Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Falling into Good Habits as a School SLP

I don't know about you, but there are days when I certainly need a reminder to deliberately work on building good habits at work. We all know the saying that your thoughts become actions and then habits. However, how often do you really evaluate the impact that your thoughts, habits, and actions have on your work relationships and performance?

I decided to share my three tips that will keep you falling into good habits as a school based SLP. These are the tips that I shared at the beginning of the school year, but I know that we can benefit from a refresher so that we are continuously building successful lives of all our wonderful children with special needs.  

Tip # 1

By now I am sure that you have found your rhythm as far as providing group speech-language therapy sessions. There is always plenty to juggle along with typical direct intervention sessions. Evaluations. Therapy Sessions. Progress Notes. RTI. Progress Monitoring. IEP Meetings. Staff Meetings. SLP Department Meetings. Data Entry. Medicaid Billing. PTA Meetings. Etc. Etc.

I think that is critical to remember that each day as a speech-language pathologist you are called to provide the best therapy services to children and adolescents. Regardless of how many staff meetings you need to attend, bus duty days or extra hours you work, it is important to focus on the purpose that you serve. I believe wholeheartedly that we are all building successful lives of the children that we serve. Communication and language skills are in fact foundations for social, academic, and life success. What an awesome opportunity we have as SLPs to improve the communication and language skills of children with communication disorders! So on those days that seem so overwhelming, please remember to especially focus on the success of children.

Tip # 2 

Colleagues will be more productive collectively when a school culture of positivity is cultivated. You can help create and maintain this culture by your words, actions, and habits. Be mindful about the conversations you have in the staff lounge, email, hallways and in meetings. Yes, I understand that you will have days when something or someone really irks you. However, I recommend making an effort to understand another person's perspective and help find solutions when challenges arise. Do your words build others up or tear them down? I also believe that you will feel refreshed when you refresh others. Everyone can use a little encouragement from time to time whether they think they need it or not. Make having an attitude of gratitude a part of your daily routine. Try it out and you'll see how positivity and kindness can be contagious!  

Tip # 3 

You may help sponsor an extracurricular club, participate in a school fundraiser such as Relay for Life, attend PTA meetings, or school chorus concerts. Your speech-language therapy students and families will be so happy to see you outside of your usually role in the speech-language therapy room or classroom. I believe that doing so not only helps you further build rapport with children and families but also with your school community as a team player. As a speech-language pathologist, we need to educate colleagues and families about our job description but also demonstrate that we care about the success of all children in various avenues of their lives.  

I have some freebies in my TPT curriculum store that will remind you of these tips. Click here to access my 7 Keys for a Successful School Year and Communication Tips for Colleagues.  

I'd love for you to stay connected to me throughout the year. You may subscribe to my blog, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and/or follow me on Facebook. I look forward to keeping in touch via social media world! :)

Tamara Anderson

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall Speech Language Activities

Hey everyone. I am excited to tell you that I created a new bundle of my Fall Speech Language Activities. I use these activities frequently in therapy sessions to increase my students' receptive and expressive language skills. 

First, there is a fall themed word associations activity that will help kids practice Tier I basic level vocabulary. I have 2 sets of learning cards to elicit naming word associations. One set has text on fall photographed scenes and the other has text with smarty symbol pictures to help kids recall related words.

My Fall Themed Multiple Meanings: Homographs packet has 3 activities included for you to further differentiate instruction. Kids can match words to definitions on learning mats from a field of 6 choices, answer multiple choices questions when given cloze sentences to identify the correct homograph meanings, practice orally defining the vocabulary, or stating 2 sentences for each term.

My students love using the dry erase marker on laminated sheets to answer the multiple choice questions. They often play the included fall themed game board with this activity as well. 

Next, there is an activity to practice identifying fall words when given attributes or verbally defining words with attributes. Kids also have an opportunity to practice identifying English/Language Arts vocabulary by attributes (definitions) and orally defining them as well. I recommend that kids may earn bingo chips to cover up words on their vocabulary mat when they get a question right. The kid that answers the most questions correctly is the winner! I have included SLP question prompts so you can easily read the attributes/definitions.

In addition to this new Fall Speech Language Activities Bundle, I created a FREEBIE wh questions check for one of my favorite autumn stories, Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie. Enjoy this complimentary digital download available in my TPT store!

Thanks for reading the blog today!

Tamara :)