Sunday, July 31, 2016

"What's in Your Cart?" Linky for TpT's Back to School Sale 2016

Guess what, it's already time for TPT's back to school sale! Woo Hoo! Who doesn't love a good SALE?!

But wait...where did the summer go? 

No need to worry. There will be TONS of great products offered at DEEP DISCOUNTS August 1st and 2nd using the promo code "BestYear". 

Check out a few of my favorite products and some that I already have in my cart.

1. Back to School Speech and Language Bundle - This bundle has a lot of great Low/No Prep options for Articulation, Following Directions, Compare/Contrast, and Categorization. Each activity is school themed and great for a variety of ages and diagnoses. 

2. Fall Themed Speech and Language Bundle - This bundle is PACKED with favorites. One of the most unique features of this bundle is the No Prep Interactive Fall Themed Activities. These Tablet/Smart Board/Computer activities target concepts such as Articulation, Following Directions, Grammar, and WH- questions. In addition to these No Prep activities, there are worksheets, printable activities, articulation board games, and PLENTY of activities to get you through the entire fall season.

3. NO PREP Following Directions Interactive Tablet Activity + Printable Worksheets -  This activity pack is FULL of Following Direction Activities in a Variety of Formats! One of the most unique features of this activity pack is the fact that there is auditory biofeedback tied into the interactive activity. The PowerPoint version includes SOUND EFFECTS so the student is provided with a consistent sound if the answer is incorrect (and the slide WILL NOT advance) and then a different sound effect (and slide advancement) if the student selects the correct response! This is SO HELPFUL and keeps students engaged. There is also a PDF version WITHOUT sound effects included for those student who are easily distracted. There are 2 different versions of 10 worksheets to complement the interactive activity. Each section is organized by concept and very convenient for progress monitoring and collecting baselines!

4. Minute to Win it: Articulation - I am super excited about these Minute to Win it Articulation Activities! The thing that really appealed to me is that the only materials that you need are common household items like straws, plastic cups, and paper plates. There are 11 different challenges and I think they will be GREAT for groups or last minute therapy ideas! Check this product out from Jenna Rayburn!

5. Ten Weeks Communicating with 40 Core Words - This is EXACTLY what I need! This will help keep me organized and help me figure out what words I should target. The visuals look great and there are plenty of words to get you started off on the right foot this school year. I'm looking forward to using these. Check out the full product from Susan Berkowitz! 

6. Grab n' Go WH- Questions - These will be super helpful and great to grab in a pinch. I already have a few other Grab n' Go products from Kristine Lamb at Live Love Speech, so I KNOW how convenient these products can be! This pack looks really thorough and I love a good hands-on activity. I'm excited to bust these out this year!

7. Pizza Early Language Targets - Did you read the first word in that title, "Pizza"! Do I even need to say more? I really value activities that require a little prep work, but result in highly motivating and hands-on activities. This product looks GREAT and I think that I will be able to use it in multiple ways with lots of mixed groups! My students (and I) are really going to enjoy these activities! Check them out from The Speech Summit.

Alright everyone. Thanks for stopping by and checking out these wonderful resources. Now go fill your cart and don't forget to use the promo code "BestYear" on Aug. 1st and 2nd!

Check out Jenna Rayburn's original Linky post at her Speech Room News blog for even MORE great resources!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Eight Articulation Activities That Require NO MATERIALS and Incorporate Other Goals

As a traveling/itinerant SLP, lugging around tons of materials is not something that I am very fond of. There are plenty of times that I try to get creative and leave the materials behind. I also found that with crazy (and always unexpectedly changing) schedules, it is important to think outside the box and give the students the service time they deserve. Listed below are some of my favorite activities that require no planning, set up, OR MATERIALS! (These activities also come in handy when you finish up a few minutes early and want to fill the time with a MEANINGFUL and FUN activity.)

1. Scavenger Hunt - My students have always LOVED this (especially when we use fake glasses)! We walk around the school trying to find items or ideas that have the target sound. For example, if you're looking for /l/ sounds, you can say "locker", "lunch", "pencil", or "pool". My students liked to use the glasses from Jeepers Peepers to "help them see" more ideas :) For mixed groups, have students describe the item they found using well-constructed sentences or describe its location to another group member to find.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, describing, grammar, listening for details, spatial terms, and following directions.

2. Building Sentences - This is fun to do in groups and it also targets other expressive language goals quite nicely. One students starts by saying a word (usually a noun) that has the target sound. The game continues as each student adds to the sentence, only using words that contain the target sound. Depending on what sounds/levels/positions you're working on, you could let students use words that have the sound in any word position. For example, if the target sound was /s/, the students would take turns adding to a sentence like this - "Suzy, Suzy sits, Suzy sits silently, Suzy sits silently beside, Suzy sits silently beside stinky, Suzy sits silently beside stinky socks." The sentences usually end up being pretty silly but you'll get plenty of repetitions and goals covered!
Goals Targeted: Articulation, sentence construction, grammar, vocabulary, short term memory, social skills, turn-taking, critical thinking, problem solving, planning and organization.

3. Building Words - This one is very similar to the game mentioned above, except you're now building at the word level and really working together. To start you decide what position you want your sound to be in (initial is the easiest for this and final position isn't TOO hard). The first student will start by just saying a sound. Let's say we're doing /s/ again - Student one: "s", Student 2: "si", Student three: "sit" - the round could end there unless the next student can continue adding to the word. This requires the students to work together, improvise, and really use their brains. You can also target phonological awareness skills by not repeating any previous sounds. Each student would just say the sound they are contributing and they would all be required to piece those sounds together in their head in order to form/figure out the word. This would require them to both segment and blend mentally in order to complete the task.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, turn-taking, listening, problem solving, planning, organizing, segmenting, blending, word construction, and morphology.

4. Categories - This is a fun one that works on vocabulary as well. Pick a specific topic or category and have your students name as many things as they can that contain their target sound within that category . For example, if you're working on /l/ in all word positions, you could make the category "Characters (from movies, shows, books, etc.)" - Elsa, Elmo, Charlie Brown, Bumblebee...
Some other suggested categories: food/drinks, toys, school items, places, games (video/board/card), songs/musicians/singers/bands, people in general...there are lots of options that can be geared toward many age levels/interests!
Goals Targeted: Articulation, vocabulary/categorization

5. Simon Says - This is great if you're working on /s/ at the sentence level. Let the students take turns being Simon. Have them try to use as many /s/ words as possible. For example, "Simon says stick out your tongue. Simon says switch places, Simon says make silly faces, Simon says swing your arms from side to side." There are plenty of options and the students are likely to use common sounds such as R or S without even realizing it.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, following directions, listening for details, grammar, sentence construction, turn-taking, social language, and role-playing.

6. I Spy - This is another great game that you can use to get up and get moving. You can play this in the hall, on the playground, in your therapy room, walking around the school, in the cafeteria, anywhere really. Have the student try to find items that contain their target sound and then describe it to you or the group until someone guesses it.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, describing, sentence construction, grammar, listening, critical thinking, and social language.

7. Acting Out Actions - This is kind of like charades. Have the students think of an action that contains their target word that they can act out. The other students will practice saying the target sounds as they guess what the action is. For example, if the target sound is /r/, the students might want to act out running, rowing, racing, rocking, exercising, surfing, marching, pouring, etc. The other students will know what sound the word has to have so they can only guess actions that contain their target sound.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, critical thinking, attention to details, short term memory, turn-taking, and social language.

8. Make your own version of "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot" - If you're working on "SH" - you can play "Shoes, Ocean, Fish, Shoot" and establish rules. Shoes beat fish, loses to ocean. Ocean beats shoe, loses to fish. Fish beats ocean, loses to shoes. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it but once the rules are learned, you can play this again and again if you have an extra minute or two at the end of a session. Try to also have the students explain their logic behind the rules. For example, the ocean cannot beat the fish because fish live in oceans. This will get the students thinking creatively and help create a more concrete understanding of the rules.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, critical thinking, short term memory, problem solving, planning, social language, and abstract thinking,

What are some of your favorite activities that use little or no materials? Comment below and share your creative ideas :)

Monday, July 18, 2016

What to Expect with My Newest Following Directions Interactive Activity & Worksheets

Hello everyone!

I am SUPER excited to FINALLY be able to share my newest following directions activity pack with you!

This product includes a 90 stimulus item interactive activity for a tablet, computer, Smart Board, or phone AND 10 worksheets (100 additional stimulus items) that come in 2 different formats (stay tuned).

Let's look at each one:

Interactive Tablet/Computer/Smart Board/Cell Phone Activity

Here you can see the Home Page where you can click around to the different sections of the product.  

Each section has 10 stimulus items, except the Mixed Directions section has 20 stimulus items. At the end of each section, the student will see a little "Congrats, you completed Section #1-8" page. 

Two of my favorite features are the sound effects and slide advancements! If a student selects an incorrect answer, a consistent sound effect will play and the slide will not advance. When the student selects the correct response, a different sound will play and the slide will advance! This makes the activity super interactive!

*Two versions of the interactive product are included. One is a PowerPoint that includes sound effects and a PDF version that DOES NOT include sound effects! They are the exact same product with the only difference being sound effects. This alternate version is great for students who are highly distractable or need a more simplified activity.*

You can open the PowerPoint version on a computer, tablet, Smart Board, or phone. You must have the PowerPoint program/app in order to utilize the interactive features. 

You can open the PDF version using any PDF viewer you prefer. I suggest opening in iBooks on the iPad to take advantage of the interactive features. 
Also included:
PDF - 10 page Following Directions Worksheets
PDF – 10 Page Dabber Following Directions Worksheets
*These files are exactly the same except the Dabber Worksheets replace all of the action directives (circle, underline, color, etc.) with “dab”. *


Thanks for stopping by and checking out my newest product!

Let me know what you think in the comments :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to Dominate Your Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY)

As you can imagine, your first year on the job can be pretty hectic. There's finding your way around your new building (MULTIPLE buildings if you're an itinerant SLP), trying to get connected to printers and WiFi ASAP, knowing who to go to for different kinds of help, learning staff names and assignments, getting familiar with your new caseload, creating documentation templates to help keep you organized, sending/responding to 1.5 million e-mails, setting up your new therapy room, becoming familiar with materials/assessments...the list goes on forever!!

Don't panic just yet, I'd like to help you Not Only Survive Your Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY), but DOMINATE!

Rule #1, ALWAYS SMILE and don't let anyone see you lose it - First impressions are vital, and being the new kid on the block means you'll have potentially hundreds of first impressions to give staff and students. Always be pleasant, polite, and respectful to EVERYONE. Now that being said, there WILL BE times when you're about to LOSE IT. The first year can be rough and overwhelming. Everyone has been there. When you feel like your marbles are about to spill out all over the floor, take a minute to collect yourself (and your marbles). Do a lap around the school, lock yourself in your therapy room for a few minutes, dive into that secret drawer of snacks (you need that by the way, and pro tip - make sure everything is sealed or else an ant infestation may come your way!). Do whatever you need to do to handle the situation in a positive way.

Rule #2, Take advantage of having a mentor and planned observations - Call me crazy, but when I was allowed to pick any student/session for my boss to observe me, I picked my most difficult one. "Why would I do this?" I asked myself minutes before the observation as I was profusely sweating. I knew why though. If you have the opportunity to have someone who is knowledgeable and experienced, why waste either of your time? I wanted real constructive criticism and suggestions that I could use to help improve the overall effectiveness of my therapy...and as my session went up in flames right before our eyes, she had plenty of pointers for me that I implemented throughout the entire year :)

Rule #3, BE FLEXIBLE - One thing no one tells you is that there are special school or class-wide events ALL THE TIME! Your schedule is CONSTANTLY changing. You just have to roll with it. See the students you can, communicate with teachers, and try to plan alternate times to make up the students you cannot see. Often times, teachers are very flexible and want their students to get the services they deserve. Work with them a little and get creative. You could also see if you could push-in during special events. Those opportunities are great for observing carryover and targeting goals in a practical manner.

Rule #4, BE PREPARED - Be prepared to throw your plans out the window, make lessons on the fly, answer unexpected questions, and group students who have drastically different needs. You should always have some sort of plan that you'd LIKE to stick to, but be equally as prepared to go in another direction. Try to have some games or activities that could work with a lot of goals. ZINGO and Mashin' Max were my go-to games for my students with special needs and Headbanz/Jeepers Peepers and Rory's Story Cubes were my go-to games for the rest of my caseload. Also, be prepared for meetings. Have your documents organized with key information highlighted or easy to access. Go to the meeting a few minutes early (trust me, you'll be the first person there). While you're waiting, run through your sections of the IEP quick, jot down key points you'd like to talk about, and try to predict questions or issues so you can have a response or solution ready to go. Sometimes, it's also good to bring work in case anyone is late so you're not just sitting there wasting time (my BIGGEST pet peeve). Bring your data sheets to tally up percentages, write log notes, fill out attendance sheets, or work on reports. Do whatever you can that still offers you privacy and confidentiality of the student's names/information.

Rule #5, ALWAYS SCHEDULE A LUNCH AND DOCUMENTATION TIME - I think a 30 minute lunch break/planning period may be required (ask your union rep or mentor) but so many SLPs see students straight through lunch. HECK NO!!! Make sure you have a half hour lunch and documentation time scheduled EVERY DAY. Now, I have to admit that I typically work through my lunch WHILE eating and recharging for the afternoon. I tally up data, respond to e-mails, type log notes, print materials, make copies, work on reports, set up afternoon activities, etc., all while chowing down on a [usually] healthy lunch. (Anyone who works with me knows I take my lunch very seriously and never "forget" to do people do that?) Regardless of how I spend it, that time is MY time and I always need it! Also, some schools will allow you "ACCESS billing time". Make yourself aware of any time slots that you can get because you won't believe how much time you spend on unplanned tasks like communicating with teachers, attending surprise meetings, dealing with a difficult student who just spent 15 extra minutes transitioning, explaining to teachers WHY it's important you see their students, waiting for your computer to unfreeze or the printer to un-jam. All of these things eat your time like you wouldn't believe!

Rule #6 and the most important one, KNOW THAT YOUR BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH - There will be days when you question yourself as a person, SLP, parent, spouse, friend, coworker, etc. If you try your best, that WILL be good enough! I repeat, YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH to be a GREAT SLP! You've worked this hard to get to where you are. You made it and you're doing it! Don't let a difficult meeting, negative comment, rough session, quickly approaching deadline, or unreasonable expectation derail you. You CAN work through anything and you WILL dominate your CFY!

These are the rules I lived by that helped me get through my clinical fellowship year. We're all human though, of course, and a few trips directly to the closest fast food drive-thru or wine and spirit store also helped save my sanity on occasion :) Be sure to take time for yourself everyday and figure out what gives you fulfillment outside of work. If you have the right attitude, you can conquer anything!

Me on the last day of my CFY! I did it and so will you!

Do you have any suggestions for new SLPs?
What helped get you through your CFY?
Do you have any advice for SLPs starting their 2nd or 3rd year?
- I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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