Monday, May 23, 2016

It's a Wrap!

Stick a fork in me….I’m done!!! One more year down. Overall, it was a very good year. I started out the year by dismissing a boatload of kids…more than I ever have. It’s taken me 30+ years, but maybe, just maybe, I’ve finally gotten the hang of it!
I ended the year by only having 2 1/2 weeks of therapy to plan since my intern left near the end of the year. As we all know, therapy is hit or miss the last couple of weeks of school, so I pulled out my camping team game for 1 of my game days. The kids loved this game! The groups that only had time to play it once expressed their displeasure, and the ones that were able to play it more than once wanted to play it more!
(Sorry for the fuzzy picture...my camera phone is having trouble taking clear pictures in that room!)
Back in January 2015, I bought a January Mystery Packet from Teach Speech 365. She did a few months of "mystery packets", and I was never disappointed for taking a chance on them! Anyway, that month's packet was Amazing Artists; it was a packet full of language activities that were just the thing I needed to end the year with these students! We did some categories, answering questions to a short story, following directions (seen below),
and functions (seen below).
She still has this packet in her store, so it's well worth the $3!
I have a student who is working on reducing echolalia and producing complete sentences, so I pulled out the Spring Interactive Books from Speech Universe. (The cues are from Smarty Symbols.)
I also used Structured Sentence Building from Queen's Speech. These are some of my favorite things to use with kids who need some work on making complete sentences.
The last week of therapy was all about just having fun and talking about summer plans. When my students walked in, they were expecting a 5 Minute Day, but I had a special surprise for them: they made "hamburgers":
An SLP that I worked with in SC showed me this goodie (thanks, Jen!), but I haven't used it in a while so I thought it was time to pull it back out. The last time I used it, very few of my kids said they liked Peppermint Patties, so this time I had backups: peanut clusters (none of my kids have peanut allergies, so I was in the clear with that one!). The ingredients: 2 vanilla wafers, red & yellow icing, and a peppermint patty. To get each ingredient, the students had to say a few cards (nothing is free in Speech!). After they got their cookies, I put the mustard and ketchup on one side, and they did the other side. (They had to say their cards before getting each thing, so before we put mustard on 1 cookie, they said some cards; then said more before putting mustard on the other cookie.)
When the hamburgers were "done", they were put in a storage bag with his/her name on it, and put in the backpack to be taken home to eat later. (I don't allow students to eat in speech...just in case! You can read more about that here.)
You know what was really amazing? I only had 1 student who said he didn't like peppermint patties! 

A couple of my students brought me end of year gifts. I can't wait to put this in my room next year:
But this made my heart full:
I'm not gonna lie: this student & I went through some tough times this year. That note means the world to me. And, I love her, too. The card would've been enough without the Starbucks card & the Pioneer Woman coffee cup.

The celebration didn't stop there, though. Oh...no. One of my SpEd teachers is retiring, and we threw her a shindig at her favorite restaurant (and my husband's & my usual Sunday dinner spot). The other SpEd teacher ordered her a cake, which was perfect for her:
We had a good turnout, and a lot of fun. It's going to be weird to go to that school next year and not have her be there. We've shared a lot of laughs, tears, frustrations, and joys the past 7 years. 
I know I'll get through it. We're getting an excellent SpEd teacher who I've worked with before, so I know it's going to be alright! Besides, I'm not going to worry about it for the next 2 months!


Monday, May 16, 2016

Theme-Based Therapy

I've been reading some blogs lately that hit on this very subject. I don't know how to do anything BUT Theme-Based Therapy! When you work in the schools, with our diverse caseloads, planning would be a total nightmare without it!
One of the first things I told my intern was to plan her therapy according to themes. Another thing I told her to do was to try to do the same activity with multiple groups and modify according to each student's ability level. Doing those 2 things drastically reduces the amount of time it takes to plan, thus relieving a lot of stress.
There are different ways to incorporate themes in your therapy:
1)Find out what the Kindergarten teachers are doing and coincide with their themes. I tried that at one point, and ran into these problems: 1) The Kinders at my 2 schools weren't doing the same theme, and 2) they would often forget to tell me what they were doing, or tell me at the last minute so my planning was done last minute, which increased my stress level. If you're in 1 school and have Kindergarten teachers that plan way in advance, it would work very well.

2)Monthly themes. This is my preferred way to incorporate themes in therapy. I hit on seasonal activities, as well as holidays within that particular month. Here is a monthly break-down:
Beach activities, because that's when our students come back to school & it's still hotter than blue blazes! Next year, I'm planning on splitting August & September up just a bit and doing a camping theme. I just bought Sparklle SLP's Camp In. There are enough activities in that packet to do at least a 2-week theme. Plus, there are some other SLP bloggers who already do a camping theme, so I'm going to steal get some ideas from them; like the campin' cookies Doyle Speech Works put on her blog!
Back to School for a couple of weeks followed by fall activities until Fall Break (the first week in October).
Halloween the rest of October.
Thanksgiving. I don't think you'll be surprised when I say that a lot of the kids have no idea what Thanksgiving is really about.
Christmas-based activities
Winter in January & February (I may hit on some Valentine's Day activities in Feb. & I did a week of Mardi Gras...I'm going to expand that next year thanks to Mia @ Putting Words in Your Mouth)

Spring in March (after Spring Break) & April. I usually throw a couple of weeks of Easter in there (depending on the date), and every now and then will do a week of St. Patrick's Day. We're out for Spring Break during St. Patrick's Day, so I don't spend a lot of time on it.
I have to admit, I'm a bit of a slacker in May. I usually look through my stash to see what I haven't done during the year; material that doesn't really fit a "theme". May is a short month for us since we get out for summer the 3rd week, and there's field trips, field days, programs, etc. I think you know exactly what I mean!

I don’t remember doing anything but themes in my 30+ years of being a School SLP. With our diverse caseloads, it definitely makes planning a lot easier, thus making us less “frenzied”!

If you plan your therapy around themes, how do you do it? Does it work for you?

Monday, May 9, 2016

On the Downhill Slide! {A Frenzied SLP Linky}

Year #32 is almost in the books! (2 more weeks for me, but don't be too jealous...the kids are back in school 01 August!) It’s time to start that downhill slide towards summer break. Thanks to Gold Country SLP, All Y’all Need, and Looks Like Language for hosting this month.

Here are some tips for surviving those last few weeks:
1) Keep to yourself. 
Everyone is stressed, emotions are high. It’s easy to get caught up in drama. Keep your nose to the grindstone and keep doing what you do best----your job. Do what you need to in order to stay out of drama: hole up in your room, even during lunch. In this case, ignorance is definitely bliss. You’ll be much better off not knowing who got upset with whom, or which parent is upset with the school, or even what teachers are being moved to different grades.
Here's an excellent quote I ran across while writing this post:
Don't  worry so much about what is going on around you, and start paying attention to what's going on within you. ---Matthew Kelly  (from his book The Narrow Path)
       2) Get a jump on next year.
       If you’re changing schools, clean out your room. Leave it like you would want it if you were walking in there for the first time.  I use this time to review rescreens for next year. I make a list of “to do” items when I get back for the next school year. (It’s not a bad idea to make a list of your codes/passwords…you may think you’re going to remember what they are, but when you sit down at your desk for the first time in the new school year, you’ll be amazed that it’s not second nature!) I also make a list of what activities I want to do at the beginning of the year.
       3) Destress. 
      Believe it or not, this is the perfect time to start de-stressing so you can enjoy your break. Especially after those final progress reports have been written!
       4) Reflect on the past year: What went well, what didn’t go so well? What changes do you need to make to improve next year?
       5)  GET AWAY. 
      Once your break arrives, completely get away. Detach yourself from being an SLP, even if it’s just for a couple of weeks. That’s not so easy, but I’ve heard more than 1 principal tell his teachers to “just get away” and not to think about school. I promise you’ll come back refreshed and ready to see those little smiling faces at the beginning of the new school year!

       Do you have other ideas for your downhill slide? The Frenzied SLPs would love to hear them! If you're an SLP Blogger, just add your link below. If you're not a blogger, feel free to leave a Facebook post...you can still link up! Don't forget to follow us on our Facebook Page! You can find it here.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Flexibility Can't Be Taught!

I haven’t done a very good job lately of posting therapy ideas, but my intern took an idea from Speech Therapy Fun  and modified it just a bit. I told her to do something fun her last day with us, so we looked through some of The Frenzied SLPs last linky posts for outdoor therapy ideas. 
We both thought the idea of making an outdoor board game looked like fun. Intern made the board using different color chalk. She made "stops" along the way; at first each student earned a piece of a craft when they stopped, but then she decided to make up a rhyme about each item needed and let them guess what they were going to use. 

She was a little more crowded at my mountain school, but she made it work.
She made a big die out of a pizza box (she IS still in school, after all, although she graduates next week!).
When the kids got to the end, they came back into the Speech Room and put their craft together:
I thought she did an awesome job, and the kids loved  it! Some school system is going to be extremely lucky to have her! 
This is her on her last day. I had to introduce her to The Peachie Speechie Store, and I thought the SLP necklace was perfect for her. Look how happy she is! She's a wonderful addition to our profession!!!

This week, we're all about aliens & underpants. My kids had a great time with this book and activities (which just happen to be from my Aliens  Love Underpants  Companion Packet). Some students worked on following directions using the barrier game that is included:
We had a good time playing the game to see who would get all 4 pairs of their underpants first:
I had a bit of an "AHA" moment when I was prepping for my walk-in Preschooler. She's working on /h/ on the phrase level, and I wanted something "hands on" for her, and something she could take home to work on. Here's what I came up with:
She took a picture and either put it up high, or hid it under the firefly.  The carrier phrases were "_____ up high" and "_____ is hiding". Worked like a charm!

I have one more full week of therapy, then a partial week, followed by the beginning of "summer" break. What fun things do you toward the end of the year?



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Sale is ON!

If you love TpT as much I do, then you have to love the site-wide sale they put on! Time for another one, and the Frenzied SLPs are hosting a linky to help you decide what you can't live without! 
In my store (Old School Speech), I have a new product that combines all of my Team Games in one place. (Click on the picture to be taken directly to any of the products listed.)
Team Games Seasonal Bundle
Another bundle I have is a couple of book companions:
Aliens and Underpants Combo

Here are a couple of products from some friends that you won't want to miss:
Camp In Speech and Language
I love to camp (in my "glorified tent"!), so Camp-In from Sparklle SLP intrigued me. It has a little bit of everything you need with a camp theme.
Editable Vocabulary Playing Card Decks
I don't have middle schoolers or high schoolers, but if you do and are looking for something to hold their interest, Vocab-U-Decks from Doyle Speech Works should do the trick!
For more fantastic products to check out, click on the links below and see what's being recommended.
Don't forget to use the code CELEBRATE for additional savings! And, as always, make sure you left feedback on previous purchases for credits that can be used to save even more!!!

Oh, and don't forget to follow The Frenzied SLPs on Facebook! Just click here.

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