Happy New Year!!!!

So, I know that I have been absent a lot lately.  Honestly, life has just overwhelmed me.  2015 was a BIG year!
At home, my husband and I decided to move our family to a different town.  This meant cleaning, organizing and packing up our old house to sell (it sold in three days) so that we could start looking for a new house.  We didn't expect our house to sell so fast, so it was crunch time really quickly!  We really wanted to find a house in a neighborhood with lots of kids.  We looked all around, and found our dream house in the perfect neighborhood!  We were able to get a little more house than we originally wanted because we moved out a little farther that we had previously thought we would.  This neighborhood is crawling with little buddies for our guys, so it is perfect for us!

We accepted the offer on our old house on June 5, and a whirlwind later, we purchased and moved into our new house on August 1!  

Did I mention that we had also planned a family vacation for the middle of summer too?  We rented a cottage on Grand Traverse Bay, and had an awesome time spending time together during the lazy days of summer.  It was a great break from the craziness at home!  We spent our time exploring the area, climbing sand dunes, kayaking, paddle boarding, making puzzles, and playing games.  It was so fun!

After the vacation and moving, it was time to get the boys registered at their new school.  My oldest son has Type 1 Diabetes, so that took some planning time with the school.  The new school has been awesome with their support and help with his diabetes.  In November, they had Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Week!  My little guy who was selectively mute in pre K and K actually talked in front of the whole school!  AMAZING!!!!  He also got an insulin pump which has significantly changed his insulin delivery for the better.  There was a huge learning curve, but so worth it!

Of course, during all of this craziness, the boys still wanted to play sports too.  They were involved in soccer and a short hockey course this fall!

So, with all of that going on, it is amazing that I was also able take on an additional self-contained Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) room (4 total) and the rest of my general caseload, plus a new preschool program to boot!  Can you say CRAZY?!?!

At work, I have honestly been completely overwhelmed with the ASD classrooms.  24 students with significant delays can be daunting.  I have started to do groups with the students by working on Core Vocabulary.  I will write more about this another time, as this is definitely a work in progress.  The groups have been really successful, and I have loved running them.

My preschool students that I inherited this year are an absolute joy to work with!  I haven't worked with preschool age students in quite a while, and it is so refreshing!  They are so excited for everything I present to them, and have been making great progress too.

So now, on to the NEW YEAR!!!!!

I don't normally have new years resolutions, but this year, I wanted to write some things down to keep myself accountable.  
  • Blogging at least 2-3 times a month, if not more.  I have some fun ideas for posts, that I just need to sit down and write.
  • Create some new products to go with my Core Vocabulary lessons.  
  • Finally finish my Common Core Daily Workouts for grades 3-5.
  • Have fun with my students!!!!
Thanks so much for sharing 2015 with me!  I am constantly overwhelmed by the support I receive here.  Even with all the craziness that I have had going on, I love to check in here and see comments from people around the country and world.  Our online SLP community continues to grow in ways that amaze me.  

Here's to an awesome 2016!!!!  Cheers!!!

Speechless SLPs

There have been many moments in my career as an SLP that have rendered me entirely speechless.  When I saw this topic from Activity Tailor, I knew I had to link up!

Working in self-contained Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) classrooms for over 12 years now has produced many speechless moments for me.  My favorites are when students who were previously non-verbal or very late talkers communicate with me.

  • When a student uses every color on their PECS book to request every color Skittle I have.
  • When a student with ASD has been working on simple conversations for a long time, and spontaneously makes a comment without prompting.
  • When we figure out that a completely "non-verbal" student will speak and repeat words into a microphone!
  • When a parent cries at an IEP because they are so happy with the progress their child has made.
  • When a student with ASD moves away for a year and a half, comes back, and still remembers my iPad password!!!
There are many speechless moments with my students that are not in self-contained rooms too.

  • When my kindergarten friends across the hall make sure to come and get me any time they are starting "my song."  Pop See Ko 2.0  You have to check this one out!  This will seriously get stuck in your head!!!
  • When a parent tells me that their child's grandparents can now understand them on the phone.
  • When six first grade friends want to come with me to my room when I pick up one of their classmates, and the student coming with me looks so proud that she gets to go.
Of course there are many moments at home too!
  • When my seven year old son still wants me to "smush his cheeks" every morning.
  • When the same seven year old tells me "good night, sweet dreams, see you in the morning" every night before I shut his door.
  • When both boys come all the way across the house to find me and ask me to make a sandwich when their dad is standing in the kitchen!
  • When my nine year old son tells me that he is sad that he will have diabetes for the rest of his life. 
  • When my husband tells me he loves me and I'm beautiful.  Makes my heart beat a little faster every time.
I realize every day how blessed I am to have my family, friends, and students in my life.  They all make my life so full of love.

Thanks to Kim at Activity Tailor for putting this linky together!

The Frenzied SLPs: Thankful and Grateful Blog Hop {GIVEAWAY}

This week, The Frenzied SLPs are Thankful and Grateful for everyone who follows us and reads our frenzied posts.  To thank everyone for their support, we are having a blog hop giveaway!!!  We are giving away three sets of gift cards.  Three lucky winners will each receive two separate gift cards!  Each winner will get a $10 gift card from Starbucks (who can't use a little pick-me-up?) and a $10 gift card from Teachers Pay Teachers!

To win these great prizes, all you have to do is follow our blog hop and collect the letters on the turkey signs to make a secret phrase.

You can start with this letter here:
This is the first letter in the phrase.  Hop through all the blogs to gather the letters for the secret phrase, and then enter that phrase into the Rafflecopter giveaway that you can find at the bottom of this post.  You can find the next blog at the bottom of this page.

I want everyone to know how thankful I am to you for following me here.  When I started this all three years ago, I never imagined where it would take me!  I have met so many wonderful SLPs along the way.  Everyone I talk to continues to inspire me to be a better person and a better SLP.  I never imagined that people would want to see my ideas that I use in my little speech room.  This has been such a fun journey!  So, THANK YOU!!!!!

You can click here to get to the next Frenzied SLP blog:

To win the fabulous prizes, you can enter your secret phrase here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Category Sorting

One of my very first items on Teachers Pay Teachers was my Category Sorting activity.  So many of you have purchased and used this product, and for that, I am so grateful!  Over the years, I have changed this product a bit for use in my speech room, and thought I would share my changes with you.

The first change I made is that I added three additional pictures for each board.  With 10 boards, that is a total of 60 different item cards now!  Categories include: farm animals, zoo animals, fruits, vegetables, letters, shapes, numbers, colors, toys, and vehicles.

There are cards that are color coded to go with the boards:

And there are cards that have a black outline on the icons for less visual support:

Here is what these look like after they are put together:

For this update, I also added a visual sentence support.  Many of my students need support in creating sentences to state the category of items.  I created a board that can be used with any of the icons included in this packet.  Here is what this looks like:

If you have previously purchased this product, please go HERE to update your product.   Click the Download Now button to get this.

If you have not previously purchased this product, you can go HERE to get this fun set of category sorting mats.

Fall No-Prep Articulation

This month, for The Frenzied SLPs linky, we are focusing on fun, fall-themed articulation ideas.

I love fall for so many reasons!  I'm looking outside right now at a crisp, bright blue sky highlighted by trees that are just starting to show their fall colors.  On this beautiful day, we are heading down to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins.  The colors to me are what makes fall so amazing.  I love the area that I live, just for the change of seasons!

My students love fall colors too!  In fact, they just love to color!  I made a Fall No-Prep Articulation packet to entice them to practice at home and with me.

These are fun, quick, and simple sheets that encourage practice of any articulation target.  There are pages for sounds in isolation, syllables, words, sentences, and a carryover page for discussion.

I also included some extra sheets with ideas for words for each sound you may be targeting.  These are nice to send home so that parents can help think of words to practice.

You can get these articulation pages at my TpT store here:  Fall No-Prep Articulation Packet

You can hop along this linky hosted by The Frenzied SLPs to find many more great fall-themed articulation ideas.

Funny Directions: App Review

Are you looking for a quick, fun way of targeting following 1,2, and 3-step directions?  Then I have an app for you!  Funny Directions by Speecharoo is a great new app that targets one, two, and three-step directions in four different scenes.

These directions are so fun to follow!  There are four different fun scenes to choose from: Beach, Park, Classroom, and Bedroom.  Each scene has a choice of 1, 2, or 3-step directions. Some examples of directions are: 1)Tickle the bird, 2) pick up the hat and set it on the duck, 3) get the spider, set it on the bone, and offer it to the dog. Something silly happens after the direction is followed correctly!

When ten items are completed correctly, students are directed to a reinforcing page where they can pop balloons that float out of the kangaroo's pouch.

My students were totally engaged by this app!  They loved all of the silly things that happen after a correct answer.  This is a great app when you need a little something extra to target following directions.  Funny Directions by Speecharoo is only $2.99!  A great deal for a fun, useful app.  Speecharoo has also offered a giveaway of one copy of Funny Directions for one of my readers!  You can enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Superhero Bulletin Board

This year, my school wide theme is superheroes!  I love the theme, as I feel we all have superpowers within ourselves.

I have a large bulletin board outside my room that I love to decorate once or twice a year.  Sometimes I will put projects that my students have worked on, but sometimes I just pick something that goes with our theme and kind of stick to that for the year.  This year I had a vision of a city skyline with superheroes flying around.  I started with my basic blue background (fabric that I put on the board three years ago and still looks great).  Then, I took a large piece of black paper from the bulletin board paper roll.  I freestyle cut out the city buildings in one large piece (really not that hard-I promise).  I put that up on the board, and then I had to cut out all of the tiny yellow windows.  I asked the kindergarten teacher across the hall from me to please remind me next time I had an idea like this that cutting out hundreds of tiny pieces of paper is not fun!

I glued all of the tiny yellow piece onto the black paper to create the windows.  I also divided the buildings up using a white crayon.

I wish now that I had made my title "We Are Super Communicators!"  I might have to add the "we are" at a later date now that the title came to me.  Have I mentioned though that I hate moving letters around on bulletin boards?!?!

For my little superheroes, I used a set from Pink Cat Studio that you could find HERE.  I also found the superhero speech bubbles in her store HERE.  If you don't want to buy a whole packet of clipart though, you could use speech bubbles like these that I found from another of my favorite artists, Educlips.

I am planning on putting together another bulletin board game like I did last year to fit my superhero theme.  Look for that soon, as I will probably have some freebies to help you create one too.

Data Collection with a {FREEBIE}

I have talked to you before about my super high low tech way of keeping data, but I wanted to show you again for this linky full of great ideas for how to collect your data.  Plus, I added a freebie!

My way of keeping data is super simple.  I just have a manilla file folder for each student that I keep in a drawer with green hanging files for each day.  I write the name of the student and the days of the week that they attend sessions on the tab.  Then, I put a copy of their goals on the left side of the file folder and keep a data sheet open on the other side.  I also put any worksheets, notes from parents, or other items in the folder for daily use.

At the end of the year, I take out the data sheets and any other items that need to be saved and place them in the students' main file.

As for my actual data collection, I use a sheet that simply has 9 boxes and allows me to write the date, and circle whether it was an individual session or group session.  I also included a space to write how many students are in the group (I need this for Medicaid billing).  I also love to use colored pens for these data sheets, just because the colors usually brighten my day. :)

To keep data, I use a +/- system.  First, I write a quick detail of what we are working on (in the sample it is /s/ initial).  Then, I give the student a plus for a correct production and a minus for incorrect.  If the production is heavily prompted, I will circle the plus sign.  After ten products, I put a slash mark so that the productions are easier for me to count later.

You can get a copy of my simple data sheet HERE.  

Thanks for checking out my way of collecting data!  Hopefully you will click through the rest of the great bloggers in the linky to see their ideas too.

Back to School: What's in your Cart? {LINKY}

I can't believe I am saying this but the TpT Back to School Sale is here!  Monday, August 3, and Tuesday, August 4, my store, Speech Universe, and many others will be 20% off.  You can get an additional 10% off when you put in the code BTS15 at checkout.

Now, for the fun part, the linky!  Thanks to Jenna over at Speech Room News for hosting this fun way to share lots of great products for the sale.  You can click on through and find lots of great products for the new school year.

Here are some things I think you might love from Speech Universe.

First, one of my favorite things from last year was my Paper Bag Articulation Books.  My kids LOVED making these.  I have added a lot of sounds to the bundle since last fall, and think you might really love this packet as much as I do.

Next, I think you might really like my Interactive Articulation Books.  There are a bunch of sounds in this packet, and you can also purchase the sounds separately.  I had so much fun using these last year.
Speaking of interactive books, I also have a new set of Back to School Interactive Books to share
with you!

The last thing you might be interested in is my Speech and Language Homework Calendars.  These are great to send home all year to target language and articulation skills.  The awesome thing about these is that they are updated for you every year!

I have three great things that I am really excited about in my cart!

First is something I am really looking forward to using to work on inferencing and predicting.  It has real pictures that I can use on an iPad.  Say Cheese!  Using Photographs to Target Inferences & Predictions  by LyndaSLP123 is this product.

Next is Figurative Language ~ In Pop Music by SLP Runner.  I have some students who absolutely love and are motivated by pop music, so this will be perfect for them!

The last thing I have in my cart that I think you might enjoy too is a minimal-pairs product by Speech2U.  Minimal Pairs, Stopping, Phonology, Speech Therapy is a bundle of several minimal pair products.  It looks great!

There you go!  Some great ideas for you to stock up on before the school year.  For some of you, there is plenty of time left in the summer to prep these products before school starts too!  Not that we want to think about it yet, but it is coming...

Thanks again to Jenna for hosting this fun linky!  Go to Speech Room News to see who else has linked up with their carts.

The Best Things I Learned This Summer

The Best Thing I Learned This Summer.  What a question!  When I first heard it, my initial response was that this summer I learned that I eat too much, drink too much (at least that is what my waistline is telling me), and buying and selling a house is very stressful!  I think I have learned all of those things, but I have also learned some better things this summer too.  Here are three things I learned this summer...

First, I really love Michigan!  Sometimes in winter, I am really not sure why I live where I do, but then summer hits.  This summer, my family took a vacation to the Traverse City area where we rented a cottage on the water.  It was amazing!  It was so relaxing with lots of time for some family bonding!  Here is a picture of the view from Sleeping Bear Dunes:

The second thing I learned this summer was how to use Periscope!  What a fun, new social media app that is available on both Apple and Android phones.  It is a live streaming app that is owned by Twitter.  I have only done two videos so far, but I have been watching a ton of them, and they are so fun!  You can really learn a little bit more about your favorite SLP bloggers, celebrities, and companies.

The last thing I learned is truly that buying and selling a home is a huge job, and very stressful.  At the end of the school year, we decided to sell our home that we have been in for 12 years.  We have outgrown it a bit, and wanted a change.  So, the last two months have been a whirlwind, and now, I am moving on Saturday!!!  We are all excited for the new changes to come.

Hope you are enjoying your summer, and are learning a thing or two also.  Share something that you have learned this summer in the comments- I would love to hear about them!