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What's in your Cart- TpT Cyber Sale

Thanks Speech Room News for hosting another What's in your Cart linky party! 
This year's Cyber Sale is Monday and Tuesday!
Here are some new items in my store: 
Would You Rather /s/ and /z/ is getting a lot of attention and is a great way to target carry-over for your older students.  And be set for the entire year with my Figurative Language bundle!

I have a confession.... I couldn't wait for the sale and bought these last week.  I have to say they are some of my favorite purchases and I highly recommend them!
I wish you all happy shopping and a true appreciation for this most wonderful time of the year!  Remember to use the promo code: Smile.  My SLP Runner will be 28% off with the code (even more with my bundles!).  

Gobble Up Holiday Goodies!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Happy holidays friends.  I'm so glad you joined The Frenzied SLPs for this link up full of holiday goodies.  

Ready for this week?  Here's a quick and easy craft that everyone loves.  Pop some popcorn in a paper bag and tie as a turkey leg.  Write Thanksgiving words on the legs and have kids describe the words.    

How cute is this cupcake ornament!   Simple and age respectful for all grades, this ornament idea will surly bring a festive feel into your speech and language room.  

Give yourself the gift of relaxation over Thanksgiving Break by knowing that you are set for the upcoming month.  

Thanks for gobbling up these holiday goodies and enjoy a wonderful holiday season!

Thankful and Grateful Blog Hop

Welcome to The Frenzied SLPs scavenger hunt style blog hop where we will share our stories of gratitude while inviting you to participate in our giveaway. Three winners will be chosen to each receive a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card and a $10 Starbucks gift card. 
Go to the first page with instructions for the blog hop and to get you started.  

While I'm thankful for so many things, including you~ I would like to take a moment to reflect on a new and extremely helpful concept that I've been practicing this year.  Living one day at a time.  My life can be so overwhelming at times with a FT job, three kids, and my blogging.  I have learned to handle the stress and pressures by realizing that I can't live in the future or past and need to take things as they are.  This in-the-moment thinking has been so helpful and has not only benefited me, but also my family and work.  By setting daily goals and not worrying about tomorrow or how much there is to do, I can focus on small steps which helps make the goals more attainable.  This thinking can apply to anything from budgeting my finances, to losing weight, to managing my paperwork, and even planning for the upcoming holidays. I'm grateful that I am able to refocus my thoughts on the here and now.  The present is truly where my life is at.  

Now on to your letter~

H is for hope!   I hope you can live your life in the moment and enjoy the spirit of the holidays!   

SLP bloggers ~ Our Weaknesses turned Strengths!

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I was inspired to write about this topic after seeing a post on the Speech and Language collaborative FB page where an SLP belittled herself for not being strong in one of our many speciality areas.  Weakness is universal. No one is perfect . No one can do it all on their own. We need community, and we need to share in one another’s triumphs and continue to work on our challenges. This is a difficult topic for me to address because it exposes my weaknesses. I'm sure you can agree that few people relish the idea of feeling vulnerable.  But for the sake of growth and connection, I'm willing to set my fears aside and take the plunge! I hope that you will join me and we can explore this subject together. 

As educators, we tell our students that in order to grow and evolve, they need to step out of their comfort zones. Yet as adults, we often get stuck in our familiar ruts. We go along with what is comfortable and non-challenging. It's easy to do! Why fix what's not broken, right? However, there is always room for growth and development, no matter what your age or stage of life. I'm loving the Growth Mindset model and using it as a tool to help my students achieve, assist my own children in growing, and also to build my life as a progression of bettering myself. Many of us are hard pressed to admit our weaknesses for fear of ridicule and rejection. As human beings, we are prone to dislike and fear change. What we don't stop to consider is that change is necessary for growth. Did you know that every weakness has a corresponding strength? That's right; hidden in your weaknesses are your strengths! Feeling skeptical? Allow me to explain!

Knowing myself as I do, I can identify my weakness as having an ADD-type brain, which especially manifests itself during stressful situations.  I won't go into detail about how I took my husband's keys to work twice this week, but will share my challenge of responding in pressured situations. When put on the spot to answer a challenging question, I may freeze up and become anxious. All of these thoughts rush through my head, but it's a crap shoot whether or not the words will come out the way I want to articulate them. Earlier in my career this was more apparent as I would try to share my evaluation findings while using all of the clinical jargon and cohesively solidifying the information. I often found that I would put my foot in my mouth, as I quickly stammered out a response to a parent question. While this characteristic may be perceived as being impulsive  and disorganized, I have come to look at is as an opportunity to be methodical and analytical, which is a strength. I may not be able to react to a challenging question quickly, but I have learned that this is not necessarily a bad thing. I've learned that when I allow myself time to ponder and analyze; brainstorm and research; and collaborate with colleagues, that I come back to the table with many out-of-the-box ideas that really benefit the team and situation. Through the years, I have learned several tools and strategies that have served me well should I find myself in a situation that is out of my comfort zone. 

First, before I attend a meeting, I make certain I know the agenda being presented, and ask for any accompanying literature. Familiarizing yourself with the topic, and having the materials prior to the meeting, allows you the opportunity to review and study the information being discussed. 
Secondly, when asked for a response, I make it a point to take a deep breath, relax and speak calmly and clearly. Appearing confident is crucial. 
Next, I allow others to respond or ask their opinion before I chime in. This technique not only buys time, but also allows the opportunity to hear other thoughts and opinions. 
Finally, if I still don't have a response ready, I simply state that I need time to further consider the question and shape my response accordingly.  This last strategy came from a conference I attended in which a Harvard professor replied many times to audience members' questions stating "I don't have the answer to that question right now, but let me get back to you."  His response was professional and true which confirmed the fact that nobody knows it all and that the growing process for learning is a continuum that should never stop.  
Remember, hidden in every weakness is a corresponding strength. By identifying the areas in which you struggle, and developing some key strategies and coping mechanisms, we can turn our negatives into positives for ourselves and our students. Please check out my fellow SLP Bloggers who had the courage to share their weaknesses made strengths and consider challenging yourself to share in the comments.  Together we can work to help each other learn and grow! 

Fall Themed Articulation Ideas

Thanks for joining the Frenzied SLP Fall Articulation linky party. 

I can't believe we're already into October.  This school year is flying by and the leaves are in full foliage in Vermont.  
I'm lucky to work in a school that has some beautiful grounds.  We have a walking trail, two playgrounds, soccer fields, and lots of trees.  
We even have an outdoor staff lounge behind that fence.  
Idea 1:
Take speech therapy outdoors to enjoy the scenery and and get some of that fresh, crisp air.  

My students were each given a clipboard and pencil as we set off for the school yard.  The students were given the task of discovering things with their sounds.  Leaves, mulch, slide were just a few of our /l/ words.  Our /r/ words consisted of acorns, red, and trail, and students found sidewalk, swings, basketball hoop for /s/.  

For younger students, you could modify this activity by creating a scavenger hunt of objects. 

Idea 2:
Slow it down with tangible pacing boards.  

I have three upper grade students who work on pacing to improve intelligibility.  My students love using themed pacing boards.  You can use acorns, mini pumpkins, or leaves as fall tangibles. You improve motivation when you change it up by incorporating tactile stimulation. 
Hope these little tips help liven up your fall articulation therapy.  

 Thanks Annie Doyle SLP for hosting the party.   Be sure to head to her page from the link up below for some more ideas on fall articulation. 

You may also like: 

SLP Tongue Twister Video Goes Viral!

Will twelve tough tongue twisters trip up these TpT SLPs
Close to 12,000 views on Facebook!  I couldn't link directly to my Facebook page so I am sharing the video on You Tube for you.  
I was surprised at how much my students and own children enjoyed watching the tongue twisters.  I believe it was because they were reinforced with the fact that even adults make mistakes and to laugh at oneself makes it all okay.  
Let me know your favorite tongue twister in the comment section below!

Middle School linky party

Hey~ welcome to the Frenzied SLP blog party on Middle School Materials and Motivators! I've worked with middle level learners for 17 years and love this population! From the awkwardness to the crazy drama- these kids want nothing more than to be understood.  
Did you know that the middle school student goes through the most physical, emotional, and social development during the tween years?  I feel so fortunate to be a part of this impressionable time of my students' lives and want to share with you my top 5 keys to motivate your students!  
1. Make connections: Take genuine interest in your students.  Get to know their likes, hopes, and dreams. Connect learning to students' interests and make it relevant to their lives.  I've helped a student write rap songs (best apraxia progress), aided another student with her lines in the play, taught mnemonic devices to help upper grade students pass hunter's safety courses and driving tests. Students show up ready to learn when you care enough to make connections. 
2. Make it okay to fail: I am purposely goofy with my students.  I share so many stories of how I messed up, struggled, and failed that my students know it's okay be be themselves in my room. They are not afraid to take risks and understand that perseverance is more important than perfection.  
We work on growth mindset (based on the book Mindset). My students know their positive character traits and hear language that helps them to make progress.   
3. Incorporate movement: Our students' bones, muscles, and organs are growing at an accelerated rate. Students are awkward with these body changes, and they even have fluctuations in their basal metabolism. This can cause extreme restlessness at times and listlessness at other times. I'm lucky to work at a school that incorporates middle school philosophy. We have advisories, recess, block scheduling, and teach to the whole learner. We know that movement is critical to learning. My students may use brain breaks, dribble a basketball to multi-syllabic words, walk outside to incorporate EET tasks, or simply follow physical directions. You won't believe the difference a 2-minute movement break makes in attitude and focus.  
4. Keep it cool: Be aware and respectful of the stigma that goes hand-in-hand with special ed services. Sorry peeps, coming to speech isn't considered cool in middle school. But, you can do some things to make it semi-cool and fun. Check out my most popular blog post for tips on reducing special ed stigma HERE.  
5. Be creative:  Middle schoolers like to have fun. Motivate your students by incorporating lots of senses. Play games, create projects, listen to music, cook, and bring in new creative materials.  I have a lot of materials in my TpT store created specifically for my middle school students. Check out some of my best-sellers below: 
I had a real hard time narrowing down my many middle school products so I narrowed it down to my best-sellers.  

Topic Text incorporates sparkly smart phones with social pragmatic turn-taking, topic maintenance, and active listening skills. We always run out of time playing this very engaging game.  Like most of my products, this one includes social language rubrics for students to self monitor progress and SLPs to chart growth. 
 Taking Perspective is my all time best seller. It's a meta-cognitive activity which helps students to understand others emotions and identify what someone may be thinking or feeling in a given situation.  You will find work sample pages, rubrics, an emotion bank, and many situations for students to analyze. I have many perspective taking activities in my store, including one that specifically targets social media and the impact posts, likes, comments can have on others: Safebook HERE
 Here are a couple loves of mine that I ALWAYS pull out for my students and they NEVER get old.

So relax and have fun with your middle schoolers. And remember that you are an important part of their lives during these critical years.  
Check out the other link-ups for more tips and product ideas.  

Step-by-step guide for painting wood furniture

I have been putting off painting some furniture because I feared the process and dreaded the work that I thought would be involved.  Well, like many things in life, thinking about doing it was much harder than actually doing the work.  The process wasn't complicated and the drying time didn't take long at all.  I was so pleased with the final results.

I have two different projects that I'm going to be showcasing here.  First, I have a set of dressers for my daughter's bedroom.  They were a dark wood and we wanted white.

  My second project was freshening up this old beat up shelving unit in my office.  
Screwdriver, medium (80 – 120 grit) sanding wedge, Zinsser Cover Stain Primer, latex paint color of choice, Floetrol, 2” angled quality paintbrush, water based polyurethane protectant. 

Clean off dust and dirt from the furniture piece and
remove drawers, knobs, and legs. Put sheets under the piece.  Sand if you must.  If you have uneven wood, scratches, shiny finish, you will want to sand.  The goal is to rough up the piece so that the primer will adhere.  I sanded my dresser set, but did not sand the wooden shelf for my office because the wood was pretty dull.  

I believe the trick to this project is to use the Zinsser Cover Stain Primer (gold label).  It is like a glue primer that adheres any surface without sanding.  So if you hate sanding like I do, you can skip the messy dust and go straight for this fast-drying primer.  

If you used the bonding primer, you will not need to sand before paining.  I used a semi gloss latex paint and added Floetrol (according to instructions) and applied two coats.  The Floetrol is a conditioner which extends the paint and minimizes paint lines which leaves a more professional look.  
Because these are high traffic pieces of furniture, I sealed the paint job.    Use only a gloss water-based polycrylic sealer. Be sure to paint with the grain of the wood and seal the top twice for durability.  
Check out that shine! 
I took my dresser legs outside to prime, paint, and seal.  

Ta Da!  Here are the finished pieces.  The matching tall dresser came out so nice and my office shelving unit got an extra big makeover as I added chevron liner.  
Click HERE to see more photos of my speech space!     
There you have it, my step by step for a lasting paint job on wood furniture.  So stop thinking and just do it!  You won't be sorry.