Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Me...a very frenzied SLP

Well, hello!! 
If you’re reading this you’re either...a regular reader (wow, I never thought I would have those) or you’ve clicked on a FRENZIED SLPS link that led you right here to my little blog. 

In any case, I’m glad you’re here. If you’re new - be warned - I’m wordy.  Stick it out through this long post, though, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded :) (I'm serious!) 

I’m stoked to announce today that I’m part of a primo group of speech-language pathologists called the FRENZIED SLPs! We’re just a bunch of friends who’ve ganged up to bring you regular posts about how to manage your frenzied SLP life!    

Let me introduce myself ...

1) BOOKISH BOY MOM Like most SLPs, I AM BOOKISH.  I’m a big reader and word nerd (if you doubt me, just read this nerdy wordy post). I’ve completely shunned eReaders of all kinds; I'm hopelessly devoted to the real-deal-paper-pages-between-2-covers.

In our home, there are books everywhere you look.                                         

                                         Don’t even get me started on the whole subject of Harry Potter.  If you follow me on Pinterest you know I’m a little bonkers over everything HP! Although I love libraries, I can’t stand to part with a book I’ve fallen in love with after reading it.  So...I am a book hoarder.  My "sciencey" hubby humors me and hangs out with me late at night at bookstores.  I have successfully managed to bring my two sons, however, to the “book side” with me.   

My oldest son, Ferris, was a journalist who quickly jumped ship from that profession to pursue a grad degree in creative writing and life as a novelist in New Orleans.  My "baby," Riley, plans to chase those same dreams.  My little bookworms.  We are so easy to please---all we need is our blankies, our books, and something to sip on. 
2) CAJUN FOODIE Born and raised in the heart of Cajun country, I’m all about our culture, music, language, and FOOD.  My husband and I travel far and wide basically just to eat at cool places, but I swear there’s NO food on Earth like Louisiana.  In fact, I’m thinking about adding a section to my blog about our old school Cajun cooking and our eating adventures. Whatcha think? If you follow me on instagram you already know I’m a food fanatic (and one of those annoying people who won’t let anyone eat until I’ve taken pictures of the food).  

3) CRAFTER/CROCHETER     You see, this is probably why I’m so frenzied- I have TOO MANY HOBBIES! I sew a little, scrapbook a bit, and I crochet like crazy.  Like with food, I'm constantly sharing my crochet on instagram. Something about the repetitiveness of it relaxes the frenzied me.  

My husband gets on the crafty bandwagon with me, too.  There’s nothing he won’t paint, refurb, or reinvent if I get a crazy idea. We love taking junk from zero to hero, and we love traveling to find unique pieces of trash to turn into treasure.   

We’ve been collecting old books turn into a headboard like this: 

(I love it when my passions collide!) 

4) PIANIST   My mom made me start taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old.  I whined about it ALOT.  I didn’t realize at the time that she was blessing me with a hobby for life.  Playing piano was a huge stress reliever for me growing up.  
I played at church and have played in weddings. Even now in my job, I’ve played for school plays and Christmas caroling outings with my Jr. Beta students.  My boys say their favorite Christmas tradition is us sitting around the piano while we sing carols at the end of Christmas day.  Since both my sons play trombone and my husband plays the Cajun accordion, we joke that we could have a family band,  but what a strange band that would be! 

So I’ve already confessed that I crochet and play piano to help with stress.  The good food and reading helps, too! 

People think I’m all... way.  I might appear that to have my act together at first glance. My cutesy therapy activities might make you think I’ve got it under control, but here's the truth.....I'm really more like.... 

I somehow manage to hide my stress (on the outside), but all the while, I swear most days I think my head will explode.

When it comes to our jobs as SLPs (managing our caseload, staying on top of paperwork, holding conferences, individualizing therapy, yada yada yada)are overwhelming. Truth be known, I’m overwhelmed on a daily basis.  

I work in the school system, and the education world keeps trying to shove me (us) into a little teacher box.  I don’t know about you but, I don’t need "lesson plans."  Shhhh don’t let the administrators hear this!!  SLPs keep lots of detailed records.  I have my students' goals on tally sheets and I could recite them to you backwards and forwards.  I have a wealth of therapy supplies and I KNOW what I need to do with each child to get their communication in gear.  I could easily wing it and pull an activity for therapy 2.2 seconds before each student walks through the door, but.....principals and supervisors don't always take kindly to that. 

In our district, we are now being evaluated much like teachers - on a rubric that addresses (among many things) lesson plans.  Even though I address my students’ IEP goals, keep excellent data, and make note of the activities I use on my data/tally sheet, some administrators wanted evidence that I had planned.  I protested. I told them that the IEP goals are the lesson plans and the activities are just a frilly sideshow.  No kidding; I stomped my feet and used my whiny voice and everything.  However, being the perfectionist  healthy achiever that I am, I have now caved.  I caved to the lesson plan.  

I put away my rebel ways and made a doggone lesson plan.  To be honest, I did it with no intention of using it.  It was only a means to an end to get myself a good evaluation.  Now, I’m ashamed to say, I kinda like it.  I don’t have to wing it anymore.  It’s keeping me organized and ahead of the game, and dang it, it’s grown on me.  Now I do weekly lesson plans (just the activities) to go along with my tally sheets. I just type in this nifty form I made, print it, post it on my board, and then at the end of the week, I hole punch it and put it in a binder.  

My evidence of planning all year long :)

It’s decreased my frenzied-ness.  Maybe it will help with yours, too.  You can grab my editable pdf weekly lesson plan {freebie} here.  

Just add your name and title, circle the dates that the plan encompasses, type in your activities (I do it by age group and disorder)and get on with your business.

If you like it or use it, I'd love to hear from you!! 
Your feedback is what keeps me going on my most frenzied days. 


***This form only covers August-May. I've already had requests to extend it and I plan to do that. Stay tuned.

Special thanks to these artists whose clipart is featured on this product: 
Heather Jackson (doodle rectangles) Crazy Miss Rains (doodle circles) 


  1. It is SO nice to get to know a little more about you! Your son...WOW! A NOVELIST!!! What genre? I know you'll let us all know when he has a book published so we can all run out and buy it!
    My middle son applied to law school at LSU & Tulane...he said the food had a lot to do with it! :)
    You definitely should add a section about the food...or even start a whole new blog! :)
    People see me the same as you...calm, cool, collected. You couldn't have picked better pictures to describe yourself, and probably all of us! :)

    1. Hey Mary!! He does realistic fiction with a little weirdness thrown in. He also writes poetry and short stories. If course I will shout it from the rooftops once he's published :)) Wow, did your son go to school in Louisiana? I got my grad degree at LSU- it's a beautiful (and fun) school. You must be a southerner?? Thanks for your lovely comments- it;s good to know someone out there is reading and enjoying :)

    2. I'm definitely a southerner (East Tennessee)! No, my son didn't go to undergrad in La.

  2. Thank you Mia! I follow you everywhere and you are an inspiration to us SLPs. I use your products all the time and find it amazing you have any time at all to make them! Working full time in a school system is enough to do me in, but you seem to be going strong! Woo Hoo! I also love crafting, but I'm more into paper crafting :-) I tried crochet a couple of times, but the results were laughable! Currently, in Ohio we are experiencing A LOT of snow and I wish I knew how to make all those scarves and hats - they would definitely come in handy! Have you ever thought about opening a store on Etsy?

    1. Hey Sharon!! Your comment MADE MY DAY- and it's been a rough one- I can't even explain how much that means to me! I love paper crafting, too!! I have a whole "scrapbooking room" but don't get the chance to use it as much as I'd like! I actually HAVE thought of starting an etsy shop- I make a lot of fun framed printables I think I could sell. I've found that when it comes to crocheting, though, that the pressure of making it for someone or selling it- takes away the relaxation factor for me. OMG stay warm in Ohio!! I dream of that kind of weather but I'm sure it get old REAL quick!

  3. I've followed you for a while now, but it's nice to get to know a little more about you! That food looks amaaaaazing. I love the lesson plan, but is there anyway to make the months editable as well? Up here in the pacific northwest we have school from sept-june :(

    1. Hi Cheerful one (what a cool name!!) I was afraid I'd bore everyone to death with the junk about me so thanks for the kind, kind words! Girl, the food IS AMAZING!! IF you ever make it down south, contact me because I LOVE telling people about the best places to eat!! and YES, I plan on adding the other months!! I will message you here when it's done :))

  4. loved, loved, loved reading all about you Mia! Your planner is also super helpful! You're such an inspiration and truly amazing! Thank you for the great post!

    1. Awww Manda and Shanda, you ladies are so great for my self esteem!! Too kind!! Mhuahhhh!!

  5. Mia, will you please be my best friend??? You sound like my kind of gal! I love books, I'm a mother of 3 boys, I love crafts (knitting is my current favorite) and I love food! My husband works for a gourmet food distributor and it has turned us into total foodies! We live in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, so we have lots of opportunities to indulge. And, like you, I am a total winger most of the time, but find planning helpful when I do it. But seriously, I think you're awesome and I use at least one of your products every week. Can't wait to see what you come up with next!

    1. hahahah Sure, Pam!! It seems like we are living parallel lives! If I ever make it to Oregon, I'm looking you up! If you come down around New Orleans (like all foodies should) you do the same!! I did learn to knit- it makes prettier stuff- but I find it so much harder than crochet. Thanks for the sweet comment and w0w- thanks for using my stuff. That makes me wanna tear up!!

  6. So nice to read a little about your life! I love your products-they are consistently cute, engaging and easy to use. My students love them to! I have been waging a war with lesson planning for my past 11 years as a school based SLP. I have tried sooooo many different methods, none of which I am ever happy with. I feel the same way in that the IEP goals are my lessons, and I have sufficient data to back up that they were implemented. BUT, not all admins feel that way, and honestly, as you stated, a little pre-planning never hurt anyone! I'm excited to try out you planning form. It does not feel cumbersome and seems like it will be easy to keep up with it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Awww thank you Eileen! Girl, I've been waging a war, too. I'm right there with ya. I hope this proves easy enough for you to use (and swallow)- it'll keep up both out of trouble :)

  7. Mia, thanks so much for sharing! I'm from LA originally, though I've spent most of my life at this point in AR. Being a military spouse, I've moved a bit and seen a lot, but nothing beats NOLA! I hope you took some time to catch a few doubloons this year :-)

    I think your book headboard is the coolest thing I've seen in a long time and I'm really interested in trying out your lesson plan sheet. Thanks again for sharing!


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