Showing posts with label SLP Organization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SLP Organization. Show all posts

The Worst Speech Rooms Ever! Plus Organization Tips for SLPs


Sharing our ideas makes us stronger, so I reached out to challenge my readers this month to get some of their best tips (and Worst Rooms Ever stories)  to help us get started on the right foot this year! If you want more tips, check out this blog post!

TIPS


Tatiana shares to be sure to have highlighters for color coding and lots of post it notes!
Annie says that she makes back to school less overwhelming by spending 5-10 minutes prepping every day during the summer.
Ashley devised a spreadsheet for her caseload including minutes, goals and IEP dates to be sure that no one is missed when she schedules. Another bonus is that the info is easy to share!
Kate responded, “My organization tip is to START EARLY. The time you spend at the end of May pre-organizing for fall is so worth it! Stock depleted forms, update data sheets, double check your roster and assessment log.”

Thanks for the great tips, as all of these ideas are helpful, but Annie is the contest winner for pure dedication! Congratulations!

THERAPY ROOMS

Having a space that is organized, pretty and functional can make work life so much better! A few of my readers sent pictures of their spaces. You can see their photos, plus more tips, on my Pinterest board SLP & SPED: Organization. If you have a photo to share, email me to be considered for adding to my board!

Organize Your SLP Space ! Plus the worst Therapy Rooms Ever!
Kate is excited to share her beautiful, new therapy room. After being in schools and dealing with whatever room she was assigned to, she now has her own gorgeous space. All of us with school experience understand why she is so thrilled!

Annie has a beautiful and functional bulletin board, which we all love! Check out this set which has beautiful strategy posters that make great bulletin boards!

Kim is still in a school, but she painted her desk to give it a bright and cheery look!

Taking a little time to make your therapy space your own is so important! Walking in to work with something that makes you smile is the best way to start the day. And, if you are comfortable in your space, you will foster interactions with your students that help them feel comfortable there, too.

Kate, your office space is beautiful! You are the winner of the contest and get a packet from me to use in your gorgeous room!

Tell your worst room ever story at Looks Like Language!

THE WORST SPACE EVER!


With our small groups, it seems that SLPs are often the last to get a space to work in a school (and often the worst!)

I invited my readers to share their worst space ever, and these are the responses. (One of the situations is mine!)

Be sure to share your WORST ROOM EVER story in the comments!



  1. My Worst Room Ever was what we dubbed "the Cage."  It was in the basement of the building, and was literally "cage" material that cut it off from the rest of the area.  I shared it with the band/instrument instructor and was constantly having to move all the music stands out of the way on the two days I was there.  There wasn't anywhere to hang pictures or make it more comfortable and a friendly atmosphere for my students.  Luckily I was only there for a semester when another room opened up for my use.                                             
  2. When I was student teaching, once/week we saw students in the custodian's closet, complete with the mop in the rolling bucket or water....and the SMELL!!  At another school, while I was student teaching, we saw students on the stage with the curtains closed but in the rest of the room, the BAND was practicing!!!
  3. More recently, I worked in an Early Learning Center.  I could see students in a room with 8 SLP's desks.  Multiple therapy sessions went on at the same time, teachers came in and out of the room to talk with the SLPs, parents came in, administrators, etc. Or my other choice was to see students at a table in the hallway outside the bathroom and a classroom for early childhood autistic students.
  4. I went to a new school where the principal hated speech paths. He took me to a boy’s bathroom that was IN USE! Really? When I said no thanks, he then led me to a dentist office where there was a dental chair and room to walk around it. Needless to say, I found my own space that year, which was on the floor of a stairway landing.
  5. Worst room experience - when I had to work on the stage at the elementary school while PE was happening in the gym  - only thing separating us was the stage curtain.  I had a very hard time trying to tell if my students were saying their sounds correctly :(
  6. Worst room for me was a previous janitors closet at a middle school. Still had water fixtures exposed, no windows, barely fit 3 students. However, if there would have been a tornado, I would have been set!
  7. I’ve been pretty lucky with rooms, but my first speech room consistently had roaches and roach poop in it :/
  8. Worst room was an electrical closet that could only fit my desk and a file cabinet. I had to search the school to find empty space for the actual therapy session.
These were all spaces I wouldn't want to work in, so I went to a random number generator to decide! Stefanie, congratulations! I hope you have a nice room this year to use your packet from me in!

Speech paths have been offered some pretty terrible spaces to work in! What is your WORST ROOM EVER story?

9 Practical Tips to a Speech Room You will Love!


Ever feel that if you don’t have your speech therapy space organized before students start school that the year will be a long, downhill slide?
And if you have multiple schools, the effect is just magnified!

9 Practical Tips to a Speech Room You will Love!
Since time is so precious at the beginning of the school year, here are some tips to think about before you even enter the building. Going in with a priority plan can help you get off to a good start more quickly!

Organizing Furniture


     1.  Seat students where they can see a bulletin board with posters of the strategies you will be teaching. It is great for helping them to use the strategies more independently over the year.

     2.  Place your chair in a position where you can can reach the phone (for help if needed) or door (for students who are runners) before your students can.

3.  Have a low file drawer, or even better, a rolling cart, within arm’s reach of where you are sitting. This is the place to keep basic supplies, log notes, books and other therapy items that you are currently using.

4.  Have your desk/table with the computer in a position where the students can easily see from the table or pull their chairs over to it. This makes accessing online resources as part of your therapy easier.

5.  Consider individual student needs. Some students are better able to work in a defined area with boundaries.

-  If your room size allows, it is great to have a single desk for these kids who come individually. Place it where there is a wall at their back and/or side and they have an undistracted view, if possible. Windows tend to be more distracting than wall decorations because of the movements you can catch out of the corner of your eye.

- If your room is small, you have boundaries built in! You just might need to give your table a push in one direction or another to make it work.

In a perfect world (LOL), there would be a rug symbolizing a quiet break area next to the work area, with a ‘BREAK’ symbol near it, allowing you to prompt your student to request a break when they get up from the table.


Organizing Materials


9 Practical Tips to a Speech Room You will Love!
1. There are so many ways to store materials! 
For my tips on how to store worksheets 
and TpT materials, check out this post.

2. Shelving is the best bet for games and toys. 
If you don’t have built in classroom 
shelving, inexpensive plastic shelves that 
come apart easily for summer storage can work.

- For young or easily distracted kids, you 
might want to have something covering the shelves until work time is done. 
Felt (or a colorful sheet) work great since you 
can just pull them to make the toys visible 
when it is request time.

3. Bins have many uses!

- If you do thematic therapy, try keeping a bin of books, activities and worksheets at varied levels within easy reach (on top of your short filing cabinet or in your rolling cart.)

- This makes it easier to quickly grab what you need and to adjust activities for mixed levels or add a quick activity to end the session.

9 Practical Tips to a Speech Room You will Love!
    4. Containers! I just love containers!

    - Keep a container of some sort in easy reach with school supplies you frequently use.

    - Use colorful seasonal boxes, or containers to match your theme, to keep a review activity in to start the next session. You can even use felt shapes to match your theme!

9 Practical Tips to a Speech Room You will Love!
Even better, put some thematic toys for younger kids, or challenge activities 
      for older kids, in the box for 
      unprompted language samples. 

Sooner or later, someone will get curious 
and ask about it!

The photos show some of the types of activities I'd have available for my 
      themes. 

Even if the levels and language skills are different, having a variety of fun activities on a theme helps pull mixed groups together!

The funny apple pictures and sorting board are from the Apple Activities set at my store. It includes describing puzzles, mazes and homework worksheets, too! 

The describing apples poster is a bonus freebie that comes with the Fall Language Skills Bundle. After you have taught the skills, it is great to hang on a bulletin board!

Your Organization Ideas


I’m reaching out to my newsletter followers this fall to share your ideas with us!

We work in so many different physical conditions and with such varied student populations, no one person could come up with solutions for everyone!

So, be sure to open your newsletter to get the contest details. A lucky someone will get a free set from my store to get their year off to a good start!

What? You aren’t following me? That is easy peasy to fix. Just sign up with the pop-up box. (Yes, I hate them, too, but they do make it easy!)

Next time, I’ll be sharing your suggestions and we will vote for the WORST EVER ROOM story!

Enjoy! 
Linda

Giveaway! Last Week to Enter

Giveaway fun at Looks Like Language! Last week!
It has been so fun deciding what to include in my binders each week as a little surprise, I may do this again sometime! Read on to find out another reason why.

Congratulations to this week's winners, Jenna and Elizabeth!

I don't have a long post this week because I am visiting friends around Lake Champlain, but I thought I'd share a photo with you so you could enjoy a little of the beauty vicariously.

I also thought you might have a laugh at my math skills as I was figuring out this contest. 5 Fridays in September @ 2 winners each week = 10 winners, right?

Slight problem, though. The first Friday I only announced the contest! So, the moral of this story is to trust my therapy advice but not my math! Two more binders to give away, and I may do this again, but hopefully with better counting skills!

Have a peaceful week!

A peaceful break at Lake Champlain! Looks Like Language

The Give Away Continues! Love FREE?

I'm thrilled to announce this week's winners! Amanda and Becky, congratulations!

And congratulations to me, too! I feel like a winner when I get to talk to one of my blog readers. Getting to know you better helps me help you!

Give away time at Looks Like Language!
So, I told you that I have a pile of stuff I've brought home and decided to do a give away. The photo only shows a piece of it (unfortunately!) Interested in a chance to win one of my binders, with page protectors, data sheets and a surprise?

Just sign up at the top of my blog for a chance to win! Need more details? Check out this post.

Good luck!

Getting Organized for Back to School Freebie

Do you feel better starting the school year with some organization in place? I know I always did. The beginning of the school year hits with a bang, and being able to find your materials quickly can save so much time!


Get organized for back to school with a freebie from Looks Like Language!
I had you in mind when I made this freebie for labeling your binders. A little bit of pretty along with organization makes getting back to school even nicer! You can get it at my store!

Don't worry if you aren't an SLP and the pre-made labels won't work for you. The PowerPoint is completely editable, so all you have to do is highlight the existing text and replace it with your own.

Want more organization tips? Read this post to see how I do it!

Enjoy!

Endings and Beginnings- Time for a Change!

Exciting news at Looks Like Language!
Exciting news, my friends! After 38 years in public schools, I'll be retiring this month. Change is bittersweet! 

After a summer off to relax and rejuvenate, I plan to spend more time on my store and work privately part time.  While I am busy packing up and preparing to move on, I thought I'd share a few random thoughts and tips with you today.









On Students:
The student who, 5 minutes before had been shouting, "NO! NO! I won't come!" found out I was retiring. Now his tune has changed. "You won't be my speech teacher next year? I'm going to miss you." He can't wait to come.

Take away:
Sometimes you are having more of an impact than you realize. Try not to take students' attitudes personally (especially if they are middle schoolers!) They may be struggling with an internal problem, having difficulty transitioning, or may have problems with affect and nonverbal communication skills. Keep reassuring yourself!

Organizing makes packing up easier- Looks Like Language

Organizing:
I have found out that my organization strategy really works for making packing easier! I keep multiple originals in a page protector and store them in a binder, organized by skill or theme. (Read more about it here.)

So to pack up, I've just been recycling any extra copies I made this year and putting the binders in a carry bag. Every day I carry a few out to my car. I have to say, I've had to move a lot in my career and this has been the easiest one by far! Try it out for yourself!


Games and organizers make FUNctional bulletin boards! Looks Like Language

Bulletin Boards:
Since I've never taken pictures of my room before, I thought I'd share this tip with you.

Placing the strategy pages and organizers in page protectors and hanging them on the board made a functional bulletin board. It is easy to grab the one I need for each group. Since my students face that board, an added bonus is that partway through the year, I can leave them up and watch to see who can do the work independently and who is still looking up at the strategy as needed for help.

I also have a some games up there, too. This helps me find out more about what my students are interested in at the beginning of the year. It provides natural opportunities for students to comment, ask questions and request. Plus, some of the TpT materials are so pretty, it makes a functional way to decorate for the holidays and seasons!

I'm counting down to summer!


FREE Social Skills Problem Solving Unit!

Do you have problems finding appropriate materials for solving problems with your older special needs students? If the level is right, the problems may be too young. If the problem is is right, there isn't enough support for the language skills. 
If your teens with language problems need help with problem solving, download this free unit!

The story in this freebie is about a girl whose 'friend' picks a fight in the middle of the cafeteria one day. It is short and sweet, but allows you to address a lot of problem solving and social language skills. Try it out! 


If you download it and love it, please consider kind feedback as a thank you!


Enjoy! Linda

4 Tips to Make the MOST of your Group Interactions

So much goes on in mixed group sessions that sometimes it can feel like a juggling act, especially for new SLPs. The activity, the materials, the behavior, modeling and eliciting the skills, taking data, and watching the clock to get it all completed! How do we get it done?

Part of what helps me out is the organization I set up at the beginning of the year, which provides a firm foundation. Don’t worry if you are already into the school year as the ideas will still help you out! Check out this post.

Once you have a master sheet of the goals you need to address during the year, think about how they can be worked on together to form your groups. While homogenous groups sound great, it is rare to have them, in my experience, and over time I have come to believe that students benefit from interactions with peers at different levels. It takes a bit of brainstorming to figure out specific activities and goal combinations at first, but soon it will be easier to do!

Pair earlier and later skills to provide models
For example, figuring out what happens when (predicting) is an early cause-effect type of skill that students need to make the connection and answer ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. When you ask your first student, “What happened when I …?” you are providing a model for the student who will be asked ‘Why?” or “How?’ next.

SLP: What did I do?
Student 1: You moved it.
SLP: What happened when I moved the wand?
Student 2: You made a bubble.
SLP: Yes! I moved the wand and made a bubble. Student 3, how did I get the bubble to come out?
Student 3: You moved it.

Using group interactions to make your job easier! Looks-Like-Language
Pair goals that work together to form a complete skill

With older students, you can elicit information in turns the same way. Take the example of remembering story details combined with sequencing and telling the main idea. After a short story or video clip, the first student could use story elements to remember different details. The second student could tell the important story attempts in sequence, while the third could sum it all up with the main idea. This way, the students are interacting and providing some of the information needed, freeing you up to take data.

Pair articulation needs with language needs
Students who have good language skills but need to work on carryover of their articulation goals can make great partners for students with language problems. The variety of activities you are using, especially books, for language needs can provide many chances for the artic student to use their speech sounds.

Make a set of the WH question words that your language student needs to answer and let your artic student ask a question that has one of the target sound words in it as well. Sometimes students respond well to the creative questions their peers ask! Once the students have started interacting with each other, they are both practicing their skills in a more naturalistic way, which is great for carryover.

Pair receptive needs with expressive needs
Students can be involved together in an activity when one needs to provide pieces of information that demonstrate comprehension while the other one needs to pull all of the information together to express it. Some examples of these pairings could be:
answering questions-> telling information in a grammatically correct sentence
remembering details-> summarizing information
naming items in a category-> choosing the correct category
describing an object -> making an inference

The basic idea behind of all these tips are to have some of the students supply a piece of the information that will provide models or help out the next student, limiting the amount of separate directions and models you have to provide. Using this strategy gets students interacting and using their skills in a more natural way while freeing up a little of your concentration to take data and manage the activity.

When it works, it can be awesome! Good luck!
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