March 28, 2017

"Press Here": an interactive book for therapy

Press Here is a unique and magical interactive book for therapy

My caseload is 90% preschoolers (3-5 years old), and 90% of them have IEP goals addressing following directions and basic concepts. This book by Herve Tullet has been a great resource to have in my toolbox for addressing both of these goals.

It starts out with one yellow dot on the page, with the instructions to "press here". And when they do (and turn the page), they see that their pressing magically changed the dot!

As they progress through the book, following the directions causes more and more changes with the dots.

Those dots get pretty excited and chaotic before the book ends :)

Kid think this is the most magical book! And I love the language opportunities. We practiced following one- and two-step directions, basic concepts including left, right, middle, all, just/only, sizes, patterns, colors, counting, and also cause/effect. Pretty great to have this all wrapped into one book!

Then we did some follow-up activities with some quick dots I cut out of construction paper. We had big, medium, and small dots and we practiced more of those basic concepts, following directions, and prepositions around the therapy room.

"Put the dots in order from smallest to biggest."

"Point to the dot in the middle." or "Point to the medium-sized dot."

"Put the small yellow dot on top of the big blue dot."

"Put the big red dot below the medium yellow dot. Now put the small blue dot on top."

Note: There are also other similar books including Mix it Up and Let's Play! by this same author. I also recommend Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star both by Christie Matheson.

March 26, 2017

Ideas as Fresh as Springtime {The Frenzied SLPs}

Spring has sprung! Thank the Lord!!! Even if it's still below freezing or you have snow on the ground, it's time to brighten things up inside. The Frenzied SLPs have your back and we're sharing fresh ideas for spring therapy. Here are my top five 🌼

1) Bring animals into the therapy room (if you're that ambitious!)


A few years ago I shared a classroom with the special ed teacher. Our school was in a small rural community, but not many kids actually lived on farms or had exposure to animals other than dog/cat/fish/gerbil pets. The SpEd teacher decided to bring a few baby chicks into our room for a few weeks in the spring and the kids were able to interact with them and watch them grow. They were so, so excited and it provided so many language and vocabulary opportunities! We were able to talk about what makes a good pet, make observations about how they grew (chicks change very rapidly!), compared and contrasted animals that give birth to live babies vs. eggs, and what makes a good pet. There's even research backing up the benefit of pets boosting social skills in kids with autism. I've also heard of therapists bringing in therapy dogs (swoon!). Are any of you doing this?

2) Sensory bins or water play

There are so many fun ideas for sensory bins out there! I started using them with my students a couple months ago and they have always been a hit. The participation and expressive language explode out of my students when these are on the table. Here are some ideas for spring bins that are inspiring me:

Garden bin from Mama Miss

Bird sensory bin from Anchored by Love

Easter egg water play from Momma's Fun World

Duck pond water play from Mama Papa Bubba

I highly suggest you try out a sensory bin this spring!

3) DIY matching foam eggs

A few years ago I found these foam eggs in the Target Dollar Aisle (♥) and made a pocket out of packing tape so I could switch out the pictures on the egg halves for different students. It was fun and I'll be busting this out again this year.

4) Spring-themed picture books

There are too many good picture books out to possibly get to them all, but if you're looking for some new ideas, I really suggest When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes and Hatch by Katie Cox. When Spring Comes was just released in 2016, so I don't think many people have heard of it, but it's an informative book about waiting for spring to come and it has beautiful illustrations. Hatch is all about animals that hatch from eggs. It gives clues to the animals on one side, and then kids can guess and open the egg to see if they're correct.

5) New activity packets

Finally, if you're looking to update your material supply, might I suggest some of the spring activities in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop:

Happy Spring everyone! Be sure to check out the rest of the fresh ideas from The Frenzied SLPs below. If you'd like to share your own ideas, feel free to add a link below or comment on this post!

February 05, 2017

Frenzied SLPs: Sharing Kindness {blog hop}

Welcome to our Frenzied SLPs Sharing Kindness Blog Hop! If you hop through all the blog posts, you'll find plenty of FREE kindness-themed downloads to use in therapy over the next couple weeks. Let's all work together to help instill a desire to treat others with respect and kindness in the little minds that we work with. The world can certainly use as much kindness as possible it seems. This stop in the blog hop includes a prepositions practice interactive booklet, which can be downloaded for free here. Enjoy!

Click here to go to the next stop at Gold Country SLP. When you make it all the way back here you will have 14 new freebies to use! Have fun :)

And remember: "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." -- Dalai Lama

September 08, 2016

Frenzied SLPs: Baselines and Progress Monitoring

The Frenzied SLPs have a plethora of ideas for establishing baselines and progress monitoring.

Data. It's a necessary evil in our field. It can tell us so much useful information and really guide therapy decisions, but it can also be such a dizzying headache to collect and analyze frequently. Some jobs I've had required progress monitoring a certain number of times each month, and for others I've been on my own to monitor as needed. Either way, it can be a messy and overwhelming process if you're not organized.

Many SLPs have 50+ students on their caseloads and progress monitoring needs to be quick and efficient. That's why I tend to use data from regular therapy activities to collect my progress monitoring data. Since I am writing all those lines and circles every session anyway, I just look back at my data from a certain time frame and average it all out when it comes time to write progress reports. You can download the data sheet I use for FREE here.

Bonus quick tip: collect data in groups of 10 or 20 in order to make mental calculation of percentages quick and easy.

I frequently use my Ready, Set, Communicate booklets for quick data check-ins. Each page contains 10 trials making data collection quick and effortless.

What about those students who have goals with multiple objectives? I'm talking multiple speech sound errors, including various story grammar elements in a story retell task, or using language functionally in different ways such as asking/answering questions and using greetings appropriately.

Tracking data on so many different aspects of communication can get messy. None of us have the time to constantly round up several data sheets or log notes for every student every time we update their progress. In those cases, I prefer to use rubrics to track their progress.

Rubrics are an efficient way to track and score goals which contain many components, and also measure student progress over time.

Create your own rubrics in three easy steps:

1)   Determine the elements of your goal that need to be measured. This might be something like the steps to mastering a speech sound in conversation, or your short-term objectives.

2)   Set performance levels and assign points to each level. I like to set 3-5 criterion levels. Generally speaking, they range from "not yet demonstrating" to "proficient".

3)   Include descriptions/examples in your rubric cells of what would qualify for that score rating. Keep it simple! Your criterion must be clear and easy for others to interpret. If your student moves away and a new SLP inherits his goal/rubric, you want them to be able to continue using it with the same reliability.

If you'd like to start using rubrics to make progress monitoring easier, I've already done the work for you! Here is a collection of over 40 rubrics all bundled together. The download includes instructions, scoring examples, and editable rubric options!

How do you keep data collection a smooth process? Leave your tips in the comments! Be sure to read through all the posts below for a ton of tips from The Frenzied SLPs!

May 09, 2016

The Frenzied SLPs: We're On the Downhill Slide!

3 tips to survive the end of the school year

Hello? Is anyone still here? Many apologies for the extended absence, but I've cleared away the cobwebs and am ready to get back to regular posting. By the way, I have a good excuse for taking some time off: I'm pregnant and expecting my first child at the beginning of August! Yay! Thankfully, everything has been going pretty smoothly so far, so I've just been enjoying this time away from the blog with researching and preparing for how things are going to change in the next year. That, plus everything REALLY amped up at work and we have been BUSY!

Most school-based SLPs will be winding down the year within the next month or so, and The Frenzied SLPs would like to help make the downhill slide to summer break go as smoothly as possible for you.


One of the buildings I was assigned to this year has been doing an ongoing social/emotional learning training all year, including discussing Growth Mindset. These tools have not only helped me rethink the way I interact with my students, but have also popped into my heads at times when I'm facing difficulties. During the downhill slide to summer it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, but I just need to remember to replace some of my negative thoughts with more encouraging thoughts:

"I'll never get everything done by June 3rd!"
--> Instead, think "I can cross three items off my to-do list today."

"Are you kidding me, ANOTHER referral with three weeks left of school?!"
--> Instead, think "What can I do to assist this student AND this teacher?"

"I don't want to go to work today!"
--> Instead, think "I get to help my students today, and we're one more day closer to summer!"


Music always helps me get through any tough situation - and through the good times too! A couple years ago I shared a playlist for all those end-of-year tasks. Be sure to add these to your playlist immediately:

Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake (I can't get enough of this song!)


When all else fails - make a list! The end of the school year comes with a million tasks to do, and using a command center to help keep those lists organized and in view really helps. You can download your own for free here. It is always so rewarding to see those tasks being crossed off!


There you go! A few tips to hopefully help you make through the downhill slide to summer break! Thanks so much to GoldCountry SLPLooks Like Language, and All Y'all Need for coordinating the topic this month. Please click on the links below for more survival ideas. We would also LOVE for you to link up if you have something to share! No blog? No problem - just share your tips in the comments. Thanks for reading! And enjoy that downhill slide to summer :)

February 11, 2016

DIY Window Cling Craftivity

you can make your own window clings with two simple supplies

This week we have been having fun with a Valentine craft during our speech therapy sessions - DIY window clings! All you need for this easy craft are puffy paint and ziplock bags or plastic sheet protectors.

Step 1: This is not necessary, but to keep things under control I printed off heart patterns on a sheet of paper and inserted them into sheet protectors to act as a template for my students.

Step 2: Use the puffy paint to trace around the heart template.

Step 3: You can use multiple colors to make designs and patterns. Make sure the paint isn't too thin, or it will be difficult to peel off the plastic. Also, if the paint is too thick then it takes forever to dry.

Step 4: Let the paint dry overnight. Then you can peel the hearts off the plastic and decorate your windows!

This craft was easy peasy, and many of my students told me they really were excited to use the paint. Try it today!

**Thanks to my friend and colleague Kayla for the idea for this craftivity!

Abby's husband will be out of town on Sunday. She will spend Valentine's Day with her kittens instead :)

February 10, 2016

Frenzied SLPs: When SLP Love Hurts

The Frenzied SLPs are sharing times when #SLPlovehurts

Valentine's Day is next week, and with that comes talk of love. This week The Frenzied SLPs are talking about those times when love hurts. As SLPs, we work with a wide range of student abilities, and most of our kiddos have needs other than communication which are also impacting their performance in the school setting. There are times when these needs can escalate and things can turn physical. Here is just one instance I have experienced that has made an impact on me. Some details have been altered to protect student confidentiality.

Here's what happened:
A few years back I was working one-on-one with a second grade student whose compliance and behavior could switch from angelic to physically aggressive without warning. It was near the beginning of the school year, and I was new to this building, so it was still during those first few weeks when I was getting to know my caseload.

As we walked down the hallway to my therapy room, this student seemed to be in a good mood. He asked me about what I did last night, and we chit-chatted as we walked. Once we got in my room, I started to explain what we were going to learn that day. Well, he decided that didn't fit with his plans and proceeded to walk over to my desk.

I attempted to lure him back to our work table, and he went for anything and everything on my desk. Task cards, papers, my laptop and cell phone - anything and everything he grabbed and threatened to break. I was shocked! This was not the sweet boy I had just walked down the hallway with!

Next he bolted for the door. Luckily I was quicker and got there ahead of him and was able to close it before he got out into the hallway, but then he proceeded to swear at me and kick me in the shin. Multiple times. I tried threatening to write him up, I tried actually writing him up, and I tried ignoring the behavior. But nothing was going to stop him from swearing at me and trying to kick me.

Thank goodness the special education teacher chose that moment to come back to our room. She helped get him calmed down and regulated. If she hadn't chosen that moment to come back, I don't know how far this would have escalated.

What I learned:
1. READ student files - If I had taken the time to read everything in this student's previous progress reports/IEPs/evaluation reports, then I would have learned some valuable information about what could set him off and cause him to become disregulated.

2. TALK with your team members - Prior to working with this student, I should have taken time to talk with the special education teacher and this student's paraprofessional to learn what steps should be taken if these types of behaviors arise. Many students have a behavior plan and certain phrases or action steps need to be taken to help them regulate themselves. If all team members learn the procedures, then behavior plans can be followed consistently and students will know what to expect.

3. CONSIDER becoming trained through crisis prevention intervention (CPI) - I will be taking this training in March to help me better know what procedures can be taken to help students who are showing aggression, and to help prevent the aggression from occurring in the first place.

I hope you will read through the other #SLPlovehurts stories. I think we can all agree that these moments are few and far between, and we still love our jobs despite the moments that hurt. If you'd like to share your own "love" story, you can link up using the link below, or share in the comments.