Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tip for an IEP shortcut

I've been writing tons of IEPs here lately. It has lead me to the great conclusion that there are some things informational things that I can copy and paste.

If you were to ever run across one of the IEPs I have contributed to, you would find that I am a very detail oriented person. I like to include a little blurb about the assessments that I use on re-evaluations. Now, my district has asked us to include a brief description of our assessments on our meeting summaries as well. I don't mind doing this at all; however, at some point all the typing gets a little redundant. I finally gave up and created a word document to keep a brief summary of every assessment tool that I use on hand. I just copy and paste to evaluation documents and the summary page. This way every parent receives a uniform and thorough description of the test without increasing the amount of time it takes for me to write up reports.

Since the majority of these assessments are copyrighted, I obviously cannot upload this file to my blog and have blurred out the names in the picture above. I just want to share this suggestion as a way to save some valuable time at the expense of roughly 30 minutes of one day (depending on how many assessments you use).

Monday, January 28, 2013


I think there is a common theme among SLPs that we're all just a little overwhelmed this semester. I'm afraid that my creative posts may suffer for a few weeks until I can get a better handle on things at work. However, I am in the process of slowly making a few more things and am still hitting up the thrift stores.

I wanted to share with all of you my most recent "scores" from Goodwill.

This game is from the makers of Scrabble and it reminds me of a crossword. I plan on using it for phonemic awareness activities and vocabulary. It was brand new and only 1.99.
From: Game Night Guys
The biggest score of the evening was none other than:

The book was 1.00 and the discount card made it a grand total of .80 cents. If you haven't heard of these books, you need to check them out at your local library. I love this series and there are tons of pre-made materials on TPT if you like that site. Here is one freebie that I plan on using with it next year.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh the weather outside is frightful.....

I haven't had much time this week to work on the blog. This half of the school year is slammed with IEP meetings, paperwork, and staff meetings. The cold weather hasn't helped the situation (canceling and rescheduling meetings are the stuff of nightmares). So tonight's post is more of a journal entry....

I've started using MyFitnessPal to help with my diet. It's a really nice and FREE calorie tracker. You can enter everything that you eat for the day and how much exercise you did. In the past, I've never really paid all that much attention to counting calories. I just stopped eating potatoes and walked. It took about a year and I lost 40 pounds. However, I was in college where I had to walk around campus quite a bit. I don't have the benefit of going up and down three flights of stairs multiple times a day anymore. The calorie tracker forces me to think harder about what I'm eating. I've restricted myself to half a can of soda a day (when I drink it) and am cutting back on potatoes again.

We finally finished our 9th grade hearing screenings this week so I missed a day of therapy. I'm very happy that hearing screenings are finally over. Plus, I got to see the other SLPs again. We typically see each other once a month unless we are trading assessment materials. I think the loneliness sometimes gets to me as much as I do enjoy the staff at my school. There's just no one else who really understands what I do even though the EC staff has gotten to see me in action this year.

Anyways, I hope all of you have a great weekend. I plan on trying to get a little Medicaid billing done so I can focus on evaluations and IEPs next week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Articulation Antics

My hands will probably never forgive me for all the recent crafting projects I have started. Pinterest is completely to blame and my therapy room is going to reap great benefits. I got this idea after seeing an environmental print alphabet book. I just took it up a notch.

This project is definitely one to call "a work in progress." I've been at it for about two months now and still have lots of things to continue adding with the help of my students. (P.S. It doesn't take nearly as long if you use clip-art from Microsoft. I just like to gather magazines & enough sales ads for this sort of thing.) It's a great way to interest your articulation groups into paying attention to their environment and it teaches new categorization/vocabulary for language skills. 
I save all of my pictures in an old ice-cream container. It's easy to store and  tote around with me.
These are the books that I am currently working on. I have pictures saved up for vowels as well. 
Sorting process. It takes me about an hour to get everything ordered.
I finally got smart and stuck the clippings with their book into a Ziploc bag after the 4th time of doing this.
Close up of a few piles. 

What you'll need:
Magazines, sales ads, old boxes, newspapers, tags (aka. anything you can cut up), stickers....
Small photo albums (I decided to make one per sound. The black ones were .49 cent at Salvation Army and the sparkly ones came from Walmart for $1.)
Note cards that fit your albums (Mine are 4 by 6)
Lots of tape

Now that the bones of my books are started, I plan on having my students help me add more pictures to these books. Future students will reap the benefits just by looking for pictures with the target sound and making sentences for them. I tried to use categories for each page of the album which include: things kids like, games & movies, mommy things, daddy things, grocery store shopping, numbers, names, and words. I also have an "I spy" section in the back of each book that mixes items and words.

I plan on using these books with my J. Moncure alphabet books. I LOVE using these books for articulation therapy once we get past the word level. I've bought all of mine from thrift stores for $2 and under though I still do need a few more letters to have the complete set.                                
                                      COMPLETE SET OF MY FIRST STEPS TO READING~~A-Z~~ 24 BOOKS

Saturday, January 19, 2013

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it....

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.-- Lucille Ball

The past two teacher workdays have been rather exhausting. The data system we use for IEP paperwork, CECAS, went down yesterday afternoon for maintenance. It was a bit unfortunate to say the least. I spent the majority of Thursday trying to get as much information entered into upcoming IEPs/re-evaluations done as possible and then billed Medicaid. All in all, it was a rather monotonous kind of day  mirrored by a bit of nasty weather. I decided to avoid my home computer after working all day on my work one. Yesterday, I devoted most of the 6 hour day (2 hour delay thanks to about 1.5 inches of snow) to  crafting projects. They still aren't completed yet, but I'm hoping that I will get to share them in the near future. 

In the meantime, I have made another round of articulation hedbandz in my mini "celebration" of the Medicaid billing website being down for maintenance too! (Which was totally unexpected surprise this afternoon when I went to work on it.) 

Here is the link for a copy.

In other good news, I found a really neat little game at Goodwill yesterday. It's called Monster Mash and is from the late 80s/early 90s.

It's basically a matching game using the "thwackers" to find the right monster. I am going to use Post-Its to add tasks to the cards (articulation words and 2-step directions) on the back. The concept is very similar to that of the ever popular "SLAP" game from pinterest.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trying to keep my head above the water...

It's been a crazy past two weeks in my little corner of the world. We've had several students moving in and are trying to ease the transition of another who is moving away. I also got word of 6 students that needed to be screened from SST (our RtI team) and 4 hearing screenings. I managed to get all of the screenings and two of the hearing screenings done in one day. Hooray for small successes!

The next installment of artic hedbanz is also here at long last.

Here is a copy for you.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

We're all Copy Cats here

I have a few students with goals to repeat directions and phrases back to me. The easiest way for me to explain it to them, is that we are going to play copy cat. They can get a little carried away with it sometimes, but for the most part I have found that it's an easy way to get them excited. I decided to make this activity as a stress reliever this week. Here is a copy for you. 

The white cats go up to seven word utterances and the orange ones range from 8-11 words. 
You can even make paper plate cats and feed the cards to them for correct productions.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 is off with a bang....

It's the first full week back after the long Christmas holiday. This year has certainly gotten started off on an extremely busy foot. We've had two student transfers (one of which I had to re-evaluate immediately), introducing another student into therapy,  testing two students for re-evaluation (one of which I get to do tomorrow), screening a student from SST, writing several IEPs, and seeing another one of my students "graduate."  I love the dynamics of my job, but I'm pretty sure that this weekend will be spent sleeping.

To coordinate with this tornado of a week, I had all of my groups (asides from the inclusion ones) play "following directions" Twister. I wrote some basic two-step directions using before and after on note cards. I taped the note cards to random spots on the Twister mat and left 1 free space in each row. Even my kindergartners were laughing by the end of the game. It's also a good way to teach the concepts of "left" and "right." Honestly, I think it's pretty much impossible to go wrong with this game. You can tape articulation cards, vocabulary words, letters, sight words, etc to the mat.
We're reading snow-themed books this week. My older kids got to enjoy Snowflake Bentley, which is one of the few non-fiction books I've used so far in my sessions. I'm trying to broaden my therapy horizons as exposure to all types of text is a huge aspect of Common Core.

When I was a student, I observed our district's lead SLP using this book during one of her weekly sessions. It took all of three years to find a copy at Goodwill. The story is about a farmer from Vermont who loved snow. He wanted to share his love of snow to the world through the hard wrought effort of taking pictures of individual snowflakes. The ending is sad. I'm not going to lie. It mentions how he died after walking 6 miles through a snowstorm. Paper snowflakes are a great craft to incorporate with this story. However, I didn't incorporate a craft this week as I had the Twister game.

My younger students looked at an arctic themed book.

I love the pictures in this book. They drew my first graders in and held their attention.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Describing fun

I mentioned in a previous post that I was working on another crafty project. Today, I would like to introduce you to the next installment of my magazine/sales ad re-purposing frenzy. DESCRIBING

The third graders went nuts for this one. I also have a bed in a spoon, which they found amusing.

What you'll need:
Several months' worth of magazines and/or sales ads. (I used old issues of HomeLife Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Belks & JC Penny's ads)
3-Ring binder
Page dividers (if you want to section your book off like mine)
Page protectors

The worst part about this project is the fact that it is time consuming. You can easily involve groups of older students in therapy sessions to make it a hands-on learning experience. I always try to a template ahead of time for them to follow. I have left extra page protectors in this book for the students to fill up during therapy sessions. As always, I start these books with some model pages and then invite my students to come up with their own ideas.

My kindergartners literally fought over these books last week. (Even I got climbed all over in the process.) They had a ball showing me which pictures they liked and talking about the people. We worked on the concept of open/closed by talking about the mouths we saw. We also practiced opening and closing our own mouths as well as the door. My older students had to describe the pictures using their adjectives and pronouns to form grammatically correct sentences. I have one that is working on attributes and will be helping me make object pages this week. (If you want an idea for syntax check out this post on a verb collage.)

Friday, January 4, 2013

O Valentine, Valentine, wherefore art thou Valentine?

Imagine it is February 14th. Do you see lots of red, pink, and purple? Perhaps some little candy hearts with messages of adoration? To me, Valentine's day would not be the same without those little cards my peers passed around as children.

Introducing my first craft of 2013.....
Pirates of the Caribbean Arr Crazy for Valentine's and Kung Fu Panda Follows His Heart.
I also have Spider-man  cards that will target wh- questions but those aren't finished yet.
32 cards with 2 slots each? This is a great opportunity to come up with lots of  tasks.
These are my favorites of the three. I know, I know, pirates get a little bit tiresome  for /r/.
I've said it myself. However, I didn't want to buy the Power Rangers set and feel old every time I used them.
My students do a great job of reminding me already when they tell me I'm the same age as their moms. 
The blue is a bit harder to see on here. I was afraid to use sharpies on this project
since they have the tendency to bleed through paper from time to time. 

What you will need:
Pack of 32 Valentines in the variety of your choice (Mine came from Dollar Tree)
A pen
Access to a laminating machine (I have to depend on the school's)
List of targets

It took me about an hour to make each set, which was mostly due to my stubbornness against making a target list. I just went with what came to mind instead. That being said, I can't wait to buy more of these cards for 2014 once they go on clearance sale.

The great thing about using Valentine's cards is that there are tons of colorful varieties that can be used for a multitude of goals. Valentine's Day has come a long way from pink and red hearts. It may not be a boy's favorite holiday, but they don't have to feel oppressed by the "cutesy" overload that I remember from childhood.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Articulation Hedbandz: K & G Edition

It's a quick post for tonight. I've got loads of things to do for work in preparation for the next few weeks.

Here is the K & G edition of hedbandz....

Hope all of you have a great first day back! My students responded well to the first day of my Chinese New Year theme. :) I'm pretty excited about it.