Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why I've Been MIA (missing in action!)

Hey y'all! I'm back! 
This summer I gave myself permission to take a break from blogging to soak up as much fun and relaxation as I could.  It was the last summer of "life as we know it" since my son is starting college. Plus, this was by far the shortest summer in my career. With my new job, my summer has been whittled down to a measley 5.5 weeks. YIKES! 
It was quite an eventful summer; here's the recap! 

Riley (my bebe) graduated from high school with big time honors!


In early June I went to an amazing conference in New Orleans for special education adminstrators and left completely inspired. Not to mention, had some bonding time with my new co-workers! 
I highly recommend the "escape the room" adventures! We chose the "vampire room" to be locked in for 1 hour, and we managed to solve the puzzles and slay the vampire with only 59 seconds to spare! It was   
SO   MUCH   FUN!! 


We also hit up some yummy New Orleans restaurants and my absolute favorite spot (it a yard, y'all) for hanging out, chatting and listening to live jazz, Bacchanal Wine. 


Like any southerner worth their salt, we hit the Gulf Coast and put our toes and bums in the sand- The Margaritaville Hotel @ Pensacola Beach, FL to be exact.  Pure bliss! 


I did work on a TpT product, my Ocean Fun Pack,  while I was there - I mean it was the PERFECT place to be inspired!  My family even helped me photograph it in the sand. I love that they support my obsessions :) 


I went to physical therapy for a wicked case of tennis elbow (I mean, I don't even play tennis!). 
Dry needling finally did the trick. I know it looks like a scene out of that Hellraiser movie, but it feels so good afterward! Amazing!


I did a BUNCH of therapy with private clients.  I just adore these little hands...


and we easily got 200 productions with these pacing boards


Lots of summer themed therapy! Even working for mermaids :) 


I love an ocean theme for summer! 


and of course there was dot art....


including the beloved flip flops


and the feeding of sharks YIKES! (which was requested again and again) 


My big mouth sticky toss was a huge hit this summer, too.  
(I got it from Oriental Trading, but sadly, it's been discontinued.)


Oh and I highly recommend this new Educational Insights game - 
Sophie's Seashell Scramble featuring Sophie the Seal. 


I also used Sophie's shells (and goldfish crackers) in place of magnetic tokens for artic
therapy!  Make one preschooler very happy...


as did this unicorn popper....(!) 


My goal was to spend time with my parents this summer which I, thankfully, was able to do. 
We took them (and our pups) on a mini road trip to Galveston, TX! 


The Strand are in Downtown Galveston was lovely, and we made some wonderful memories. 

My best friend from Houston made the drive to Galveston to visit with us as an added bonus!


My sisters and I also took my mom for a 80 years young birthday getaway to L'auberge Casino in Lake Charles! We never walked into the casino, but we did hit the lazy river and shopped until we dropped. We had a great time, and I can't wait to return! 


I made everyone participate in my summer obsession- snapchat filters!!!! 


(the joys of having a waterproof iPhone case)

And I can't leave out the lazy pajama days I spent with my furbabies!!  
I love these neurotic little girls! 


Or the pool time with the fam!


(omg it's too miserably hot here to be anywhere outdoors but in the pool!) 

Fourth of July came with lots of food and family! 


Finally it was time to think about going back to school. My first day was coming- July 21. 

My husband (knowing I would never be quite content with my used and abused office walls) volunteered to paint my office...


You know that's true love right there :)

My office was ready for my first day back (I've been back at work a while now)


All the while, our home looks like a patchwork quilt because we are trying to decide on new paint colors. Sigh. 


All of it was a much needed distraction from the sadness engulfing our Baton Rouge area. 
We finished painting my office while protests carried on just miles away and 
1 day before the tragic shooting of Baton Rouge police officers. 

I do believe our little community is changed forever. 
May we find peace here.


We may need even more prayers as we brace ourselves for what they are calling "historic flooding."  All school is cancelled tomorrow.  

Normally I would be pumped but just today I met with the 42 SLPs who work in our parish. I left feeling inspired and energized and ready for the best school year yet.  I'm wishing the same for you! 


Saturday, May 21, 2016

The End is Near! Send them off with a bang!


It's that time of year  ~  another school year down and summer on the horizon! My district wraps up the school year this coming week- May 25 to be exact.  Since I am now a 10 month employee, this is the first time in 20 years that I won't be headed off to summer with my teacher friends after the glorified last day of school.

Wahhhhhhhh!! 
Please excuse me while I have a mini pity party :(((

Ok I'm better now.  

I've been going back to my old stomping grounds to a say goodbye to my students (and get hugs). The most fun (and heart tugging) part was going back to tell my 5th grade students good-bye and help usher them off to middle school! I'd had some of these "babies" since preschool! It was an honor and a pleasure to get to watch them grow up and have a part in their education.  

If you've read my other posts, you'll know we like to send the kids off with tons of speech fun during the last week or two! 
This is how we dooooooo it.......(are you singing that ole song, too?) 


1) MAKE A FUN SNACK (with a nod to summer!) 

We've done countless ones over the years but I think the "Teddys at the Beach" were the most fun and smile producing! Snack activities bring about so much language that there's literally NO goal you can't target by making a multi-step snack! 


This year the SLPs at "my" school went with these octopus cupcakes (blue food colored icing, white bead sprinkles and a gummy octopii plopped on top!)


2) PLAY A SUMMER THEMED GAME 
~ GAME SHOW STYLE ~


I love love love doing a little game show style competition; kids love it and they get so wrapped up in it that I get to see how their articulation skills are really carrying over.  First, split your students into 2 teams. Please forgive me if you've heard me blog about it before - I just can't get enough!  Next, break out the fun questions- I have some in my TpT store for Back to School, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Winter and Summer.  


Then each team picks a team name and 1 person on each team team has "the bell" for their team (omg I couldn't live without service bells in therapy). 


 We explain the rules: listen to the whole question, answer in a complete sentence (for older kids), and keep your hand on the table until the question is read. Finally, I read the question and whoever knows the answer has to try to be the first to ring the bell in order to get a chance to answer correctly and earn a point for his/her team!  Only the students "at the bell" are able to answer, and cheaters are exiled :)))  

That time pressure really puts their speech to the test!  Of course the team with the most points wins!! 



JUST      GO     BUY      SERVICE       BELLS 
and thank me later :) 

Battery operated buzzers work well, too 
(see below) 



3) DO SOMETHING SILLY OUTSIDE

Whether it's a bubble machine party, messy popsicles, water games, or something as simple as keeping a balloon or beach ball up in the air, going outside and letting loose is something students just don't get to do much of these days. Even activities at recess seems to be limited these days. Just let them go a little nuts for a change :)) 

A big favorite of my students is a relay - something else I've mentioned before - and the wacky relays are the most fun!  Last week, we did an oldie but goodie- a relay with everything you would need for the beach or pool!


Chances are you can find everything you need to do this in your house.  Well, at least here in the south you can!  Students have to run to the beach bag and put everything that's inside of it on them and run back. Then the next person puts it on and so on. 

Add a pool noodle for even more entertainment! 


4) SEND THEM OFF FEELING SPECIAL

If you're a regular at my blog or store, you know I love rewarding kids! Who doesn't love to be recognized for their unique gifts, and who doesn't like to hear nice things abou themselves? Some students don't really get that at home, ya know.  It was with a heavy AND happy heart that I gave my students certificates to take with them off into the sunset.  



There was lots of love and joy in the room that day. 



The kids all agreed that each student got exactly the perfect award for them. 



What is that saying about kids may forget what you taught them but they won't forget how you made them feel?


This award was extra special because this child has selective mutism.  She talked on this day--- in front of everyone.  She really does have a lovely voice when she uses it, and everyone was happy to see her get this certificate.


This Harry Potter lover was crazy about hers!!


If you want to conjure up some warm and fuzzy feelings around your speech room you can find my 75 page download of Speech and Language Certficates, Diplomas and Awards HERE.  I just added 17 new ones to the pack! 


I think even my most finicky fifth graders liked them.

I only pray I've had as much of an impact on them as they've had on me.

Happy Summer Break, everyone! 

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Home Stretch!

Can you feel it, school SLPs? 
We're in the home stretch! The downward slope! The downhill slide!! 
The school year is almost over, but the end is crazy hectic!
There are still evals and IEPs to wrap up, ESY to complete and the dreaded progress reports! 

I really thought this would be the first school year in 20 years that I would be spared from doing those things (at last!) but....NOPE.  With an SLP out on maternity leave and no sub to take her place, I'm doing her gig (and her paperwork) at the moment. 

That's OK. I'm actually relieved to be doing that the other 41 SLPs in my district are doing...because I never want to forget what school SLPs deal with - or how much they juggle. 

I'm at the point of pure panic right now.  
HOW WILL I EVER GET EVERYTHING DONE BY MAY 25? 
(Yes, we get out early but we go back really early, too) 

I'm teaming up with my blogger friends, The Frenzied SLPs, to share my tips for making it to that glorious last day of school :) 


Yesterday one of my CF SLPs (the new graduate who took my place) texted me to ask what I send home for summer practice.  I literally texted back, "Nothing - because by May I'm a loser."
She didn't believe me, but seriously, by late May it's just survival mode. 
There was never any fluff or fanciness. On many days it took all I had to haul myself into work. 
(I'm just being honest here.) 

Well, you know how we love to teach our students strategies?  
Well, I use some, too, to help me hang on until the end. 
Here's what helps me :


Even though I love what I do, by May I'm exhausted. 
I really have to "pep talk" myself on the way to work. Plain 'ole self-talk doesn't always do it so I have some friends help me out- you know Andy Grammer, Joshua Radin, Rachel Platten, Shakira. They get me ready for the work day! Try it :)

Musical Reminders....















and my latest favorite from Zootopia....






We all know our students love rewards.  Know what? I do, too! 
To get through those tough weeks at the end of the school year, I reward myself! 
First I make 1 massive  To-DO list. 
I LOVE crossing things off of my to-do list! It feels so good! 

I make little deals with myself. Everytime I cross out an IEP  that was due, I reward myself with a little something. Since I try to limit myself to 1 soft drink per day (I'm addicted to Coke Zero, okay). Sometimes it's a piece of candy (just like my students) or a few minutes of IG time! Reward yourself!


If the weather is beautiful, take therapy outside! Not only have my students always loved it, it always perked up my mood. Getting out from under the fluorescent lights and amidst the fresh air and sunshine can change your outlook and give you the lift you need to be productive and positive. Just sitting outside for a language lesson is a refreshing change. I've always loved playing articulation hot potato outside. Give each student a target word or phrase to say during the game; they must say it before passing the potato (I actually use seasonal objects rather than an actual potato ;) Not only does it tell me a lot about their carryover of artic, it's hilarious and fun, too! You can do the same thing with a beach ball - trying to keep it in the air while saying a target sound each time you touch it. Outside is the perfect place for water games, too.  I made this simple competitive toss game for therapy with some large bowls from the Dollar Tree, sponges, and water! Oh, and I quickly printed the "point" signs. 


Outside is also a great place for.. bubbles! 
Bubbles always bring about lots of language and giggles, and giggles are good for the soul. 


What do YOU do to stay the course? 
Hang in there! 
Summer is on the horizon :) 


Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget