We were challenged to come up with "my why" in my district this year.
As in, why do you teach?
That was pretty simple for me.

I have known and loved my why since before I became a librarian.
I said it my interview.    Luckily, I still believe it is my why to this very day.

I want the kids I have today to bring books and literacy into their own homes.
I want the kids I teach today to read to their own children.
I want the kids I teach today to remember a book so fondly that they want to share it with their own children.
It's my why.....twenty-two years later.

I challenged myself to come up with what do I want to focus making a difference on.
I came up with literacy in families.

So what is your why?
Why do you teach?

Hope you all have a fabulous year.
Whether it is year one or year forty.

Have a fantastic day,

This school year, I am supervising two wonderful licensed assistants at two elementary schools. At one elementary, I watched with my jaw open as one licensed assistant freehanded a superhero door:
This school has a pretty nice room - one side for therapy and another side for the two of us.

The other school's theme is Saddle Up for a Great Year!
We went for a bright door with the them on a sign.
Hope everyone has a great year!

Another Tuesday Talk?

Another back to school sale on TpT?

Yes, please!

Tomorrow is the day on TpT.

My wish list is getting longer.....and longer.

I'm done talking for today.   Time for more shopping!

Fabulous Primary Chalkboard Giveaway!!

How AMAZING is this giveaway?!?! Head on over to Primary Chalkboard to check out the incredible giveaway! My fingers are crossed! I LOVE Amazon, TPT, Michael Kors bags are my BFF! :)


Yes, you read that right.

No promises on how long this will last.

I wanted to share with you some fact and opinion products we have.

It is hard to get kids to understand the difference between facts and opinions.    Especially when so many adults believe their opinions are facts.   Right?

A six-year-old definitely thinks his or her opinion is a fact.

So, we do have a few items in our TpT store that help with facts and opinions.

Here is our latest:

Thanks for getting factual with us today.
I hope you are leaving with a good opinion.

Have a wonderful day!

My friend 1sparklleslp has been doing a fantastic series on pushing in. She is currently running a link in addition to her series, so hop on over to her blog and take a look!
Here's my take. My district is not set up to go all push in. I do go into Functional Academics classrooms. Mostly, I supervise licensed assistants, but I am very reluctant to let all therapy go. The last time I did that, I spend the summer crafting everything in sight because my creative juices had been drowned by paperwork.

Our FA students are generally independent motor-wise. Most of the diagnoses I work with are autism and Down Syndrome. Language and articulation are the main goals.

I typically schedule 45 minutes twice a week for the class. When I go in, they are usually finishing up a song. That's perfect, since I can't sing on-key. Next comes a story and vocabulary and Wh- questions. The class then goes to centers, and I set up a speech/language center. During this time, I see students in groups of 2-3 to do a game or craftivity. This is the time when I get most of my data. The goals and objectives are addressed during group time, and I get to recheck and see if my instruction was successful during center time.

It works. My wish is that I go in with a true SLP role. To me, that means the teacher does the instruction, the parapros address the behavior, and I work with the students to address their language and articulation during that time. That would allow me to work on and model more AAC and to ensure that instruction is carried over the rest of the time.

Thanks to sparklleslp for the great series and linky!
Our sweet friend Marcy is hosting a giveaway on her blog.

She is celebrating Texas-style.    That means this giveaway is BIG.

We like things BIG in Texas.

Check it and enter here:

Here is what you can sign up to win:

Cute, cute, cute from Rustic Paisley

And this cool pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies

And you might win something from us, too.

And some of our other TpT friends

Good luck!   Enter now.    You can't win, if you don't enter.

Have a wonderful day!

Today's guest post is written by Jill. She identifies herself as a former Sp Ed Director, but by former, she means a job change as of just a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to Jill for this post!
As a former special education director, I have some strong opinions about the current state of speech/language therapy delivery. We are a mid-sized district with just over 10,000 students. We have just over 1,000 students who qualify for services through the Special Programs Department. Of those students, 415 are served as students with a speech impairment.

Correcting the problem seems simple enough. Hire speech pathologists and serve kids. I have determined that simple is simply impossible. Early on, I knew that there was debate over the speech pathologists who have their CCCs as opposed to those who are certified by the Texas state board of education. I also knew that licensed speech assistants were often creative and helpful but unable to perform all duties required to case manage students in the school setting. All in all, knew that this was a very difficult situation.

As the years have flown by, I have worked diligently to recruit great people and keep the wonderful professionals who are on our team. My staff say that they know they are  supported. I try really hard to ensure that they are treated as professionals. I tell campus administrators all of the time that there are two kinds of people in the world - SLPs and the rest of us. SLPs are special. SLPs are valuable, and we will be nice to them because we want them to stay!

I wish that I had a magic trick to fix the speech shortage. If I did, I would certainly use it in my own district. The only trick that I have is to be cognizant of the fact that there is a shortage. There are many more positions than SLPs. They can go to the clinical setting or home health and make much more than they can working in the school setting. Even if they choose to work in the schools, districts are often forced to compete with each other to attract the best applicants. 

Some day, I will figure out how to provide all of the services that my students need with limited SLPs because I have a feeling that they will continue to be the "special ones" who we want them to stay!
Today's guest post comes courtesy of Yvonne. I had the privilege of supervising her from January-early June. She is in the middle of her CF in Texas, where an IEP meeting is an ARD.

Dear CF,

Welcome to practicing what you love in the public school environment. I am sure you have your tub(s) of schoolbooks and PowerPoint slides, some clinic material you created, and websites that have you depended on with ready to print material. You are set!

Until - you go through an anxiety-filled week of waiting for your state internship license. In the meantime, you will observe your supervisor seamlessly handle all 50+ of your children on your caseload like they were her own children. Her materials can all be stowed away neatly in two folders. She will have an organized binder of data, with ARD dates, RtI information, and the prized schedule. She will fill out her paperwork online quickly, knowing what to fill in every textbox.  During that time, you may even be tempted to record all of her ARDs that week to appear just as knowledgeable and confident as she sounds. That weekend, in complete freak-out mode you will scour Teachers Pay Teachers, printing what is free and having a laminating party. You may think to put labels on children to remember names and goals.   Fortunately for me, another week went by before my license was approved and I had no need for labeling children. They were all more than happy to repeat their names and tell me what they were working on.  As I continued through the semester I found that my expectations changed. I learned some lessons along the way; some that I will share with you to hopefully help you along your upcoming journey.

Tip 1

Your expectations in a school setting will be different.  I arrived expecting to have perfect therapy sessions, with wildly creative materials for each child like I did in individual private outpatient settings.  Group therapy dominates in a school setting. And while you can get wildly creative in group therapy, you may find that you will be more effective if you also reach out to your campus team.  The reality is that you are a part of a team with special education teachers, diagnosticians and/or licensed specialist in school psychologists, general education teachers and parents who need to be informed of what you are doing, how you are doing it, and how they can help.  And one important way they can help is by letting you know how the student is struggling because that informs you if their speech and language goals are aligned with their educational needs.  Teachers have a lot going on so you will have to ask, ask, ask about your student.

Tip 2

To help with reaching parents, go to the school’s open house. I am not one for confrontation, but it is much easier to talk to a parent at an ARD after they have met you in a friendlier and more relaxed environment.

Tip 3

Try to align when you have ARDs with teachers’ conference periods. Let’s say that on Mondays you will see 1st grade, during their conference period, Tuesdays 2nd grade, etc.  By having a set day and time to see a specific grade level, you save yourself from always having ARDs that conflict with scheduled therapy. Toward the end of the semester, it becomes more challenging to make up all those missed therapy sessions on Friday.

Tip 4 

Find a data collection method and stick with it. Every week, I tried out a new spreadsheet to help with organizing attendance, goals, and data collection. Had I just stuck with capturing it all on notepad paper and then writing the SOAP note at the end of the day, I would have been better off. Find something quickly at the beginning of the semester, and stick with it.

Tip 5 

For Texas: The STAAR test. You may have to help administer the test or work the hallways during those weeks. If you have K-2 in your caseload like I did, you will still have regular scheduled therapy. Take your therapy outside or to another part of the building, your campus administrator will love you for helping them to ensure a quiet test-taking environment.

Tip 6 

If you have children on your caseload that require therapy with an occupational or physical therapist, try to work your sessions together. I had a great experience with an OT who helped me to reach communication goals using devices that she introduced to me.

Tip 7

Don’t be afraid to change your therapy session schedule. You may have to rearrange groups as some children work better with others. I was hesitant at first, thinking it would upset teachers. As it turned out, teachers were appreciative of my planning and my willingness to do whatever it took to help my children succeed.

Tip 8

You will have good and bad days. Days when the children you serve give you hugs in the hallways, and others when they say “No” when it is their turn to work.  Take heart, dear CF, that the greatest reward in any of our work settings is when our clients reach their goals, and in the public school setting, those moments are plentiful!

From Laura: Thanks, Yvonne! One thing I learned when I supervised Yvonne was that I needed some organization. The ASHA website is beneficial. I found myself clicking and navigating pages to find what I needed as a supervisor. The result of that journey is The Organizational Binder for The ASHA Clinical Fellowship. The binder has places to plan out and document dates, it's B&W for easy printing, and it's also editable if you want to keep track on your computer. Click the link above or the picture to learn more.
 The Organizational Binder for The ASHA Clinical Fellowship by All Y'all Need

You might realize we like to talk.   And talk.   And talk.   And talk.
One of our favorite subjects to talk about is books.
We could go on and on.
We want our students to talk about books, too.
Really, we do.

So we have a little fun way to encourage students to talk about what they have read.

Any flat surface will work for attaching your story element cards.
You can use a spinner.
We got ours from Amazon.
Or you can assign your kids a color to talk about.
You can customize what you want your kids to talk about.
We have choices for your talk boards.

Maybe you want them to talk about fairy tales.
You want them to identify the hero, of course.
But all they want to talk about the villain.
Personally, I like to discuss happy endings.
No problem...

But maybe you want the sweeties to talk about a fiction book.
You want to talk characters.
But they want to share about how the problem was solved.
Here you go...

And we know some sweeties will only talk about the facts.
Just the facts, Jack.
We have those sweeties covered, too.

But I don't mind noise.
Especially when the chatter is book talk.
So, we have another version.
You need a cheap, divided tray.
We got ours at a local dollar store.
And some bouncy balls.  Aha!   Now, you know why this is the noisy version.
The students bounce the balls into a section of the tray and discuss.
They can bounce and talk.
It is a win-win.

And if you like flowers and cannot get enough of them, we have this option for you.
Print what you like.
And, we would laminate.   Because we just like to laminate and cut and repeat.

And if you are in the mood to shop, now is the time cause it is the big sale on TpT!

Some of the first items in All Y'all Need were grade-level checklists. The checklists have been some of our best sellers but in major need of a redo. So - introducing the new and improved checklists! The general grade-level information pages have been updated to align with ASHA's guidelines, and the fonts and graphics are also updated. If you have already purchased the checklists, just go to your products and update. If you are interested in purchasing, they are $2 each. Links below the pictures.
PK Speech/Language Checklists
Kg Speech/Language Checklists
1st Grade Speech/Language Checklists
2nd Grade Speech/Language Checklists
It's time for TpT's Back to School Sale, and Jenna over at Speech Room News is hosting a What's In Your Cart? Linky. Be sure to stop by her site to see LOTS of great things to buy!

From All Y'all Need on TpT

As far as my own wish list,  I'm always looking for unique ways to spice up artic therapy, and LyndaSLP123 has come up with some wonderful lap books.
Speech Universe has some fun paper bag books that might get more attention than the usual worksheets I send home.
I'm thinking that the print and go Pirates unit by 1sparklleslp will be just the thing I need after a first few hectic weeks.
Activity Tailor has 300 jokes sorted by artic sound. This will be perfect for mixed groups - I can see using these with artic students as well as students with language disorders and those on the autism spectrum.

Whew, that's a title, hmmm? Real World Language: Literal & Nonliteral Social Cues & Situations We Use Every Day has been my summer project, and I'm excited it's finally done!
From All Y'all Need on TpT
As my licensed assistant and I worked with language students this past year, we used several items for figurative language I loved, including: Lindsey Swanson's Over The Rainbow Figurative Language Pack (Wicked fan, here!)
and Figuratively Speeching SLP's Spring Idioms.

The activities were great, and you should definitely get them (TpT sale coming up! Use code BTS14!). But some of my kids needed more practical social skills. Many weren't able to answer open-ended social questions. And I was learning about vocabulary hierarchy. So that's when Real World Language was born!

Here's how Real World Language works. There are 7 areas of discussion, and each area has 5 pages. Plus, I'll even give you storage tips! You'll need a printer, 7 manila folders and a willingness to laminate. That's it.

Print out the cover page for the discussion area. The first area is Hello.
The area being addressed is in the speech bubble, and words and actions surround the speech bubble. Print out and glue this page to the front outside of a manila folder so that when you open the folder like a hamburger, students are looking at this page.

Next come two teacher instruction pages for each area. Glue those to the inside of the folder so that YOU are looking at those while students look at the discussion page you are holding up. Finally, print out either the speech/language or general recording sheet, make copies, and store inside the folder. There you go - Real World Language is self-storing and takes up minimal space!

So what's this hierarchy I mentioned? That's what's on the instruction pages. Each lesson includes an introduction, two situational contexts, four fill-in-the-blanks, sentence generation, and two jokes, one contextual and one with phonological awareness. The best part? For my students who have difficulty answering open-ended questions, I've included 2, 3 and 4 choices in the situational context and joke sections. This works on helping them gain language while listening.

And what's a unit without something to show for it? There are two recording sheets, one specifically for SLPs and one that is more general. Use these for work samples for homework.

Thanks for reading along. Real World Language: Literal & Nonliteral Social Cues & Situations We Use Every Day is available at All Y'all Need for $6.

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