I can hear the bells.... 

The Christmas break school bells that is!

I must say, I LOVE this time of year! I love the excitement, activities and everything December entails. Over the past few weeks, my PreK team has been very busy little elves. To celebrate all of their hard work, I've gathered some goodies that I know they'll love. On Black Friday, Amy, Laura & I went shopping at Bath & Body Works. They had a buy 3 get 3 free special going on that made our teacher hearts very happy! Needless to say, we filled up several bags. 

I plan on giving my team, office staff and janitors Christmas scented soap with a very cute tag attached. The best part is.... I'm sharing to tag with you! Just click the image below to download this freebie: 

We have also put our ENTIRE store on SALE for two days! Head on over to our neck of the TPT woods to check out some great deals!

 Click on our logo to go to our store: 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind and I am definitely running on caffeine and Christmas spirit. Stay strong my friends! The break is almost here!!!

When your coworkers are your friends, you like to treat them extra special at Christmas.

This year Laura, Lisa and I quickly dashed over to Bath & Body Works amazing buy 3, get 3 free sale on Black Friday.

We scored BIG time.

If Mint equals Joy for you, click here to download the tag.

Merry Christmas to All!

The Frenzied SLPs are here to talk about work relationships. I've had many wonderful licensed assistants who I've learned a lot from. Here are 5 tips in working successfully with licensed assistants.

1. Learn their story

When first meeting a licensed assistant, keep the focus on THEM. What is their goal in working as a licensed assistant? I've had some who wanted to make sure the SLP field was for them before grad school and some who are happy being a licensed assistant because they enjoy the therapy. How did they end up in this field? What is their experience and what do they hope to accomplish for your district or practice? What are their areas of strengths and interests and what do they need to learn more about?

I always share my story, too. I received therapy from a young age until 4th grade (when that lingering /r/ finally popped in), went to college, worked in journalism, then got jealous of the school breaks that my sister, mom, and aunts had, so I went back to grad school and became an SLP in the schools. I wouldn't recommend going into a field for just that purpose, but it's my story, and it's worked for me.

2. Ask what they need in a supervisor

Sadly, it took until my most recent assistant for me to learn to ask that question. She is not new to the field, and someone who is just starting out may not know what they need. But this question gets them thinking.

In the case of my current assistant, she wanted to be able to bounce therapy ideas off me and get my input on what I think would work and would not. That one question has been the basis of defining our work relationship. I'm not making her into a version of me. I'm giving her guidance in being a great therapist for the students.

3. Communication

Ah, another area I've learned a lot in, and I'm still learning. Before annual IEP meetings, the two of us talk about what a student needs. The IEP happens - and I forget to print out the new goals and objectives for the assistant. It's a small step that means a lot to the assistants, but I get so caught up in finishing the paperwork, I often forget that step.

Learn how your licensed assistant responds to supervision. For example, I don't like words I perceive as shouting. I really don't like emails that go out to everyone to address a few people. You know - follow the dress code, show up to work on time... I always think it's me when it's not. So I try to communicate with assistants by asking questions and then giving them my perception. I need to know how they think before I give suggestions.

I also try to communicate what the next week will look like and where I'll be on different days.

4. Be willing to learn yourself

I often tell my assistants that I'm jealous of them. They get to do therapy all day. I don't. Through the process of supervising, I've learned that licensed assistants are passionate and creative about therapy activities that meet students' goals. I've learned about new books, different ways of behavior management, and all kinds of creative lessons.

5. Be their advocate

I really don't like the term "licensed assistant." In the school system, it implies "parapro." Our licensed assistants have to have 24 hours in communication disorders classes in college.

A few years ago, a teacher at the school I worked at became a licensed assistant. There were several teachers who then stopped by to ask how they could be my "aide." I explained the process, and it wasn't as simple as they had hoped.

I also make sure my principals and parents know the qualifications of a licensed assistant. In Texas, we have to send out a letter every year telling parents who will be providing services, and it's a good opportunity to outline the requirements and qualifications.

I have had a few parents question the ability of a licensed assistant to provide services. In most cases, the parents have later expressed appreciation that their child is receiving more consistent services, weekly homework, and that their child really likes the licensed assistant, the points I make when parents ask. At IEP meetings, my principals often stress the same points and are able to talk about how the arrangement has worked out well at our school.

Being an advocate shows so much support and strengthens the relationship with my licensed assistants.

Since I started supervising 10 years ago, I've had several licensed assistants, and I've learned from each one. I truly hope my mistakes and tips help you in your journey. To read more, click on the links below:
Halloween can be a hard holiday to address. Scary, fun, imaginative... it's hard to know what's appropriate for schools. Here are some of our favorite activities for elementary.
 Not-so-scary Halloween activities for mixed speech and language therapy groups in elementary school
NOTE: Links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you click from our blog and buy that item, we get a percentage of the sale at NO COST to you.
 Too Many Pumpkins
"Too Many Pumpkins" by Linda White is a fantastic book about a woman who HATES pumpkins but ends up with a LOT. There are some jack-o'-lanterns in the book, but none of them are scary. There are themes about all kinds of ways to use pumpkins, neighbors, and sharing. My students love the language in the book, the pictures of the cat, and the secret at the end.

Pumpkins: Fact and Opinion (left in the picture) addresses difficult language concepts plus more. My artic students can work on speech sounds in words and reading aloud, and my fluency students can practice their strategies while reading.

Pumpkin Patch Spatial Concepts (right) is a great way to incorporate movement while listening for directions and prepositions. Just put the cards on a ring for easy flipping and storage. Students love pretending to put pumpkins on their heads and jumping into leaves!
 Mouse, Look Out! and The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything
Of course, the "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything" makes the list. I bought it out of desperation on impulse in the early 1990's in a small bookstore in the mall. I've had to buy several copies since because the book is so well-loved and used by students - and me! The language is fun and patterned, and students laugh at the ending.

"Mouse, Look Out!" was a gift from my sister to my son. I'm borrowing it for a while. The setting is an abandoned house - nothing haunted here - and the illustrations are gorgeous. A cat hunts an unsuspecting mouse but gets his own surprise at the end! Once students find the ending, we go back through the pictures to find the clues. This is one book that I always find something new in EVERY time I read it. The book is no longer in print, which makes it a little more costly than most books.
 Stellaluna and Bat Fact and Opinion by All Y'all Need
Creepy crawlies in nonfiction activities are great for speech and language therapy. A lot of classrooms have Bat Week, so learning about bats ties into curriculum. My favorite bat book is "Stellaluna", and Bats: Fact and Opinion is great for following up with mixed groups.

Because I have to rotate Bat Week, my sister Amy also made some fact and opinion packs for spiders and (shivers) snakes.

Use suspenseful, fun, or nonfiction activities to address Halloween in your school.
 For mixed groups in Speech and Language Therapy. Halloween can be a hard holiday to address. Scary, fun, imaginative... it's hard to know what's appropriate for schools. Here are some of our favorite activities for elementary. |SLP| Halloween|SpeechThearapy| #SLP #Halloween

 Trick or Treating Lesson from All Y'all Need

Buy the big, cheap bag of variety candy.    Make sure you unwrap some candy.
Next, break a few pieces of candy and put the candy bits in your bag.
Also, leave some empty wrappers in the goodie pile.
It will make sense.
This is a trick and treating lesson.

State your 4 expectations:
#1 Give an appropriate greeting
#2 Say “trick or treat”
#3 Say “thank you”
#4 Do not eat your candy

Each student must greet you and say, “Trick or Treat” before you hand over a random piece of candy.
Or maybe a candy wrapper.
You hand them a piece of candy.  
They are not allowed to pick their own candy or grab from the sweet stash.
The response you are listening for begins with “Thank you”.
Thank you…..for the empty candy wrapper?
Thank you……for the candy that no one  in my family likes?
If there is no “thank you” expressed, feel free to take the candy back.
The kids sit with their candy until everyone has been tricked or treated.

Now, you can discuss trick or treating with your students.
Kids will express their opinions.
Especially if they only got an empty candy wrapper.
So, be ready.
I have kids stand up if they received a treat and ask them to explain.
“I love lollipops!”
I have kids stand up if they received a trick.   Sometimes the trick kids have to speak first.   They just have to tell you about it.
“Hey, all I got was an empty wrapper.   You already ate my candy.”

This is my effort to end drive-by trick or treating.
Good manners are always appropriate.
Safety is always stylish.
The kids are allowed to throw the candy away if they don’t like it.
The sweeties throw away the empty candy wrappers and broken pieces.
You teach why the sweeties should not eat the broken pieces.
You can remind them they don’t have to eat all the candy on Halloween night.

After the discussion, give half of the class a new piece of candy.
A partner will come to them to trick or treat following the same expectations.
Yes, students will remind you that some students have two pieces of candy.
At this point, you even everything up so that all students leave with only treats.

Did you know that Halloween is on a MONDAY this year? Is there anything scarier?

Halloween. On a Monday.

Dress-up. On a Monday. Excited students ready to trick-or-treat. Celebrations on a Monday night. Staying up late on a Monday night. There goes the rest of the week, right? Maybe not.

Here are some ideas that will keep your students engaged and learning.
 Dia de los Muertos by All Y'all Need
Dia de los Muertos is a holiday I've started to introduce to my students. Some of my students celebrate the day. There are holiday items in our grocery stores, discount stores, and craft stores. Even if my students don't celebrate, they are seeing skulls and skeletal mariachi bands. It's a real-life opportunity to teach about their environment and to learn about a holiday that may seem creepy but is really full of tradition and remembrance.

Note: Items from Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you click from here and buy them, we get a percentage of the profit  at NO COST to you.

Amy has a couple of book suggestions. You know, Amy. She's my sister who just also happens to be an elementary-school librarian and believes in oral language. So you KNOW her suggestions are good ones!

Amy also made a wonderful Informative Reader's Theater for The Day of the Dead, or El Dia de los Muertos. It explains how the day is a time for remembering people and the traditions that go along with it.
       Day of the Dead Reader's Theater by All Y'all Need
Because I have many students working on Wh- questions, I made a game that explains Dia de los Muertos. The focus is on answering what, who, where, and when questions. The answers are in the information on each card.
 Dia de los Muertos Day of the Dead Wh- game what who where when speech and language therapy All Y'all Need
And to address pronouns, Dia de los Muertos is part of our Pronouns, Places and Possessives scenes.  
 Fall Set 2 Holidays for Speech & Language Therapy by All Y'all Need
The scene is set up for true pronoun discrimination. You can say, "Show me HE is sitting down", and because there are both a boy and girl sitting, the student has to rely on pronoun knowledge and not the word "sitting." The pack comes with an instruction page for you (it's the upside down one - you look at it while the student looks at the picture) and a B&W homework page. 

Halloween is on a Monday. That doesn't mean the rest of the week is sunk. Learning about Dia de los Muertos is a wonderful holiday for our students to learn about.

Are you ready for some football?!?!?!? Here in Texas, we're ALWAYS ready!
High-school football is a huge community affair for us. Our elementary students have siblings and neighbors who play football, coach, and are in cheerleading, band, and drill team. Every Friday is Big Red Friday - full of red spirit shirts, red face stamps, and cheerleader outfits and football jerseys. This week, we addressed the topic of football in speech & language therapy.

Many of our students have difficulty with fact and opinion. Oh, yours, too?

Amy made this wonderful Football: Fact and Opinion unit. I love it because it works well with mixed groups. Language students can focus on language concepts. Artic students can practice sounds in words or reading. Fluency students can practice strategies.

Plus, when it isn't a student's turn, they can write on the Fact and Opinion homework pages. A fun game for mixed groups with homework - I call that a touchdown!

We also read about Gunner, Football Hero by James E. Ransome. Gunner is an underdog, and we love those stories. (This is an affiliate link, which means that if you purchase the book, we get a percentage of the sale at no cost to you.)

A great open-ended football board game, Down the Field by Jenna Rayburn, kept the students' attention and was great for target drills.

Let's hear it for football in therapy!

I always struggle with Constitution Day. In fact, I didn't even know the day existed until a few years ago. Since then, I've learned about the day and want to share some resources to help you.
 Constitution Day resources for elementary students help teachers target difficult concepts, vocabulary, and IEP goals in speech & language therapy.

My thoughts of Constitution Day run along the gamut of:
* Hey, what a great idea! We NEED to celebrate our Constitution!
* Don't we do that on July 4th?
* Has this always been a recognized day? Did I just not learn about it in school?
* What do I even know about Constitution Day?
* I'm supposed to teach Constitution Day?
* How am I supposed to teach Constitution Day in speech & language therapy when my kindergarteners are still learning how to line up, much less say multisyllabic words?

Here's a quick rundown. Constitution Day is a federal observance (not a holiday) on September 17. Except when September 17 is on a weekend, like this year, when we'll observe it on September 16. On September 17, 1787, delegates signed the Constitution at State Hall in Philadelphia. The day's purpose is to remember this event and to recognize people who are U.S. citizens. The law recognizing Constitution Day was passed in 2004. Every school that receives federal funds must teach about Constitution Day.

You can find out more at:
* National Constitution Center. This website has a resource center just for educators, as well as a countdown clock.
* Constitution Day has biographies of the 39 Founding Fathers who signed the Constitution.

The websites are helpful but still contain difficult concepts for many of my students. These kids are the reason I created Constitution Day - A Wh- Game. The questions focus on what, who, where, and when concepts, and the answers are within the prompt. Students listen and answer.
It also comes with data pages to help you (and me!) out. There are two pre-made pages so you can just print it out and mark data. There's also one blank data page that has fillable boxes so that you can put in your own goals. The game has simplified language to help my students learn about this not-as-well-known-holiday, and they get a model before answering. If they need more help, vary the game using the techniques I outline for playing card games. And, it has a homework page to help students stay on task between turns for home practice!

 Constitution Write & Say the Room for Speech & Language Therapy by All Y'all Need
Since we can't play the same game every year, I also use Constitution Day Write & Say the Room. I hang cards of the day's vocabulary around the room with sticky-tack, give each student a clipboard and pencil, and have them hunt for words with their speech sounds. They love it, especially when cards are in unusual places like under the table or covering a person's face on a poster!

Amy included Constitution Day as part of her wonderful Informative Reader's Theaters. Because they are laminated, students can highlight words with artic sounds or vocabulary. We discuss the day and the lines and then act it out!
 Constitution Day Informative Reader's Theater by All Y'all Need
We can't leave you without a book suggestion.
This is an affiliate link. That means that if you click on this picture and buy the book, we can get a percentage of the sale at NO COST to you.

Have a happy Constitution Day!

 Constitution Day resources for elementary. Target vocabulary, difficult concepts, and IEP goals.

I stopped saying, "Look in the card catalog for books about hamsters."
We have an online catalog for that. 
Or just ask me, the librarian.
I know where the cool hamster books are located in the library.

I almost never say, "Shhhhhh!"
Cause the swift-finger-to-lips gesture just does not work for me.
But sometimes I forget that it does not work for me, so I say it by accident.

I do not have to say, "Sign your name here".
Just scan your library card, please.

I have never been good with overdue books, so I just say, "please return your library books".
When you are done reading them, just bring them back to the library.
That's all.

But I still, for some mysterious and aggravating reason, am required to say,  
"Stop writing in your books!"

After twenty four years, so many things have completely changed in library land.
But kids still like to write in their library books.
And their teacher's books.
I just do not understand this.

It is a problem for me.

Sometimes kids write their name.
Sometimes kids just scribble away like a black-out is required on every page.
Often baby sisters and brothers get the blame.
I have seen the following writing utensils used in library books:
markers, pencils, ballpoint pens, dried-up makers, crayons, highlighters and milk.
Ok, maybe milk was just spilled in the book.
I instruct my cutie pies on the finer points of book care.

Then, I make them promise to take their of precious library books.
They sign their names to a special promise page.
I even let them use Mr. Sketch makers to sign their names.

If you share my problem, you might want to take a look at "I Can Take Care of Books".
Pictures from this product are featured in this blog post.

Open the book, but put the pen down.
Your librarian thanks you.
Let's get this party started! Tomorrow is the first day of therapy for me and my licensed assistant!

We'll be discussing rules, reviewing objectives, and setting goals.
 Back to School by All Y'all Need. Activities for the first week of speech & language therapy.
The Speech Therapy Organizational Materials for a New Year by Sparklle SLP is just what I needed. Some of the many wonderful pages include About Me pages, which are perfect for starting the year with. There are also B&W foldables. I love that these will be functional for the students AND will be something that won't sit in the backpack. They are eye-catching, and parents will be pulling these out and knowing that their children have started services.

Our school's theme is Rock Stars. Students will personalize these sticker charts.

For the second part of the week, we'll get into more lessons. Back to School for Speech & Language Therapy for Younger Elementary has vocabulary and sorting activities for our self-contained students. There's also a B&W homework page. Yay for more school-to-home communication!

The pack for older students has informational texts to address Wh- questions (what, when, where, who, why, and how) AND sentence frames.

Whew! I think we'll have a great Back to Speech & Language week!
I need help with prioritizing this year. Anyone else? I'm giving myself a challenge, and I'd love it if you joined! It's called #The3HChallenge.
The first "H" is Have To. It's easy to want to avoid the one big thing I have to do but don't want to and procrastinate leaving nothing accomplished. I've written in my "have to's". I'll go into more depth as the challenge progresses. In general, these items are things I procrastinate about doing. But when I complete an item, woo-hoo! I feel like a superhero!

And since I did something hard, the second "H" is Happy To. Completion of the hard task earns a treat. These are all items I enjoy doing at work.

The third "H" is Hello To. At the end of the day, it's good to say "hello" to someone to build relationships. It can't be before the Have To because that just leads to procrastination. Save Hello To for the end.

Lisa made this awesome graphic! Here's a blank copy for you to use.
To use, print it out and put it in a dry-erase pocket. Or, save it on your desktop and use a picture editor to fill in the spaces. I used Picmonkey in the first picture.

Look for more on our Instagram account starting Monday, August 29!
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. They can turn it over to look at it again.

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


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)


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

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