5 Dollar Store Must-Haves for SLPs!

Shopping at the dollar store has made my SLP life so much easier! Thanks to Talkin’ With Twang for this linky idea!
I’ve made so many purchases from the Dollar Store to organize my therapy room, provide student prizes and find fun, inexpensive materials for therapy. I really had to think about what to include so this post wouldn’t be too long. Here's what I decided on:

Organizing: Materials

I posted here about how much I like using page protectors. While I buy them online, I really the pretty colors of the $1 binders and I love how easily they fit on a shelf or in a filing cabinet. Pop your TpT product pages in a page protector with the game and spinners in a separate one. Store the game cards in a plastic zip bag and stick them in with the game. Put all of this in a binder, along with similar materials, and you are ready to grab it and go! See how easy? Pictured is the game board from my Talk About SH- Spring packet.

Organizing: For My Students

I love having basic supplies that I need for every session within easy reach. A cute basket can hold whatever you need on your table and make it easy for students to pass around. My go-to items include a small dry erase board, varied colors of dry erase markers so students have choices, small make-up sponges for erasers, and of course, the basic pens, pencils, erasers and scissors in a cup.  All of the containers came from the Dollar Store. 
TIP: Be sure to keep your permanent markers stored somewhere else! If a student uses the wrong marker, just write over the permanent marker and erase while wet. After few tries, the permanent marker will erase.

Organizing: Just for Me!

Don’t we deserve a treat, too?  I couldn’t resist this cute little colored cork board to keep my To Do items on. It is small, so I can hang it up right near me while I work. That way, at the end of the day, my notes of what I need to get out, copy or prepare before the next session will be in one spot. The binder clips are cute for hanging small items that get lost easily, too!

Fun and Inexpensive:

I was so excited to find this 100 day poster! My students love big board games and this fits the bill! Just change ‘days’ to ‘sounds’ and your students can race their way to 100 productions! I’d play to let them keep moving their cute little vehicles (Dollar Store erasers!) on space for every correct sound production at whatever level they are working on. When they make a mistake, they have to stop there for the next student to take a turn. Can anyone make it to 100 before time is out?


Check out the erasers in this picture. They make great game pieces! (They are lousy erasers, though!)

Prizes:

While I have tried many prizes from the Dollar Store, these are the all time favorite with my older kids. They come in varied colors, with some even having their own carrying case. I only give out prizes about once a quarter, and with my caseload, it is very much worth the money I’ve spent to have a daily point system that lets them work toward a prize!

I’m sure you’ve shopped there, too! Do you agree that it should be named the Ten Dollar Store? Maybe more? What is your favorite purchase? 

For more ideas, remember to stop back in to Talkin’ With Twang!

The Best Laid Plans of .... SLPs?


One of those days...

Yes, I meant to get out to the dollar store and buy cute little colored cars that fit perfectly on the game board. But, you know perfectly well that speech/language therapy is a make-it-work field and real life gets in the way of beautifully organized plans! For me, anyway. Maybe you are able to organize everything on Sunday night and have everything go as expected. If so, please, please let me in on the secret! There are lots of comments sections below- just fill one up! You’d make me sooooo happy! :)

Back on track (ha-ha!) my car idea didn’t exactly work when I grabbed the larger sized cars I had around. The students had to keep the front of the cars lined up with the space they were on, but the cars kept getting knocked into because they were too big. Then, there were arguments about where each student’s car actually belonged.


I did get my students to start some conversations with each other, but the best part really was when I had them brainstorm ways they could politely express their opinions about which spot was where the car actually belonged. We assigned an emotion to how each of the different choices would make the other person feel and practiced saying the best choice with an appropriate tone of voice and facial expression.


So, what do you think I should do next time I play this game? Use the tokens that come with the game or pull out the too big cars again? Maybe actually make that trip to the dollar store for tiny cars? If you tried this game with the right sized cars, let me know if it is actually worth running another errand!

Would you share a story about a time when your plan failed but the therapy worked? I can't be alone!

How to Organize and Save Time- 3 SLP Tips

Organized? Yes, please!


Why? It saves you time in the long run and reduces frustration, at least for me! Thanks to the Frenzied SLPS for another great topic and invite to link up! Here's 3 quick and easy tips!

Organization is crucial for me, since I absolutely hate wasting time trying to find things I need. Whether you are at home planning for the next day, with kids, dinner and laundry waiting for you, or at school with a ton of paperwork to do, who wants to spend time thinking of all those things feeling frustrated while trying to find what you need?

Add to that the fact that I have worked in many schools over many years, accumulating materials for students from 13 months to 19 years old, moving my stuff from school to home to school almost yearly…. Well, you can see that I have had a lot of reasons and a lot of practice getting organized!

First Tip

It is oh-so-easy to do and has saved me many times. When you print your first, beautiful clean copy of a worksheet, take a yellow highlighter and write your initials in the top right corner.  It won’t show up when you photocopy. Resist the temptation to ever use it- that mark lets you know that it is the original and, possibly, your last copy.

My second tip?

Page protectors! For many years, I stored all of my photocopies in file folders in filing cabinets.  Then, I started to change jobs and move everything home regularly. I found that I could store more in the same space if I got rid of all of the file folders and recycled the extra copies. Take a page protector and place all of your highlighted beautiful worksheets for the same skill in that page protector.

Then, take all of these page protectors, for example plurals, possessives, verb tenses, etc. and put them in a binder marked Syntax. Easy to do, right?  A thin binder will fit in a filing cabinet as easily as a file folder and when you have a syntax goal heavy caseload one year, all you have to do is pull out that binder and see what you want to photocopy.

Third tip? 

What about when you find out that you have only that last, beautiful yellow highlighted copy left and no time to get  to the photocopy machine?  Reusable pockets and dry erase markers to the rescue!  I use these often since it saves on photocopying and my students like being able to choose the color they want to use for the work. They manage to get a little free drawing time in, too, while I am helping the other student in the group or recording data.

Did you find any of these tips helpful?  
How about a FREE, editable system for labeling those binders? Get it at my store for free!

In 2016, I'll Try...

Thanks to The Frenzied SLPs  for hosting this fun  New Year linky! I just posted earlier this week about the importance of making sure our students learn to think ahead and form goals. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect time to talk about this!

I’ve made a resolution, too! This year, I am trying to incorporate more YouTube clips into my therapy with older students. They respond so well when they get to go online in therapy and I love having a change of pace!

Many of my students need to work on organizing their thoughts to summarize information. Although they are older, some need to work on narrative skills as well. I have found that using Story Grammar Marker symbols in a graphic organizer format works well for my poor readers as a strategy to work on these goals. It helps them determine the important information and sequentially organize it in sentences. Since the story grammar symbols are familiar and visual, the processing load of reading and thinking about the information is reduced.

Using video clips is a perfect way to practice these skills! Sometimes I let my students show me their favorite clips, as long as they show they can choose ones that are school appropriate.  My favorites include wordless shorts, as you can work on WH questions, telling narratives, sequencing skills and more using these. I have found that the links can expire, but as of this posting date, you can watch “For the Birds” at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_OqprX7148. There are also independent productions made for school projects that can be fun. One of these is “Partly Cloudy” at this link:

I hope you like these ideas! What tips are you trying for 2016? For more great ideas, be sure to link back to The Frenzied SLPs!

Simple Therapy Ideas for Last Minute Planning!

As much as we love the holidays, this can be a stressful time of year, especially for overworked moms and dads. Don’t you agree? It’s not like we already didn’t have too much to do. Enjoying the holidays can be easier if we try not to overdo in the name of the holiday spirit. A few family traditions and a happy family are all we really need to make the season bright!


Quick, free and easy holiday ideas from Looks Like Language!



Sometimes simple is better in therapy, too! Young children really like playing easy games, without winners. Variations on a theme, or the exact same thing, suit them just fine. Do you have a book that you’ve read so many bedtimes that you feel you could do it in your sleep?


Simplicity is why I loved being in a school with Ellison cutters and have saved the shapes for years, even though I am not currently working with preschoolers.  If your school doesn’t have an Ellison cutter, don’t worry. You can use this idea by finding simple shapes online and cutting them out with scissors and construction paper. 

Quick, free and easy holiday ideas from Looks Like Language!


Once you have your shapes cut out, laminate them and then you can attach any pictures to them using tape or fun tac. (Make sure your students don’t mouth items if using fun-tac, and don’t let them think that it is gum, either!)
For the pictured activity, your students need a blank tree to decorate. After saying their target sound or language goal, they pick a tree shape, turn it over, take off the decoration that is on the back of the small tree and put it on their larger tree to decorate it. 


Need a little movement?  Place the large tree on your wall or cabinet. After saying the work and picking a shape, the students get to stand up and take the decoration to put on the shared tree. Kids love this activity!

When it is time to clean up, students can follow directions to find the decoration you labeled or described and go get it off the tree!

Quick, fun and easy ideas for last minute therapy!
If you’d like a game for decorating the tree that has most of the work already done for you, check out my Christmas Category Activities.

Now that we have solved your therapy problems this week, you’ll have more time for all of your holiday preparations!

Whatever holiday you celebrate,  I hope it will be a happy one this year! 

The Sunday Scoop! 12-6-15

Busy, busy, busy, but a visual says it all, so quickly! They look... like language! I'm happy to join up with Teaching Trio!

I hope your to-do lists are getting done! Enjoy Sunday!

Speechless SLP Moments that Keep Us Going!

My friend  Kim, at Activity Tailor, has the most wonderful ideas! This week she is reflecting on moments that make an SLP speechless, and I thought I'd join in. 

It is easy for any of us to concentrate on all the difficulties we have in our jobs, and I am so grateful to Kim for her idea that got me thinking about the wonderful moments in my (long) career.

People in education and healthcare fields go into this work because they want to make a positive impact on people's lives. For all of the frustration that I feel, at times, when I can't help this student make progress a little faster, or I can't get that student to focus at all one day, or I just can't stand all the paperwork one more minute!!, I also have those moments over the years when I know that I have had an impact. These warm feelings are what keep me coping when I wish I had just stayed home that day!

My sweet memories include:
*the mom who was so grateful that my Elmo book helped her 12 year old to finally start using the toilet at night 
* the four year old who could  say her name understandably and whose grandparent could understand her for the first time ever
* the 18 month nonverbal toddlers who got in a pushing contest
 to be able to come to speech with me first
*the teacher who said that many SLPs had helped her kids, but I was the one who helped her learn how to make her students understand

We may not get bonuses, or conferences in interesting places, and we barely get lunch some days, but we have the knowledge that we helped someone's loved one. Maybe yours!

Staying warm with speechless moments~
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