Monday, September 28, 2015

The Toughest Crowd...

I'm teaming up with my friends, the Frenzied SLPs, to talk about materials and motivation for the toughest crowd I know - MIDDLE SCHOOLERS! 

I worked in a K-8 school for 12 years, and I work with 5th graders on a daily basis so I sort of know a thing or two about this hot topic. I blogged about it almost 2 years ago so please forgive any overlap :) 
When doing therapy with middle schoolers, it's all about making skills fun without insulting their intelligence or their pride (aka using baby stuff!) 


Time and time again I get requests for products older students- upper elementary, middle and high school.  Well, I try really hard not to make my blog into an advertisement for my products, but I wanted to let you know what kinds of things I use with my older students.  They happen to be perfect for middle schoolers! 

I think it's really important to find out what your middle schoolers love AND USE IT! Right now I'm pretty sure they all love their cell phones and text messaging, and I use that as much as possible in therapy.  Want students to be interested and invested?  Speak their language! Cater to their interests. Cross over to their world.

Here's a few of my products that do just that while addressing lots of language skills (and even carryover of articulation and fluency skills)  

I use my Reading and Responding, Interpreting Language & Much More packet ALL THE TIME. It uses actual text message conversations to work on reading for details, drawing conclusions, using context clues, making predictions and inferences, reading emotions and mood, and comparing/contrasting.  This one could easily be used all the way through high school with our language impaired students. 

Not to mention, it's a great way to discuss text message etiquette and appropriate conversations, etc.  

The very first product I ever put in my TpT store was Making Inferences/ Drawing Conclusions Role Play activity freebie and I still use the heck out of it- so much so that I made a sequel -  Making Inferences/ Drawing Conclusions Role Play Activity PART 2 . They are both easy activities that involve you having strategic but fake conversations on your cell phone to teach language skills. It's a great intro activity to the skills of making inferences/ drawing conclusions. Upper elementary and middle school students are required to read and making inferences but our students often need practice with skills solely in the verbal realm. Just whip out your smart phone and have at it- I promise your students will love it and beg for more making inferences!! 

And because I'm SERIOUS about using what motivates them...more text messages!! Now that you've introduced making inferences and drawing conclusions orally (and practiced the skill), it's time to move on to reading.  Ahhh the dreaded reading passages.  Kids hate 'em- especially our struggling readers.  What they don't hate is reading text messages.  For real. 

Text messages are short enough that they don't get frustrated trudging through them and they are relatable to our kids.  Because are relevant to them, they are also interested in them Let the teachers dole out the passages; I are keeping it real in the speech room.  This Making Inferences/Drawing Conclusions with Text Messages is one of my favorite activities for that. 

When we do have to get down to the nitty gritty and READ, I like to use short, high-interest passages.  Short but fun passages keep frustrations down, motivation up and allow us to get lots of reading done in our short therapy sessions.                                                                

When I couldn't find the types of passages I wanted, I started writing my own. I have many reading and responding packets in my TPT Store.  A couple of them that have really fun reading are Easter Around the World packet and Mardi Gras Reading & Responding packet.  

They contain 22 short non-fiction passages with strategic questions to require recalling information, comparing/contrasting, reading for details, sequencing, context clues, inferencing, predicting, main idea, and the list could go on forever. 

Oh, and the packets have a few lagniappe activities as well (for grammar, writing or just plain fun).    Lagniappe is just another word for bonus / extra  here in Cajun country, y'all.   

When November arrives, I'll be using a non-fiction packet about the history of Thanksgiving (just the weird parts of history that middle schoolers tend to like) and funky facts about turkeys and football.  It actually keeps my students motivated to read;  I've used it in inclusion for many years.
I have one for just about every holiday.  The Lucky Charms, Christmas and Groundhog Day ones are big favorites with my older kids.  

 If you really want to delve into literacy with your students, try a novel!! For the past 2 years,  I have read My Louisiana Sky with my oldest students and they've really been into it.  You can even let them help choose the novel.  


I think if you're getting on their level and making learning fun, that will be motivation enough.  Getting to use their smart phones is even EXTRA motivation....let them text each other the answers to the questions you pose and then read each others' answers! Even better, let them take selfie videos explaining their answers and play the videos for the group. Let them post their therapy activites on instagram if they'd like.  Teaching main idea? Let them tell the main idea by making a hashtag for it! 

This year I bought these little owl scratch off reward tickets from Oriental Trading...

They're so easy to use! You just write the name of the prize on the scratch off card and hand them out as rewards.  Students scratch them with so much enthusiasm that you'd swear they were actual lottery tickets.  Some of my rewards include "pick the game," hot fries, skittles, "special request," hot cheetos, "listen to music in speech," an extra day of speech or a soft drink.

My students are NUTS for them! Now these owl ones are a little juvenile, but I saw that Amazon has a ton of scratch labels that you can just adhere to cardstock. I think these more sophisticated versions below would be very motivating for middle schoolers!

Check out all of the tips about middle school materials and motivators from my fellow bloggers by clinking on the links below.  We'd love if it YOU would link up, too, and share your words of wisdom.

For all of you working with this tough crowd, may the odds be ever in your favor!" title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Practical Tips for Speech and Language Therapy in the Classroom

If you're a regular reader, you already know I hang out in classrooms a LOT! 
If you're new here, check out my previous blog posts about how I provide therapy in the general ed. classroom here, and here  :) 

Over the years I've found that there are lots of ways to make therapy in the classroom work for everyone involved! Here are a few ideas! 

1) Plan with your co-teacher(s) to implement learning stations.  Stations work great for topics that have multiple parts to teach such as genre, text features, story elements, parts of speech, types of poetry, types of figurative language, etc.  Plan ahead to use all of the educators in the classroom to each teach a skill involved in the lesson. For example, when 4th grade has to teach about genre, the gen. ed. teacher, special ed. teacher, and myself each teach about 1 or 2 genres.  We each set up a teaching station in the room with a short activity we've planned to teach those genres. Then we divide the students into 3 groups (or even 4 if the paraprofessional is in the room). The groups of students rotate through each of our stations for 10-15 minutes (using a timer!) I might teach about realistic fiction and historical fiction while the special ed. teacher teaches about fantasy and mystery.  Meanwhile the gen. ed teacher may do a mini lesson on fairy tales and fables. Each student in the room gets each mini lesson on genre and spend face-to-face quality time with each educator.  It really works! 

2) Strengthen student understanding of the weekly skill by giving it a speech and language twist!  Teachers use tons of text to teach and practice skills- especially ELA skills like main idea, context clues, inferencing, cause/effect, and so on. They require students to read and respond and express knowledge through writing. That text load and demand is often very difficult for our students. Well, we SLPs all know that they first must be able to listen/comprehend, respond and express knowledge orally before being able to do so along with the challenge of reading and writing.  Bring a twist to the classroom by teaching, practicing and assessing skills orally only.  If we can help our students be more successful (and confident) in doing that they will be more prepared to apply the skill once it's paired with text.  Using this strategy, I model and teach to the whole group, we practice altogether, and then I pair or group the students. I then give the groups or pairs an oral language task related to the weekly skill. Once that's in full swing, I work with the group or groups that contain my students.  As a wrap up, I often have each group present their ideas to the class...simply because, in my opinion, kids just don't get to express their knowledge through oral language enough in school! It's a crucial prerequisite to writing! 

3) Implement Word of the Week or Idiom of the Week so that your influence lingers after you walk out of the room. For years, I implemented  word of the week. I had the word of the week posted outside my therapy door - a place where all students walked past.  For teachers who wanted to jump on board - and in classrooms where my students were- each week I introduced it to the class.  It was a big hit in upper elementary grades 4 and 5.  I tried  to choose a substantial word but one that they could actually use at school that would also be a nice addition to their repertoire.  During the week, if they used the word appropriately during class discussion or in any way in their wriring, they would write their name on the board (the teacher had to give them the go ahead). At the end of the week, whichever student's name was written the most times, got a prize from my prize box.  For those grades I used lots of candy, chips and privileges they covet (like taking off shoes or sitting in a rolling chair that week).  Since I've discovered Idiom of the Week (by Speech with Sharon) I now use that instead.  

It works the same way but boosts their figurative language! I post (and talk alllllll about) the Idiom of the Week to the participating classrooms, and whichever student can use it the most gets the big prize. 

4) Can't make it into ELA?  Become your students' tool to dig deep into comprehension in the science and social studies classroom. This is something that's come about for me out of necessity. Scheduling has been tough this year, and I've found that what my 5th grade students are struggling the most is science and social studies. I've worked in these classes with them a little and discovered that it's a great place to help students tackle new concepts and language comprehension.  Sometimes students just need your body next to them and your help to decipher new vocabulary and comprehend  new ideas. 

5) Be a bridge to carryover for your articulation and fluency kids.  Your presence in the classroom is beneficial for your articulation and fluency kids, too!! I've been very lucky that my administration has been on board with trying to put my articulation students in the classese where I do inclusion or at least cluster them in a class or two in each grade level. I've loved going in their classrooms to help them prepare for oral presentations, and to be their visual reminder to apply the strategies that they learned in the classroom in their actual classes.  I like to think of it as a gentle speech harassment :)  When they are ready to carryover skills to the classroom, I hang around like a pest and, when needed, give them a visual cue a reminder in class (teeth clenched for /s/ and /z/, big breath for fluency reminders to "belly breathe," a tap to the throat as a reminder for /k/ and /g/) but my plan is to soon put Peachie Speechie's prompts on a stick to use in the classroom! 

I would LOVE to hear how YOU provide great therapy in the classroom. 
Please comment and share ~ we can never have too many ideas! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hide And Seek: Field Trip!

Thirteen bloggers are hiding--hiding on different blogs and hiding in the school. They're here to give you tips on how to do therapy all around the school!  Read and hop from blog to blog. While you're there, jot down the author's blog and school location listed at the bottom of each post to enter our big giveaway! 

I had the honor of meeting Anne, from Beautiful Speech Life, this summer at the TpT Conference in Vegas. She's hiding out and guest blogging on my blog today! Enjoy!


Looking for a natural functional environment to provide speech language therapy?
Go on a field trip!

 I work with three special needs classrooms at my school.  Community trips are an important part of their curriculum.

Every year, I try to go with at least one of the classrooms for a fun community experience.

It takes a little planning and schedule juggling but it's worth it for so many reasons.
 There are so many language opportunities.

1. Buddy Up

I usually "buddy up" with one student for the bus ride. This a great time to practice social skills and make predictions. For example, on a trip to the zoo, one little girl had so much to tell me.  She pointed out where she lived, McDonald's, Burger King and Food City. As we got closer to the zoo, I asked her to tell me some of the animals she thought we would see.

On the bus ride there, many students point at the things they see out the window and ask questions.

2. Take Photos

Take lots of photos during the field trip to use in future sessions.  You are gathering contextual, functional therapy material.  Plus students usually want to see the photos, so they have to request and comment.

You can extend the learning in future sessions by using the photos. Create a simple story with the pictures; something like "My Trip to the Zoo". Or create an adaptive book matching symbol to picture.

3. Talk during snack-time

If there is food involved, that can be another time full of language opportunities with labeling, requesting and commenting. Many times adults try to anticipate the desires of a child with special needs, giving him what they think he wants without giving him the opportunity to express it himself. Here's a chance for you to model language and wait time.

4. Practice Social Skills

Social skills opportunities are everywhere on a field trip. Saying hello to others, standing in line, saying thank you and please can be practiced in a different setting.

5. Observe

You have the opportunity to see how students communicate outside of the classroom or speech room setting. Take this time to observe a student with his peers> Iis he fitting in socially with his classmates? Does he have friends that want to sit with him on the bus or walk next to him in line?

Going somewhere new on a field trip usually generates lots of curiosity. Is your student paying attention, is he following along, and does he ask questions. If not, here is an area where you can provide some prompts and models. Remind him "eyes of speaker". Encourage him to raise his hand and ask a question.

6. Think outside the box

It would be tough to justify going on a field trip with just one student; but if you have a group of 3-4 kids in a classroom you might be able to do it. Just for a once a year, fun, bonding, real life experience.

Can you think of a group at your school that this might work with?

Anne’s home base is Beautiful Speech Life but today she’s on the: Bus on a Field Trip!

Collect the names of the participating blogs and where they are hiding and enter them here
You could win these awesome therapy materials:


Keep hopping! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Talk Like a Pirate!!

One of the most fun days of the year is coming...
September 19 is Talk like a Pirate Day!
I'm really bummed that it's falling on a Friday so I'm declaring the whole entire week Talk like a Pirate Week in my speech room! 

I'm linking up with my friend, Tracy, from Gold Country SLP to share...
...what's going down in my speech room this week!

1) OF COURSE we're playing POP UP PIRATE in articulation therapy 
(one of my all-time favorite games!) 

2) My little ones are also earning gems for their treasure chests during articulation drill!
 (I got these from Lakeshore Learning) 

3) We are using my simple but oh-so-addictive Pirate Quick Drill game for all skill drills this week.  

Putting the cards in my treasure chest amongst the jewels and gold coins makes it even more fun, and naturally we are drilling with the pirate words included for each phoneme.  

4) We are addressing goals and collecting treasure with my Pesky Pirates game, too! 

4) My older students have learned some strategies to decipher unknown words- in this case- pirate language! I've been using my pirate-themed context clues packet with my 4th and 5th graders and in inclusion!  It's made that tough skill so much more fun AND my kids were really motivated to find out what all the wacky pirate words and phrases meant. 

You can find my pirate style lesson in context clues in my TpT store :) 

Some of my students even asked for a copy of the included pirate dictionary so they can really be ready for Talk Like a Pirate Day.  I think my students and I may just start talking like pirates year 'round.  What do you think? 

I've got my eye on Kayla SLP's Pirate Articulation on TpT!  My kids would love to feed the pirate! 

Please comment and tell me how YOU are celebrating! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Let's Talk About Data Collection

Now that school has been in full swing for a couple of weeks...
I'm up to my armpits in data! 
Some of you may feel it's nothing but a nasty 4 letter word
while some of you number crunchers may love it.  
Either way, it's a big part of what we do, and it's never going away. 
Why not get really good at it?  
good at collecting it- good as analyzing it - good at keeping it organized

Today I'm linking up with my awesome friends and fellow bloggers, the Frenzied SLPs, to talk about how I tackle the data dilemma we all face as SLPs. 

As a school SLP, we live and breathe and operate according to our students' IEPs (the written plan- and legally binding contract- that outlines each students' treatment plan). The goals and/or objectives on those plans drive our therapy and they all have numbers attached.  
~ number our students must reach ~ 
For a profession so richly rooted in words, we sure do have to juggle a lot of numbers!! 

Everyone has there own little pet way of collecting data, and I have mine, too. 
While many of the SLPs in my district use grids and chart, I shy away from that.  
I like a good ole data sheet that I can write on! 
(I personally call them tally sheets)
I'm a word nerd; I need space for words! 
I like to comment and make notes so I use this form that I created....

I like room to write the activity we do each day, and I like space to type in my goals and objectives (which I number). If I work on multiple skills that day (especially in the area of artic), I like space to tally each one.  I can also use space to write notes and comments. 

 See how I numbered the objectives? 
That saves me time each day because I don't have to write out the actual skill or objective- just the corresponding number.  You'll notice that this goal aims for the child to perform the skills for a total of 10 sessions. Well, I add (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10) on the side of each objective, and each day this student meets the criteria for the objective, I strike through a number. Once the number 10 has a strike-thru, I know the child has achieved that objective! 

I just love when I get to write WOW on a tally sheet! 

This tally sheet used to be ALL I used because it included the date, activity, data, and comments.  As the pressure mounted to write a more conventional "lesson plan," I now write those, too, BUT I keep it quick and easy. If you haven't read my post about my lesson plans, you can find it HERE.  
That post includes a handy freebie, too :) 

I keep all of my students' tally sheets in one binder, and I use dividers to separate them according to therapy groups.  My personal goal is to tally every session, but that sometimes falls by the wayside when I'm too "into" the actual therapy (which is a good thing, right?)

 Sometimes I frantically tally on sticky notes or graph paper (which I also include in my binder) and transfer the data later.  On really hectic days I try to hold data in my head which actually was quite doable until I hit my 40s.  :)

You can find my tally sheets (which you can customize to meet your needs) in my TPT store HERE

Over the last year, with data tracking and self assessment all the rage, I decided to quit hoarding my data and start showing it off!!  If you haven't already, check out my blog post about self assessment, which again...includes a free download :) 

With my older students (3rd through 5th grade) I experimented with some of them tracking their own data last school year.  They always watched me tally and they did not like it when their tallies included dashes (-) instead of check marks!! I already had a habit of sharing their daily percentages with them; it was time to start letting them track the data.  Obviously, we couldn't track every skill or sound. For articulation students, I gave them choices and let them track one sound in one context. My language students tracked their specific language goal when appropriate or tracked a specific skill they needed to improve. 
Some results are shown below: 

The 4th grader on the left tracked the skill making inferences because we found that she most often missed those kinds of questions on her classroom tests. The student on the right tracked producing /r/ at the beginning of words.  Overall, I found that these kiddos tried harder and made remarkably more progress with the skills that they had to chart at the end of each session than the ones they didn't.  They were devastated when they had to plot a point that was lower than the previous session. 
This is definitely something I will implement again this school year!  

If you would like to try it also, just download these free tracking charts HERE.   (Please kindly leave feedback after downloading). 

When my students reached their target, they always got a mini certificate along with a treat of some kind. 
You can find these mini certificates in both of my learning targets packets - HERE and HERE

I don't think we will ever find the perfect way to collect and document data.  
I'll probably be trying to figure that out until the day I hang up my tongue depressors.  
For now, I've decided to stick the way that works best for me.
What's your solution? I'd love to hear about how you tackle data! 
If you want to check out how some of the smartest ladies I know manage data, click on the links below! 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Game Changer

Tomorrow is a big day.  
School started last week, but it's been full of meetings and back-to-school business. 
I found all of my students and gave them hugs. 
I listened to the "what I did this summer" stories. 
 I took some baseline data, and I even made a schedule.
I wrote a few IEPs for my new students.
OH, and I moved into a new teeny tiny room and got it therapy ready.
I read student records and typed up tally sheets. 
I even wrote a lesson plan. 
I'm feeling quite accomplished but, 
tomorrow is the first day of real deal therapy. 

Tomorrow I will hunt and scavenge for my babies as they scurry off to PE or enrichment, and haul them back to my teeny tiny room. 
I will introduce myself to new faces and go over my rules catch up with the old faces.
OH and I will see if my schedule works. 
If you're an SLP you know the first day of running through the "first attempt" schedule is always.....
well, let's just say it's interesting. 

Then once the dust has settled, I will talk to my students about their baseline data (where appropriate), and we will BEGIN our therapy adventure together.  

For a long time, I felt like I was the one who was "all-in" when it came to those little boogers' progress.  I felt like therapy was something I was imposing on them. 
 I wanted them to be as invested in it as I was. 
Well, all of last year and some of the year before that, I've tried something new in articulation therapy.  I've been using this so so so simple but handy little tool that I created. 
I don't know why in tarnation I've never shared it here on my blog before.  
(as a side note....tarnation sure is a funny word...)

BUT I digress... 
Only one printed page has really changed things. 
Each student and I are a therapy team now. 
I changed the way I was doing things and it's changed everything. 

Don't laugh. It's not rocket science, but this was the game changer....

This little paper pinned to my bulletin board... it's not much....but it is.
My students are so much more self aware about their place in the articulation therapy process. 
They can talk about their progress and goals, and they can self-assess at a glance. 

Therapy doesn't start with an activity anymore.  It starts with the steps to good speech...

For new students, I explain to them where they are starting in the therapy process (which is usually at isolation at the bottom of the staircase) and the steps we will go through as they learn sounds in longer and longer chunks of speech . . until the ultimate goal of “graduation” (which they are all excited about until it actually happens and they realize they can no longer attend therapy :)  

Before each therapy session, students (along with my help if needed) identify which “step” they are on, and we discuss that day’s “learning target” which coincides with it.  Then we pin them up on my magnet board.  I write their names next to their targets also.  

I use "I will" statements, but I also have "I can" statements.  You can find my learning targets at HERE and HERE.  Sometimes we need to discuss that they may be on different steps for different sounds they are addressing in therapy.
Okay, so I bet you're wondering what I do for language, fluency, etc. students! 
I'm trying something similar, but that will be a blog post of its very own.  (Patience is a virtue:) 

After the session, we re-assess, and if that day’s progress resulted in moving on to a new step, we note and celebrate that milestone. This continuous self-assessment helps students to become more aware of their goals and motivates them to move up the staircase! They also come to realize which steps are more difficult than others.  My board is up and ready for them to write and add their A-HA moments and milestones on! (another fun way of boosting self-awareness in the little guys). By the way, you this board is just a piece of foam board from Hobby Lobby with fabric wrapped around it.  The "today is a great day to learn" download can be found HERE

This little visual has also made my little guys try harder!!  
Nobody likes getting stuck on a step for too long!  

It has also brought me some satisfaction knowing my students are invested in and knowledgeable of their therapy process.  I feel that my students and I have become more of a team - working together to improve their speech skills! 
If you want to try it, you can download it (for free!) HERE.

  Wanna know an other added bonus??? Administrators love that I am implementing self-assessment.  
It's also an easy way to explain the articulation therapy process to parents at IEP meetings and such. 

Hey, who knows.....maybe it could be a game changer for you, too! 

If you have a secret weapon that helps kids get "all in" I'd love to hear about it! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Surviving the First Week

OMG It's August!! 
You know what THAT means! 
At least for ME - and oodles of other school SLPs - that means...
BACK.    TO.    SCHOOL.  

Whether those three words make you cringe or make you tingly with excitement, it's coming and there's nothing you can do to stop it!

Today I'm teaming up with my fellow Frenzied SLPs to talk about 

Guess what? I went back to school last Thursday (for staff planning) and TODAY was my very first day with students. In my world, school year 2015-16 has officially begun! 

Don't hate me but......for me it is PURE EXCITEMENT. 
It wasn't always that way.  Let me tell you why it's changed. 

 For the past 6 years I've served as my school's "lead teacher." That means that I oversaw all of the faculty's parapros and special education staff- about 25 people in all.  I trained them in all matters.  I assisted in managing difficult cases (mostly severe behavior issues).   
I facilitated those tough conferences with irate parents.  I did scheduling for all sped. matters.  I read and vouched for all 150+ IEPs written in our huge school of almost 1,000 my spare time.

 I also carried a "half" of a caseload of children age 3 through 5th grade. If that wasn't enough, I  conducted screenings, RTI and evaluations.  I quickly started to dread going to work.  I dealt with discipline on a daily basis, and more and more, I got pulled away from my first love, speech and language pathology. 

In May, I expressed to my principal and director my desire to go back to doing what I love.  
This is my 20th year in the public schools, and I wanted to spend every minute of it knee deep in speech and language.  I got my wish, and I couldn't be more excited! 

Now you alllllll know that the job of a school SLP comes with a big, fat, long to-do list.  
Well,  I'm here to tell you my secrets for getting that baby checked off!! 

Summer days are precious, but getting to school before the year starts to organize your space  (and decorate, of course) is crucial so that you can hit the road working on day one!
Since we have outgrown our school,  I was "demoted" to a closet space.  I spent weeks before school getting it ready, and I'll be showing it to you soon here on my blog :) 


This is torture for me.  
I'm a social butterfly and I want to talk to my peeps, BUT it's the biggest productivity killer ever.  
There will be all year to chat; the first week is not the time.  Catch up quickly, and then go to your room and keep your door closed. Stay in your room as much as possible and nail down your to-do list.

Okay, there's one exception to this- IF you are new on campus you need to go out to your students' classrooms, sell yourself and start collaborating to your new coworkers! 

I get very antsy to start scheduling ASAP but there are actually more urgent matters to attend to.  After you've found out who your students are on campus (including who has moved away and which students identified as needing speech services have transferred in) and which teachers they are assigned to, make yourself a roster.  For me that includes splitting the school caseload with another full-time therapist.  Open each of student file and go straight to that page on the the IEP (annual plan) that outlines student accommodations.  Send those accommodations out to teachers STAT! 
I used to type them up on paper and have teachers sign that they've received them.  Now I just email them (with a confidentiality statement attached to my email) with a read receipt.  
Works perfectly.   Quick and easy and DONE.  CHECK!

Ugh it's possibly the worst part of our jobs.   
Is it just me, or is it a cruel, real-life version of Tetris?  
There really aren't any secrets; it's just trial and error with lots of caffeine and chocolate. 
Think creatively. You can see students of different grade levels together. Sometimes I amend IEPs to try different delivery models based on student progress or lack thereof.  Currently, I see some students in inclusion (you can read more about that here and here) while I pull others from PE for therapy. With some kiddos, I do "quick artic" sessions which can range from 5 to 15 minutes.  Those students are pulled right out of class into the hallway for quick artic drill multiple days a week, but it's for such a short period of time that they really don't miss much. I love that model for those students who either need to go to PE or just love to go to PE.  
Don't be afraid to think outside of the box! 

Get yourself a kick butt planner (I can't wait to show you mine soon!) because meetings and deadlines are a huge part of our job! 
To-do lists and planners are an SLP's BFF.  
Whether they're digital or good 'ole paper,  it's a necessity. 

Go through each student's file and read, read, read.  Use the information you find to...  
A) ...create a "tally sheet" or data collection sheet for each student.  There is no "right" system for this. The "right" system is the one that works best for you!  I personally use a certain form that I created,  and I keep all of my students' data sheets in a binder with divider tabs.  I'll be sharing my data collection form here very soon! 
B) ...start planning the first week of therapy's activities! The kids are anxiously awaiting their first week of therapy (especially if they already know and love you).  Don't keep them waiting.  For me that first week will include getting to know each other and will be chock full of activities from my Back to School Fun Pack and taking some baseline data along with reinforcement from my School Time Quick Drill. 

In addition to data sheets, I am required to write a lesson plan. You can read more about that (and grab the editable form for free) HERE.   In addition to planning the activities, I make sure I have my learning targets, incentives and speech room rules ready. OH, and these handy dandy (and free) speech day/time notes! 

Okay,  that's weird I know.  I really do talk to myself.  You should have heard all of my yapping as I trudged through scheduling today, but that's not the kind of talk I'm talking about! 
I don't know about you, but positive self-talk works for me.  
Our jobs are fast-paced, high pressure and mentally and physically demanding.
"You got this!" "You are a machine, girl!" "OF COURSE I can do this!" never hurts to hear!
I've confessed here on my blog before that I can be prone to falling into negativity.  
In the words of Sweet Brown, "ain't nobody got time for that!" 
I also post signs around my room (and in the hall outside my room, too) to spread some encouragement.  Here are some of my favorites that I have printed from Pinterest: 

Positive messages like these really perk me up. 
On the toughest days, 
I rely on this sweet prayer from Mother Teresa (which I have near my desk) for encouragement:

You can download it here free. 

Occasionally I even adopt a musical anthem- which my family laughs at me for- that I blare in the mornings. 
This morning it was "Keep your Head Up" by Andy Grammer

 Hey! Whatever it takes! 

Here's wishing you a fabulous first week!  
Check off that to-do list! 
What are your secrets? I really want to know!
So do The Frenzied SLPs! Just follow these simple steps:
1) Write a blog post or facebook note with your tips for surviving the first week.  
2) Link up to any host blog.  Your link will show up on all of the host blogs
3) Please visit and comment on the two blogs before you and after you on the linky.

Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget