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?

Take Me Out to the Ball Game! Week 2

I know that the baseball season lasts quite a while, but it seemed like a new free set to start off the new school year would be fun!

Have a little open ended  baseball fun with this free download from Looks Like Language!
Open ended activities are so useful for mixed groups, where each student has a different goal to work on.

This baseball game is great no matter who you root for- there are players with uniforms of every color when you collect the whole packet.

So, enjoy the game!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game! Week 1

When you start hearing cicadas in the Northeast, it means the World Series is not too far away! It was time for a new free download for my loyal followers, so what is better to finish the summer and start the fall than a baseball game?

Make mixed groups easier! Get the newest free open ended activity from Looks Like Language!

Of course, you can download it now and play it next spring, or any time you'd like! There will be weekly downloads until you get the basic game packet, but be sure to open my newsletters to get the complete free packet (plus some extras) if you follow me.

You don't? Well, if you are interested, just sign up  on my blog! You are already here!

Who's up for some Cracker Jacks?

Try out this FREE unit for Getting Homework Done from Looks Like Language!
If you work with (or have your own) elementary level students who hate doing homework, you might also want to download this free Getting Work Done unit from my store. It's part of a popular bundle that helps children develop language for better problem solving skills.

Enjoy!




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

3 Rhyming Games That Are Fun and Easy! Rhyme Time! Week 4

Have you been having fun with rhyming? I sure hope so! If you missed the other parts of this free rhyming set, as well as my ideas for how to incorporate word play in daily life, start by clicking here.


Looks Like Language has free downloads for parents, too
Now that your children are familiar with rhyming, maybe you'd like to try some challenges! Ask the question and then the children can take turns providing a starting word. 

Be sure to talk about which WORD has the most/least rhymes, NOT which child guessed the best. This helps with keeping it a collaborative family game instead of a sibling fight.

1.  What do you think is the biggest number of rhymes we can make?
(After the challenge: "Great going, guys! We met the challenge!"
OR, "Good try, everyone! That word was harder to rhyme than we thought!")

2. What word is the hardest to rhyme?
(After the challenge: "That was a hard one! We couldn't come up with real words, so let's try some silly ones and see how many of those we can name.")

3. How many real/silly/both rhymes can we make for all the names in our family? Which name do you think will be the easiest? Hardest?

I know you are having fun now! But be sure to download the last set of free picture cards, too!

Enjoy!


Linda

Rhyme Time! Week 3 Freebie

It is Rhyme Time! Since I feel very committed to helping children, I've made a series of easy to play games that can be used by parents, SLPs, SPED and PreK teachers to help build children's literacy skills. This week, there's another rhyming set available to download for free!

Playing with rhymes helps kids get ready for reading! Free download from Looks Like Language.
Why rhyming? It is one of the important pre-reading skills that children need to have! Download this free part of the set here and keep coming back every week to get the rest of the set. 

RHYMING TIP:

When you are playing around with the sounds in words, like in this rhyming set, encourage children to pay attention to their tongues and mouth. When you start the rhyming pairs, the beginning sounds are different. What did they do that made it different? Maybe one sound used lips (like 'pear') and the next word used their tongues (like 'tear'.)

Are you an educator looking for something more in depth?

Take a peek at my rhyming games at my store! There are 66 different pictures in this set, so you can differentiate more easily for groups and even build vocabulary with the less common words. Click here to check it out.

Enjoy!
Linda

Rhyme Time! Week 2 Freebie

Who doesn't love a good Dr. Seuss book, full of rhymes? Theodor Seuss Geisel was a brilliant man whom we should all be grateful for. His funny creatures and entertaining rhymes have taught many children to read!

Easy tips to help your child with pre reading skills. Be ready for school!
The power of rhyming is well known, and it is something that parents can easily learn how to fit into their regular routines with their kids.  Just liven up a boring task with a word game and you will be helping your child to be more ready for school!

Don't forget to start a night time routine for a short story or book, either!

Now, I'm not claiming to have the sparkling wit of Dr. Seuss, but this free download will help you get started playing word games with your kids.

Want more tips for word games? Start at the beginning of the summer series here.

What are your favorite books for kids?

Enjoy- Linda
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