Monday, September 1, 2014

How Do You Use It?! September: Brown Paper Bags

It is that time do you use it?!  

This month: brown paper bags!  I buy a pack cheap at any supermarket or Target and they usually last me the entire school year.
One of my favorite ways of using these are for creating "paper bag books."  You can see my previous post when I described how I made them by clicking HERE!

Another favorite way of using paper bags are for sorting activities.  Just grab some bags, write on the outside and take sorting pictures!  I have used them with fishing activities by Super Duper Inc. as well!  See below, we fished for common objects then sorted by category.  I even wrote a sentence strip on each bag to promote expanded utterance length!
Another way to use paper bags are for eliciting stories.  Throw pictures of random objects or small objects themselves into the bags.  Then, students can take turns picking out a picture/object and telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end using that object.  Want to make it more challenging?  You can have them incorporate articulation targets, learned prepositions/curriculum vocabulary/question words/pronouns/any other target you are currently working on!

Stay tuned to next month!

Wondering how other SLPs/bloggers use brown paper bags?!  See below - they linked in!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dear Parents, from your child's SLP!

Dear Parents,

  • We have your child's best interests at heart:
Whether we are discharging your child or recommending (more) services, we are doing this because we care.  If we discharge your child, it is because they no longer need our services, that is a good thing!  They made progress and we feel confident that they can continue to progress without us!  We are also bound by the state, district, building, etc. to discharge when students progress to a certain criteria.  We would love to work with your child forever!  If we recommend services, that is not a bad thing.  This doesn't mean that your child will need speech forever.  We are here to help them learn and grow!

  • Homework isn't a punishment to you
We know you have busy lives.  We know you worked a long day and that children have after school activities.  Homework is home practice.  We can only help your child so much in the short time we work with them a week.  We need your help to continue to work with them when we are not there.  Homework is also a great opportunity for you to see what we are working on and the strategies we are using.

  • Don't take matters into your own hands
Yes, there are tons of resources available online.  There are tons of iPad apps available.  Please, don't try and be your child's SLP without guidance from an SLP.  Speech-language pathologists have unique and specific training and credentials.  We are available to help and guide you to help your child.  We can show you how to work with your child at home.

  • It is not your fault
Your child's speech & language difficulties are not your fault.  Please do not take the blame.

  • We don't have a crystal ball
No matter how much we would love to predict the future, we cannot.  We cannot tell you when or if your child will reach certain milestones or progress.  We can tell you that the most practice they get and the more involved you as parents in this process, the prognosis looks good!  Be positive and keep encouraging your child!

Your child's SLP

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Crayon Attributes Sorting Fun!

I don't know about you, but I love sorting activities to teach concepts.  I love to use sentence strips to encourage expanded utterances as they sort.  This way, it targets more than one goal at a time!  For back to school season, I created a fun crayon sorting activity (but can be used any time of the year!)  I chose to target attributes based on the needs of my students!
Using this activity:
-Print and laminate the crayon boxes.  

-Print and laminate the crayons.

-Each box has a sentence strip to use while the students sort the crayons into the correct box.

-Students will sort crayons based on attributes!


You can access this activity in my TpT store by clicking HERE!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fall Differentiated Question Scenes!

Since my Differentiated Question Scenes activity has been such a hit, I decided to create a fall themed pack just like it!
Have fun working on WH questions at three different levels.  Use this activity with a group made of students at different levels or use with multiple groups.

For each scene provided, three levels of questions are included.  You can use these scenes with mixed groups of students or with multiple groups at different levels.  You can also use this activity to challenge your students as they become ready for the next level.   


Level 1: Students can match the answers to the various wh- questions provided.  You can cut out the answer choices and use Velcro.  Students can Velcro the correct answers in the box next to each question.

Level 2:  Students will verbally respond to the questions provided.  No choices are included at this level.  Encourage students to use complete sentences!

Level 3:  Students will read or listen to a short paragraph and look at the picture.  Then, they can respond to the various wh- questions based on the picture on the text read/heard.  I recommend laminating the story/questions on the back of the picture.  This way, you can easily read to your students and they can look at the picture.

You can access this activity in my TpT store by clicking HERE!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Collaborating with the art teacher! (tips and ideas for the school SLP)

It is so important as SLPs to collaborate with other professionals working with our students, especially when you work in the schools.  SLPs usually frequently collaborate with classroom teachers, OTs, PTs, resource room teachers and school psychologists.  But what about others working with that child?  One such colleague is the art teacher!
People always forget about this one!!  But there is so much language that can be pulled during art class!!  Many art teachers are not aware of which students are receiving speech and language services and why.  

It is important in the beginning of the year to approach them and let them know!  
Educate them on how to help target speech and language goals:

  • Encourage students to request, ask questions, use complete sentences.
  • Present instructions verbally and visually
  • Be patient to let students with articulation or fluency goals use their strategies to speak slowly and clearly
  • Use carrier phrases or sentence strips if necessary 
  • Use simple, short phrases or sentences
  • Use visuals when teaching new vocabulary
  • and more!
It is so important to work together with your colleagues.  Educate them!  Many want your help and are afraid to ask!!  Let them know they can come to you for help.  What else can you do?!
  • Find out what vocabulary or concepts they are working on in the art room and practice using them in the speech room
  • Role play problem solving or social scenarios
  • Do mock art project so students can practice following directions or expressing sequences
  • Work on conversation starters that students can use in the art room while working with classmates
  • and more!!
How do you collaborate with teachers?  Any other suggestions or ideas?!  Feel free to comment below!

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Speechy Feedback! Linky!

Nicole over at Speech Peeps is hosting once again a linky to give back to great feedback.  Did you know that your favorite TpT sellers read every single feedback?!  We read to know what you are loving and looking for!
Not only are you rewarded by giving feedback by earning credits on TpT which you can redeem for discounts or even free products, but with this linky party, you can earn a free product!!!!  Check each one to see if your feedback earned you a free item!!  Who won for me this month????  Jillian B gave amazing feedback on my Comparing and Contrasting Speechpad product!!
Jillian B---if you see this blog me to claim your prize!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Surviving As A Travel SLP! (ideas & tips!)

It is back to school season.  Many SLPs find themselves split between two or even three or four buildings.  Some SLPs travel from house to house if you work with early intervention.  It is a very common thing.  Yet, many struggle to stay organized, calm, prepared, and confident.  Keep reading to see how I have survived in the past and what I would do if faced with the challenge again.
Do you make your own schedule?  If so:

  • Try to schedule in enough time to get from place to place.
  • Allow time for prep, communicating with teachers/parents, going to the bathroom, and lunch!
  • Email a copy of your schedule to yourself and keep in in your phone.  This way if you place it, you always have it!
  • Color code your schedule to reflect the different buildings.  This way at a quick glance you can see where you need to be.
  • Don't promise anyone which days you will be in a specific building until AFTER you work out a schedule.  This way you aren't tied down to one specific building.  This will make scheduling easier.
  • Make sure you time how long it takes to get to and from each location.  Go various ways in case there are road closings or accidents to avoid!

Other tips to remember that will help you stay organized, calm, and prepared:
  • Keep phone numbers of all buildings/homes and e-mail addresses of teachers/parents in a phone, in a binder with your schedule/data.  This way you can easily contact if you have car trouble, get sick, last minute meeting, etc.
  • Have a planner?  Use the schedule app on your phone? USE IT!!  Plug in every meeting, due date for paperwork, field trips the students may have, or any change in your normal daily routine!
  • Make sure everyone has YOUR cell phone number and email address.  This way they can contact you if meetings get canceled or if you have an individual session and the student is absent you don't have to rush!
  • Keep a "go to" binder.  Keep your schedule, student goals, a quick glance at student information, and places to write to do lists.  This way you can easily plan, call parents, or jot down ideas no matter where you are!
  • Use colored pens that correlate to the same color you made on your color coded schedule to keep things organized!  All students in building A will have notes written in the color red since that is the color you used on your schedule.

Some items that you can grab to help you stay organized:

  • Plastic crate:  this is for your trunk of your car!  You can have 1 for each building you are in.  LABEL or color code it!  This way you can store things in your car in an organized way so you can easily find it.  Plus, this will prevent your materials from moving around your trunk and making noise.  Don't you hate hearing a toy go off when stopping short at a red light?!  This will also allow you to have room in your trunk so you can go grocery or clothes shopping!
  • Crate on wheels: stop hurting your back!!  You can just transfer the items in the crate in your car into this crate on wheels and wheel them into the building.  If you don't have to carry a heavy bag, you will probably carry more and be better prepared!  You can also find one at Lakeshore Learning.
  • A large durable binder: this will help you keep important papers organized.  Keep your schedule on the front so you can easily see!
  • Organizing caddy or tote bag:  this will keep pens, post-its, crayons, glue and whatever key items that you use everywhere in an organized manner.  If everything has a home, you can find it!  Many recommend also bags from the company Thirty-one.
  • A good planner: there are so many out there it all depends on your preferences, style, and how much you want to spend.  Many recommend the Erin Condren life planners, others prefer creating their own such as the ones from Crazy Speech World.  It is important to write down lesson plans and what materials you will need.  Also write down ALL meeting dates and when paperwork is due!  Color code!!
  • Smart phone: I prefer an iPhone but use your preference!  It is a necessity to keep calendars, phone numbers, email, to do lists, calculators, and more in one spot!
  • iPad: There are SO many great apps out there that you can use as part of your therapy.  It is lightweight and easy to carry from place to place!
  • LIBRARY CARD: don't have a place to store all of these amazing story books?  Just hop on over to the library and take out a bunch at a time!  Return when you are done!  No clutter, less to store!
Do you have places to store things in each building?
  • Store the necessities: art supplies, pens/pencils, dry erase board or anchor chart paper.
  • Only need certain games or materials in one building?  keep it there!  know your goals!
  • Find a friend/coworker you can grab other necessities from if you forget or run out!  I have a coworker I grab curriculum materials from when in a pinch.  It helps!
  • Is there a place to store testing materials????  Do you have to sign them out ahead of time??  Plan ahead!
I hope this blog post has helped calm some tension and anxiety about the upcoming school year!  Any tips I missed?!  Comment below!!

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