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My Holiday Freebies~ gifts to you.

If you're like me, this time of year is super busy and money is tight. I wanted to keep my students engaged with fun seasonal activities and needed many repetitions so I created the following low cost and free-to-you ideas.  

1. Holiday Dots- I know, easy-right! I posted this on Instagram and received a lot of positive feedback and hearts. Simply cut out or punch out (if you have one of those cool large hole punches) and start creating. I give my students one circle per repetition. There are 25 reps on this page alone. 
2. O Christmas Tree of Speech- I have a craft drawer filled with materials that rarely get touched. I haven't used these pom poms since I created my Warm Fuzzy EET Companion. I got the idea to use these fuzz balls as color ornaments for a Christmas Tree. Click here to download the FREE template. 
3. Believe Printables- I also had a bag full of bells in my junk, I mean craft, drawer. This sparked the idea of a Polar Express theme complete with hot chocolate, video clips, and a special gift for my younger students. Just tie some ribbon around the handle of the bell and loop it around this FREE Believe Printable for a magical gift to remember. Click Here. 

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday filled with much love and good cheer. Thank you for being loyal fans and followers. I truly appreciate you. ~ Jen
Click for holiday craft ideas

Going to ASHA or staying home? Huge Giveaway!

Whether you're off to the ASHA Convention or staying home (like me), we've got some fun in store for you! 

If you're heading to Philly, keep an eye out for Activity Tailor! She's loaded up her suitcase of SLP swag from some of your favorite SLPs. I've included some of the best melt-in-your-mouth treats and an adorable little tangible surprise and I'm excited to hear what you all think. 

Home for ASHA, no fear: 

You won't be left out of the fun if you're staying home this year. We've got a Huge Giveaway which you can enter at Sweet Southern SpeechWe have $100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card Plus over $70 of SLP products for the lucky winner. I'm giving away my Social Emotional Lesson as part of the bundle. 

So go enter, you have nothing to lose. I wish you a great week and much luck.  

Walk the Plank~ pirate activities.

I've linked up with Sweet Southern Speech to talk about Pirate Day! September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day and we're gearing up for some fun in my upper grade and lower grade speech rooms! 

My older students are working on context clues with my Pirates Inferencing & Vocabulary game. Students draw cards that take them on a journey to find the hidden treasure. Context clues and upper grade vocabulary words are embedded in sentences. The first student to fill their treasure chests with the required contents wins the game.

The little guys will be working on describing with the Expanding Expression Tool in this easy-to-make Walk The Plank game. I uploaded some great graphics from MyCuteGraphics and taped them onto a piece of plywood that I had in my basement. I then put the wood on two plastic bins that raised the plank about a foot off the ground. Students will roll the foam EET dice after they step on a picture. Everyone takes turns walking the plank up to the picture that they are working on. 
Interested in more EET Companions, click the images below. 

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has up their puffy sleeves? 
Head back to the linky party to see. 

How to Get Your MS and HS Students to SHOW UP for services!

Your materials are prepped for the session and you look at the clock and start the waiting game. Five minutes go by and you are getting annoyed, they're not showing up again! You weed through the mound of schedules to locate where your students may be. You wonder if you should call and disrupt the class, and decide against it so not to embarrass your students. The session is half way over by the time you get your group together. 
...If you work with middle or high school students you know this common scene all too well. 

I'm happy to share with you some tips and tricks to get your students to speech and/or special ed services during their scheduled times!

Before I provide specific tips, I want to share a few broad pointers. 

Be Mindful of Stigma: SLPs and Special Educators are considered cool to students in the younger grades. Students grab us in the classroom and ask to come to speech even when they are not on our caseload. This usually comes to a screeching halt when kids enter the pre-teen stage. Don't get offended. It's typical for students in middle and high school to not want to be seen as different. The stigma of special ed is real and we should not take it personally when our students avoid us like the plague. For more on this, check out my most popular blog post: Special Ed Stigma.  

Be Age Respectful: On the other hand, our space and expertise can extend a welcome mat for students to decompress and have fun while learning communication skills. Remember to be age respectful and empathetic to students at this critical time of development. Use materials and techniques that are trending and cool. Check out my Emoji Freebie as an example. Try using Siri during speech sessions (blog post- Get Siri-ous in Speech), bring in You Tube videos of favorite pastimes, and try Pixar clips for inferencing. I promise, you'll see increased motivation and participation. 

Ask Your Students: From special ed stigma to deficits in executive functioning skills, there are many reasons why students don't show up for services. Ask your students why they aren't showing up. Try this approach, "Hey Johnny, I've noticed you have trouble getting to your speech session on time, what's up?" We SLPs love to talk, but keep it quiet. The gift of the pause is golden. You may be surprised by your students' responses. 

Educate Your Students: Do your students understand themselves as learners and know why they come to work with you? Educate them on their strengths and weaknesses and help them to see why this work is important for their future. My IEP and Me product may help your students take ownership of their learning and increase attendance. 

Now to some of the more specific tips and tricks. 

1. Pass it on: Many SLPs and special educators use appointment cards for students. Once again, make it age respectful. Include service time, teacher name, and location, but leave out the cutsie pictures. You could also develop a hall pass for teacher classrooms. Students simply bring the pass with them when they transition to your service location. 

2. Classify it: Our local high school has the special ed services as an actual elective class called study skills. Students receive credit for their specialized instruction and it's built into the schedule. I really wish we had this model at the middle level, but there is no reason we can't write our service times onto our students' academic paper schedules. Students reference their schedules daily. You may also make a copy of this schedule in a reduced size for students to tape into their lockers. Write speech in the schedule as an actual class. Call it Communication Skills- ain't it the truth? 

3. Make it Natural: Okay, I know that scheduling is the hardest part of our jobs, but think about how awkward it feels to leave, say, in the middle of a meeting. Imagine being a middle school student and having to leave smack dab in the middle of math class and then having to return 10 minutes before the class is over. I let students have some input into when they would like to come see me. Try to make the service start or end time during a transition or when the student doesn't mind leaving his/her classroom. 

4. Technology Time- Do your students have a 1:1 laptop program, iPads, or are they allowed to use their iPhones in school? These are some favorite tech tips that give students more independence while using reminder alarms. There are a lot of favorite apps for reminding and Remind App or Remind 101 are on top of the list. You may also set up reoccurring emails for students. Use Mail Conductor and input your information only once. Students can use Google Calendars to input their schedules as well. Have your students bring their technology to their session and spend a few minutes setting up reminder alarms. They may even teach you something. 

5. Code the Call- I call the classroom as a last resort, which may be your best option for some students with severe organizational challenges. Set up a code system with the teacher and student. I let the phone ring once and the student and teacher know that it's my specialized instruction time. Your success will increase when you have more people involved in remembering service times. 

It's taken me years to get a steady flow of students arriving to speech and language services on time. I hope these tips and tricks are useful and that you see a huge improvement in attendance this year. 

You may also like my FREE Incentive Punch Cards for Attendance and to reduce tardiness. 

TpT Best Year Ever SALE: SLP Products and Tips LINKY

I'm really excited to share with my Apraxia Sports Bundle for upper grades My students LOVE when I pull these out because they know they'll get to move. Pacing strategies and boards are included in each product and I emphasize the importance of slowing down and being deliberate in their speech production.

My best-selling apraxia product in the bundle is Multi-Syllabic Hoops which incorporates the basketball theme. I bring students to the gym, outside, or just push aside the table and have them dribble out the syllables. The kinesthetic paired with visual and verbal really makes an impact on learning and carry over.  

I bring movement into soccer themed by having students kick the ball back and forth, students toss a soft baseball for the All Star theme, and pass the foam football to each other for my Touch Down apraxia game.

Bringing movement into your work with upper grade students is just as important as with the younger grades. Brain research indicates that we learn best when we pair Kinesthetics with learning a skill area. It also gets the endorphins flowing which brings on a happy mood and a calmer day.  Most importantly, kids LOVE it!

SLPs don't need technology!

My recent experiences out and about inspired this blog post to share another reason why our profession is awesome and our skills indispensable.
Upon entering my bank today, the teller behind the counter informed me that all of the computers were down and they couldn't do anything having to do with my accounts.  "Umm, okay... thank you" I replied and exited. This reminded me of a recent trip to a restaurant where the power went out and the workers went into a panic. They stopped customers from coming in and it took about an hour for the waitress to figure out my bill. Thankfully, I had a check because they couldn't take credit cards!  This is scary times people. 

There are so many businesses that can not function today without technology! But not us! SLPs can make the best therapy session with a paper clip and a pencil. The electricity has gone out in my school before and we stayed open. Students used flash lights for the bathrooms and books for learning. Sure we couldn't use our special ed web-based platform, but we have hard forms if we need them. We could still run a killer IEP meeting and take minutes with a good ol' pen. I'm not sure about your schools, but we keep electronic files, and have hard copy back-ups. We email and text, but we are really good at making phone calls too. We thrive with and without technology.

It gives me a feeling of security and pride knowing that our profession can not be taken over by a computer and come hell or high water, SLPs can get the job done!

What's in Your Cart~ Linky Party

Thanks so much Jenna from Speech Room News for hosting a What's In Your Cart Linky Party!  Get your carts ready, my friends! Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Back to School BEST YEAR EVER sale August 1st & 2nd! Save up to 28% site wide (with the stores who are participating) with promo code BESTYEAR.  

My cart is already stuffed with new resources and clip art! I'm glad that they decided to have the sale earlier this year so that we can get things printed, copied, laminated, etc. before students come back.

New in my store:
I have some new products in my store that I'm excited to share with you. 
I'm most excited about My IEP and Me, mainly because my first two weeks of lessons are covered with this product as well as all of my students questions regarding why they receive services and what they can do to take ownership of their learning.
I have to admit that this product was totally inspired by the adorable clip art! I mean how cute are these little weiner dogs!!! Shades of Meaning is common core aligned and great for students needing help understanding subtle differences between words.

What's in my cart? 
I'm needing to update my articulation materials and these products are anything but basic. 

Activity Tailor has a super unique product for tackling /s/blends. Check it out: 
These Artic Pix from Gold Country SLP are age appropriate for the upper grade students whom I work with. Looking forward to having these beautiful pix to pull from. 
Jen from Speech Universe has this new comprehensive Articulation Progress Moitoring Kit which I can't wait to get my hands on. I believe this will make data tracking so much easier. 
I was blown away by Jenna's blog post on her new Speech and Language Learning Targets product. Check it out and don't miss this great deal during the sale! 

Let's shoot for the stars and have The BEST YEAR EVER! 
My entire SLP Runner store will be 28% off including already reduced bundles. Remember to use the code:BESTYEAR

First week in Speech products and tips!

The first day of school will be here before long and we all want it to begin as stress-free as possible. I've asked SLP bloggers and TpT authors to share their favorite products and posts to help us start the year off on the right foot. 

Check out these four helpful blog posts for setting up your schedules, building routines, and surviving the first week of school! 

Great products to get to know your students, help with scheduling, organize your speech room, and begin the data tracking process. 

                                           More Back-To-School themed products:

My best to you all for a smooth transition into the new school year! If you have a helpful tip or product, feel free to post it in the comments.