Monday, March 30, 2015


We all have our failings. I would have to say that organizing my personal therapy materials is quite possibly the bane of my existence after four years of collecting various children's books, games, manipulatives, and Teachers Pay Teachers materials. Every year I try something new and eventually find something wrong with it. 

I recently decided to try my hand at re-organizing my Teachers Pay Teachers and various other educational site freebies after gaining the middle school. While I have all of these files saved to a flash drive, there is just something about having a hard copy in my reach that I cannot shake off. Poor trees are probably moaning in fear already. 

 I started out by buying a 4' Heavy Duty binder for my middle school files because I have the bad tendency to fill them to the brim. They're $12 on Amazon which is a fairly good price. I prefer to hunt them down in thrift stores, but I've only managed to find three in this size in the past couple of years.

I also recommend getting the smaller 1-2' binders to hold specific packets that will see heavy use. I can usually find these for $1-2 at thrift stores.

Page Protectors and Pocket Tab Dividers are also very near and dear to my heart. I know it's an additional expense that many people don't want to incur. I just like the extra glossy look.

So I guess it goes without saying that I would want to have binder covers that have a little bit of sparkle to them.

You can grab a copy of the binder covers here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Practice makes perfect

Most of my free time this past week was spent writing up response questions to news articles I've found for the middle school. However, I also had the opportunity to test out a new creation with them as well. 

"Daily" Questions gives me the opportunity to start each group off with a small writing task to work on capitalization, punctuation, and using complete sentences relating back to their daily lives. It takes about five minutes to complete the whole sheet. However, you don't have to do all four every time. I told my groups that they would have to answer at least two questions each time. 

You can grab your copy of my Daily Questions for Middle School here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Hunt: Middle School Resources

I'm a little late to the game, but the hunt for quality middle school resources is on! I've had pretty good luck so far with google search and am hoping to continue to find new things to add to my middle school binder.

Reading Comprehension & Written Response
  1. K12 Reader: Awesome worksheets that work for multiple goals. The best part is that they are all free!
  2. ReadWorks: Another fabulous and free website that offers reading comprehension passages.
  3. Student News Daily: News articles aimed at high school, but some of the shorter articles may interest middle school students too.
  4. Smithsonian Tween Tribune: News articles aimed at various grade levels. I've written up questions to go along with the news articles I select.
  5. Newsela: News articles aimed at various reading levels. I've written up questions to go along with the news articles I select.
  6. Time for Kids: Another great site for news articles. This one doesn't include lexile levels.
  7. Wordville: This has some interesting reading passages, but it is more difficult to save them.
  8. Mr. Nussbaum: Great site for reading passages on levels from 2nd-5th grades.
  9. TSL Books: Another website for free reading comprehension passages.
  10. Super Teacher Worksheets: This site has some great reading comprehension resources at various grade levels. They are even nice enough to offer some of these for free as samples of their work. I love their freebie activities and only wish that they would offer more!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Are you a Dino-Star?

Pronouns, pronouns, and more pronouns. Rawr! I'm up to my eyeballs in pronouns. I'm going to stomp my feet like a dinosaur and sing my pronoun song day to night. I'll learn my pronouns and you will too. Just follow me!

She is for girls (hands on head)
Her is for girls (hands on shoulders)
He is for boys (hands on hips)
His is for boys (hands on knees)

I think this may be one of the hardest skills for my younger students to grasp. There are very few days that go by without me trying to come up with yet another activity to  target this skill. One of the most successful tricks I've used recently is the little chant above. I think most of that has to do with adding gross motor movement into a task that is usually much more visual and/or auditorily based. We practice our chant, pull out our sorting mats, and then go to town with my drill cards.

Rawr! is a set of drill cards I created after I came up with the idea to have a stomping chant to help us practice our pronouns. Students have to fill in the blank with a pronoun (usually I give them a binary choice to start with) and place it on the sorting mat.
My personal favorites are the open-ended cards that they can sort either way depending on which cave-person needs more cards.

There is also a little bonus of an open-ended game that I call Dino-Star that can be used with whatever target you need. The goal of the game is to get the pink dinosaur card.

You can grab Rawr! here. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Legos and heading back to middle school

This week sees the start of two new journeys for me. Firstly, we have started a very large after school club initiative at my school. I'm really glad that the students have the opportunity to learn about so many different fun topics that can't be covered during the school day. I'll just name a few of their new options: Service, Chinese, Robotics, Cooking, and Running Club. Membership to particular clubs is determined on grade level since some things, like Service Club, just aren't as appropriate for the younger grades.

I am a proud member of the Lego Club! We are using the Legos as a form of math enrichment for a group of eight kindergarten and first graders. However, it is also a great opportunity to tie in some language. We started by making our own Lego characters and talked about our creation.

I wish I had a picture of my little Disney World tourist Lego, but my phone takes horrible pictures. The majority of the students made Lego Batmen so I would say that Batman has now overtaken Hulk as the best superhero.
Grab this fun worksheet from Whimsy Workshop Teaching at Minds in Bloom's Time Saving Tips page.
Once we finished our coloring sheets and snack, the group headed on over to the carpet to build their names with Legos. It was certainly an interesting challenge for the students with longer names. We ended up running out of Legos! In the end, though, we managed to find a way to complete our name builder worksheet for our club bulletin board. I am really looking forward to our future club meetings.

In other news, I am heading back to middle school! One part of working in a small school district that people don't tell you about as a graduate student is the fact that you may have to help take over part of a caseload for another SLP. I am helping out one of my coworkers who's caseload has gotten too high according to NC standards (our state cap is 50). Scheduling changes aside, I'm really excited to see if having this addition to my caseload will help spark some creativity back into my system.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Just a spoon full of sugar....

Although it is just March, many of you know that May will be here before you know it. I wanted to share an idea that my coworkers and I used last year before the Kindergarten screening frenzy begins. 

We decided at our district speech meeting that we wanted to do something different last year. Something that would actually catch the attention of our teachers where our attempts at little pamphlets had failed. The perfect solution.......SUGAR. We would attach a little fact about speech to a piece of candy. This way the teachers could talk among themselves about the fact they received. 

The first step in the process is to find out how much candy you'll actually need. We were lucky enough to convince our EC director to find out how many staff worked at each school. She also bought us a large bag of Dum-Dums and asked the Life Skills students to cut out all of the little fact cards. They were even nice enough to attached the cards with the ribbon our lead SLP supplied. Once the Dum-Dums were distributed out to the schools, we each got to take on the role of the "Candy Fairy SLP". It was a pretty big hit at my school.

So if you are looking for a simple way to remind your teachers that we do more than just articulation, I suggest adding just a touch of something sweet.

You can grab your copy of the Better Speech & Hearing Month Dum-Dums here.