hold up visuals and emergency plans. They are small, so if they pop off, it's easy to lose them. Just wave a magnetic wand around, and you'll find them! Mighty Magnets are also great for teaching. Students (and I have to admit me, too) are amazed at how quickly they pop together with a neat clicking noise from several inches apart.

Mighties Magnets - 16 pack

4. Mavalus Tape

OK, I admit it, I was skeptical when Amy and Lisa called this "magic tape" in a respectful and amazed tone. Turns out I should NEVER EVER question them. Mavalus tape is everything. It sticks to cinder blocks, doesn't affect paint, and holds a LOT of weight. Yeah, you can use the blue painter's tape for cheaper. But the blue shows through white paper and doesn't always hold up all year. Just go for it. Get the "magic tape!"

School Specialty Removable Poster Tape - White

5. IKEA Dollar Frames

IKEA has these great cheap, two-sided frames. Just slip the pictures inside the plastic covers, and you can rotate the frame depending on your mood! AND they are only 99 cents, so you can stock up. I used one of my favorite prints from Humorous Signs for SLPs: Smaller Version

Bonus

The year I was supervising a CF after several years off, I decided to get more organized. After looking up some information, it seemed backwards to me that my state required more paperwork for an intern than ASHA did. I looked at ASHA's forms. They didn't have to be filled out along the CF journey, just at the end of the segments. And when were those? How was I supposed to keep up?

The results of my questions are the Editable Organizational Binders for The ASHA Clinical Fellowship in B&W and Color. The notebooks include the segment dates, skills, meeting logs, and more. Don't wait until the end of the segment to go back and find the information you need - keep up as you go along!
 Editable Organizational Binder for the ASHA Clinical Fellowship by All Y'all Need

Thanks for taking a look. If you didn't have time to read and skipped to the end - we totally get it - here's a pin to save and look at later!




Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade Classroom Tools

Over the past four years, I have been fortunate enough to work for school districts that believe in the benefits of ESGI. I can tell you from experience that it truly does save you HOURS of testing, grading, and data-ing! (That should totally be a word, right?)

Here's How it Works:

  • Sign up for the ESGI 60 day trial (use the code B7165)
  • Add your students 
  • Choose your assessments 
  • Start testing
  • View/analyze reports
  • Send home a customized parent note and flashcards 


My favorite aspects of ESGI: 

I can finish all of my testing in half the time.

I can customize my parent letter to make it fit my classroom needs.

ESGI has a Spanish translation option for my ESL students. (Spanish version of parent letter and flashcards is also an option!)

I can choose from over 200 tests that are created by other teachers and are aligned to my state standards.

I can create my own tests that fit my student needs. (You can also share the tests you've created with other teachers in your district!)

I can easily schedule parent conferences. Just use the parent conference tab to plug in your conference times and it automates a schedule, letter to send home with each student, and reminder.

I can track growth throughout the year using ESGI graphs.

I can easily print student or class totals reports for data meetings. (Your "data loving administrators" will also love the fact that they can create an account for free to view reports)



Pricing:

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

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

Have a great school year!
Speech/language therapy rooms are often small. Mine is about 10 x 10. With a school population of 700+ and a licensed assistant, it's a challenge to make room for appropriate materials for a varied caseload and two adults. Here is my start to the year, and the room took less than two hours to set up! Keep reading for my 6 top tips for setting up a therapy room in a small space to make it efficient, fun, and most importantly, student-centered.

Here is where I started, otherwise known as the obligatory "before" pictures.




1. Label packing boxes by location

Start by unpacking well. Actually, it starts with packing well when the school year ends. It's tempting to throw everything into boxes at the end of the year - resist the urge. You'll regret it. Pack by room location instead. Here, my boxes were labeled "top of desk", "top shelf books", "middle shelf books", and "bottom shelf books".
A few years ago, my librarian sister arranged my top two bookshelves alphabetically by author's name. The third one is by season, starting with winter. When I  looked at the boxes, I didn't have to think about what was in the box or look at author's names and remember which shelf they went on. I just had to pull out the books and shelve. It saved soooo much time! Labeling the location of where to put things helps so much more than labeling what the items were. I lose time when I read "mirrors" and have to think, "Where do I keep those?" If they are labeled "metal cabinet, second shelf", I can just unpack and put up.

If you are inheriting someone else's room, it will take time to go through everything. Keep reading for tips on how to make your room efficient, and then you can start the packing tip in May or June.

2. Make the room student-centered


The students are the focus of my work, and I want to make sure that is reflected in the room, no matter how small it is. My kidney table is in the middle of the room. My desk and storage are along the wall edges. The first visible items to the kids are the table and stools. That sets up the message that upon entering, we are going to get to work. The majority of the room is for them.

Like the stools? My wonderful husband painted them!

3. Know where the plugs are

The first year I was in the room, it was a sudden move, and I didn't have time to plan. My desk was in one corner, the phone was in another corner, and it was a mess. Make sure you set up the computer and printer near those plugs. It sounds so basic, but after doing it wrong, I'm conscious of the plugs now.

Even now, I'm moving my hole punch and pencil sharpener. They are sitting on the bookshelf, and there is a plug there. I just forgot to plug them in before I loaded up the shelves with the books.

4. Set up materials  by priority


Keep items that you use every day close by. You should need no more than 1-2 reaches to get to those materials. Examples are pens, dice, game markers, therapy cards, etc. Think of things that you use no matter what the season.

On this organizer behind the therapy table, there are containers that hold all of those things. "One reach" means I don't have to move from the chair. I can just reach for a pen and not waste time. "Two reach" is open a container and reach in. That would be the crayons, for example. I don't have them out in the open, but I can just pull out the drawer.

Weekly materials go on the edges of the kidney table. Once therapy starts, the materials I use for the week will be "one reach".

Prioritize the rest of the materials by 3 or 4 or even 5 reaches. The metal cabinet serves that purpose.

I have to get up (such a first-world problem) for reach 3, open the doors for reach 4, and then find what I need for reach 5.


Here, the Easter eggs are in the middle container. I only use them for a short time in the spring, so they don't have to be highly visible. In the spring, I'll pull out the Easter eggs, put them near the therapy table, then put them back up once I'm done.
Therapy cards are in a shoe holder with labels. It's easy to get up, grab what I need, and go back to the therapy table. I need them to be more visible, hence the clear pockets.

5. Be kind to the custodians

Every year, I pack up the room so the custodians can move everything out and clean it. When I returned this year, the custodians had already set up my furniture in the right locations. That was a huge timesaver. Being thankful and considerate of the custodians can pay off big time. Each one stopped by to say hello, and I was sure to thank them for cleaning the room and putting everything back. Make friends with the custodians. If you notice what they do for you, they'll have your back.

6. Reward yourself!

You've worked hard. Give yourself a treat!

Small therapy rooms can be fun, efficient, and student-centered. Make sure yours is!
Top 6 tips for setting up a speech & language therapy room in the schools that is student-centered, efficient, and fun












The new school year is just around the corner and it's time to start thinking about organization....

Last year, I created a Google Form for my student information, and it was one of my favorite things. Using Google Forms allowed me to send the "paperwork" prior to Meet the Teacher night. Thus, that step freed me to focus on forming relationships with my students and parents.

I wasn't the only one who loved Google Forms 

Feedback from parents was extremely positive. They loved the fact that they didn't have to sit and stress over paperwork during "Meet the Teacher Night." I just sent to the link prior to "Meet the Teacher" and they were able to fill it out on their own time. I received almost ALL of the information before Meet the Teacher and only had about 3 that filled it out the night of.

All has been submitted.... Now what?

After the parents click 'submit', all of the information automatically goes to a spreadsheet that only you can see. I just simply saved the shortcut to my computer screen and always had easy access to emergency contact information, pick up information, etc... You can also print a copy if you prefer.

Here's what my Google Form looks like:

video



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