Tossing Games: A List of Seasonal Ideas

One of the easiest activities to have going in your room year-round is tossing games. Open-ended reinforcement for any skill, I use tossing games on days when we have just a couple of minutes at the end or if I don’t have something particular planned (which especially happens when I’m working someone else in on a cancellation) or if what I did plan isn’t really working out and now I need to pivot to something that makes us feel more successful or if we have an open day where I don’t want to start a totally new goal right before

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6 Ideas for Engaging Older Speech Students

Blogs and Pinterest are loaded with adorable ideas for sensory bins and games targeting our preschool and elementary aged kiddos, but what about those older speech students? While some might argue that at that point they need to really buckle down and master those concepts or sounds independently, I’m not sure that the ideas are mutually exclusive. I’m an adult and one with a pretty traditional learning style, but I’ll definitely stick with lessons longer—and try harder—if I’m enjoying myself along the way.  The nice thing is adding some excitement to older speech student sessions is really low prep. Stage

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5 Quick Ways to Use Miniatures in Speech Today!

Despite the fact that I can’t stand Polly Pocket, I am downright obsessed with miniatures.  I have a collection I’ve been building for years that’s probably worth a $100,000…to me. Not that I’d pay that, I’m just saying, it’s valuable. I wrote about this years ago, and at the time I was storing my items in catering containers.  It’s still an inexpensive and organized way to go (although I had to switch from 8 oz. to 16 oz. containers at some point to accommodate the quantities of some groups), but this year I splurged and bought small storage containers with

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The Point of Room Décor

This summer I read The Wild Card (Hope and Wade King) and while it’s targeted towards the general classroom teacher, there were plenty of gems for us too.  I’d knew I needed to deal with my therapy room this year. My teenaged son had come by at one point (probably for money) and commented on how dirty it was. Mortifying since he’s hardly a shining example of cleanliness and he was referring to the general dinginess rather than the clutter. I’d also had a mouse problem back in the spring which freaked me out to the point of knocking on

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Caseload Evolution

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t make it as a classroom teacher.  All of those kids in that same room for the whole day seems excruciatingly long.  It’s like those years I stayed home with my little ones and was soooo grateful I could, but operated in a fog of exhaustion and lack of self identity. (Behavior management with a group that size isn’t my strong suit either.) But there is something I envy about our general ed friends–they usually get what they signed up for. I know there are years where the Kindergarten teacher is moved to 1st and I

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Teaching Executive Function Skills in Speech

Executive Function Skills in Speech Executive functioning sounds like the ability to put on business attire, adopt a serious expression and bustle about productively. What it really means is the ability to plan, organize and complete tasks.  The three ability areas generally grouped together—working memory, flexible thinking and self-control/regulation—are what are responsible for staying organized, paying attention, regulating emotions and self-monitoring (Understood.org). Addressing executive functioning skills in the speech room happens when we work on social thinking skills, processing speed and the ability to explain their ideas and thoughts. Sequencing Skills It seems like all of my little people with

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5 Activities to Teach “Not”

Teaching the concept “not” in speech therapy is a common target in my room. Little ones start responding to “no” within the first year, no doubt because of the tone and facial expression associated with it. But “not?” That’s a tougher one. While adding “not” changes the entire meaning of a sentence, my students tend to either treat it as a tiny, inconsequential part of the sentence or seem not to catch its implications. These five easy to implement therapy activities will get them going! That’s not it.  Grab a deck of cards, any kind of cards; in fact pictures

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Learning to Follow Directions in Speech Therapy

Half the battle with Kindergarteners is following directions.  While all those early reading and math skills are critical components, it’s the inability to follow directions that derails kiddos and classrooms most. Parents often feel that following directions has more to do with compliance and tend to say “refuses to” or “won’t listen,” maybe “stubborn” or “uncooperative.” My experience has been that the ones not following directions are struggling more with the concepts and language load of the instructions as opposed to a true behavioral issue. Classroom directions are loaded with language that tends to be a weakness for our speech

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Reading Goals

When I was little, our tiny local library held a reading contest in the summer. You’d fill out the log and hand it in to the librarian and in late August they’d give you a certificate with the number of books you read and a prize to the one who read the most. I lied every year I entered. At the time, I had a book a day habit and while I was introverted and not terribly motivated by social peer groups, I certainly knew better than to be upfront about my reading tendencies.  I’d log maybe half of what

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Expressive Language Games off the Shelves

Hmmm, looks like a game….smells like a game…must be a game. I loooove Eeboo games. Last spring I shared a bunch I used for social thinking lessons. This year I added a few more from their line with a focus on expressive language games (and, still of course, social skills). These were a huge hit and they targeted all my goals. In fact, a few students went straight back to their parents and said I asked them to buy it for home. (I didn’t!) But the fact that these games are right off the shelf “normal” looking with a non-therapy

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