Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How Does My Day Compare to Yours?


Lyndsey at Speech to the Core has a series of blogposts where she highlights an SLP. It's called "A Day in the Life of...", and it's genius! It allows us to take a peek in another SLP's day to see how similar/different it is from ours.
I had the extreme good fortune to be included! Check out this post and compare my typical day to yours.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Frenzied SLPs: Middle School Materials & Motivators

This is my first official post as a member of the Frenzied SLPs! I'm honored & humbled to be a part of this amazing group of SLPs!!! Check out our Facebook Page for news!
I haven't worked with the middle school population in about 12 years, and I have to admit that it's not my favorite group. In my school system (as well as previous school systems where I worked in Ga. & SC), we do our best to phase out speech services by middle school, if not 5th grade. We weigh the benefits of continuing language services (because that's mostly their certification by that age) or staying in the classroom. In middle school, the students are at the mercy of the SLP's schedule, which means they have an excellent chance of being pulled out of academics. Almost all of our language students are also receiving resource/inclusion from the special ed teacher. For speech students, it is very rare when I have a student who continues to have difficulties with speech sounds at that age. When I do, I look hard at how motivated they are to master their misarticulations. I have had many "come to Jesus" meetings with 4th & 5th graders about how their speech can affect them in middle school and later in life! I find that by 4th grade, they're "over" speech. At this writing, between my 2 schools, I have 4 5th graders (2 who are on a last ditch effort to master /r/, one on a last ditch effort to finish the /s,z/, & 1 self-contained sped), and 5 4th graders (3 language, 1 self-contained sped, and 1 finishing up her /r/).
To determine motivation with my older elementary students, I keep track of when they do their homework. If they want to correct their sounds, they'll do the homework. I try to make their homework a little more "grown up" than my younger students'.
 Motivating middle schoolers is so very difficult. When I served a middle school, I had a little place in front of the auditorium, since I was only there for a couple of hours/week.  I would poll the students each week to see what they wanted to do. I would tell them what my plans were for the younger kids, and, to be perfectly honest, 8 out of 10 times they would want to do the same activity. I think it gave them a breather from the academics. At a time when they're between having to act like kid or adult, it gave them a chance to act like a kid.
I would also ask them about rewards. Stickers & stamps just won't do for that age group! Most of the time, it was some sort of candy. Nothing big, but it somehow got them to work. It also got them to come to therapy. They are expected to come to therapy on their own, since going to get them would take up half of their therapy time. I would get them the first couple of times, but then it would be up to them to come on their own.
If you're a Middle School SLP right now, you're really lucky that you have TpT & apps. I would almost be excited to work in a middle school with those resources. (Notice I said almost!)
How about you? Is Middle School a "yay", "nay" or an "ehh" for you?
If you're an SLP Blogger, we'd love to have you write a post and link up! The ending date to link up is Friday, 2 October!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Options, Options, Options

I really feel for some of the SLPs on the Facebook Groups in which I belong...I really do. Some of them haven't been in the field very long, and they're talking about bailing. And that bothers me. A LOT.
I love this field, and I love my job. And, in the semi-words of Billy Dee Williams as Gale Sayers in Brian's Song,  "I want you to love it, too." Okay, that's not exactly what he said, but I'm paraphrasing here. (His words were, "I love Brian Piccolo, and I want  you to love him, too.")
We are very fortunate to have options: if we aren't "feeling it" in one setting, we have the option to try another one. As for me, there was a time when I needed a break from the school setting. Lucky for me, I had a call from a recruiter at the right time. I named my price, and into the SNF world I went. At first, I loved it. I loved working for a company as opposed to a school system. Then the "honeymoon" ended. A contract was lost, and I was promoted to assistant manager to the NW region of the state, only to have a job I didn't want (or ask for) a few months after that. My manager resigned, the other assistant manager became the manager, and her position wasn't replaced. That put me in the position of covering the whole north part of the state, instead of only the NW part as before. More time away from my 2 small boys and my husband. Leaving the house when it was dark, and returning after dark set in.
The schools were looking pretty good after 2 years of SNF. My special ed director was right: I ended up hating it & was miserable. I did some soul searching and, after realizing what I really wanted, decided to try to get back in to the schools. I went back to the school system that hired me right after undergrad school & was very fortunate that a position had just opened up. It started out as part-time, which was okay with me...I decided I could do Home Health to make up the difference, but I ended up not having to since the position grew to full time before I started. That was a good thing, because I was 8 months pregnant with my youngest when I started back in the schools.
Why am I sharing all of this? To give anyone who needs some advice this tidbit from a 30+ year veteran: You may get the "7 year itch". You may feel burned out, and you probably are. The school setting now is a completely different job than  when I first started. A lot is expected of you, and it's tiring, & it's tough. If you don't think you belong in the schools, then look elsewhere. If you're miserable, then chances are your kids probably are, too. It's time to look for a different setting and try it. Who knows? You may realize that the school setting is exactly where you're meant to be.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pirate Week...With a Couple of Pigs!

I had to take a quick break from my camping weekend to link up with Gold Country SLP! Next week is Pirate Week in my therapy room, so of course we're going to be reading a book related to pirates and doing some fun activities.
I just finished my companion packet to Pig Kahuna Pirates (Jennifer Sattler) and am very pleased with how it turned out. 

Included:
Comprehension questions with visual cues...just in case your students need them, along with yes/no comprehension questions. I've also included black-line versions to save on color ink.
Following directions. There's 1-, 2-, and 3-step directions included. If you don't want to use the color ink, I've got you covered: I've included black-line versions!
Homework & categorizing. I love to send homework home with my students that pertain to the book we've read that week. There are general artic homework sheets, describing homework sheet, and a pirate idiom sheet that can be sent home. There is a sorting sheet and a "what doesn't belong" sheet to work on categorizing.
A color and black-line sequencing sheet is included. These pictures will fit in a Cariboo game, so guess what game we'll be playing at the end of the week! :)
I love using interactive books with my special ed students. We work on producing correct sentences and answering questions. I have to give Speech Universe a shout-out for allowing me to use a very similar format for what she uses.
The interactive book included in this packet works on he/she as well as vocabulary.
I made this packet with my students in mind. If you're interested but would like to see something else included, give me shout at tnslp29@gmail.com & I'll do my best to include it! To purchase, click here.
You may also want to check out these products (while you're already on the TpT site!):
Pirate Category Cards FREEBIE : Speech Therapy                                          Speech and Language Therapy Pack:  Pirates
(Click on the picture to be taken to the product.)
What are your plans for Pirate Week?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wild about Books Wednesday: Rufus Goes to School

I'm not sure if Speech is Sweet is starting her linky back up this school year, so I thought I'd go ahead and pretend she is, even though I'm not sure! 
This short week in Speech, we're reading and are busy with activities from the book Rufus Goes to School.
 Product Details
Rufus Leroy Williams III loves to look at the pictures in his favorite book, but he longs to go to school so he can learn how to read. There's just one thing standing in his way: the principal. Rufus does what he can to get the principal to let him go to school, and he finally says the magic words I want to learn to read.  The ending is the perfect segue into next week's Pirate Week!
We're completing activities from my companion packet, such as answering comprehension questions, discovering synonyms from vocabulary used in the book, categorizing, working on complete sentences through an interactive book (Thanks, Speech Universe!) playing a game, describing, and a craftivity.
The companion packet can be found in my TpT Store, Old School Speech, for $4. So far, my students are loving it! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

September Must Have Sale

Tomorrow (Monday, the 7th) is THE day! Many SLPs on TpT will be putting 1 of their products on sale for 50% off. The only catch is that it's only for the 7th.

There are several ways to see what's on sale:
1) Join the Facebook group by clicking here. You'll find a list of participants.
2) Go to the end of this post from Speech Room Style.
3)  Put in #SeptSLPMustHave in the search box on TpT.

Just in time for Pirate's Day (or week, because my students will get a whole week of this!), I have a companion packet for this super-cute book (Pig Kahuna Pirates! by Jennifer Sattler).
I tailored the packet for my students, but if you're interested in it and would like to see something else included, please email me at tnslp29@gmail.com and give me your suggestion!

I'm planning on buying the following items:
#septslpmusthave Capture the Whole Picture {Autumn Inferences}
A packet with 3 different activities related to fall, this will be  welcome addition to working on students with inferencing goals.
This is just what I need for a specific student who needs to be kept busy! She also has this product as part of a "growing bundle".
#septslpmusthave : Articulation Ring-a-Lings Complete Set Bundle
I normally don't buy materials for artic because I use the Super Duper cards & apps during artic therapy, but the "Ring-a-Lings" will change it up a bit for my students!

What are you planning on purchasing?

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