Monday, August 26, 2013

When the going gets tough....

I love my job... Most of the time. Many of us feel the same way, but what do you do when you are overwhelmed, especially with a new job, and you can't even stomach the thought of going in to work the next morning?

Here are some tips I have tried for when the going got tough.

1. Fake it. Plaster a smile on your face. At some point, that fake smile will turn into a real smile.

2. Take some time for yourself. Please schedule time for prep and lunch, most districts have it in your contract - take advantage of it. Close the door, put on your favorite relaxing music, take a chocolate break, whatever you need to get yourself through the next part of your day.

3. Focus on what you want out of your job, not how much you need to escape it. We all are in this field because we care about people, and want to help them live their lives to the best of their abilities. If administrators are driving you crazy or teachers feel they know more about your job than you, focus on why you are there and what you are doing. What was your goal in taking the position? Remember the positives, the smiles from your students, their successes, progress you see, no matter how small.

4. Learn more. If you think you are unqualified to treat some of your students, find a continuing education class in the area(s) in which you lack knowledge. is $99 a year and offers a plethora of courses to assist in developing your skills. Meet with colleagues or other SLPs in your district or community who can give you some insight into working with a particular disability or area in which you are inexperienced, such as AAC, apraxia, etc.... Seasoned therapists can be great resources.

5. Something I had to learn two years ago-wear your protective armor when you enter your workplace. Some people, administrators, coworkers, and parents thrive in seeng others' insecurities. This all goes back to number 1, fake it til you make it, smile even though you may want to cry. I wear my heart on my sleeve and when I had an issue at work that blew up, I spent a year learning relaxation techniques, and other ways to just get through each day. I thrived that year, and exceeded even my expectations.

We are not perfect, we don't know everything about our complex, but rewarding, profession. Ask for help, vent in appropriate places, and go in every day knowing that you make a difference in the lives of your students!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

TPT Back To School Sale: What did I purchase?

First of all, thank you so much for everyone who has made purchases, and all of the kind feedback that has been submitted.  I am so thankful to all of you!

Now for the good part!  I made some wonderful purchases, it was so hard to choose, and I may go back again tomorrow for more!

So far, I have: 

1.  Milk, Mice and Cookies Book Companion for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie From Karen Parden (the Speech Umbrella).  I love that there are so many activities crammed into this pack, and she uses graphics different from the other companions from this book.  Great job Karen!

2.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear Book Companion by Mia McDaniel: I love this book, and her activities incorporate so much that I just could not pass it up!  Love it Mia!

3.  Practical Problem Solving by Carly Fowler:  I just can't pass up materials for older students, especially ones so functional.  Nice job Carly!

4.  Restaurant-themed Language and Auditory Processing by Speech Snacks (Cooking Up Good Speech): Again, functional materials for me with my life skills caseload.  I had such a hard time deciding wich of her products to purchase!  Thanks Rose!

5.  Evidence-Based Practice Quick Reference: Speech Language Pathology by Carissa TenHoeve: I don't need to explain my reasons here, do I?  Just go get it, it's AMAZING!  Terrific job Carissa!

6.  Social Problem Solving Scenarios for Adolescents Jeopardy Style by Splashy Speech Stuff: Again, wonderful for my life skills kiddos!  And who doesn't like Jeopardy?

7.  Appropriate Conversation Topics, Appropriate Conversation Partners by Consonantly Speaking: I am so excited!  I use the Circles program at school, and this will go quite nicely with it.  Thanks Jessica!

And, of course I had to purchase some clip art, but I'm not going to reveal what I got here, you'll just have to wait and see!  :-)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School Sale

August 18-19 I will be participating in the big TPT Back to School sale with many of my blogger friends! take 28% off all items at my store using the code BTS13 at checkout. You can find stores on sale with this linky party. Thanks Rachel from Queen's Speech!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

3rd Thursday for All Linky Party

One of my bloggie buddies, Kelly from Speech2U, has come up with an awesome idea for a linky party.  She will post three ways she has used an item in speech, and then would like others to link up a post of theirs about the same item.  

This month's topic is popsicle sticks or tongue depressors.  

When I worked in the preschool setting, I used popsicle sticks for crafts all the time.  We made puppets, picture frames, and butterflies with them (I am sure we made many more things, but I remember those!).  Crafting with them provided a lot of opportunity for building language.  We spoke about basic, spatial and temporal concepts, expanded MLU and receptive and expressive language skills.  We worked on following directions, responding to and asking questions.  

Placement cues:
As a therapeutic instrument, I use tongue depressors for helping to elevate the tongue, place the tongue in the correct position, but I also use them for bite blocks.  Sometimes I have kids who come in clenching their jaws, opening their mouths too wide or not enough, or they have an inability to stabilize their jaws.  Rather than purchasing bite blocks, I make my own.  Depending on the opening I want, I tape two to five tongue depressors together. I place these between the student's teeth, showing the opening s/he needs to produce the sound correctly.

Vocabulary Building:
Finally, I use popsicle sticks for sorting everything!  I write words on them, and kids need to sort them by category, pair synonyms and antonyms, and part to whole.  I also use them as word building activities, writing words where children need to find the pairs that will form compound words.  

Here is a game you can do with these sticks: Write words that are unrelated on each end of the stick.  Make sure you have pairs of words (using the examples I use for sorting) that are not on the smae stick.  Hand out sticks to the kids in your group.  Lay down one stick so everyone can read it.  Students need to match up the ends of the sticks to each other at right angles.  It winds up looking like a giant maze when all of the sticks are matched up.  The kids love it, and it gets them moving.  I will take a picture of it when i return to school in September.

Now it's your turn!  If you are a blogger, go here to link up with Kelly.  If not, go to her blog and comment about the three ways you use popsicle sticks or tongue depressors! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trivia Night Set 3

This final set of questions is about word finding disorders.  I will give you 15 minutes to complete this.

1. Describe a word retrieval disorder.

2. What are three difficulties students may exhibit in the classroom?

3. Define a semantically related substitution and give an example.

4. Define a form related substitution and give an example.

5. Give two examples of secondary behaviors a child with word recall difficulties can exhibit.

Email me at

This is the final round.  All winners will be announced between 10 and 10:15pm Eastern.  Thanks so much for participating!

Trivia Night Set 2

This set of questions is about phonological processes.

1. List the ages that these phonological processes are typically gone by:
A. Gliding of liquids
B. Stopping of sh and ch
C. Fronting

2. How well can parents typically understand their children at (give %):
A. 18 months?
B. 24 months?
C. 36 months?

3. What are assimilation processes? Name three of them and give an example of each.

4. What is epenthesis? Give me an example.

5. Some speech sound errors are a result of physical problems. List three.

Email me at

Trivia Night First set

Here are the details and rules.  There will be three sets of questions, each set will be ten minutes long.  Email me at with your answers.  All correct responses will be entered into a raffle.  Two winners from each round may select a prodct of their choice, no bundles, from my TPT store.

The first set of questions will be about me, my blog, and my store.  To qualify for this round, you need to respond correctly to 4 of the 6 (I know I said 5).

1.  How many years have I been a Speech-Language Pathologist?
2.  Where did I get my degree?
3.  Name two of my featured products in my TPT store.
4.  How many free products do I have?
5.  What does my caseload primarily consist of?
6.  How many posts do I currently have on my blog?

Monday, August 12, 2013

SLP Trivia Night Tuesday August 13th

I am so excited to be hosting trivia on Tuesday, August 13 at 9 pm Eastern.  Thanks to Kristin at Simply Speech for coming up with the idea, and to Carrie from Carrie's Speech Corner for making up the awesome graphic!

Here is how the contest will work:

There will be three rounds consisting of 5 questions each.  Answers can be emailed to me at

Whoever responds correctly to the five questions in each set will be entered into a drawing.  There will be two winners per round.  Winners will be announced Tuesday after all sets have been completed.  Each round will last for 10 minutes.  Winners will be chosen via  Winners will get to choose a product from my store.  Sorry, no bundles!  

I hope you will join me here tomorrow evening!  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back To School SLP Blog Hop

Welcome to the Back to School SLP Blog Hop

You will get the chance to collect great back to school ideas for SLPs, win prizes and get freebies by touring 17 fantastic blogs!

Use the Linkytools at the bottom of this post to hop around 17 blogs, collect ideas, and the clues!

When I work with younger students I love using books.  One book I will be using for Back To School this year is There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books, by Lucille Colandro. 
After reading the story, I address each student's IEP goals.  I created a book companion for this book, and you can find it on TPT here.  The skills targeted in this book companion include sequencing and story retelling, rhyming, identifying nouns and verbs, phonemic awareness skills, following directions, comprehension questions, articulation, writing skills, and comparing and contrasting.  There are color and black and white pages included, as well as pages to send home for homework.  There is also a craft activity and prop included for retelling.

For visiting my blog and hopping, I would love for you to download a copy of The Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books Color and Glue Freebie.  Assemble the Old Lady, cut out the pictures of the items she swallowed, and have the students paste the objects on her stomach.  You can address several goals with this activity (fluency, grammar, articulation, to name a few), and I hope you enjoy it!  You can grab it here.

Here are some other books that can be used the first sessions/classes of the school year, in class, as well as in speech. There is a great variety in these books. Most are for grades K-2, but I will post some for older grades as well.

If You Take a Mouse To School by Laura Numeroff
It's Time for School, Stinkyface! By Lisa McCourt
Amelia Bedelia Goes Back to School by Herman Parish
The Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books by Lucille Colandro
Splat the Cat, Back to School, Splat by Rob Scotton
Back to School for Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos
Back to School Tortoise by Lucy M. George
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes by
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dowdney
Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches by Lisa Broadie Cook
The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing

For Grades 3-5
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sacher
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Back to School, Mallory by Laurie Friedman
Amelia's Notebook by Marissa Moss
Arthur's Teacher Trouble by Marc brown
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Moses Goes to School (uses ASL along with the words) by Isaac Millner
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

Now back to the BLOG HOP:

5 winners will receive a goodie basket of TPT products from our stores.

1 GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive the following in addition to the activities:
a $50 TpT gift card
School of Multi-Step Directions from Virtual Speech Center
Articulation Station from Little Bee Speech
and Kid in Story from LocoMotive Labs

The rules of the contest are simple:
You must decode a secret message
In order to complete this task, you will need to visit each of the 17 blogs and find the OWL CLUE
The OWL CLUE will include one word that is part of the code.
When you enter the contest through RAFFLECOPTER, you will be asked to type in the secret code.  have fun and enjoy blog hopping with us!  The contest will run from August 11th to August 17th, 2013.

Enjoy reading through the blogs, downloading the freebies, and participating in the blog hop.  Good luck everyone!

HERE IS MY SECRET CODE!  Enjoy the school year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What's in your bag?

I recently began working with preschoolers again.  My district cut my job to half time, and with a tough job market, I kept that position, but needed, and wanted, to do more.  It's been about 7 years since I worked the little ones, and I had so much fun with them. I am excited to pick up some new preschoolers in the fall.  

So, what's in my speech bag?  When I used to go home-to-home, I carried so many games and toys and papers and....  My car was like a roving toy store!

Do you know this game (Am I dating myself here?)?  Waaaay back when I first started working, this was one of my favorite games for the little ones.  This was not a good game to travel with, since with every bump, the ducks would start quacking.  With no on/off switch or volume control button, it was not a great game for travel.  If we had iphones, youtube, etc, it would have been fun to record the faces of people as they rolled up next to me with their windows open, hearing ducks quacking.  One man actually tried to gain my attention by throwing something at my car to ask why I had ducks in my trunk.  

Many years later, this is not a game I will be bringing into the home, especially since it looks like they are $40 on Amazon now!  Yikes!  Image courtesy of Amazon, here is the link if you don't know the game, I am not an Amazon affiliate.

If you are just starting out or getting back into home visits, and don't have a budget for a lot of games, or other awesome speech products by various suppliers, here are my top three inexpensive items:

3.  Playdough:  Personally, I dislike the smell of the real stuff, so I make my own, and it is so much less expensive.  Here is an easy recipe that I use all of the time; it can last for months when you put it into a plastic container or storage bag.
Playdough recipe: 

3 cups flour
1.5 cups salt
6 tsp. cream of tarter
3 tbsp. oil
3 cups water

Pour all ingredients into a large pot. Stir constantly over medium heat until a dough ball forms by pulling away from the sides. Knead dough until the texture matches play dough, typically takes about 2 to 5 minutes.

To add colors, you can add some food coloring to the water before mixing it with the dry ingredients. Another way to add color (and scent!) is to mix a Kool Aid packet into the water before adding to the dry ingredients. It looks and smells so good!

Playdough is wonderful for improving following directions, identifying basic concepts, increasing MLU, comprehension and use of action words, and describing. Add some cookie cutters, and you have a themed activity for every season or holiday.

2. Kid-friendly magazines: I don't throw away my magazines anymore. I love using the pictures to discuss facial expressions and body language, the products being advertised, etc. I use the pictures and ads for vocabulary, categories, describing, sorting, pronouns, verbs, expanding sentences, and identifying objects. If there are some wonderful large pictures, I cut them out, glue them onto cardboard, and cut them into puzzle pieces.

1. Bubbles: Everyone likes bubbles! I use bubbles, not only for reward or motivation, but for helping with puckering, lip rounding, showing examples of smooth airflow, vocabulary, action and prepositions.... Bubbles also make a great art activity! Have you ever made bubble prints? It's on my to-do list for my kids this week, and hopefully I will get a good picture to share, but basically, you need:

1. 4 ounce plastic cups
2. large bottle of bubbles (I use Miracle bubbles because they seem to make bubbles better than other brands.)
3. Food coloring, in assorted colors
4. Bubble wands and stras
5. Heavy paper, such as construction paper or card stock

To prepare:

I do this outdoors, especially when at a student's house.  Tape the paper to something vertical, like a tree, or to the sidewalk or driveway.  Add drops of food coloring to the bottom of the cup, then pour in bubble solution.  Adjust the colors as necessary.  

Have the child practice lip rounding and blowing before using the colored bubbles.  When ready, have him/her stand in front of (or next to if paper is on the ground) the paper and blow bubbles onto the paper.  The pattern from the bubbles touching and popping is amazing, and kids are so excited doing this project.  

If your students have difficulty using bubble wands, you can adapt this by having the student use a straw and blow into the cup.  When the bubbles come above the top of the cup, gently lay the paper on top of it.  You still get a beautiful pattern, and can still work on the same skills.  

These things can always be found in my speech bag, along with others to address my goals, like articulation cards, language targets, etc.  But to keep kids on task and interested, I always have these on hand.  

So what's in your speech bag?