Monday, March 30, 2020

3 Quick and Easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities You'll Love

3 Must-Have Easter Speech Therapy Activities 

3 Quick and easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities that are a must-have this spring for preschool and elementary students! SLPs love the ability to target multiple goals at once whether it's language, articulation or fluency, making them ideal for mixed groups. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #Easter
Open-ended Easter game for easy speech therapy sessions 

Pull out a holiday activity and your speech therapy groups perk right up and get excited to participate. You love them too, but with a bulging mixed caseload and precious little time to prep, you need activities that are not only engaging but also super-versatile. No-prep simple or grab and go easy. Yes, please. So here you go...

1. My very favorite no-stress holiday activity is ... Bingo Riddles!

My Bingo Riddles games are great as a print and go activity, but I suggest you laminate a set to re-use. I promise you will want to use these games over again.

I've got you covered for quick and easy Easter-themed sessions, plus I've created Bingo Riddles games for five more holidays and all four seasons. Play the Easter Bingo Riddles game with bingo chips or try jelly bean markers for a fun treat.

Spring Bingo Riddles is a fun holiday alternative if you don't do Easter activities at your school.

Here's the awesome twist that makes this game so engaging...

Each Bingo Riddles game includes rhyming riddle cards for the vocabulary pictures. Rather than simply calling out a word, you read the riddle, adding a fun challenge as students guess the answers.  Don't worry, you can still show the pictures for younger students.

"Shaped like a bunny or chick, marshmallow in heaps. You'll eat us quick, because we're yummy _____." Can you guess the answer?

You can easily target listening, inference, vocabulary, rhyme and articulation as you play. You can even have students take turns reading the clues for sentence-level articulation opportunities.

Sweet comments I've received:

* This activity is so wonderful! The kiddos loved being challenged with riddles but also playing a fun game of bingo. So many language and articulation opportunities!

* This is the 2nd year I've used these, and I had to write a review on this product because I love it so much. I have used it with preschoolers, 6th graders, and all the grades in between.

* My kids begged and begged to play!

Do you have a really hard time fitting in make-up therapy?

 Shhh, I'm going to let you in on my secret.... Bingo Riddles are my favorite activity for managing not only mixed speech therapy groups and in-class therapy, but... wait for it... large-group make-up therapy too! There are 30 gameboards, so you can use it with any size group and across grades while you target multiple goals at once.

2. Next up is a quick-play open-ended Easter game for any age or goal.

You'll love how easy it is to target multiple goals at once with this fun Easter Vocabulary game. Language prompts are included, or use it open-ended for any target. Comes with Spring and St. Patrick’s Day games too, so you can use these all season long.  One of 3 Quick and Easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities that are a must-have this spring! Head over to the post to see the other two.   #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #easter
Spring Speech Therapy Games: St. Patrick's Day, Easter

Be the first to collect the letters to spell Easter and you'll win!  Simple and engaging, this game will be a favorite. Try popping the cards in an Easter basket or bucket to draw from or put them in Easter eggs for even more fun.

There are actually 3 games in this super-versatile resource.

One for St. Patrick's Day, one for Easter, and one for spring. Each game has cards for 4 players. Play open-ended or use the included page of vocabulary and themed questions for language development.

I use this game with preschoolers and non-readers too.I've included directions on how to make a letter template so preschoolers can match the letters, making it a great early literacy activity as well. Find it here: Spring Speech Therapy Games: St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Spring

3. Print and go no-prep Easter for any goal? Here you go...

You'll love how easy it is to target multiple goals at once with these fun no-prep Easter Speech therapy activities!  Mystery squares are just one fun activity in this huge pack. Language prompts are included in handy paste-on quick lists, or use it open-ended for any target. One of 3 Quick and Easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities that are a must-have this spring! Head over to the post to see the other two.   #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #easter
Easter No-Prep Speech Therapy Activities- Mixed Group Magic!

If you haven't seen my huge mixed group magic packets, you are in for a treat. My kids love them. 

Mix and match any one of the 62 different fun activities with any goal. There's a variety of activities great for pre-k through 5th grade, so you can use it across your caseload. Choose a color by number, mystery squares, dot to dot, paint a scene, a dot marker page or one of each for your group!

See the little empty box in the upper right of the page? 

You can paste any one of the Easter-themed Yes-No and WH questions quick lists included in the packet, or just write in your own prompts. Any activity, any goal, all no-prep. It doesn't get better than that!

Find  Mixed Group Magic Easter Speech Therapy Activities here. 

To make it even easier, I created additional Quick Lists for receptive language, expressive language, and articulation.

You can pop one of these handy little lists of prompts on almost any activity you have. I love these for data and progress-monitoring too.

 Find them here: Speech and Language All-Year Quick list bundle.

Pop one of these handy speech and language lists on any activity to instantly add receptive language, expressive language or articulation prompts for each student. Makes progress monitoring and data collection super simple too. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy
Speech Therapy Quick Lists- Prompts for any printable activity

These activities are ideal for mixed groups.

I rarely get to see homogeneous groups, because my caseload is just too large. Someone is usually working on language, another couple students on articulation, maybe someone else on fluency. Mixed groups are tricky, but these three Easter activities are terrific for mixed goals in groups. 

If you're struggling with how to manage and engage your groups, check out this post for more ideas and resources: 3 Sure-fire Secrets to Solving Mixed-Group Madness. 

You can use these Easter speech therapy activities in teletherapy too.

As I write this post, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and many SLPs (including myself!) are scrambling to find engaging materials for teletherapy.  I have updated my terms of use to allow for distance learning and teletherapy needs.

If you're using a teletherapy platform that allows students to "annotate" or draw and type on your screen share, there are several ways to use these materials.

Easter Bingo Riddles: You can play with 3 students with just one board. Take a screenshot of a bingo board. Have each student guess which direction the first bingo will be...diagonal, horizontal or vertical. Share the screenshot and have your students mark off the pictures as they solve the riddles. If they picked the direction of the first 5 in a row, they win!

Spring and Easter Speech Therapy Games:  There are 2 boards per page in the file. Share a screenshot for 2 players. You can pick the letters out of a bucket for your students. What will it be? The student can then type the letter on their board. First one to spell Easter wins.

Easter Mixed Group Magic Quick List Activities:  Share your screen and students will love coloring in the color by number or mystery squares as you talk about their goals. Use a pencil tool for the dot to dot pages or draw your way through the mazes. There are plenty of possibilities with this pack.

3 Quick and easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities that are a must-have this spring for preschool and elementary students! SLPs love the ability to target multiple goals at once whether it's language, articulation or fluency, making them ideal for mixed groups. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #Easter
Spring Speech Therapy Games for Easter, St. Patrick's day and Spring.

Wishing you a safe Spring and a Happy Easter my friends!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

50+ Terrific FREE Speech Therapy Activities You Can Send Home in a Hurry

Speech and language home practice has always been important for making optimal progress.

A huge list of speech and language homework activities you can send home in a hurry for summer and emergency shutdowns

This isn't news to SLP's. But events like the coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters and subsequent school closings have shone a light on the need for quality resources that can be accessed at home. Not only during emergencies but for everyday home practice, school breaks and summer too.

To help out, I've compiled an extensive list for you of free speech and language resources you can find online. Some are online games, many are printables. All are no-prep to make gathering what you need easier for you.

Free articulation resources online:

Tracy Boyd's Articulation Games: Have More Fun site has games for rhyme, syllables, CH, J, G, K, L, R, vocalic R, S, SH, TH, F, F, V, M, N

Articulation Word Lists by Home Speech Home

Printable picture cards by Testy Yet Trying

Boom Cards is offering free Ultimate memberships to teachers until June 2020 for schools affected by school closings.  These are digital card decks for a variety of skills, you can find many free decks.

Articulation freebies from Speech Sprouts for you:

This resource can be easily adapted for any articulation target by writing articulation words on the blank "teeth"

More great articulation freebies on Teachers pay Teachers: 

SH Articulation Worksheets by Talking with Rebecca

R Articulation Word Search by Fun in Speech

Articulation Activity Booklets TH by KI Speech Therapy

Free language resources online:

Tracy Boyd's Language and Word Games: Have Fun has games for analogies, antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, homographs, categories, What doesn't belong, same or different, irregular plurals, WH questions, idioms and more.

Tracy Boyd's Sequencing Fun Games include games for sequences like brushing your teeth or blowing up a balloon.

Word Search Generator from Puzzle Maker .com Send home an articulation list, synonym or antonym list, category list, etc, and have kids make their own word search.

Language Word Lists by Home Speech Home including categories, verbs, adjectives, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meanings and more.

Carl's Corner has printable resources and word lists for antonyms, synonyms, homophones, plurals, rhyme, vocabulary and more.

Looks Like Language has a great post with lots of links: 10 Fantastic Free Resources  for Customizing Vocabulary Work 

Language freebies from Speech Sprouts for you:

Quantity Concepts: Frogs and Flies by Speech Sprouts. Make a mini-book while learning the concepts more, less, altogether.

Five Little Monkeys No-Prep Speech Therapy by Speech Sprouts. Open-ended printable activities for any target. It also comes with a few Quicklists for articulation, questions, and past-tense -ed.

Hoot Owl Homonyms Freebie by Speech Sprouts

That's Fishy! Which does not belong? by Speech Sprouts Cards and sorting mats for a fishing game. Teaches category exclusion, color words, sorting by color.

More great language freebies on Teachers pay Teachers: 

Setting the Table and Language by The Speech Meadow

Groceries and Language by The Speech Meadow

Play With Dolls by The Speech Meadow

Creating Language-Rich Experiences at Home by Ms Gardenia's Speech Room

Play-based Speech Therapy Homework by Primary Punch

Scavenger Hunt Vocabulary Activities by Fun in Speech

Summer Homework Calendars for Language by Schoolhouse Talk

Printable Picture Cards for Speech Therapy by Speech and Language at Home

Pronoun Puddle Jump Activity by Twin Speech Language and Literacy

Ants on a Log Speech Recipe by Creative Speech Lab

Weather Idioms Freebie by Activity Tailor

Fictional Short Stories for Language Comprehension by Talking with Rebbecca

Bubble Gum Facts and Opinions by All Y'All Need

Free social language resources online:

Social Language Scenarios by Home Speech Home

Emotions Vocabulary by Home Speech Home

Pirate Emotions and Feelings Card Game by Communication Blessings

Articulation,  Language and Social Language Homework by Stacy Crouse

Social Skills Activities: Friendly or Not? by Looks Like Language

Social Skills Activities: TeenProblem Solving/ Social Inferences by Looks Like Language

Free fluency resources online:

Videos with practical tips for how to use speech tools from Stuttering Therapy Resources

Speech and Language Home Practice by Primary Punch includes parent suggestions for fluency, articulation and language home practice.

Fluency Skills Brochure by Primary Punch

Speech Therapy Stuttering Activities by The Gift of Gab

Free AAC Resources online

A huge list of speech and language homework activities you can send home in a hurry for summer and emergency shutdowns

How you may use these resources

Resources by many SLP authors are listed here. Please be sure to respect the terms of use included in files by each author. If you have questions, reach out to the author of that product.

Most other authors also allow printing for all your students, again please check the TOU. for those resources.

For Speech Sprouts free resources:
I am amending my Terms of  Use due to these extreme circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic for the Speech Sprouts resources in this list.

  1. Each SLP or educator who will be distributing these resources to students should download the file on Teachers pay Teachers for themselves. Parents are also welcome to download a copy of the digital file on TpT. 
  2. You have my permission to print a copy of my activities for each of the students on your caseload. 
  3. You may upload my resources to a private Google Classroom that only your parents and students have access to. Uploading resources to other file sharing sites will continue to be prohibited. 

I've also put together a PDF File with links to the resources listed here that you may download. You may share the PDF file with the list with your students and parents via Google classroom, email or a district website.

I hope this makes getting activities out to your students easier.   Download the Freebie List HERE.

I hope this send-home resource list helps! 

We're all used to summer breaks, but emergency school closing like the current coronavirus shutdowns or fire and flood emergencies can so be very stressful. Wishing everyone health and safety.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

SLP's: 5 Ways to Say NO at Work and Reclaim Your Time

Do you have a hard time saying no at work? 

If you made it through grad school and became an SLP, you were probably trained to reach for excellence in all that you do. You might even be an over-achiever by nature. 

You want to do it all: be super helpful, shine in your job, provide tip-top services, be a super team player. Then reality hits. 

There is just not enough time for all the things.

You can't be an SLP 24/7. You are enough. The workload is just too much. You're increasingly stressed out. Working late and taking work home every night just to keep afloat is the fast track to burnout city. Something has got to give. 

Am I right?

High caseloads, mountains of assessments and reports, billing, therapy notes, parent communication, data-keeping, goal-writing, meetings, traveling between locations or patients, progress reports... the list goes on and if you're an SLP you know it well. 

If you're a school-based SLP there may also be duties, special projects, special events, requests to cover a class and more. So how do you get your job done and save your sanity?

Learn to say no!

Start by prioritizing tasks and requests.

Which tasks are essential to your job? As a school-based SLP, my top priorities are:
  • providing effective therapy for my students
  • meeting IEP therapy times
  • meeting legal timelines for evaluations and meetings 

Five ways to say no to non-essential tasks.

Need a little inspiration? 

This can be your anthem!  Na to the ah to the no, no, no!


1. You may need to say no to yourself.  

Over-achiever? Learn to let some things go. Simplify.

  • Make report templates. Provide the meat of the results, don't write a book. 
  • Batch your work by focusing on one type of task at a time- do all your billing at once, prepare for all IEP meetings this month, test several kiddos in a row if you have time.
  • Go no-prep. Notice I said effective therapy, not uber-creative, Pinterest-worthy therapy. I do love a fun craft or creating a fresh activity, but when you're in a time crunch, go simple, no-prep and basic. How?
    1. Grab an open-ended game, a storybook or super simple activity and use it all day with every group. Modify it on the fly as needed to suit each group's goals. An example of this would be my open-ended seasonal Speech Therapy Vocabulary Games, or no-prep activities like my mixed group Speech Therapy Activities and WH Questions, a board game, play dough or slime.
    2. Push-in. Try in-class therapy when there are several students in the same class. This works great for me with preschoolers and self-contained classes. You can see larger groups at once and model for the teachers as well.
    3. Pull out larger groups and do a story activity or a group game. My Bingo Riddles Games are fabulous for larger groups and handling doubled-up make-up sessions.

2. Say no to chatty colleagues who can't take the hint.

There's that teacher or colleague who shows up and wants to chew your ear off about the latest gossip or gripe. Do you know her? Or him?

These people don't take the subtle hints that you're busy and they eat up your precious free minutes. How do you handle that?
  • Smile and tell them straight out you have a ton of work to get done.
  • Turn away as they talk and keep typing, working, etc. 
  • If they don't take the cue, stand up and leave... say you need to head to the office, run an errand, check something, ect. Head out the door and say see ya later. 

3. Say no to special requests and events.

Schools are notorious for having extra events throughout the year. If you are asked to bake cookies, decorate the stage, help with a special event, help plan a party and you really don't have the time, just say noooo!

You may need to practice this one ahead of time. In the mirror, or out loud if needed until it feels natural.

Don't over-explain, or give a long list of excuses. I'm sorry, I won't be able to right now. Done. Exit left. Finito.

No-Sorry I Can't. 5 ways for SLPs to say no at work and reclaim their time. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #SLP

4. Say no to extra campus duties. 

This happens a lot in the schools and it's tricky because you're usually saying no to a principal or supervisor. You may be asked to cover a class when there is no sub, proctor a test, do a regular duty, participate in an extra event.

Set some boundaries, and have a response ready.

Be cautious and use your judgment here. Sometimes you may want or need to say yes due to circumstances. If you are ready to say no:

  • Prepare ahead of time so you can have a reasonable and respectful response ready. Get the support of your special education supervisor, lead SLP, or whoever is responsible for seeing that therapy services are provided appropriately. Talk about your workload and explain that you have no time for makeup therapy and meeting paperwork timelines if asked to do extra duties- (if that's the case). Ask for their support in opting out of extra duties.
Saying NO: Stick to the facts. Offer another solution if you can. I'm sorry but...
  1.  I currently have ___ (Insert your gigantic to-do list here) on my schedule. If I'm not able to do ___ today, the school will be out of legal compliance. Would ___ be able to help?
  2.  Duties: My schedule is currently full, if I do ___ duty,  I won't be able to provide required therapy services and meet legal timelines.
  3.  Let me check my schedule, I'll get back to you by___.
  4.  If you can provide an SLP to cover my required duties, I would be happy to help.
Be sure to add: "Thank you for understanding."  This can end the conversation (or email) without leaving wiggle room for your boss to misinterpret or talk you into accepting the duty.

5. Say no to extra SLP duties. 

I think this one is the hardest of all. When you simply don't have the time to take on an extra campus, caseload, classroom, or evaluations, it's time to discuss your existing workload with your supervisor.

Be professional and direct. Be empathic, give them a valid reason you are saying no and offer alternative solutions if you can. Show them a little gratitude for their faith in you, but...

"I know you need___ handled. I appreciate you thinking of me"

"If I take that on, I won't be able to___." (meet therapy time, complete evaluations, IEP meetings within timelines, complete billing, documentation.)  Thank you for understanding.

"Please break down the most essential part of this, and how we will handle the tasks that will not fit in my schedule?

"I'll need help, so will you be assigning/contracting another SLP to handle___?"

So you have a hard time saying no?

Watch this for some great advice How to say No.

How about 50 MORE ways? Love this guy!

Here's my take when "No" just doesn't work:

Ultimately, it's the school's duty to meet timelines by providing the personnel to meet requirements.

You're pedaling as fast as you can, doing your best to keep up.

If you're required to take on tasks that limit your ability to meet requirements, it's not your fault, as long as your supervisors are fully aware of your workload and you have communicated what the consequences will be to your ability to provide therapy and meet timelines.

When that's the case, do document your concerns respectfully in an email and keep a copy. (If it's not in writing it didn't happen!) You may need this later, to show you communicated your concerns and workload.

For example:
Thank you for meeting with me about ___. I understand that ___ is important. Unfortunately, as we discussed, by adding these additional duties to my current workload, I may not be able to ___(meet therapy times, meet timelines, complete documentation or billing in a timely fashion). With this in mind, it is my understanding that you are assigning me to ____ at this time.  Is that correct? Thank you.

When I asked a group of SLPs in the trenches how they manage to say "no" they said:

  • An interventionist ordered me to cover a teacher's class during the day so the teacher could attend her child's function. I said no, got into quite a spat with the campus admins, and ended up changing from that campus. It's been great! I love my new schools and principals.
  • Pam said: We always joke we need to give new SLPs a Big Mac that is pre-programmed to say "No, I am unable to do that." No "sorry" and no excuses, just say no.
  • Breanna said: When I'm told, "I scheduled (name)'s IEP before/after school." I say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm not available that day. We can either reschedule or you can hold the IEP without me." Only one person has ever asked me why.
  • The best excuse I ever heard was "Oh, I have to go home after school and keep my cat company, he gets really lonely." (Well...not sure I'd use that one!)
  • Nijji said: Last year I said no to proctoring state tests. My AP was new to our school and she said, "The speech therapist at my old school did it." I politely made eye contact and said, "I still have to meet IEP time for all the kids on my caseload." Be polite but firm. I don't think she'll ask me this year.
  • Susan said: I've always been sooo bad at saying no. I mostly say "I don't have time on my calendar to ___. My next opening isn't until ___."
  • Linda said: "I realized over time that it was okay to say no to extra responsibilities that took away from student hours or took up my personal time. I make sure I do one school-wide activity that doesn't take up too much time. That way I can say, "I'm sorry, I'm already signed up for ___ and I can't fit anything else in now."

5-Ways time-starved SLPs can say NO at work, when you just can't fit in one more thing. #speechsprouts #slporganization

Don't forget to say "yes" sometimes too.

It's good to pitch in sometimes. You want to be valued, appreciated and respected. It might even be fun to participate. Say "yes" when it fits in with your schedule. Just be sure to pick and choose based on your workload. 

 I'd love to hear how you've said "No" to the overload when you needed to. Leave a comment and let's cheer each other on.

Hang in there!