Thursday, October 27, 2016

Looking Ahead: Where Did October Go?

Is anyone else baffled by the fact that October is gone? Especially after it seemed like August would never end! It'll be Christmas before you know it!
When I'm not at school on a Friday (which is my day to see students 1:1 as well as to get materials ready for the following week), I feel a bit discombobulated. It takes me a while to get back on track. That's exactly how I'm feeling right now. I looked through my November materials to get a grip on what I'm going to do next week. I realized I only have a couple of book companions for November, and I don't have time to get one together for next week, so here's what I have planned:

5 Minute Day: 
For the independent center, students will produce their target x number of times, then put a pom-pom on a magnet on the apple.  Just to make it interesting, we'll see who gets the most put on. 
If the older kids want to do Chipper Chat instead, I'll pull out a set of the cards and they can "play" against each other to see who can get the most chips on the card.

Following Directions:
I have this worksheet by Sounds Like Fun that should challenge my students with this target. (I couldn't find exactly where I got this from; I don't know if it was on her blog or TpT store.)

These came in my Crazy Charizma email. They are from Games for Gains & were free!  

Of course I'm going to use "Desi the Describing Worm" (as I call my EET beads) to help students describe food from Queen's Speech's What Am I? Thanksgiving Edition 

Basic Concepts:
I have no idea who this came from; sadly, the author didn't include her name on the product.

More inferencing from SLP For ME:
Game Day:
I can stretch out Mia McDaniel's Thanksgiving Quick Drill  to last a whole session! My kids love playing these open-ended games; they're perfect when you have a mixed group, or a group with students working on different sounds.

Can I be totally honest? I'm not sure what I'm going to do for homework! I'll probably pull out my Seasonal Artic Worksheets from Super Duper and use those. I haven't used them in a couple of years, so it might be a nice change.

Hopefully next week I can get back on track with being a bit more organized. How do you handle preparing for therapy when you don't have your day to prepare?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Looking Ahead: Well, Kind of!

Last week was incredibly busy, what with getting ready for the TAASLP Convention. I had an amazing time getting to know these 3 ladies:
From left to right: (me), The Speech Attic, The Speech Owl, and Short and Sweet Speech. They are a wealth of knowledge! After just a few short minutes, it was like we had known each other for a long time. We shared so many laughs & stories! Now that the convention is over, it's time to get down to real business.
Here I am in the middle of Week 10 for therapy, and it's almost time to look ahead to Week 11! Here's what's going on this week in my therapy room:
Luckily, Ashley Rossi had her Halloween Dice & Dots on sale yesterday through the SLP Materials Club. There are sheets for almost every sound I needed. I just had to write words in for /k,g/.
Some of my kids had a 5-Minute Day. They used a sheet for their independent station. I have some groups who are just getting started, so I didn't want to jump in with 5 minute day just yet. With those groups, they took turns dropping the dice into a jack-o-lantern box and saying a word that corresponded with the number they rolled. 
They didn't complete the whole page, so they'll take their pages home and work on the words that aren't "daubed" for homework.
1 of my students is working on on/off topic. He worked very hard today to explain why the 1 sentence was off topic. He told me what the topic of each sentence is, and I wrote that down, then we compared the 3 topics of each sentence to come up with why 1 was off topic.
With next week being Halloween, I've got to let my students have some fun! I was so excited to see these bags that The Speech Attic brought with her to go along with her Hungry Monsters Interactive Articulation Activity.
I don't know if the Targets around me sold out or didn't carry them, but I was really disappointed that they didn't have them. I'm going with something a little different for "game day":
My students will take turns trying to throw the bats into the monster's mouth (after saying their target a few times). Shortly after I took this picture, the left eye tore, so I actually have a 1-eyed monster! This is an activity that all  of my students are going to enjoy!

One of my students will be continuing to work on an idioms activity
While I was looking for the monster bags, I ran across some witch fingers and glow in the dark fangs for an excellent price. My kids will get an extra treat when they come to speech at the end of the week! 
I know Halloween isn't until Monday, but, since I'm at 2 schools (one is Mon/Wed and the other is Tues/Thurs),  I like to do the same activity on Monday and Tuesday, and then again on Wednesday and Thursday It definitely makes planning much easier. 
Are you allowed to do Halloween activities in your school? 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Making it Work! {The Frenzied SLPs}

Here’s the thing about being a School SLP: You have  to be able to get along with people. A bunch  of people:  The faculty, the administration, the office staff,  the custodial staff, the support staff, other SLPs in your district, not to mention parents and outside SLPs/OTs/PTs/doctors your students may be seeing. Get the point? It's sooo important to have a good working relationship with everybody.
Does that mean you won't ever make anyone upset or that there will never be anyone who upsets you? Absolutely not. (Especially at the end of the year when tensions are high and we just want summer break, for crying out loud!) How do you make it work? Here are my top 5 suggestions to making relationships work with everybody in the school:
1)  Be friendly. Smile a little, say "hi", ask how the kids are, etc. You get the idea. Show a real interest in them.
2) Ask them questions. We all want to feel valued. Asking them a question that you're not 100% sure about will let them know that you value them.
3) Be a part of the team. Show up for those assemblies. Sign up to work basketball games. Don't grumble about bus/car duty (at least not to the staff!). Let the staff see that you're one of them.
4) Eat lunch with the teachers. Get out of your room during your lunchtime and mingle. I know that sounds really simple, and, it is.  One of my schools finally  has the space for the teachers to meet in a common area for lunch; before, everyone was eating in groups in classrooms. It's so nice to be able to get out of the classrooms for 30 minutes & sit down with other staff members. Sometimes we vent, sometimes we collaborate, other times we just laugh and talk. 
5) Bake. I have a custodian who helped me out one winter when I had no heat. He braved the cold and went on the roof to see what was going on. He also called the district's maintenance people to come out and fix it. When they didn't fix it the first time, he made them come out again. So I baked him brownies. It turns out that he doesn't have anyone to bake for him, so getting some homemade brownies was really special to him. 

As I said in #4, I know these are really simple things to do. It doesn't take much to build those relationships with the staff...all of the staff.  You'll enjoy going to work a lot more, too!

If you're an SLP Blogger, we'd love to have you share how you make relationships work in your workplace. You don't have to be a can link up through Facebook!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Looking Ahead: TAASLP & an Old Lady

This will be a 3-day week for me...the TAASLP (Tennessee's State Association) Convention is Thursday & Friday, and I get to hang out with 3 amazing SLP Bloggers & TpT Authors:
If you're a Tn SLP, make sure to stop by our booth...we've got some fun stuff planned!
Before the fun begins, though, I have work to do...students to see. The Old Lady will be making an appearance this week through the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Linda Williams). I have a companion packet from Mindy Stenger that I've used in the past. There are comprehension questions, sequencing, lower level vocabulary, following directions, and a couple of versions for an open-ended game. Almost everything I need. The only thing that is missing is homework, but I've got that covered through some Halloween homework pages. 
Students at one of my schools will have a 5-minute day. I'll pull one of my open-ended Halloween games that I haven't used in a couple of years for the independent center. The kids will play independently, then, if there's time, will come together and finish the game. 
It's a short week, but we've got a lot to do!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dressing for Success in the SLP World

"Dress for the job you want...not the job you have." You've heard that, right? What if you have the job want? What then?
As SLPs, we were taught in school to dress as a professional. But, there are times when some of us are rolling around on the floor with little ones. Can we find a happy medium?
I like jeans day as much as the next person. I love being able to put on my jeans and sweatshirt when the weather is yucky outside. I love being....comfortable. But...I also love walking into the school and feeling professional. There are times when I feel like I do my best work when I'm dressed up.
I'm not talking heels and a dress. I'm talking about wearing slacks and a decent, professional shirt. I'm talking about being able to get on the floor with little ones without wearing jeans and a t-shirt. 
Most of the schools where I've worked have had a dress code: no jeans except on designated days. You never, ever walked into the Central Office in jeans. 
Like it or not, education is a business. If you walked into a business, and the person you were dealing with had on jeans, a t-shirt, and sandals, how much confidence would you have in his/her ability to properly conduct your business? That person may be the best person in the business, but if he/she didn't look professional, my first impression wouldn't be that great. I would question their ability to do their job well.
Meetings are your time to make that first impression. If I look professional, I feel professional. I want the parents to have confidence that I know what I'm doing and that I'll do the best I can to help their child. As I said before, I'm not talking heels and a dress. I'm 5'9", and I've never worn anything more than a quarter inch heel in my life. And dresses??? Rarely will you see me in a dress; it's pretty hard to sit at a therapy table all day long and conduct sessions while worrying about if you're decent.
I don't claim to know a lot about fashion (I have a hard time putting an outfit together & could really use my own personal stylist!), but it doesn't take a fashionista to know how to dress professionally. Here are just a few tips:
👗First and foremost: Watch how low the neckline is. 
You don't want to show more of yourself than is necessary, if you know what I mean.  Even when you have meetings, watch the neckline. Your cute little top may look great, even with a jacket, but if you reveal a lot of yourself, it's a no-go. 
Do you want to wear a plain t-shirt with your slacks? Throw on a jacket and ¡voila! Instant professional outfit! Or, with scarves coming back in popularity, wrap one around your neck with your t-shirt. Same effect!
👗Be comfortable.
Heels? Not for me. If you're the kind of person who can wear heels all day, go for it. Do you have to kick them off so you can get down on the floor and conduct therapy with the littles? You may want to rethink the heels.
👗 Do you love to wear dresses?
Sometimes a dress (or a skirt) can be more comfortable than slacks. Just make sure it's not too short. (See "Watch how low the neckline is"!)
👗Bottom Line: 
Wear what you think is professional, comfortable, and practical. You want to be taken seriously; you want the rest of the faculty and the parents to know you mean business. Don't overdo it, though. There's a fine line between looking professional and looking like you're better than everyone else. 

It may depend on your school. If you have a very laid-back school, then you won't want to wear heels. Even if you wear jeans, you can add a jacket and look laid-back, yet professional.  On the flip-side, if your school adheres to a strict dress code (or appears to), then don't come in looking like a slouch. 

What are your tips for looking professional, yet being able to get on the floor or sit at a table that you can't put your knees under?
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