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My Speech Universe: December 2015

06 December 2015

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-speaking 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-speaking" 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 who 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!


31 October 2015

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.

12 October 2015

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

04 September 2015

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.

24 August 2015

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.

27 July 2015

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!

21 July 2015

Tips for Tuesday: Updating your Purchases on TpT

One of the great things about purchasing items on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) is that when authors update their work (which I often do) you can easily get these updates by following these simple steps:

1.  Go to My TpT and click on My Purchases.

2.  Next, sort your purchases by changing the sort to Recently Revised.  Then, look for products with the red Newly Revised Re-Download button.

3.  Then, you can click on the Description of Revision button to see what has changed.

4.  Last, simply click the Download Now button to get the most updated version of the product.

Pretty easy, right?

There are a few reasons that I might update a product: 
  • I may have missed something when I proofread the original product, and had to make some fixes or changes for that reason. Oops!  Sorry about that one!
  • I may have looked at the original product and realized that I don't really like how it looks anymore.  In creating new products, I have changed my style over the years, and I want all of my products to reflect my latest updated style.  This usually translates into new graphics, easier printing options, and sometimes additional activities within the product.
  • I update my homework calendars and planners every year so that you will have pages for the most current year.
  • I added a new packet to a bundle (E.G., Interactive Articulation Books- I continue to add sounds to this bundle.)
Here is a product that I recently updated:


For the Roll it, Say it, Keep it Bundle, I added some sounds and also completely updated the look of the entire product.  I also added a low ink, black and white option.

Here is a freebie that I have recently updated. 


Please go and either update it or grab it HERE.

 Hopefully this tip will help you this week! 

Let me know what else you need help with, and it may turn into a new Tips for Tuesday post!


19 July 2015

Fall Interactive Books

Hi everyone!  Hope your summer is going well.  I am having a blast staying at home this summer with my boys.  I am also in the midst of moving too.  We purchased a new house, and are moving this month.  It has been a crazy time, but we are all excited.

I can't believe it, but fall will be coming before we know it!  I know, how dare I say that!?  But, in my free time between packing and just generally relaxing, I created the last in my series of seasonal interactive books.  My newest addition is for, you guessed it, FALL!


I think these Fall Interactive Books turned out really cute.  I can't wait to use them with my students!  They have been kid tested though, by my very own little monkeys. :)

There are three books in this set:
Fall Activities
Fall Clothes
What Do You See?

Each of these books has ten pages with an interactive piece for each page.  Your students will be quickly engaged with these repetitive sentences in each book.  There are detailed instructions for how to put each of these books together using Velcro and either binder rings or a book binder.

Here are some samples from each book:

Fall Activities:

 Fall Clothes:

 What Do You See?

I have loved using this series of books with my students with ASD as well as some of my younger students in Kindergarten and First grade.  There are so many opportunities for sentence expansion, and it also encourages early reading with the repetitive sentences.  I use these books to work on WH questions too.  With these books, you can target WHAT, WHO, and WHEN questions very easily.

I hope you like these books as much as I do!  You can get them here: Fall Interactive Books

21 May 2015

Finishing Strong: Keep Calm and Just Color!

The end of the school year is always a stressful time for me.  I have not only all of my end of the year IEPs, evaluations, and progress reports to complete, but I also have all of my own kids end of the year activities and sports to contend with too.  Some days it can just be completely overwhelming.  Some days when I get really frazzled, I like to go out for a run and clear my head.  But, taking a run isn't always possible in my world, so I need something else to calm my nerves (besides a nice cold craft beer).

Five years ago, my husband had some pretty major health problems and ended up needing numerous surgeries, and finally, a kidney transplant.  While I was in the waiting room the day he received his kidney, I was given a gift from some volunteers.  The volunteers were from the Gifts of Art program at the University of Michigan.  They gave me a brand new box of crayons and a coloring book.  I loved to color when I was little, and truly had not done it in years.  My kids were pretty little at the time and hadn't really gotten into coloring pages yet.  So, when I was given this gift, I was actually excited to try it out.  I have to say that it was truly very calming for me.  Because I had little guys at home, I needed my support people at home with them, so I was by myself most of that day. This was a great way to distract myself.  There was something about putting the brand new crayons to paper and creating something without a lot of thought that really relaxed my mind.  I think it was nice for me to feel like I had control over something during such a chaotic time.

Here is a page that I colored from this wonderful book:

Here are three sites where you can find some free coloring pages to help yourself relax and calm down for a few minutes:

Color Pages for Mom
Coloring Pages for Adults
Super Coloring

I have also purchased a book from Michaels that I really liked that is full of Lotus designs.  With that book, I also purchased some markers and colored pencils.  I have really enjoyed that too.  Here are a few examples of coloring books that you can purchase from places such as Amazon, Michaels, or book stores:

Creative Haven: Lotus Designs (this is the one that I purchased)
Mandalas Coloring Book
Flower Designs Coloring Book

Here is a picture I finished from my book, and one that I am still working on:

So, the next time you are feeling stressed, go out an buy a brand new box of crayons, print off a sheet, and relax for a few minutes!  Then, you can go to work and finish strong!


29 April 2015

Spring and Summer People Sentences

I love using my product called Spring People Sentences.  It was one of my first products, and something I actually use all of the time (during the season).  Last week, I was using it, and realized that I had some great new spring clip art that I would love to see used on the mats.  Well, this turned into me completely revamping the product!

This is a product that targets third person pronouns in a really simple way.  There are mats with sentence starters, and mats that are blank.  Both sets contain a boy, a girl, and a pair (they).  The mats with sentence starters simply state: He/She/They have a ______.   There are 24 different items for the student to comment about.

This activity targets not only the pronouns of he, she, and they, but can also target a variety of spring vocabulary.  My students love picking a picture to use in their sentences!

So, while I was revamping my spring pronoun packet, I decided to redo my Summer People Sentences too!  

The layout of these mats are exactly the same as the spring version, just with summer vocabulary.

You can get these packets here:
Spring People Sentences
Summer People Sentences