Thursday, January 30, 2014

ABC's of my Speech Room {I is for...}

Whew, it's been well over a month since I've written about the ABC's of my Speech Room! So, I'll cut right to the chase...

I could NOT live without my IEP Binder!

I am new to my district this year and new to an online IEP system. I was kinda majorly starting to worry about how to figure everything out. Luckily for me, my district rocks! At our SLP meeting at the beginning of the year, they gave us these handy binders full of IEP goodness. It breaks it down by what each type of meeting entails and what paperwork you will need. They even provided a cheat sheet, which I have right next to my computer when writing IEPs (because even though I've written many IEPs this year, it's still hard to remember which papers you need for every single meeting).

What do you have in your speech room that you can't live without?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1,000 (plus) "Likes" Party!!

Oh. my. word. I now have over 1,000 likes on my Facebook page! When I started this blog this past summer, I never thought that I would receive so much love and support from my fellow bloggers and SLPs (Hey- that's YOU!). You all have made what I do worthwhile, and you only make me want to strive for bigger and better things. So from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you.

I don't know about you, but I think that this calls for a celebration!!

Starting today (January 28) through Friday (January 31), my entire store will be 20% off. AND that's not all- I'm hosting a giveaway for FREE products from my store! One winner will get 5 products from my store, and one winner will win 3 free products. All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 24, 2014

SLP Facebook Frenzy!

It's finally Frenzy time!! I'm teaming up with some of your favorite SLP's to provide YOU with some wonderful winter-themed freebies. All you have to do is like my Facebook page, and you'll be able to access my freebie. But hurry, the freebie will only be up from January 24th, 7 A.M. Central time, to January 27th, 9 P.M. Central time. 

Here's a map of all the SLPs participating in the Frenzy. You can click on the map to access a clickable document to get you started on the frenzy. After that, just follow the directions on the images to get to the next page (and your next freebie!). 

So just to recap- Start on whichever Facebook page you choose. Look for the "SLP Frenzy" tab (It will be under their cover photo in one of those little boxes that our photos or "like" count are in). Click on the tab! If you don't already, like their page. Follow the directions on the images to download your freebie. Click on the polar bear to hop on over to the next page. Best of all, ENJOY your freebies!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January Speachy Feedback Linky Party!

I'm linking up with Allison's Speech Peeps again this month to reward someone who has left some stellar feedback in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Here's how it works, you leave me informative, constructive, and all around wonderful feedback, and I may be giving you a FREE product! It's really that simple! So without further ado, here's this month's winner: 

If your username is Meagan Jones- please email me at and let me know which product you would like from my store for FREE! And if you're interested in checking out the product Meagan is talking about, you can find it here

Don't forget to head back to Allison's Speech Peeps to see if you were someone else's winner!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Narratives and Speech Therapy

Last week was my first week back to school after having three full weeks off (thanks to a week of snow days)! Now don't judge me when I tell you this- I really just wanted a simple, easy activity to use to ease back into therapy and the rest of the school year. I had purchased this Roll and Tell Articulation Stories packet from Miss Speechie over at Speech Time Fun in December and thought that this would be perfect!

Turns out, things didn't go as smoothly as I thought. Everything was wonderful with Speech Time Fun's product, the directions are great, there is a wonderful variety of pages for my students to choose from (I used this with my language students, so I didn't care which page they choose from the stack), and they loved getting to roll the dice! The problems arose when we got to the part where they had to come up with the story elements and actually make a story. 

Small disclaimer, I use a LOT of bullet points in this post, so I'm sorry in advance :)

How did I get my students ready to make up and tell a story? 

  • I had the students tell me the story of the "Three Little Pigs." It's a classic story that almost all students should know that include memorable characters and a clear problem and solution. 
  • After they were finished, I asked what the important parts of the story were. The students were able to tell me that the story included the three pigs and the wolf, and I was able to cue them into saying that they were the characters of the story. Most students were also able to tell me about the three houses that the pigs built, which is the setting
  • The problem and solution of the story were a little bit harder for the kids to come up with. I prompted my students with sentences like "Why did the pigs move from their house to the next pig's house? What was the wolf doing to them? What could this be called in a story?" Once they decided that that was the problem, I cued them to give me the last main story element, the solution, with "Now how did the pigs solve their problem? What did they do to get away from the big bad wolf? What is this called in a story?"  
  • Once my students had knowledge of the four main story elements that I wanted to target, I played a game with them. I wrote out words and short phrases that all represented the different story elements and had the students match up the word or phrase with the story element it belonged to.
  • Now, with a concrete knowledge of story elements, we could finally finish up the great Roll and Say Game from Speech Time Fun!
I never realized how important narratives were to speech therapy until this week. Sure, I learned about them in grad school and we talked about their importance, but sometimes you have to experience something for it to make the most impact on you.

So, why are narratives so important in speech therapy?

  • I love to use storytelling to work on my student's goals! You can easily tell if they are correctly articulating their sounds, and can monitor their grammar, syntax, and semantic complexity, as well as things like predicting, story sequence, and inferencing. 
  • Children use narratives all throughout their academic careers. They are often required to retell stories in the classroom, answer WH questions about what they read, talk about life events during things such as "Show and Tell" as well as during other social interactions with both teachers and peers. 
  • On that note, the ability to tell stories and relate to different story elements are embedded in the Common Core State Standards. Here are just a few examples. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as the importance of story elements and narratives continues well into the middle and high school level: 
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2: Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3: Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.1: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.5: Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.6: Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.
Many of my fellow bloggers have also realized the importance of narratives in speech therapy. Here's some stuff for you to check out!

So do you target narratives in your therapy sessions? If so, I'd love to hear how you do it!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter Non-fiction Leveled Reading Passages and Questions

I've been a little absent from posting new things to TpT recently, and this is why: I was finishing up this huge packet on nonfiction reading passages!

I've been wanting to do this packet for a while, especially since the Common Core places so much emphasis on nonfiction text, and I finally found the time to finish it!

The packet includes 7 passages:
  • Polar Bears
  • Oh Christmas Tree
  • The Winter Olympics
  • Why do Penguins Waddle?
  • Let it Snow!
  • The Super Bowl
  • Will You be my Valentine?
There are now two passages for each topic- the original passage which has a higher reading level, and a lower reading level passage!

Each one page passage includes a set of questions targeting things such as vocabulary (definitions, synonyms, antonyms), comparing and contrasting, inferring, predicting, main idea, WH- questions, and describing. I've also included answer keys!

Below is an example of one of the passages, "Polar Bears", and the question and answer sheets.

If you think that this looks like something you could use with your students, then you can find it here. Be sure to leave me some feedback if you grab it!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Articulation Silly Sentences Later Sounds {s, l, r, th, sh, ch, j}

A long long time ago I promised you a follow-up to my Articulation Silly Sentences Early Sounds. Welp, I've finally made it! Here's the later sounds edition, including the sounds s, l, r, th, sh, ch, and j.

Now you can get silly with your articulation students who are working on those harder sounds! The set up is the same as before. Each sound includes one page jam packed with 20 sentences, each sentence including the sound in the beginning, medial, and final position of the words.

Look like something you could use to spice up your articulation sessions? You can find it here. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Midway Point Recap!

Welp, I've done it! I've made it through the first half of my CF year!! I've had many trials and tribulations along the way, but overall have had the time of my life starting out on a job that I absolutely love. 

Here's a few things I learned along the way....

  • If you don't ask, it will never happen. When I got my room this summer, I didn't even have a real desk! After a few talks with the custodians and the principal I had a nice desk and my very own printer to boot (unfortunately it only prints black and white). And the ASHA convention that I went to this fall? I asked my school to help me pay for it and they offered to cover the entire cost of my registration and my hotel room! As the new person in a building, we tend to try to stay in the background and not ruffle too many feathers. But in order to get what we want (and sometimes need), we need to make our presence known. You never know what could happen because of it!
  • Not everyone is going to know (or appreciate) what you do. I thought that I was somehow the lucky SLP who was always appreciated by everyone in their building. My principal and vice principal both told me that they have no idea what I do but are so glad that I am there- if you don't remember my school hadn't had an SLP at all last year. I was getting along with the teachers and other staff. No one questioned my schedule and always let me pull kids from their rooms or worked with me on a time to reschedule. But one day I knocked on a teacher's door at the wrong time. I politely asked for two students, just like I do every Tuesday at that time. A few impolite words were given back to me and I offered to come back and get them at another time that was more convenient. A stern look and a few more not so nice words later I had the students in my speech room. I wish I knew what I did to set the teacher off, but I've come to realize that teachers have bad days just like us. Next time I notice a teacher in a bad mood, I'll do my best to avoid that room :)
  • Do as much as you can with other teachers. Everyone else at your school- or almost everyone else- has been there longer than you. And even if there are other new teachers, they already have a leg up on you. Grade level classroom teachers interact with each other every day. They have meetings to go to, curriculum to design, and students to discuss. Granted, we have all those things too, but definitely not to the extent they do. I have become very close to a group of 6th grade teachers at my school. No matter how many times I eat lunch with them, I will never know about everything they are talking about because I don't do what they do on a daily basis. BUT, don't give up on being their friend- if you don't push for it, no one else will. Ask to eat lunch with them. Hang out with them after school at a winery. Participate in the Secret Santa gift exchange. Help out with Grandparent's dinner or the Christmas program. You want to be on every teachers' good side (if you don't believe me, see one bullet up), and the only way to do that is to interact with them. 
  • Never stop learning. This bullet point may seem a bit obvious. I know you're thinking, we have to get CEU's every year, of course I will keep learning. But that's not entirely what I'm talking about. Yes, it is important to continue learning in our field because things are constantly changing. But it is also important to keep learning about our schools and our students. During a recent evaluation, my vice principal commended me on how well I knew the students she saw me provide therapy to during her evaluation. I knew what their interests were and how to keep them engaged in the session while obtaining maximum productions from them. I wish I could say I know all my students that well, but I don't. But, every day I'm with them, I learn just a little bit more. I learn which students want to play Candyland every time they come see me. I learn which students are motivated and which ones aren't. I learn how to handle behavior and attitude problems in my room. How do I do it? By interacting with them inside AND outside my room. Go stand in the hallway after lunch is out. Visit the gymnasium in the morning before the bell rings for school to start. Make your face known to your students outside your room and you'll be amazed at what can happen in your room.
Are you in your CF year too? Or are you a veteran? Any other advice, tips or tricks you have to offer? I'd love to hear!