September 24, 2012

More Scheduling

Here's a quick document I put together this morning to let teachers know what times I have scheduled their students.

You can download your own copy here. Please leave a comment if you do!

September 21, 2012

Scheduling: Update

I learned how to import frames and borders into Word documents today, so to practice I updated my speech scheduling document.

Click this link to download your free copy!

Friday Funny

I love shoes. I think they can really make an outfit. But I don't like spending much money on them, and sometimes in a store I have to ask myself if I really need this new pair of shoes. Now this handy flow chart will make it easy for me to decide!

Thanks, internet, for making my life easier!

September 19, 2012

Speech Scheduling Made (relatively) Easy

As a student, the beginning of each school year comes with lots of exciting things. Shopping for a new outfit to wear on the first day of school, checking off the supplies on the classroom supply list, etc. Picking out folders was my favorite - what other children of the 90s out there can remember Lisa Frank school supplies?! I secretly was excited at the end of each summer when the class lists were posted. Summer always seemed to last too long, and I was always excited for school to start again. I was a huge nerd.

As a school employee, the beginning of each school year has a bit of a different feel. Yes, all the newness and excitement radiating from the students is a bit contagious, but mostly we long for summer break to start all over again. And as a school-based speech-language pathologist, the beginning of school means scheduling. Bleh. I am somewhat fortunate this year as I only (only!) have 44 students and two buildings to worry about. I know some SLPs whose caseloads are pushing 70 students or have 3-4 buildings to schedule in the same 5-day school week.

Last year was my first year working in the school setting, and scheduling my 53 students at 2 different buildings was such a big source of stress last year. I had at least two different excel spreadsheets, class lists, a list of how I was going to group the students together, and a 5-day calendar all on my desk at once. I think it took me a whole work week just to get the schedule to fit. It was a nightmare! 

I was determined to complete my schedule differently this year. Somewhere over the summer I read the idea of using Post-It notes for scheduling, and I thought it was genius! So here is how I completed my scheduling this year...

A couple weeks ago I gave each teacher a slip of paper that listed the students in their classroom who have speech services along with the minutes required each week for services, and asked them to attach a copy of their class schedule or list the times that will NOT work to pull students.

Click here to download your own copy of these forms. I had more of my personal information on the slips I gave to teachers, but modified the document for general use for the purposes of this upload.

Once most of the teacher slips had been returned, I was ready to get scheduling! First, I organized my Post-Its by grade: preschoolers off campus got orange, preschoolers on campus got blue, Kindergarten got green, and 1st grade got pink. I wrote administrative/lunch/regular meetings on purple notes. Each student got a Post-It with their name/grade/teacher, how many minutes of therapy they were required each week, and the times the teacher had said were okay to pull the student. If a student was to be seen twice a week, they got two Post-Its with their name.

Then I made a giant 5-day schedule, divided into 20-minute increments (mostly for a guideline - it would be unrealistic to be able to fit my students perfectly into the designated time slots). A white board would work really well too, but I don't have one in my room.

From there, I went to town sticking Post-Its into time slots that worked based on the times teachers had given me. I didn't need to keep referring to an excel spreadsheet to see teacher times or look back at old emails - everything I needed was right on the Post It. If a time didn't work, or if I needed to move a student to a different time, I could just pull off the Post It and move it to a different spot.

Scheduling was still a bit tedious since these students are all new to me, but it only took me one day to finalize my schedule this year. Woohoo! Of course, I just know it's not actually final, and that conflicts and additions are bound to arise. But I think this was a pretty great system to use this year and I will more than likely tackle the project the same way in the future.

Leave a Comment: What tips do you have for making scheduling easier?

September 14, 2012

Articulation Jenga

Jenga or Tumbling Towers is one of my favorite therapy games.

Students of all ages from elementary through high school love it. It is quick to set up, and there are very few rules, so it is easy to throw it in at the end of a session for reinforcement. They get really excited when the tower grows super high, and they crack up when it finally falls over.

Not only is the game easy and entertaining, but you can also get extra practice towards your therapy goals while having fun at the same time. Today I modified my Jenga game to target various phonemes for my articulation students. Using my Webber Jumbo Articulation Drill Book, I typed up a list of words targeting a few different phonemes that are common goals of my artic students.

Target phonemes this time include /s/, /th/, /l/, and /k/ in initial, medial, and final positions. I copied each list onto a different color paper, cut them apart, and taped them onto the blocks. You can download the four different lists here.

I also made a star block in each color. When my students pull the block with the star, they earn an extra turn, or extra sticker, or whatever motivates them.

The words took a while to cut apart and tape on, but now it is ready to go! It will also be easy to switch out words to target different phonemes if needed.

This game is not just for articulation students either. Here are a few ways to use the game to target other goal areas:

- students must use the word they draw in a grammatically complete sentence
- students must think of an adjective to describe the word on their block
- students define the word drawn
- name the appropriate category the word would fit in, or name other words associated with the word on the block
- if appropriate, name a synonym or antonym for the given word
- one side of your blocks could target words with multiple meanings

- depending on the level the student is working at, practice easy speech at the word, phrase, or sentence level

*Phonemic Awareness:
- identify the initial/medial/final phoneme in the word
- segment the word into individual phonemes
- name a word that rhymes

The possibilities are endless! It is such a fun game to use with students of all ages. I think they love it almost as much as I do :)

Leave a Comment: What was your favorite board game as a child?

September 07, 2012

Friday Funny

Today's Friday Funny is dedicated to my sweet husband Tony. We will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary on Monday and it has been a wonderfully special year.

Can't wait to enjoy many, many, more crazy years together! <3

September 03, 2012

Good Finds: 5-Minute Quick Quiz Word Fun

Happy Labor Day! I am enjoying my extra day off of work. It's crazy how ready I was to have a day off after just 3 weeks of the new job. I guess all the business of organizing, meeting new people, scheduling students, and attending countless new staff trainings just drains a girl's energy! It has been much appreciated having a long weekend :)

I found another Good Find for SLPs the other day. Remember, the Dollar Aisle at Target is a great resource for inexpensive supplies and ideas.

Today's find was this 5-Minute Quick Quiz - Word Fun Challenge.

It's a small flip-book with a great assortment of quick activities that target language skills. Each page targets a different skills: word families, phonemic awareness, vocabulary building...and more!

Here are a few previews of what's inside:
Use the provided word family list to fill-in-the-blanks of the story.

Unscramble the letters in these mixed-up words!

Each column is a category, and you need to use the letters on the left to think of a word that starts with that letter and fits in the given categories - like Scattegories.

Manipulate the phonemes to figure out each word.

Use the clues to figure out which word on the list is being described.
The answers are all on the bottom of each page. For only $1, I thought this was a great bargain that I couldn't pass up. The cover says Grade 2, but with some modifications, I could even use it with the Kindergarteners and 1st Graders I work with. I plan to rip the pages apart and use my new dry-erase page protectors so I can use this book again and again!

P.S. There was also a math version!