Sunday, August 11, 2013


Welcome to the Back to School SLP Blog Hop!  

This is your chance to collect great back to school ideas, win prizes and get freebies by touring 17 fantastic SLP blogs!
 Use the Linkytools at the bottom of this post to hop around our 17 blogs, collect ideas and grab the clues!

I hope you'll make it through my BACK TO SCHOOL blog post and read more about the blog hop at the end :)  I have lots to share with you! 

I've already gone BACK TO SCHOOL!! I admit it was a shock to my system but I returned on  August 5 and it has been full speed ahead since then!! 

This year our busting-at-the-seams primary school got temporary buildings and I was moved to a REAL classroom!! This is my 19th school year as an SLP and this is the first time I have a real room all to myself!! I almost don't know what to do with myself! 

(parts of this door sign can be found here so you can make your own) 

I spent many days this summer moving into my new room.  
I wanted to make it feel like home.  I mean, it is my home away from home.  
So in getting ready for a new school year in a new room, here are the things I've been working on...

1) DECOR!! 

Ok decor many seem trivial, but I am all about having a cute room!! 
I want it to be happy and welcoming for my students! 

I've had an owl theme for the past 4 years and I just had to keep it. All of my students (and the whole school!) know I love owls and I've gotten so many sweet owl gifts from them that I couldn't bear to ditch it. 

For the first time EVER, I have a bulletin board in the hallway outside of my room! I'm so excited! I decided to stick with the owl theme and use it to spread some positive vibes out into the hallway.  
"Owl-ways be your best yOU!"
Good words for all of us, I think. 

I cut out the owl and the blue letters on my cricut and purchased border and cute colorful circles.  Then I typed up a bunch of positive messages: 
"Be unique"  "Be kind"  "Be awesome"  "Be friends"  "Be Confident" 
Those can be found here but are free this week only! 
My funky doodle letters above my dry erase board say "OWL-WAYS Use Your Very Best SPEECH!" 

(and here's a tip, these $4.99 stools from IKEA are perfect to haul around the school if you do RTI door to door like we often do) 

  2) Rules & Incentives

At my school, we don't call them rules; we call them "expectations."  
So I post my Speech Expectations although I rarely encounter behavior problems. 
Students who follow the expectations receive our school currency - colt cash.
They can use it to buy privileges during the school year or prizes from ME!

*You're not seeing things.  Yes, I have a full size fridge in my room.  Yes, I am spoiled to work in a fabulous and generous school system. :)

But anyway, I covered the back of my 2 file cabinets with fabric, and this is where I post my expectations.  Students earn cash for following expectations and keep them in their cute little paper pockets on the fridge (magnet on back) and can choose to save them up or spend them on my prize box.

Oh and there's good ole Ned's Head perched atop the fridge!! You can read about one of the many things I do with him HERE. 


With all this space, I'm finally feeling organized. I bought lots of blue fabric bins at Target and they happened to fit perfectly on my bookshelf (which my husband thankfully put a new coat of gray paint on). 
I made my own tags so I can know what is in each bin (no hunting!)  Since I need my TpT products and purchases handy all the time, I put them in large envelopes and keep them at hand in baskets I got for 1 buck each!! 

And since I had all of this wall space, I decided to make it functional!! 
The bulletin boards are just foam boards that I bought at Hobby Lobby for $3 each.  
I covered them with batting and cotton fabric and stapled everything securely on back.  I cut out letters and stuck them on!! 
A space to display student art and work 
AKA "work to hoot about!" 


Yep, I'm planning for interruptions! At my school not only am I an SLP, I'm also what my district calls the "lead teacher" for all of our special education staff.  I get lots of visitors and traffic in my room- paraprofessionals, special ed. teacher, administrators, general ed. teachers, other SLPs, and so on and so on.  Sometimes that makes therapy without interruptions difficult almost impossible. This year I'm planning for interruptions. 

First of all, I made a to0-cute sign for my door 
(that you can grab for free HERE

Secondly, I'm using my wall space so that when I do get an interruption, my students will no longer have to sit idle while adults speak to me. 

So remember that big empty green board?  
Well, it is now my PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT board.  The plan is that if I have to stop therapy to handle a "lead teacher" issue momentarily, students will go to the board and....

a) language students will know to read the words and make sentences with them. 

b) articulation students will know to find words or pictures that have their sound in them and practice saying them. If they are non readers- there are also pictures on the board to choose to say instead
 (after straining their brains to figure out if it has their sound -  I love that:)

When my visitor is gone, they will return to our therapy activity tout de suite!
I think we can get into that routine rather quickly.  I think this practice makes perfect board will be great for reading practice AND making students think about which words actually are their "problem" words. 

This is how I did it: 

I'm still working on it.  It's a work in progress until I find more mini clothespins!!  I made lots words and pictures to put on there-  enough to change them out regularly. 

When I'm all done this board will be covered  with words (*sigh* I love words) and I will pop it right back up on my wall. You can make your own board, if you like, because the title and cards are all part of my freebie :) Catch it during this August only!  If you missed it, you can still grab it here. 


Ok so this really is the most important part, and now that my room is cute and cozy, I'm ready to get down to therapy.  

So what do I have planned for my first week of therapy?  
Well, after the get-to-know-yous,  we will be doing BACK TO SCHOOL TRIVIA AND GAMES. I do these trivia games year round- you can find them in my TpT Store for summertime and Christmas.  

This trivia can be used multiple ways, but I like to add some time pressure. It's a great way assess my students' communication after their long summer break away from therapy.  I split the students into 2 teams - or put them one against another- and ask these fun trivia questions.  The first one to ring in (with my handy dandy service bells) and answer correctly gets a point.  For my kids who can't handle the competition, we play using the board game (and skip the time pressure). 

Since students are eager to spontaneously answer and earn a point, I get a true picture of their artic and fluency skills. I also get a good feel for their ability to answer questions. 
Plus, it's fun!  

Secondly, my articulation students will be playing School Time Quick Drill.  Why? 

If you want to include either of these activities in your first week of therapy, you can find them HERE and HERE for a bargain! 

STILL WANT MORE?  Let's get back to the BLOG HOP!

What can you win? 
5 winners will win a goodie basket of TpT products 
1 GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive the bundle of TpT products in addition to
* a TpT gift card for $50
* School of Multi-Step Directions App from Virtual Speech Center
*Articulation Station Pro App from Little Bee Speech 
* Kid in Story App from Locomotive Labs

{Thank you to these awesome companies!  Don't you just love their apps???!  If you like getting chances to win cool apps like these, please take a second to "like" their facebook pages and thank them for their donation.  Tell them that the Back to School SLP Blog Hop sent ya!} 
How do you enter? 
* You must decode a secret message (that consists of 17 words- one from each blog)
* In order to complete this task, you will need to visit each of the 17 blogs and find the OWL CLUE
* The owl clue will include 1 word that is part of the secret message. 
* Once you know the secret message, you can enter it into rafflecopter on any of the 17 blogs between August 11 and August 17! 

What would you win from ME if you win the TpT Goodies? 

I'm contributing my Brown Bear, Brown Bear Speech, Language & Literacy Companion
with 36 pages of activities to do after reading one of my favorite BACK TO SCHOOL books! 

I hope you enjoy reading through the blog posts, downloading the freebies, and participating in our Blog Hop! 

Here is my part of the secret message! 

Good luck
and HERE is one last link to my freebie exclusively for my readers and blog hoppers! 
Please consider following me.....well....everywhere...

-Mia" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm so impressed with your amazing crafting skills-your room is adorable!!!


    1. Thanks Kelly!! It was fun to do!!

  2. Mia, This is FABULOUS. You definitely have a flair and a gift for creating a welcoming and inviting place for kids to learn.

    1. Thank you, Kathy! Means a lot because that's what I was aim for :)

  3. I love this blog so much b/c I LOVE to see how people organize their classrooms/speech rooms and how they plan on handling the craziness of the school year. I love that you planned for interruptions (which are always occurring in the schools but especially for someone like you as a lead teacher) and I very much love trivia games as well. the kids really get into them so I like your style! Well done!!!

    1. Maria, so glad you enjoyed! It seem we are always on the same wavelength - kindred spirits I think!

  4. Love your room! That was a lot of elbow grease that paid off!

    1. Thanks! and YEs ma'am, I worked my booty off- thanks for noticing:) Well, with a little help from my hubby- As long as I fed him, he hung in with me!

  5. Love the board you made. Very crafty!

    1. Thanks Lynda! Cheap and cute- my kinda thing!

  6. You are so talented! When are you coming up to decorate my speech room???? Your ideas for interruptions are wonderful, I think I will be using that idea too. And I definitely need to make some boards like you did.

    1. Awww thanks Jessica! I'd be GLAD to take a little trip to NYC and swing by your speech room!

  7. I love the combination of colors you used in your freebie and in your room decor. Awesome job!

    Schoolhouse Talk!

    1. Thanks Abby! There were new colors for me this year- in the past I was a pink and brown girl:)

  8. What GREAT ideas!!! I love your room...I wish I could see it in person! Great materials in your freebie. Thank you so much for sharing (do you hire out??? LOL!!)

    1. So glad you liked it! I wish you could see it in person, too- I feel like i know you from all your nice messages and feedback! I'm mighty close to New Orleans- you could always come for Mardi Gras :)

  9. Awesome post Mia!!!! I absolutely LOVE your "Practice Makes Perfect" board and definitely plan to use it (I may put it on the side of my file cabinet with self-adhesive magnetic dots on the back of the cards). Your trivia game idea is great too. Thank you soooo much for your very generous freebie!!! All I can say is WOW:) Happy Back to School!

    1. yayyy! So glad you found that interesting! I Can't wait to finish mine up! Will post pics when I do! Thank goodness for our file cabinets- every school system has to give us one to lock our files up and you can stick aLOT OF STUFF on them!! Even with my big room, I use EVERY side for displays!

      You're very welcome and thanks. once again, for your sweet words!

  10. I love your decor and am totally jealous of your room. You need to visit North Carolina and help me with mine!

    1. Thanks Amy! I do admit I'm very lucky to have such a nice space. I've done my share of "closets" so I do NOT take this room for granted. I've been dying to visit Charlotte, Raleigh, and go back to Asheville- maybe I come on over LOL

  11. So cute! I had an owl theme in my half of a shared office last year and I will definitely have to keep it to use your adorable welcome sign! Enjoy your big, big room this year!!


    1. Thanks Karen! So glad you were able to use my download- your door looks so cute & welcoming!!

  12. Congrats on getting that awesome room all to yourself! After 19 years you deserve it...and your kiddos are lucky to have such a creative SLP! Jealous about that nice fridge! You could fill it with all sorts of "speechsnacks!"

    1. Rose, you are so right!! I love doing little recipes with my kiddos- (love your blog!) and being from Louisiana- our favorite is mini king cakes at Mardi Gras! Unfortunately my fridge went "kaput" this week- the freezer works but not the fridge!! hahaha now I'm just using it as a cabinet LOL!!

  13. You have such an awesome space! You got me so inspired that I went to the Teacher Store!

    1. ohhhhh i love the teacher supply store!! I want you see your room, too, Jen!

  14. I am obsessed with your room! I am in the process of making mine look cuter as I type! Going with an ocean theme but I just love all your organizational skills!!! <3 I want to make adorable labels for everything!!

    1. Thanks Rachel! An ocean theme will be way cute! The labels were super easy to make- they would be great with ocean stuff, too :) Post pics of your room when you're done- I wanna see!!!

  15. I would love to come to speech in your room!!! Thanks so much for the freebie! I am going to try to replicate parts of your great idea!

  16. I love the freebies & all the ideas that you've posted. I've made my own Practice makes Progress! board but am using bulletin board paper on a couple filing cabinets. I'm having trouble getting the yarn with the clothespins attached to stay. Any fabulous ideas? Thanks again!


    1. Thanks, Sarah! Hmmmm, duck tape? Then cover the edges with border? I'm so glad you liked that idea :))

  17. I LOOOOVE the poster you used for your door! I wonder if it is still available! Where did you get it? I am hoping to make a switch to primary from jr high and high school next year and this would be an adorable way to decorate! Even if I don't get to move, it's not too childish for my jr high classroom! I've already got everything printed, just need to cut it all out and get it laminated!

    1. Thanks Daphne! I got it at SCHOOL AIDS. I think they have a website. I agree that it's not too childish-I'm so glad you liked everything! Good luck!


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