Tuesday, November 12, 2019

5 Best-Ever Thanksgiving Books for Preschool Speech Therapy

 5 Best Books and activities or preschool and kindergarten speech therapy #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #thanksgiving #storybooks #sped #preschool

Storybooks are a huge part of my no-stress turkey week plan.

Storybooks are no-prep, rich with language and articulation opportunities, and just plain fun. They are versatile and can address a ton of goals. They're free if you borrow from the library or inexpensive if you purchase them, and are so easy to tote around from school to school if you travel. 

All of this makes them my go-to when I need a simple but effective plan for therapy.  

So how do you get the most out of your picture books in your therapy sessions?

Choose great books and read with intentional strategies! 

Story-book reading strategies to maximize speech and language opportunities:

  • Be expressive and use different voices as you read to engage the children.
  • Read the book multiple times over several sessions. Focus on different story elements each time. This increases understanding of vocabulary and content, helps boost story-retelling skills and allows you to hit numerous different targets with just one activity. 
  • Stop often during your reading to point out things in the pictures or text and discuss. 
  • Comment and ask open-ended questions to get the most language from children. Don't rely mainly on yes-no or What is it? questions. "Is he "scared?" will get you a one-word response. "Tell me about this picture." or "I wonder what he's thinking about?" will get you longer, more complex sentences. 
  • Connect new vocabulary to pre-existing knowledge A badger is a forest animal. What other animals live in the forest? Who do you think is bigger, a fox or a badger?
  • Be silly and "get it wrong" sometimes so the children can correct you. My preschoolers love that, and we get lots of giggles. 
  • Follow up each reading with hands-on or movement activities. For Thanksgiving, you can talk about dinner food and relatives or name and describe farm animals: Show me how a turkey waddles. How does a horse move? How are they the same? Different? Does a sheep say moo? What do you think they eat? (You'll probably get some interesting responses from your littles with that one). 

5 favorite picture books for the week before Thanksgiving

Turkey Trouble by Wendy Silvano 

Turkey is trying to hide before Thanksgiving by disguising himself. Plenty of farm animals and plenty of /k/ and /g/ practice (gobble, turkey)  

Bear Gives Thanks by Karma Wilson 

I love the rhyming text and forest animal vocabulary such as hare, lair and badger. Lots to talk about!

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilky

The children are on a field trip to the farm and decide they must save the turkeys and they smuggle the turkeys onto the bus. So fun!

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman

Will the people find a turkey for Thanksgiving? Lots of rhyming text and fun.

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey by Lucille Colandro

If you're a fan of the "Old Lady" books, you'll love this one too. This book repeats "There was an old lady who swallowed a ____."  It's terrific for repetitive articulation practice at the reading level: Plenty of voiced th, final /z/, initial /l/ and the /sw/ blend practice. 

Tip: I'm all about buying the book, but if you just can't lay your hands on one, you can check the read-alouds on YouTube. 

Try some hands-on activities after reading your favorite Thanksgiving picture book

See how to use a farm set like this one in speech therapy to extend your preschool Thanksgiving picture-book readings. 5 Best-Ever Thanksgiving Picture Books  and activities for Preschool Speech Therapy #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #preschool #Thanksgiving #speechandlanguage
Play with a farm set to boost language skills in speech therapy. 

Make play dough pies, play with a farm set (The one above has been well-loved by numerous preschoolers), draw the character or events, or act out the story. SLPs know how to sneak language opportunities in nearly any activity!  

Here's a fun build-a-turkey game You can download in my store- and it's free!  Please leave a comment in my store after downloading, I love hearing from you!
Click HERE to go download.

Picture Books and activities for Thanksgiving speech therapy .FREE Build-a-Turkey Thanksgiving game for kids. Open-ended fun in speech therapy or small groups.Collect all the turkey parts to win! Includes Thanksgiving language quick lists.#speechsprouts #speechtherapy #thanksgiving #preschool #kindergarten #thanksgiving game
Build-a-Turkey Thanksgiving speech therapy game

Follow up with songs and fingerplays. This post has you covered with plenty of suggestions: 

14 Songs and Fingerplays for Fall in Preschool Speech Therapy. 

Ready for some simple print and go activities to cover your entire PK and elementary caseload? 

These are my favorite 3 activities for turkey week, after the storybooks of course! Click the links to see more about them.

Thanksgiving  picture books and activities for preschool and elementary-Thanksgiving Bingo Riddles game! Practice inferencing and learn Thanksgiving vocabulary with this favorite activity. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivinggame
 Thanksgiving Bingo Riddles Game

Thanksgiving Bingo Riddles has 28 boards, so it's terrific for doing small or large groups. In those activity-filled days leading up to the holiday. There are lots of ways to target your goals with this one activity. It's awesome for doubling up groups and getting in some make-up therapy too.

Go no-prep with this versatile Thanksgiving pack:

Thanksgiving preschool picture books and great ideas for turkey week! Go no-prep with activities like this color by number page. Thanksgiving speech therapy activities for those tricky mixed groups. Includes Thanksgiving wh question and Yes-No question Quick Lists.  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slp  #sped #preschool #kindergarten #Thanksgiving
Try these open-ended activities with quick lists for an easy-breezy turkey week!

No Prep Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Mixed Group Magic. This no-prep pack is stuffed full of a huge selection of open-ended, print and go Thanksgiving activities. Also included are Thanksgiving-themed yes-no and WH question quick lists. What are Quick lists? Click to go check 'em out!

Finally, while this set does require some prep, it's always a huge hit with my littles!

5 Best Thanksgiving storybooks plus activities for preschool and elementary speech therapy. Read the books, then grab an activity like this Five Little Turkeys interactive book. It comes with plenty of language activities for an entire no-stress turkey week! #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slp  #sped #preschool #kindergarten #Thanksgiving
Five Little Turkeys Thanksgiving Activities.

Five Little Turkeys Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Activities.
I use the printed interactive book one day, then show on the smartboard or tablet the next session.  There are plenty of activities to last you a week or more with your wiggly preschoolers.

For more Thanksgiving speech therapy ideas, visit this Pinterest Board: Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Activities. 

I am thankful this week

 For family and friends. It's been a special week for my family with the birth of my first grandchild! 


I'm also so grateful and humbled to have been blessed with the opportunity to share my passion for helping children build their communication skills with you, my friends. And to help SLPs and parents make our crazy life a little less stressed, and a little more joyful.

Blessing to you and yours my friends. Have a great week!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

3 Time-saving Hacks for SLPs I'll Bet You Don't Know.

3 Time-saving hacks for SLPs I'll bet you didn't know  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slporganization  #productivity
Discover hidden features of  Microsoft Office- hacks that will help SLPs get work done faster!

I was so excited when I figured out these time-saving hacks!

Of course, the first thing I wanted to do was share it with you.  If you use Microsoft Word and Office at work, you'll love this.

Do you find yourself typing certain things over and over each time you do an email notice or write a report?

I'm responsible for sending out annual IEP meeting notices (we call them ARDS in Texas) to parents and staff. Today I was looking over my list and emailed six parents their notices. 
I typed the same text in each email... 
"Dear Parent, 
Enclosed is an invitation to your child's ARD meeting. Please reply and let us know if you will be attending or if you need a change in date or time. You'll need the password XYZ to open the invitation. We look forward to seeing you."

Repetitive tasks are such a time-waster. And boring.

 I've tried keeping a Word document on my desktop with blurbs that I can copy and paste from, but that's a fairly awkward system. I have to open the document, copy, navigate back to my email, paste. I'm thinking... there must be a better way.

Eureka! I found these fast and easy hacks to speed up those repetitive tasks.

I did a happy dance when I figured this one out. Woohoo, uh, huh, alright!

Maybe you're emailing meeting notices, reminders, or any other repetitive type message. 

1. Do you know you can create an email template in Microsoft Outlook?

If your email doesn't change much each time you send it, this is for you. If you're using Office 2010 or newer, here's how:

  1. Go to your Home tab. 
  2. Find New group and click New E-mail. OR try the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+M
  3. Type the message you want. 
  4. Click File, then Save As
  5. In the Save as Type list, click Outlook Template
  6. Type a name for your template in the File Name box and Save.
You now have a template you can pull up that's pre-filled with your specified text. Don't worry, you can tweak it a bit or add anything to it you need to, such as editing or adding names, dates or times.

Here's how to use your email template:

  1. Click New Items-More Items-Choose Form
  2. Click Look In- click User Templates in File System. This opens the default template location. If you saved to another location, just browse for it by your template name.
  3. Find your template and open it.
Now just make any needed tweaks and send.

2. AutoCorrect

Want to automatically use a snippet without having to click and find it? Set it up in auto-correct. This can be particularly useful for snippets you use all the time. You'll be able to just type a keyword/name and your snippet will automatically replace it. Love this. Really.

Here's how:
  1. Go to File-Options-Proofing
  2. Click AutoCorrect Options
  3. A box will pop up. Check the box that says Replace Text as you type
  4. Under Replace, type the text you want to trigger the autocorrect feature. (You may want to make this something that you wouldn't ordinarily type for other reasons such as "Hello Parent" or DNQ1, so it doesn't autocorrect when you don't need it to.)
  5. In the box that says With, type the text that you want to appear in your document when the autocorrect is triggered.
  6. Select Add, OK and OK again.

What can you use autocorrect for?

There are tons of ways to use this feature. 

How about if you start typing your title, Speech-Lan and the text Speech-Language Pathologist pops up automatically? Awesome!  Other ideas for items you'll never fully have to type out in Microsoft Office again:

  1. Your official title
  2. Your school name
  3. Your email address
  4. Your signature
  5. Notices
  6. Blurbs in Reports
  7. Repetitive instructions
  8. Format of IEP goals (For instance, I start my goals with "Within 36 instructional weeks." I'm going to autocorrect the text "Within 36" to type out the whole blurb super fast!
  9. And how about those typos/ misspellings that you are frequently guilty of? Add 'em to autocorrect!

3. Autotext

This feature is super-handy too. Automatically insert a text snippet you define in documents or emails. This feature goes beyond Autocorrect because you can store your formatting, line breaks, and even graphics. It's autocorrect supercharged!

This works for Word for Office 365, and Microsoft Word versions 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019.

Here's how:

  1. Type out the text you want to re-use for your snippet (or you can even insert a graphic)
  2. Press Alt+F3 and a Create New Building Block dialogue box will open. (Who knew this was there? Not me.)
  3. You can use the defaults, but you may want to add a name and description to make it easier for you to find. (I'd keep the name short but meaningful to you.)
  4. To use your new auto-text snippet, Go to Insert-Quick Parts-Autotext and choose your snippet 
  5. OR even faster:  Put your cursor where you want your autotext, then type the name of your autotext. Press F3.  

This is seriously amazing. You might want to keep a list of your autotext names handy if you create a lot of them, so you don't forget them.

What can SLPs use Auto text for? 

  1. Notices
  2. Blurbs in reports
  3. Repetitive instructions
  4. Email reminders: meetings, paperwork due, items needed from staff for evals, parent updates.
  5. Including your photo or school mascot in signatures

Note: Don't use these features to store confidential information

Once established, autocorrect, autotext and email templates are available to anyone using your computer, or that you share the document with. So be sure you don't store anything confidential that you wouldn't want to share. 

Give it a Whirl! 

I think you'll love saving time with these hacks. Leave me a comment if you give it a try. I'd love to hear how these hacks make your SLP easier! Know any other great shortcuts? Share those too.

3 Time-saving hacks for SLPs I'll bet you didn't know  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slporganization  #productivity

Until next time,

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

5 Pumpkin Books That Will Delight Your Preschoolers in Speech Therapy

October means pumpkins, and I've rounded up some great ideas for your pumpkin theme in speech therapy.

5 terrific pumpkin-themed books and activities for preschool speech therapy this fall. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #speechandlanguage #fall #pumpkins #preschool

You'll score points with your preschoolers with this popular theme, so be sure to try a few language-boosting, seasonal activities featuring pumpkins!

Pumpkins abound in October. Our kids see them at the grocery store, the local pumpkin patch and maybe even greeting visitors at their front door.

What preschooler doesn't want to take home a bright orange pumpkin? That makes them a fabulous theme for activating and expanding on a child's background knowledge while building vocabulary and having a whole lot of fun. Plus, it's not shabby for practicing initial /p/ and either!

Perfect Pumpkin Books for Preschool

1. It's Pumpkin Time!

5 terrific pumpkin-themed books and activities for preschool speech therapy this fall. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #speechandlanguage #fall #pumpkins #preschool
It's Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall

This sweet book by Zoe Hall talks about a brother and sister getting ready for Halloween by planting their own pumpkin patch and growing their own pumpkins. It's great for garden vocabulary and sequencing.

See It's Pumpkin Time! read aloud here.

We made these paper jack-o-lanterns after reading the book. 

Step by Step directions to make a paper Jack-o-Lantern- plus more terrific pumpkin-themed books and activities for preschool speech therapy this fall. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #speechandlanguage #fall #pumpkincraft, #preschool
Make a paper Jack-o-Lantern and learn body part vocabulary and shapes

All you need is construction paper, scissors, markers and glue for this easy craft. Give each child a pumpkin and have them add one part of the face each time you practice their goals.

For very young students, you may want to pre-cut the pumpkins and some of the parts. It doesn't take very long if you cut several sheets of construction paper at once. Drawing the "ribs" with the orange marker made them look even better! If you do this with older children, they'll have fun cutting out the mouth, eyes, nose, and teeth themselves.

2. The Legend of Spookly the Square Pumpkin

by Joe Troiano

Spookly isn't so sure he's happy being a square pumpkin until there was a big storm that tossed the round pumpkins everywhere! It turns out being square can be really great and Spookly saves the day.

Why it's fabulous for speech therapy:

  •  The words "Spookly and "square" are repeated throughout the book for plenty of s-blends practice.
  • There's a ton of opportunities for regular past-tense practice: "He teetered, he tottered, he tripped, he tried. He flipped, he tipped, flopped, stopped, rolled, piled and picked, 
  • The book has plenty of shape vocabulary practice too: round and square, rectangular, triangular.
  • The sweet message that it's okay and actually cool to be different!

See The Legend of Spookly the Square Pumpkin read aloud here.

To go with the book, try this simple Spookly the Square Pumpkin Craft from Things to Remember. All you need is construction paper, glue and wiggle eyes. It's colorful, fun and easy enough for your youngest children if you pre-cut the squares. Older children will have fun cutting their own.

3. The Bumpy Little Pumpkin

By Marjorie Cuyler

A little girl picks a small bumpy pumpkin to take home. But is it too bumpy and ugly for a jack-o-lantern? Not with the help of her forest friends!

Why it's great for speech therapy:

  • This story repeats the word "big" over and over, giving you plenty of opportunities to practice final /g/.  
  • It's full of describing words, round, fat, tall, skinny, bumpy, smooth, lumpy.

See The Bumpy Little Pumpkin read aloud here.

Follow up by making your own "bumpy" little pumpkins from play dough, wiggle eyes, pipe cleaners, and pony beads. Visit I Heart Crafty Things to see how cute they can turn out!

4. The Runaway Pumpkin

by Kevin Lewis

A giant pumpkin on the hill gets loose and rolls down the hillside with a thumpity bumpity sound! It rolls over the pigs, the chickens, and even Grandpa Baxter creating a disaster! Until...Papa Baxter knows what to do to stop it. And you can be sure Granny knows what to do with that giant pumpkin too.

Here's why I love it:

This book has lots of thumpin, bumpin rhyming words! I also like this book for sequencing and prediction. What will happen when it rolls down the hill? What will Granny make with it?

See the Runaway Pumpkin read aloud here.

After reading, play with pumpkin slime that smells just like pumpkin pie! 

You can describe how it looks, feels and moves. What can you make with pumpkins? You can ooze some slime into mini muffin tins and pretend to "bake" them for extra fun!

See the Pumpkin slime recipe here at Growing a Jeweled Rose.

5. Pumpkin Trouble

By Jan Thomas

Duck finds the perfect pumpkin and starts to carve it into a jack-o-lantern. Oops! He falls in and gets stuck. Pig and mouse are too scared to help him, they think he's a pumpkin monster! How will he get out?

Make this easy feed the pumpkin activity and your preschoolers will be delighted to practice and feed him their cards this fall. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #speechandlanguage #fall #pumpkins #preschool
Make this feed-the-pumpkin activity and preschoolers will love to practice!

See Pumpkin Trouble read aloud HERE.

Why not Feed the Jack-o-Lantern after reading this story?

This guy was easy to make.
  1. Design your pumpkin from construction paper.
  2. Hot glue the pumpkin the bottom of an empty tissue box  (standing on its side). 
  3. Be sure the mouth is centered on the tissue box.
  4. Use a craft knife to cut a slit through the mouth and box behind it to slide your cards through.
Your kiddos can now feed the pumpkin as they practice their goals! The tissue box will make him stand up, and you can retrieve the cards through the tissue opening in the back of the box.

Want more pumpkin activities?

I have two resources chock full of pumpkin activities that target multiple goals so you can plan out at least 2 weeks of therapy!

This resource is perfect for a fall harvest theme- there are no Halloween references in this set! It includes an interactive story for your tablet, plus plenty of pumpkin activities for Where? questions, position, size and quantity concepts, following directions, matching, vocabulary and more. Send home the mini-book for extra practice!

Five Little Pumpkins are ready for some Halloween fun! This favorite rhyme unit has oodles of pumpkin activities to practice WH questions, story-retelling, sequencing, naming to a description, rhyming, size concepts, matching, phonological awareness and of course plenty of lip-popping /p/ sounds.

Repeated practice makes a huge difference in some children's ability to participate or re-tell the story, so this unit offers multiple formats and opportunities to engage with the story: a paperless no-prep PowerPoint story, story-telling magnet board pieces, an interactive book, BW send-home mini-books.

5 Pumpkin Theme Books and activities for preschool speech therapy including this Five Little Pumpkins story-telling pieces activity. #speechsprouts #preschool #speechtherapy #fall
Five Little Pumpkins magnet board story-telling pieces

I love introducing this rhyme and fingerplay with the no-print PowerPoint story shown on my interactive whiteboard or on my laptop.

Next,, we follow up with the hands-on interactive book and my little ones love moving the detachable pumpkins as we repeat the rhyme together. With 15 more activities included, you can easily have 4-6 sessions of therapy planned out with this unit.

This Five Little Pumpkins speech and language activities dough mat is one activity in this pumpkin-filled  speech and language resource for preschoolers. Click to find more great activities and pumpkin books for October. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #speechandlanguage #Halloween #preschool
Five Little Pumpkins dough mat

Find Five Little Pumpkins Speech and Language Activities in my shop HERE

I hope you enjoy some pumpkin fun with your preschoolers!

If you haven't already, you definitely should check out at this post for more great autumn-themed ideas for preschool: 14 Fall Songs and Fingerplays for Fall in Preschool Speech Therapy.

An easy way to remember the ideas you love is to pin the pics to your Pinterest boards. 

Happy October, friends!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

3 Easy Ways to Take Articulation Data at the Conversational Level

3 easy ways to take articulation data in speech therapy at the conversational level. Great tips for speech-language pathogists .#speechsprouts  #speechandlanguage #speechtherapy  #articulation

Taking articulation data at the conversational level in speech therapy sessions can be a challenge.

Let's get real... the flow of conversation doesn't pause after each word or sentence to let you document. Taking data at the word and sentence levels is easy because each attempt is a discrete trial and you have time to record each response before you move on. But that's not how conversation works.

So how can you take data in conversation?

First of all, you'll make yourself crazy if you try to track too many things at once especially if you have a group speech therapy session.

Pick just one phoneme to take data on per session (if everyone is working on the same phoneme) or pick one student to track at a time. Otherwise, it's too confusing trying to shift your focus. 

You can track one student for a whole session or each student for five minutes before moving to the next student.

Try these data-taking methods, and see which one works best for you in conversation.

1. Use tallies instead of pluses and minuses

There's the tried and true method of recording pluses and minuses, but writing 10 pluses and minuses actually takes more time than marking a tally and more room on your datasheet.  

Instead, make a plus column and a minus column, then tally each time you hear the target sound. I stop when we hit 10 or 20 tallies per sound.  The trick here is to record in just two columns at a time. Do not take data separately for each word position. By the time a student has progressed to the conversational level, you can track the phoneme, no matter what word position. 

2. Count correct/incorrect sentences instead of each word. 

You'll need to write your goals that way for this one. Something like:  In conversation, the student will correctly pronounce 80% of sentences that contain the ___ phoneme.

3. The bingo chip method- this one is my favorite!

I lay 10 or 20 bingo chips out in a row in front of the student. I tell the student that every time I hear a sound in conversation that needs to be fixed, I get one chip. Let's see who has the most chips at the end of the session.

As we talk, when I hear an error, I silently pull one chip towards me. It doesn't interrupt the flow of conversation and doesn't require verbal cueing. Plus, it's amazing how highly motivated students get because they want to keep as many chips as possible. They almost always perk right up when I snag the first chip and they start self-monitoring!

3 easy ways to take articulation data in speech therapy at the conversational level. Great tips for speech-language pathogists .#speechsprouts  #speechandlanguage #speechtherapy  #articulation

Bonus- at the end of the session, it's easy to count how many chips your student has left and get a percentage.

Taking data is really not my favorite thing to do, but with a few smart tricks, it can be less intrusive and distracting during your session.

What's your favorite data-taking method in your speech therapy sessions?

If you have a good one, share in a comment! We'd love to hear it. 

Until next time, 

Friday, August 16, 2019

How to Swap Crazy for Zen in Speech Therapy

Mixed groups can get a bit crazy sometimes in speech therapy

Zen coloring articulation activities for r, l, s and th sounds in mixed group speech therapy sessions that are calm and engaged. Elementary and middle school kids love coloring the beautiful patterns on these printables, and they are no-prep for you! #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #articulation #noprep
No-prep printables perfect for mixed articulation groups in speech therapy.

We've all had 'em if you are a school-based speech-language pathologist. The challenges are real, especially as groups grow larger. And they are, with so many school settings tossing crazy high caseloads at SLPs. (But that's another topic I could spend a day on. Grrr.)

 Does this sound familiar? You have three or four or...gulp!.. five or more kiddos head your way for a session of working on articulation with maybe one or two of the kids with language goals as well. These children are antsy after doing work for the better part of the day. Quietly. With no talking.

So now you're asking them to drill, then quietly wait as you take a turn with each of the other students in the group?

Yeah... not going to happen without a plan. Nope! So what do you do? I shared a bunch of great ideas in this post, Three Sure-Fire Secrets to Solving Mixed Group Madness.

I talked about three rules:
1. Reduce wait time and keep kids busy between turns.
2. Don't make kids wait as you shuffle a pile of prompts trying to find the right list for the next student.
3. Have a data-taking method that's quick and simple to.... you guessed it...reduce wait time.

Sensing a theme here? Wait time is your enemy.

You need an activity that keeps kids actively engaged, but won't eat up speech therapy time.

I love quick-play games, playdough, slime, and puzzles. Something to keep hands busy as others in the group take a turn practicing. Ordinary coloring sheets are fun for little ones, but my older students get bored with those.

 So how about kicking it up a notch for your older students in elementary or middle school? 

My second through fourth graders love coloring intricate patterns...even the boys.

Zen coloring articulation activities for s and th sounds in mixed group speech therapy sessions that are calm and engaged. Elementary and middle school kids love coloring the beautiful patterns on these printables, and they are no-prep for you! #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #articulation #noprep
No-prep Zen articulation activities for S and Th sounds

So when I saw these amazing Zen letters, I knew I had to create Zen articulation activities for you. There are three gorgeous patterns: paisley, flowers and hearts. I sprinkled all 3 in each pack, so kids would have a choice of patterns. Or choose a different one each session.

They are so fun to color, and kids absolutely love them.  A quiet, highly engaging, calm activity? Check!

  A few more reasons these work really well in mixed groups...

You need all your prompts handy and easy to find so there's no hunting and shuffling around for the right one.

Here's the challenge in speech therapy groups...You may have one student working on medial /l/ at the word level, another one on sentence-level vocalic r and a third on final voiced 'th' at the phrase level. Everybody's working on something different!

When you start digging for the right prompt, you run the risk of losing the kids as they wait... and that's when those off-task behaviors kick in. Reduce idle wait time! (Yep, that's my mantra for mixed groups.)

These no-prep pages make that super simple for you. Just pull a page with the right phoneme for each student's goals.

Stay organized with word, phrase and sentence level prompts all on each page.

Zen coloring articulation activity for vocalic R practice in speech therapy. These no-prep printables are perfect in mixed groups. Click to see more!  #speechsprouts #articulation #speechtherapy #noprep
Vocalic R Articulation Zen coloring

Super convenient, because you can address any level with a single page.

I like to have my sentence-level kiddos warm up on the word and phrase levels, before taking data on the sentence level prompts.

For kiddos that have mastered sentence level, there are also sound-loaded challenge pages with 4-5 target words per sentence.

Sound-loaded printable articulation activities for vocalic r sounds.  Swap the crazy in mixed group speech therapy sessions for calm and Zen. Elementary and middle school kids love coloring the beautiful patterns and they are no-prep for you! Click to check it out. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #articulation #noprep
Sound-loaded practice provides extra challenge.

Tip:  I find when you use coloring pages printed on an inkjet printer,  the black lines sometimes smear a bit when using markers. Pages off the office copier don't seem to as much. If you find they smear, just use colored pencils instead.

What about working on language goals with this activity?

Will that work? Absolutely. Here are a few ways to work in language practice when you have a mixed group with both articulation and language goals.
  1. Define the word. 
  2. What category?  (If it's a noun)
  3. Use the word in a sentence.
  4. Tell an adjective/ adverb to describe the word, and use it in a sentence. (Prompt: ran. Answer: ran quickly)
  5. Provide a synonym/antonym for the word.
  6. Does the word have any other meanings?

Have fun with this Zen coloring bundle! Articulation practice of r, l, s and th sounds that's perfect for mixed group speech therapy activities.. Elementary and middle school kids love coloring the fun patterns on these no-prep printables. Click to see more. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #articulation #noprep
No-Prep Zen Articulation Bundle

To make tackling those mixed groups easier, I bundled my Zen Articulation sets together for these phonemes:
  • L
  • L-Blends
  • S
  • S-Blends
  • Initial R
  • R-Blends
  • Vocalic R
  • Voiced Th and Voiceless Th coloring pages.

You might even find yourself coloring the beautiful patterns too. 

Can you resist? I couldn't. So grab the colored pencils. It's fun. And relaxing.

I hope you give it a try! You can check out the bundle HERE.  Have fun.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

17 Genius Ideas to Organize Your Speech Therapy Room

Speech Therapy Room Organization Can be Challenging!

Many SLP's are given small spaces to work in, sometimes practically minuscule, especially in schools. Combine that with the fact that you need storage for a  huge variety of materials... because we see a myriad of students at different levels and different needs.

If you're like me, you want to be able to offer hands-on activities to engage children as you work on those speech therapy goals. Games, crafts, sensory bins, toys all need a place. Then there's your cards, books, worksheets and... if you're lucky a tablet or two. Plus, don't forget all those office supplies that are essential to cranking out the required paperwork.

So, because we all need a little speech room inspiration, I've gathered up 17 genius ideas from SLPs and teachers to make your organization quest a bit easier! Here you go:

Note: I've provided suggested links to where you can purchase some of these items for your convenience, so you can see what the items look like. They are not affiliate links, and I'm not receiving any compensation for providing them- just hope it's helpful!

Organizing your office space:

Organize your computer cords. Great idea for organizing your office space. from www.landeeseelandeedo.com

1. Cords: Label your cords with Washi tape and manage that tangle of computer cables with this pretty and practical solution from Landeelu. When I leave for the summer, I'm required to unplug all the cords and cables to my computer and other devices. That usually results in a tangled nightmare when I get back! "Where does this cord go?" is a frustrating game I'll no longer need to play with this tip.

2. Forms: Store frequently needed forms in a letter-sized pocket wall organizer like this one at Walmart. I have this filled with papers I frequently need to grab: therapy logs (if you keep yours on paper), baseline forms, screeners to send to teachers, parent handouts, welcome letters and supply lists for new students.

3. Files: Use color-coded dividers in your file cabinet to organize your workflow. You can purchase pretty ones, or simply label and laminate construction paper.

Organize your speech therapy files with colored and labeled dividers by your workflow. This way you can see what needs to be done at a glance. Read more speech room organization tips at www.speechsproutstherapy.com #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #organization #speechroom
Organize your workflow with colored file dividers

4. Clean keyboards: Here's a neat trick- before you toss out those old sticky notes, run them between your keys on your keyboard to clean out the dust and... crumbs.  Yeah, unfortunately, it's true, I do eat over my computer at lunch.

Do you know this sticky note hack?  Read more speech room organization tips at www.speechsproutstherapy.com #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #organization #speechroom
Use a sticky note to clean  between your keyboard keys

5. Office supplies: Organize office and therapy supplies in a toolbox, especially if you have no room for a desk in your small space. Label each drawer yourself or find plenty of cute pre-made labels that are editable on TpT.

Organizing Your Therapy Materials:

Organize your speech therapy articulation activities, cards and worksheets for each phoneme in a bin. Easy to grab and go! Read more speech room organization tips at www.speechsproutstherapy.com #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #organization #speechroom
Articulation bins organized by phoneme

6. Printable Materials can be stored by theme or skills. Store them in clear plastic bins so you can easily see what you have. I use large bins for themed packs. I love the bins above for organizing my articulation materials.

How to store and organize your Teachers pay Teachers products plus more speech room organization tips at www.speechsproutstherapy.com #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #organization #speechroom #teacherspayteachers
Use poly envelopes and binder clips to organize Teachers pay Teachers materials

7. My TpT Materials live in these in poly envelopes (above). TpT materials may include cards and manipulatives combined with page-size printables. Poly envelopes can handle cards, dice, booklets and more, plus they're clear so you can easily see the contents and find what you need. I love binder clips to keep card packs together. Keep the filled envelopes in your file cabinet or in bins.

8. Sensory Bins: Sand, beads, pompoms, noodles, oh my! Separate your materials into clear plastic tubs or recloseable bags. Collect materials that can be used for multiple themes to cut down on how much you need to store.

9. Games: Keep these in a cabinet or behind a curtain. This cuts down on begging for a specific game when you have another activity in mind! Put open-ended games together, and games that address specific skills together. Note: If you are really space-challenged, keep just the basics in your room, and bring games from home as you need them.

Ways to store card decks:

Store your speech therapy articulation and language card sets in labeled photo storage boxes. Read more speech room organization tips at www.speechsproutstherapy.com #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #organization #speechroom
Photo boxes are great for storing cards in speech therapy

10. Store cards in a photo storage case like the one above from Michael's or Walmart. These also come in clear if you want to easily see the contents. These will often fit two packs of cards per box. Clip each pack with binder clips to keep them together.  Add labels so you can find what you need.

11.  Store cards in a hanging shoe organizer.

12. Hole punch frequently used cards and prompts and store them on a binder ring. If you have a metal bookcase or file cabinets near your therapy table, hang 'em there on magnetic utility hooks.

Organizing Books:

 13. Use ice cube bins like this one at Target as a cheaper alternative to book bins. I like to organize many of my books by theme, so it's easy to grab and go. Add a cute label to the front of the bin and you are good to go!

14. Organize storybooks alphabetically on a shelf. I do this for the books I use for multiple goals or themes. This way, they're easy to find by the title. Use paint sticks or simply laminated paper like this.

Organize your storybooks alphabetically in your speech therapy room and use dividers to easily find the titles. Read more speech room organization tips at www.speechsproutstherapy.com #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #organization #speechroom
Alphabetize your storybooks so you can find them by title

Organizing Arts and Crafts Materials:

15. GlueMake a couple of glue sponges. Click the link to see how Lucky Little Learners does it.  Ditch the bottles of white glue and all those glue sticks that your preschoolers mash into their papers and keep these instead. Way less mess, and will last you for months.

Great idea for storing tempera paint! Read more speech room organization tips at www.speechsproutstherapy.com #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #organization #speechroom
Store paint in ketchup bottles

16. Paint: If you use tempera paint with your kiddos, you'll only want to store small amounts to work with. Empty ketchup bottles make great containers for this.

17. Construction Paper: Store construction paper and card stock in hanging file folders in your file cabinet or a bin. A paper organizer on your shelf (if you have room) or hanging pocket chart also works well.

A few more great organizational tips:

  • Keep things you use the most within reach.
  • Keep only the most needed folders and papers on your desk.
  • Use your wall space to your advantage: hang supplies and materials.
  • File things weekly or better yet daily so your desk doesn't get piled up.
  • Purge old files!  If you don't need it forever, mark on files when it can be tossed or shredded. 

I hope you found a few ideas you love to help you feel organized in your speech room.

Here are a couple more posts you may enjoy while you're in an "organizing" frame of mind!

If you have great ideas, leave them in the comments, I'd love to hear them!

Follow my Organize Your Speech Room Pinterest Board for more organization and inspiration ideas, and pin the ones you like for later, so you can find them.

Until next time my friends,

Sunday, April 14, 2019

14 Preschool Songs and Fingerplays for Spring Speech Therapy

How do you grow speech and language skills in your preschool therapy sessions this spring? Try these songs and fingerplays!

14 fun kindergarten and preschool songs and fingerplays for your spring speech therapy sessions  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #preschool  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Spring songs and fingerplays are great for building language skills

When you think about spring, what comes to mind? Gardens, worms, rain showers, bunnies, and flowers? Check. Chicks, ducks, butterflies, bugs, caterpillars, frogs and rainbows? Yep.  All super-appealing themes that preschoolers and kindergarteners really get excited about.

So use 'em to engage and captivate little ones in speech therapy. Even my not-so-little ones love these topics.

If you've been hanging with me for a while and reading my posts, you know I love using themed activities in my therapy sessions. It's a fabulous way to activate a child's background knowledge and provide a foundation for rich language experiences and learning. 

I'm a huge fan of songs, rhymes, fingerplays and movement activities for preschool speech therapy.

This is the third seasonal round-up post I've published to share favorite songs and fingerplays for the season at hand. To see more of how and why using music and movement can supercharge your sessions read:

14 Songs and Fingerplays for Fall in Preschool Speech Therapy, and

14 Preschool Songs and Fingerplays for Winter Speech therapy

Can you seriously target speech and language skills while singing, dancing and having fun? 

You betcha, just take a look at some of the skills you'll practice:
1.  Rhyme
2.  Vocabulary
3.  Prosody
4.  Sentence structure
5.  Increasing sentence length
6.  Turn-taking ("The Itsy Bitsy _______?" )
7.  Auditory memory
8.  WH questions
9.  Adjectives, describing
10. Positional words/ prepositions
11. Story-retelling
12. Yup. Even articulation. 

Here are a few ideas and tips I shared in my Winter Songs and Fingerplays post, and of course, they apply to our spring selections as well:

Tips for using songs and fingerplays for language development

  • Repetition: Repeating words and phrases in songs offers multiple opportunities to practice.  Don't sing the song or do the fingerplay just once. Enjoy the same one several times in a session and over multiple sessions. Repetition is powerful!
  • Pacing: If you are following along with a video to present the song, be sure to choose a video with a slightly slower pace. Many are too fast for our language-delayed students to keep up. 
  • Pre-teaching: Start by teaching the words and motions at a slower pace... you can speed up a bit later.
  • Using visuals: Use pictures, story-telling pieces or other visuals. A picture IS worth a 1000 words and can help your children comprehend and focus. 

So let's talk about some spring songs and fingerplay favorites

And... a few ideas to go with them to expand on the theme and build vocabulary in your speech and language sessions.

The King County Library System has a great list including videos so you can see how the fingerplays and motions are done.

Weather songs and fingerplays:

14 preschool songs and fingerplays for spring that are perfect for speech and language therapy  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #preschool  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Using music, rhyme and rhythm really engages children when teaching language skills. 

Little Raindrops Falling Down, sung to the tune of London Bridge, repeats "falling" for practice with initial /f/ and -ing verb endings. You can also target size concepts as the drops are "little" at first, then "bigger" then "giant."

Come Under My Umbrella repeats the word umbrella (great for syllables practice) and come for initial /k/ articulation practice. I also like it for weather words: thunder, lightning, and rain.

Why not open a big umbrella and let the children come "under"? Bring a spray bottle, put it on mist, and make it rain. The kids will love it! Then try "under" a few more things... the table, maybe your desk or a cardboard box.

Gilly's Galoshes is fun as Gilly splishes and sploshes.
This rhyme is great for practicing "she." and s-blends too. Bring a pair of big rainboots in for the children to stomp around in and act out the story.

She'll stamp and she'll stamp
But her feet don't get damp...

Rain is Falling Down in Drops is sung to the tune of the Ants go Marching. It repeats "drops" and adds in "stops" for final s-blend practice.

The rain is falling down in drops
We can't go play until it stops...

Walking in the Sunshine repeats initial /w/ "walking" and final /p/ (skip, whip, creep, leap, slip). Great for articulation practice


Dig, Dig, Dig the Earth is sung to Row, Row, Row Your Boat. You'll practice final /g/, and talk about seeds, rain, sunshine, and flowers.

Bring in a flowerpot with real seeds and dirt, or fill one with black beans. Use a few beans of a different color to "plant." (seeds). Count them, one seed, two seeds, three seeds... great plurals practice.

 What will the seeds and plants need? Where do the seeds go? Inside the pot, under the "dirt"  What did you do? (Past-tense verb practice: planted, watered.) What will happen next?

Before your students arrive for their next session, add some silk flowers to the pot. You grew these flowers! What happened?

The Farmer Plants the Seeds  This song and fingerplay repeats seeds and crops (plurals practice). There's also plenty of verb practice: plants, comes, begins,  picks. 

Explore the farmer and "crop" theme and bring in a few veggies. Cut them in small pieces and have a tasting. How are they alike? Different? Are they crunchy? Juicy? Name some that are green. Which ones are yellow?

Teach basic categories and sort pictures of vegetables and fruit or better yet use play food and sort them into baskets.

Worms and Bugs

Ladybug, Ladybug by Frank Leto is a fun song with a slightly slower pace. The little ladybug crawls on a thumb, wrist, arm, elbow, ankle, and leg... perfect for naming body parts and initial /l/ practice.

If you have a little toy ladybug, have it 'crawl" on the children as you sing. They squeal and laugh, it's so cute!

Caterpillar Change is a fun little fingerplay that's great for simple wh questions. What is he doing? (crawling) Where is the caterpillar? (inside) What happened?

 "There was a little caterpillar crawling all about..." Of course, he wraps himself into a cocoon (change that to chrysalis if you like) and becomes a butterfly.

Follow up by reading the Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar and make some little caterpillars to take home. These fruit cereal caterpillars were a big hit with my preschoolers!

A fun and easy fruit cereal caterpillar craft for preschool. Make this after learning the fingerplay "Caterpillar Change" One of 14 Preschool Songs and Fingerplays for Spring.  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #preschool  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
A pipe cleaner, wiggle eyes and fruit cereal make this yummy caterpillar.

Wiggle Worms by Dr. Jean will have your little ones giggling as the worms wiggle everywhere.  This fun little fingerplay is great for opposites, position concepts and of course, there's plenty of initial /w/ practice too.

Dr. Jean suggests giving each child a worm made of fuzzy brown yarn, so they can "wiggle" along as they recite:

Wiggle your worms up, then wiggle them down.
Wiggle your worms around and around.
Wiggle them high, wiggle them low...

Bunnies. Chicks, Ducks and Frogs

14 preschool songs and fingerplays for spring that are perfect for speech and language therapy. Using visuals like this interactive flipbook for Five Green and Speckled Frogs help children with story re-telling.  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #preschool  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Five Green and Speckled frogs interactive book and activities 

Five Green and Speckled Frogs by the Kiboomers is a Youtube video with cute illustrations and a nice child-friendly slow pace.

 I especially like the Kibbomers videos for this reason. You can target initial /f/ (five) and /sp/(speckled) as well as plurals (frogs) and position concepts in and on.  Make some playdough logs and frogs after singing or play "in the pond, on the log (or bank) and work on listening.

1. Use masking tape or a carpet runner and create a "log" on the floor.
2. Tell the children that the area outside the box is "the pond."
3. Have some children start in the pond, some on the log.
4. Tell the children the only time the should move is to jump when they hear either "on the log" or"in the pond". Don't move if it's anything else!
5. Shout "on the log" or"in the pond" and sometimes trick them a little by saying something different, like 'on the rock" or "in the log".
6. With older children who handle competition well, you may want to have children that make a mistake be "out." With little ones, we just have fun playing.

If you need a no-print activity for speech teletherapy, this digital version is great!

14 preschool songs and fingerplays for spring that are perfect for speech and language therapy. Using visuals like this interactive digital story for Five Green and Speckled Frogs help children with story re-telling.  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #preschool  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
This interactive digital story is great to show in speech teletherapy.

Little Chick Waits by Dr. Jean is perfect for final s-blend and verb practice with "waits, taps, and pops."

Little Chick waits in his egg of white...

Five Little Bunnies Song for Kids by The Kiboomers is an easy-to-sing countdown song that repeats "hippity-hop and hippity-hey." Have anyone working on initial /h/? This is the perfect song.

14 preschool songs and fingerplays for spring that are perfect for speech and language therapy. These yellow duck visors are fun for acting out the story.  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #preschool  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Act out the song and target positional words over and far

Five Little Ducks
 This YouTube video by Super Simple Songs sings the Five Little Ducks at a pace your littles can easily follow. (Super Simple Songs has lots of great videos, explore their channel!)

There are several versions of traditional songs, of course. I love the one where Daddy duck quacks at the end! That's the one I used in my Five Little Ducks Unit.

14 preschool songs and fingerplays for spring that are perfect for speech and language therapy. Using visuals like these magnet board story-telling pieces for Five Little Ducks help children with story re-telling.  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #preschool  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Pictures and manipulatives help children re-tell the story.

Round out your spring-themed units with books, crafts, and more activities.

This fluffy cotton ball lamb craft is super simple to make. 

And of course, be sure you've subscribed to my newsletter (the signup is in the right-hand column here) so you can download Where's Froggy? activity to go with the Five Green and Speckled Frogs. 

Check out my Pinterest boards for more spring-themed ideas, books, crafts, and activities:

Ready for more seasons of songs and fingerplays for speech therapy?

I've got you covered with these posts:

14 Songs and Fingerplays for Fall in Preschool Speech Therapy

I hope you enjoy these with your little ones, Happy Spring!