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.

February 01, 2016

Snowflake Snowman Craft

snowflake snowmen make a perfect craftivity for winter months

The snowman with the green background is "on a football field" :)

Last week we made snowflake snowmen in my therapy room, and I LOVE how they turned out!

I was inspired by this post I saw on Pinterest. You probably already have everything you need to make these: construction paper, scissors, a pencil, glue sticks, a white crayon, and some markers.

It usually took 20-30 minutes to complete these, depending on the size of the group. I had the paper folded and ready to cut ahead of time, and helped most of my students cut through the thick folded paper. We were also able to target many skills including sequencing, making requests, making descriptions, following directions, fine motor skills, and predicting how their cuts would appear once the paper was unfolded. Articulation students were able to practice their target sounds in between steps.

I was surprised how many of my students were vocally excited about making these. There were a few I thought I'd have to convince to participate, but they were some of the most enthusiastic and most creative! Many of them had never made paper snowflakes, and they thought it was so magical unfolding the paper to reveal their snowflake. Try them today with your students!

Abby enjoyed 40*F weather this weekend. It felt like spring! What's the weather like where you live?

January 29, 2016

Friday Funny

Thanks to my friend Kayla for sharing this one :) Have a fantastic weekend everybody!

January 25, 2016

Quick and Easy Meals for Frenzied SLPs

Quick Cassoulet is a speedy recipe for when you're short on time or energy

The Frenzied SLPs are back! This time we are sharing recipes that are simple and quick to make because we all know how hectic life can be for any SLP. If you're like me, you are drowning in referrals, evaluations, progress reports, and IEPs! I'm a big fan of popcorn supper if I have no energy to cook, but if you're looking for something with a little more sustenance, this meal is one of my absolute favorites. It only takes about 30 minutes start to finish, and it's super delicious :)

Quick Cassoulet
1 (16 oz.) kielbasa or polish sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4" slices
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes and chilies (aka Rotel)
8-10 oz. frozen corn (can also use canned corn)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste 
Saute meat in large skillet or cast iron pan to brown sides. Add remaining ingredients. Season to taste with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Heat through, about 15 minutes. Makes ~6 servings.
Note: You can mix and match using the beans you like. We also add some diced jalapeƱos, cayenne pepper, or use spicy kielbasa sometimes to make it spicier. And we usually double everything except the kielbasa so we have more leftovers!

If you'd like to share your go-to quick and easy recipe to help other busy SLPs out, please join us using the link below. Thanks to Old School Speech, Speech Sprouts, and Speech2U for hosting this week!

January 13, 2016

2015 Speech Therapy Room Tour (Part 2)

a tour of my second therapy room this year

While one of my therapy rooms is full of soft muted colors, the room at my other school is bright, bright, bright! This is a classroom that I share with the special education teacher at this school. We work together with students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. The room can get pretty hectic with students, teachers, paraeducators, and the occasional student needing to visit the reset room, but it's fun! Take a look around:

This is the view as you walk into the room. As you can see, we are blessed to share a full-size classroom. The special education teacher works on the right side (with the blue rug and kidney table), and I work on the left side (by the windows). My roommate took the lead with the decorating, and I followed suit using the same color scheme. I love the bright green and black!

This is a close-up picture of my work area. I mainly work with students at the small rectangular table, but we sometimes overflow onto the round table. The game board under the window that says "We are stars!" is my reinforcement system. Students all colored their own stars, and each time they come to speech/language they get a chance to move their star one spot closer to the coveted prize space.

My desk area contains binders of printables used most often. The four file trays near the front allow me to keep materials I need for that week ready to go near the therapy table.

Behind the green curtain is where I keep all my therapy games, and the doors under the windows slide open for additional storage for articulation cards, etc. I made my own bulletin board between the windows by stapling bulletin board paper/border and nailing thumbtacks into the wall to store task cards and materials on binder rings. You can also see one of my all-time most often used therapy items - Articulation Cans (LOVE them!).

Finally, the view towards the back of the room. We arranged a bunch of file cabinets to have a little break area in between (you can see this area in the first picture - it's full of cushions and visuals to calm down), but that left me with a big blank file cabinet to stare at. So I taped up some fabric and created another "bulletin board". This one is magnetic! I keep a "Mystery Object" of the week up there, and sometimes attach articulation pictures on the bottom half for target practice. The blue curtain in the back of the room hides a reset room, and a bathroom :D

That's it! Let me know if you have any questions or comments below. Thanks for reading!

January 12, 2016

Frenzied SLPs: Favorite Organization Tips

start the second half of the school year off with revamping your organization

I'll admit it. Organization is not my strong suit. In my home life I live in what I'll call "organized chaos". There are usually a few piles of mail on my kitchen counter, a craft project might sit out for a few days before I put it away, and I usually don't have all my clean laundry in the closet before it's time to wash another load. But the good thing is that I typically know where things are when I need them. I've learned to accept this and love me for me.

At work, however, I operate a little differently. I'm a spontaneous SLP - meaning I typically don't plan out a day's or week's lessons in advance, but there are little tricks I use to help me stay organized and on top of things while splitting my time between two different buildings.

1) Clean up after myself.
At the end of each day, take a few minutes to put away your materials from the day, and clean anything "extra" off your desk. Sometimes this means I'll still make a pile of things that need to be immediately addressed the next day, but if they're there in plain view for me, I'm more likely to remember to get them completed. And it's so nice to arrive to a clean desk in the morning.

2) Keep supplies handy.
I keep a three-shelf cart of my most-used supplies right next to my therapy table. The cart carries markers/pencils/dry erase, magnetic chips, dry-erase sleeves, game tokens/dice, and student learning goals. That way, I don't have to get up to collect these small items in the middle of a therapy session, and since they are things I use multiple times per day I don't have to spend time taking them out and putting them away again.

3) Write everything down.
My memory is terrible. Really awful. I can't rely solely on my Google calendar to keep every due date and meeting and task in mind. I need to see things written down in front of me to remember. My Post-It Note lists were getting out of control, so I created a Sticky Note Command Center that is on top of my desk at both of my schools. It is a life saver to help me prioritize my to-do list and remember the important things each day/week. Download yours for free here.

I'm so excited to read through the organizational tips from the other Frenzied SLPs! We'd love it if you'd share your tips in the comments, or add a blog post to the linky below. Thanks for hosting this week Speech2U!

January 04, 2016

Frenzied SLPs: Things I Will Try in 2016

kick off 2016 with The Frenzied SLPs' take on resolutions

Happy New Year! The Frenzied SLPs are back and we are sharing all the things we'd like to work on improving in 2016. It seems I tend to make the same resolutions each year: be more punctual, finish projects, stop procrastinating, etc. We often make resolutions so strict and extreme that they are easily abandoned within a few weeks of starting. The Frenzied SLPs are accepting that fact, so we are kicking off 2016 with some things we'd like to try in 2016.

1. Blog more regularly
In 2015 I averaged 3.5 blog posts per month. I just wasn't always motivated to write, and I know if I write just to publish something, it won't be the quality I strive for. But I miss creating content for this blog and sharing activities that have been successful in the therapy room. There are 145 unfinished posts in draft form on this blog. 145! So I'm going to create a calendar to try to schedule blog posts in advance and increase the content seen here. In 2016 I will try to post at least four blog posts per month that are not related to Teachers Pay Teachers.

2. Prep at night to have a smooth morning
I am NOT a morning person. At all. Every night I set my alarm and swear to myself I will not hit snooze. Every morning I curse myself for hitting snooze and having to rush around like a crazy person to get out the door on time. One thing I'd like to improve is prepping lunches and coffee, and selecting an outfit each evening to help me have a smoother morning. If I can just grab my lunch out of the fridge instead of having to take 10 minutes to put it together, that will save me valuable time. If I can just fill the travel mugs with delicious coffee without needing to wash them first, that will make me a happier person. If I can just get dressed without staring at my closet for 15 minutes, I'll leave the house with a smile on. In 2016 I will try to prep lunches, coffee, and choose an outfit for the next day before I go to bed.

I'd love to hear what you are going to try in 2016! Thanks for hosting this week's linky All Y'all Need!