Inspirations for therapists & parents 

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I’m a nut! A squirrel gathering language game and GIVEAWAY!!

Have you ever played Sneaky Snacky Squirrel game with your little speechies?  It is a really fun game that is perfect for the fall season.  I usually utilize this game as a reinforcer for articulation and phonological process kids, but needed something to use for language goals.  You can grab this game on amazon and if you have PRIME, then it is free shipping! (amazon affiliate links provided)

The game has a squirrel pincher to pick up acorns (great for fine motor practice), a spinner and four logs to put the acorns.  The students spin the spinner to try to collect all their acorns.  There are fun twists if you land on a sneaky squirrel because they you get steal an acorn from another player and if you land on the windy picture, you have to put all your acorns back.  If you get the sad squirrel, you have to put an acorn back and if you spin a 1 or 2 you get to pick whatever color acorn you want!  This is a great game for beginning social skills, impulse control (waiting your turn), asking to use something (the squirrel pincher), and matching colors.

Slide1My kids really loved this game, so I made a companion language pack to go with the game.  Instead of using the spinner, just use the cards!  I included pictures for every target, so I am pretty excited that this can be used with preschool to 2nd grade with the ability to differentiate if need be.

sneaky squirrel

You can grab this activity in my TPT store!

Print everything on card stock and laminate for durability!  There are 36 category group cards that students can either name the category or name items in the group.  Receptively, you can have students answer yes/no questions such as “do shoes go in the food group?”.

snacky categories

I have included 84 noun cards plus an attribute wheel to help with describing.  The students practice describing the noun on the card before taking a turn.  I love that you can always ask questions about the item if the student’s goal is written to answer wh-questions.

squirrel nuts 2

There are 24 multiple meaning cards with PICTURES!  I love this one because it helps the students see the two meanings.  Have them practice explaining the different meanings of the word. I am always targeting verbs, so I wanted to include some verbs for this pack.  There are 36 verb cards that you can ask the student what the person is doing, create a sentence using a pronoun and noun-verb agreement or ask them to describe the person in the picture.  I am looking forward to using this and I hope you will too!!  The clipart alone costs more than this pack, not to mention the time it took to add all these pictures!  I love that this is all ready to meet all my students needs.

Guess what my SLP peeps!? I am giving away a copy of this fabulous game and my I’m a Nut! Squirrel language companion pack to one LUCKY winner! Enter below for your chance!!

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Monday’s Motto: Look like a teacher, think like a TEENAGER

teacher thinkFor all of you that don’t know, I am back hanging with the middle school crowd this year.  A small portion of my caseload is working with elementary students, but the majority of my time is spent with 6-8 grades.  Besides the scheduling nightmare that comes with working at a middle school, I am enjoying my time with the kids.

I used to do junior high and high school a few years back, so my new placement has been an adjustment.  My Monday motto for you SLP peeps is “look like a teacher, think like a teenager.”  Middle school students are at the age where they have their own thoughts about their lives, yet need structure and guidelines.  I  feel middle schoolers are a bit like grown up toddlers.  I don’t mean that in a mean or unkind way when I say this.  Merely, toddlers crave freedom and independence, but when left to their own devices without any limits, can become unmanageable!  Teenagers are craving freedom, but need the structure to keep things in control!!

Thinking like a teenager sucks my caffeinated brain dry because what works with one group, doesn’t interest the next.  Even when I have I found something innovative and fresh, if the student isn’t “feelin” it, then I am up a creek.  The rest of the session is filled with eye rolling, bored faces, laying heads on the table and “can I go now?”

The first week of seeing my students, I made 2 kids cry because I took them out of P.E. in front of their friends and one flat out telling me “he wasn’t coming to speech anymore.”  I hadn’t even showed them my cool IPAD or inventive TPT materials yet!!

You see in middle school and high school we are told to take kids out of their non-academic classes such as art, P.E., Spanish, etc.  This creates some friction because these are the classes the students LOVE.

Here is what I have found to work:

  • Calling the parents and explaining the situation.
  • Sharing solutions to fix the underlying problem with the parent and IEP team (including the student).  So, one student really didn’t want to be taken out of P.E. in front of her friends, so mom, RSP teacher and I decided to have her come for speech during her study skills elective.  We just wrote in her IEP that her speech services would be during her RSP time.  The next day, I had a tear free session and the student did all her work with a smile!
  • Including the student in making goals for what they want to work on in speech.
  • Dragging them out of class and ignoring the groans and complaints.  Then, I use a highly motivating game or the IPAD to reel the little fish in.
  • Trying to find materials, articles, you tube videos, etc. that involve current day events relevant to their interests. It may take extra time, but it is worth it for participation.
  • Starting a speech raffle for remembering their speech time, participating, etc.  I raffle off chips and snacks each week.
  • When the student wants to talk to you about something or share something personal, let them even if it doesn’t pertain to their goals!  Sometimes you have to work on investing in a relationship to get the kids more interested in working with you.
  • Asking for help and acknowledging to your self that you can’t fix everyone’s attitude right off the bat.  I had to keep reminding myself that things will get better with time.
  • Start a dialog with the IEP team about looking towards a different service delivery model and maybe it’s time to start meeting the student’s goals in the classroom setting.

All in all, I hope to keep you all updated with my new motto and what I come up with!  I would welcome (begging for) any ideas or resources that work for you if you are in the middle school setting.  Thinking like a teenager is becoming a bit tougher as each year comes and goes because as much as I stay current with pop culture, I am falling farther and farther behind with what is “cool”.

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Oh Nuts! A FREEBIE s-blend game

Slide1I have two little cuties on my caseload that have some persisting phonological processes.  So, I made a fun fall freebie to target cluster reduction and keep my active guys excited about practicing their speech sounds!

oh nuts gameHow to assembly:

Use a cardboard box (best to have a box with a lid you can open, so you can get the nuts out easily) and glue/tape favorite fall paper around the box. Print template (pg. 3) on cardstock and laminate. Print acorns, laminate and cut out. Then, students get to put nuts in the tree as they say their speech sounds!

oh nuts game 224 acorn nuts are included with initial and final position s-blends including pictures!!  I also included number acorns to make the game open ended or the child says their speech sound based on the number they picked.

Enjoy!

You can grab this FREEBIE over at my TPT store!

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Fall Seasonal Grammar and Vocabulary Packs

The majority of my caseload this year is focused on working with middle school students, but I am covering an elementary charter school, so I have 13 adorable elementary students to see.  I really do love the mix of elementary because I love the energy my kindergarten and 1st graders bring to the therapy room, but love being able to have a conversation with 3-5th graders. Last year my seasonal grammar and vocabulary packs really helped me to target goals for my K-2nd grade students.  I was able to hit articulation, grammar, vocabulary and language processing goals easily with these packs.

Slide1I was able to make a fall  version to add to my collection!  Each of my packs come with cards to use for simple games such as memory, go fish, say and write the room or the flash light game.

fall memory

There are compare/contrast themed cards, answering “what” questions with visuals, and items in the Fall category visual poster.

fall vocabI always have little ones working on noun-verb agreement, present progressive and is/are, so I love having cards that target these, so I can take some good data.  There are visual aids as well for scaffolding.

Fall grammarYou can grab my Fall Grammar & Vocabulary Pack HERE!

Grab the WHOLE BUNDLE here to save 10%!!

Do you have seasonal materials that you love to use with your students?  I would love to hear about your resources!!  Teaching by themes helps me out a lot with planning therapy lessons around many goals. (424)

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Draw a Sound FREEBIE worksheet!

There are days when this SLP sista does NOT want to play a game during articulation practice!  Some of my groups get super competitive, so I feel like I am playing referee throughout the session and miss getting lots of repetitions.  SOOOOOOO, I came up with this fun FREEBIE worksheet to use as an articulation activity.  It would be perfect for an artic center or just to keep the little ones busy while I am working with the other students in the group.

Draw a Sound FREEBIEGrab an articulation card deck (the target sound your student is working on) and this freebie worksheet. The student picks out 6 cards and draws them in the circles. Have the student practice their words that they drew.

draw a soundThis is a great homework sheet to send home! Collect their sheets and as they draw more words each, session, you can add them all together to make a fun book to take home for practice.

draw for language

With one of my 3rd graders we are making an r-blend book that she can take home and use for practicing with her parents.  This activity worked best with my kids that like to draw and color.

draw a sound 2Sometimes I have to adapt a worksheet to fit the needs of other goals.  If you have a mixed group with language students, have them pick words to draw and then have them answer wh-questions about the picture word or describe the word by attributes.  Grab this fun FREEBIE on my TPT store! (1249)

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How Would You Use It? August Monthly Giveaway!

I live by the motto “two heads are better than one” because it cuts the time in half for thinking of new and fun ideas for my therapy room.  I started a monthly GIVEAWAY last month called “How would you use it?”   Each month I will share a toy, item, or game on my blog and I will ask YOU to share how you would use this item in your therapy room!  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below on my blog post with your therapy idea.  You will then be entered in a raffle for cool prizes!

how would you use it-$1 glass tonesI found these glass stones at the $1 store and was hoping to use them in my therapy room this year.  I thought that they could serve as “magic” stones or tokens that the students could earn for meeting their goal or putting forth good effort in the therapy session.  How would you use these in therapy?  Comment below with your answer.  Last month someone won a TPT gift certificate!

grammar and vocabulary bundles picThis month the winner will get my Seasonal Grammar & Vocabulary Set BUNDLE!  I am excited to hear your ideas!! (640)

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Social Detectives Craftivity FREEBIE!

A while back I did a review for the awesome social skills book “You Are A Social Detective!”  It is a great affordable resources that allows you to discuss the Social Thinking vocabulary in your speech groups and in the classroom.  Click on the picture below, to see my review and some FREEBIES I created to do as extension activities with the book.

social detectiveToday, I have a fun craftivity that your kids can use to help them remember the KEY ELEMENTS to being an amazing Social Detective!  It is a fun detective craft mobile that the kids can hang in your room for decorations or take home as a visual reminder.  All you need is construction paper, my template, paper clips, a hole punch and craft glue!

social detective craft mobile

Cut out the detective hat and magnifying glasses.   Punch holes in the circles and use paper clips or string to connect the hat and magnifying glasses. Students can color the craft and draw a brain, eyes and ears on their craft. Use the blank magnifying glass for the students to draw place where they have to be GREAT social detectives!

Grab this fun freebie on my TPT store! (1493)

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TpT Shining Stars Linky Party!

TeacherspayTeachers is having a 1-day BTS Boost Sale on August 20th where you can get up to 28% off of materials!  I am so glad that they decided to have this sale because NOW that I have familiarized myself with my caseload, I am ready to purchase some more materials.  Just use the code:  BOOST when you check out with all your goodies. Jen at SLP Runner is hosting a TPT Shining Stars Linky Partyand I thought I would join in on the fun!  As TPT sellers, we never know what products we create and share are going to our best sellers.  Sometimes the products that do really aren’t our FAVORITES, so today I am going to share my 3 products that I think are my SHINING STARS!grammar and vocabulary bundles picFirst up is my Seasonal Grammar & Vocabulary Bundle (just added a new Fall pack) because this really helped me last year with my K-2nd graders working on vocabulary and grammar goals.  I often had mixed language and artic groups, so I could always grab the materials in this pack to cover all their goals!Slide1I really love my What Planet Are You On Social Skills Pack because I loved using the example of humans and aliens for social skills.  We worked on keeping our “brains on earth”, used my conversation blast off game to target topic maintenance, and helping figure out why an alien may struggle with social skills.  This pack was really fun to use with some of my pragmatic language kids.

Slide1My Flying Broomsticks: An Enchanted Witch Game has always been a winner with my elementary kiddos.  It is an open ended game that can be used to work with any speech or language goal.  I loved the creative process in coming up with the game cards and can’t help but love the graphics!

Now, for a few on my TPT wishlist…..if you haven’t heard, the majority of my caseload is in middle school this year.  I haven’t done middle school in a few years, so I am a bit overwhelmed with putting together a schedule.

Language Progress Monitoring Tool (Upper Level) for Speech

I have this Language Progress Monitoring Tool to help with keeping up with goals.  This year I have a lot of language kids, so I hope this will help me out!  I am still shopping and hope to share my additional purchases on Facebook!

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5 Top Secret Blogger Tips & Tricks!

Most of my friends and SLP “peeps” usually ask me “how do you get it all done?” “When do you find the time with work and taking care of kids?” or “Do you ever sleep?”  Blogging is a time consuming endeavor and at times is a LOT of hard work, but once you get all set up, it can be a manageable hobby/job!

blogger secretsI thought I would share some of my secrets for how I get it all done and still make time for things like sleeping and enjoying life!

Slide1Schedule your posts ahead of time-  I am able to write many posts at one time if I would like and then spread them out over the whole month.  So, I have the option to write spontaneously or spend parts of my summer prepping posts that will be scheduled later during the year!  When you have a businness/blog facebook page, you can share posts/pictures/links and schedule them for the time and date that you would like.  So, when I am busy getting ready for work or preparing dinner, I have posts scheduled that I don’t have to remember to post.  Cool, huh!?

Slide2Network with other bloggers-  Since jumping on board as a blogger, I have met some great “online” friends along the way!  If I need help trouble shooting an idea, need other blog posts to reference or people to review my products, I ask for help from fellow bloggers through email and facebook.  Getting help cuts down the research/prep time it takes for writing a post.  It’s always good to see what other people are doing on their blogs, so that I don’t duplicate products and posts.

Slide3Take time to plan- I have an Erin Condren planner that helps me to organize my posts, daily living events and keep a to-do list all in one spot.  You can grab a Erin Condren Planner through my referral link.  Personally, I have an ongoing list of ideas that I write down every time something cool pops into my head.  Not all of my ideas are implemented, but it helps me to think of things to write about when I have time.

Slide4Take lots of pictures- Many bloggers write their posts in the evenings after work, on the weekends, during the kids nap times, in the wee early morning hours or over the holiday breaks during the year.  You never know when a blogger will get inspiration, so most of us take LOTS of pictures, so we have content to work with when we are feeling motivated to write!

Slide5Use templates-  I have templates of graphics that I created for previous posts and usually save them for when I need to make new graphics.  That way I don’t have to change much with the graphic and I can whip out cute blog post covers quickly.  I also store all my graphics in one main file and then have them labeled by the clip artist, so I have quick access.

bonus secret

My personal secret as a working mom is that sometimes I use my own kids to try out my ideas.  I involve them in the process, so if I have an app review, guess who gets to help me out by trying the app, my kids!  My son helped me make the DIY summer magnets, so I was able to spend quality time with him while we completed my project.  He also did a few of the Sequencing Activities I made, so that I could try them out and see what it was like using them with a real child.  Blogging has also become a hobby that allows me to be creative, write and decompress from the stresses of life.  I either write in large chunks which means the house may be messier or I do a little bit at a time.  My husband also helps me with graphics and some products.  My last secret is this….I am a better SLP because of blogging.   I think more about my therapy, I ask more questions, and I am more motivated to find/create activities for my students because I want to share something new and fresh with all my followers.

Graphics:  Pretty Grafik Designs, Lovin’ Lit, & Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Designs (582)

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TPT Thursday: Sequencing Activities For The Whole Year & GIVEAWAY!

As SLP’s we are always working on more than just ONE language skill or goal.  We may have a grammar goal written in Johnny’s IEP, but during the session we cover so many other areas.  I always love working on sequencing with students because it teaches skills related to organizing language (an executive functioning skill), works on prepositions (first, next, last), targets making predictions and practices the steps on  how to do something (MAJOR LIFE SKILL).  This has been a work in progress for several months now and with some help from my hubby, I finally completed this project just in time for the beginning of the school year.

Sequencing Activities for the Year

Sequencing Activities For The Whole Year

cut and glue short storiesI love that the words are here already written for students.  Just in this activity alone we can work on following directions (steps for the activity), concepts first, next, last, before/after, asking and answering simple questions from the story, and targeting thematic vocabulary.

draw what happens nextThis activity targets lots of skills.  I can imagine that some of your kids will need this to be a guided lesson to understand the concept and then they will quickly get the hang of it!  We are teaching cause/effect with this lesson along with making predictions and inferences about what might happen next.

silly sentence worksheetsI created some silly sentences to work on word absurdities, noun function and sequencing words in order.  This hits 3 language targets, plus it is hands on with the cut and glue feature!

sequencing picture scenesThere are 8 worksheets to target 3 picture scene sequencing and 3 worksheets that include 5 picture scenes to work on putting short stories in order from first to last.  You can target artic carryover goals, story elements, past, present and future tense and vocabulary just with this one activity!

I have included LOTS more worksheets including a draw and write template for the picture scenes as well as a sequence and draw for how to do something.  These are perfect because they are no prep and can be modified for lots of goals.  Enter my giveaway below because 3 lucky people are going to win a copy for their therapy rooms!

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