9 Practical Tips to an Organized Speech Room You will Love!


Do you ever feel that if you don’t have your speech room organized before students start school that the year will be a long, downhill slide? If you don't love your space, it affects your mood whenever you walk in the door.


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 practical tips to think about before you even enter the building. Going in with a plan for priorities can help you get off to a good start more quickly!

Organizing Furniture

👀 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.

👀 Place your chair in a position where you can reach the phone (for help if needed) or door (for students who are runners) before your students can leave your room. If you don’t have a rolling desk chair, consider getting one as it makes reaching students and supplies so much easier.

👀 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.

👀  Put your computer in a place where the students can easily see online activities from their seats or be able to pull their chairs over to it. This makes accessing online resources as part of your therapy easier.

     


9 Practical Tips to a Speech Room You will Love!

Consider individual student needs



👀 Some students are better able to work in defined areas with boundaries. You may be able to easily rearrange one chair to a better location if you plan ahead.

👀 If your room size allows, it is great to have a single desk for kids who come individually and need boundaries. 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 catch out of the corner of your eyes.

👀 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 or bean bag chair symbolizing a quiet area, with a ‘BREAK’ symbol near it, allowing you to prompt your student to request a break when they start looking stressed or begin getting up from the table.

👀 Nonverbal students with motor planning problems may need to practice using communication boards or picture exchanges with locations on the table changed. I found this out, to my chagrin, when a student could only exchange a symbol if I was sitting across from him. Real life does not have static positions!


9 Practical Tips to a Speech Room You will Love!
   
 Organizing Materials

There are so many ways to store materials!  For my tips on how to store worksheets and TpT materials, check out this post.

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 work well.

👀 For young or easily distracted kids, a cover for the shelves is helpful to eliminate distractions and show that it is work time. Fabric, like felt or a sheet, works well as you can pull them aside to make the toys visible during reinforcement or free request time.

👀 You can also quickly place a board with symbols of the available choices on the cover for students to request the one they want. If you say, “Sure, go get it.” after the request, you can see if they are functionally discriminating the symbol system.

Bins have many uses!


👀 Keep a bin of the books, activities, and worksheets you are currently using within easy reach (on top of your short filing cabinet or in your rolling cart.

👀 If your caseload is diverse, have one bin for the younger/lower level materials and another for the older/higher level materials.

👀 This makes it easier to quickly grab what you need, 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!

Containers! I just love containers!

👀 Keep a container in easy reach with school supplies you frequently use.

👀 Use colorful seasonal boxes or containers with a fun open-ended thematic game to use as a review activity to start the next session.

👀 Put some thematic toys for younger kids or challenge activities for older kids in visible containers. Sooner or later, someone will get curious and ask about it!

👀 This makes it useful for unprompted requesting, questioning, quick language samples, checking different skills than you are currently addressing, or just for a bit of fun!

👀 Having a variety of fun thematic activities available helps pull mixed groups together! The photo shows how I did this one fall.

👀 The activities included funny apples describing cards, sorting boards to check flexibility in categorizing skills, and a describing poster that looks great on bulletin boards.

What is your best tip for organizing your speech room?

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