My Favorite SLP Happenings of 2015 (Linky Party)

Another year is almost over. Professionally, it's been a good one! I'm linking up with Speech Time Fun, so when you're through reading this post, jump over to see how other SLPs' years went!
This actually isn't an easy post for me to write; I don't usually "toot my own horn" and feel rather uncomfortable doing it. it goes:
I started a TpT Store (Old School Speech) and stuck to my promise to keep everything under $5 (well, except for bundles!).  Why? The way I look at it, you have to pay for the product, ink, card stock, and laminating film, so the product should be affordable. Plus, I personally try not to buy anything more than $5 for those reasons.
A co-worker & I expanded our Poster Session from ASHA 2014 into a 30 minute presentation. We submitted a proposal to TAASLP (the Tn. Organization) and were accepted, along with another co-worker, to share "Innovations in School Speech Pathology". 
I got involved in TAASLP & had a blast meeting other SLPs from the state. I also had the chance to meet Erik X. Raj & the crew from The Peachie Speechie!

I was invited to be a Frenzied SLP! What an amazing group of SLPs from all over the country! This group is all about sharing and helping other SLPs out. "Like" our Facebook Page to be notified of new blog posts designed to help you out!

I made the Top 100 Speech Pathology Blogs for 2016, as chosen by Kidmunicate. This was quite a surprise and honor. There are a lot of great blogs for SLPs out there. I am humbled beyond belief. 

My favorite blog posts that I wrote through the year:
Starting Off on the Right Foot
Why you Should Get Involved with your State Organization
To Screen or Not to Screen

My favorite posts by other SLPs from the year:

Sharing Your Travel Videos in Speech Therapy by Erik X. Raj

I Needed Help (and I Got It!) by Doyle Speech Works

Un-Social Media? by Activity Taylor

Here's to a fantastic 2016!

Lots of Fun This Week!

My week started out like this:
I was so proud of myself for having everything ready for my groups to do a craftivity. I forgot that the special ed class was on a field trip (that wiped out most of my morning) and that there was a program in the afternoon (which wiped out most of my afternoon). I managed to see a whopping 2 (yes, 2) students. Not groups...students. They were both Kinders, so they got to make Christmas Slides:

I was so bored, I did this while the school was in the program:
And this:
(Thank you, Erik X. Raj for helping me pass the time with these awesome apps!)
We did manage to get a little bit of work done:

Tuesday was better. My kids got to make their craftivity while I read "The Gingerbread Pirates" (Kristin Kladstrup). They didn't turn out quite as I had envisioned, but you've gotta love the creativity!
We played some team games:
And worked on On/Off Topic:
My little ones finished the week with reindeer cookies:
What fun things did you do in your therapy room this week?

The Benefits of Signing During Language Therapy

I've had too much fun with my latest's time for something serious.
When I was in undergrad school, I took a couple of semesters of "manual communication", i.e., "Sign Language". I had the opportunity to take a couple of refresher courses after being in the profession for about 10 years. As an SLP, knowing simple basic signs is, in my opinion, a must. I only worked with hearing impaired students for a few years, but that doesn't mean that I don't continue to use signs.
We've all heard about the studies that claim to have discovered that signing with babies will increase their language skills. And, we all know that these are controversial. That being said, most of our students need visual cues, so what could be more perfect than using signs? You don't have to be fluent; my skills are comparable to a 3-year old, And, signs are a lot more convenient that using pictures as cues all of the time. They're definitely a lot faster than having to dig up a picture.
When "Whole Language" was all the rage, I team-taught with a Kindergarten teacher. On this particular day that I went into her classroom, the class was on their 2nd or 3rd reading of a big book. They were beginning to "read" the book with the teacher. We were reading through the book and came to the word "and". The kids all stopped and had no idea what the word was. I did the sign for "and", and they got it. The teacher looked at me in amazement and said, "How did they know that?" Of course, I looked at her and told her about the power of sign. In reality, I was just as amazed as she was!
I have students who have difficulty producing complete sentences. Signing is perfect to use as a visual cue to the words that they should include. These are students who aren't reading and don't understand what a printed word is. It's just very natural to use signs.
Basic concepts is another target that is perfect for signs. Think about it: the signs for the concepts are exactly what the word is. For example: for "on", you simply place 1 hand on the other. For "under', you have one hand palm down, and take the other hand (in the "thumbs up" position) under it. It's that simple.
If you don't know sign language, there are different ways to learn the basics:
 Take a class. Check your local community college, or better yet, see if the teacher of the hearing impaired in your district would be interested in teaching a class for educators.
 Get a book. Seriously. There are books out there that will give detailed descriptions (and pictures) of how to sign words.
 The internet. That should go without saying. Google "how to sign ____" and you'll get a gazillion suggestions. There are even videos that show you exactly how to sign the word you need.
If you use signs in your therapy room, how do you use them? Do you see the benefits in using signs as visual cues?
If you don't know how to even the basic signs, what are you waiting for?

I am not Worthy!

Last week, I had a very surprising email from Pamela at Kidmunicate. She informed me that my blog had been chosen as one of the top 100 Speech Pathology Blogs for 2016! I am so humbled and honored to be included with some pretty incredible SLPs.
My first post was on August 18, 2013. I decided to start a Speech Blog (I've had a "personal" blog since 2010) because I realized there were quite a few Speech Blogs out there, and a lot of them were written by SLPs who are early in their career. Since I'm an "old timer", I decided to put my 2 cents worth in! If I can help someone learn early in their career what it's taken me decades to learn, it will definitely help them out, right?  I'm all about taking short-cuts to help someone out!
If you're reading this: Thank you. Oh, and leave comments...your thoughts on what I've written (you don't have to agree with me!) or to just say "hey".
I do have to mention that there was 1 blog that I'm devastated didn't make the list: Doyle Speech Works. She continues to inspire me daily (both professionally and personally) with her knowledge. Another "old timer" like me, she is still on fire to be an SLP.
To see the list, click here.

A Frenzied Christmas

This month, the Frenzied SLPs are doing something different: we're sharing our favorite holiday tradition with you. Check out our Facebook Page!
You'll find out what this picture is all about:
You'll also find out how to win The Gingerbread Pirates: A Speech/Language Companion (Kristin Kladstrup). This is a wonderful book with fantastic illustrations. If you don't have it in your library, I would highly recommend it!

Virtual Cookie Exchange!

My friend, Annie at Doyle's Speech Works, is hosting a cookie exchange! Who doesn't love baking this time of year? 
I have always had the hardest time with my cut-out cookies. Seriously. I never seem to get them the right thickness so they would either be too thin so they would be too crunchy, or too thick so you couldn't tell what shape they were supposed to be. Anybody with me?
Then I found the perfect recipe: Mosaic Glazed Sugar Cookies, courtesy of Kraft. To get them the right thickness, I found something on the internet to use as a guide: Perfection Strips. I just didn't feel like paying close to $20 for something I'm not going to use very often, so I improvised. I went to a craft store & bought these wooden slats for really cheap. (I don't remember how much I paid for them, I just know it was a lot less than $20!) I put the dough in between the slats & roll away. My dough is even & just the right thickness! 
As far as the cookie recipe, you can play around with the flavoring. I've added almond instead of vanilla, and they were wonderful! You don't have to use the glaze, either. If you have a frosting recipe that you like, just slap some of that on there & you're set! 
I made about a gazillion of these for my in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary, and I've made batches to send to my boys for Valentine's Day. They absolutely love them!
Now...the recipe!

Need some new ideas for holiday baking? Visit Annie's Virtual Cookie Exchange and you'll have plenty of ideas! 

Don't forget to check out The Frenzied SLPs' Facebook Page every day in December to see how we spend our holidays & earn the chance for a daily give away! 

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