Save Your Breath!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Welcome to the Frenzied SLPs introduction month!
I am excited to be part of the Frenzied SLPs new venture into blogging! 
We have provided tons of freebies for the last few months and now we get to bring you exciting tips/tricks to help you in your practice as a Frenzied SLP!
I don't mean to sound like an infomercial, but are your tired of using your voice by the end of the day? I know I am! 
I went to a fantastic in-service by Rick Morris. He is a advocate for using new management techniques in the classroom that don't use your voice. Imagine that! Here are some ways that I use Rick Morris techniques for the classroom in my speech room. 
Why? Because we need to remember students should be doing most of the talking and we need to save our precious vocal folds!

Help Box 
This is not the first time I have written about the "magical" help box, but I want to write about it again because it's a voice saver. Especially when you get the question, "What are we doing today Mrs. Nortz?" or "What's the date today?" I got this idea from SCERTS training two years ago. I used blue tape and you can include whatever you want! It's great for students who need to see a visual of the schedule for the day. Include actual pictures or write out your schedule.

Being the communication experts that we are, we know that using gestures can be life changing for some of our students. However, have you ever thought about communicating non-verbally with your students?
Rick Morris has a one page gesture FREEBIE page and all the black line poster size masters I have found that the best tip is using the Question, Comment or Answer gestures for groups that are chatty. Then you know what each student has to add to the conversation. In addition a simple gesture with a pointer to the help box will save you a lot of talking!

I give my students stickers at the end of each session. Sometimes students take quite a while picking out that perfect sticker. Rick Morris suggested that using timers take all the guess work out of how long the students have. I set the timer for 30 seconds and like MAGIC my students were speed racers! It was awesome! I have used timers for "think time," after asking a question so every student has time to process the question and formulate the best answer. 

Noise Cues
Students hear teachers voices all day. If you use a noise cue, it will trigger a different sort of "animal-like" part of the brain. I use a few noise cues in my speech room to get attention when students are talking, working on a worksheet or just for fun! You can use it to signal a great answer.  I have a service bell, a train whistle, a squeaky toy and clicker. Get creative and use other things...slide whistles, horn, chime etc.
Do you need students attention when you are writing something on the board? 
Check this out, attach a bell to the end of a marker! 
Your students will be instantly paying attention.

I am a big time band nerd! I have played the flute since 4th grade and music has always been a form of therapy for me. Try cueing your students with music (examples: vocab time, grammar time, sticker time). Rick Morris developed an app called the Music Cue App that you can load your music clips into and play them when you want without going to the next song. Kind of like the way sound boards work and there are a ton of apps with sound effects.
 Boombox with Music Notes
Do you need some music that is safe for students? Check out Free Play Music they have songs without lyrics that are unfamiliar to students. You have to register, but select the type of license for classroom use when you "check out" Click here for all the instructions and if you find a song you like join the Sound Project and e-mail your favorites to create a bank of songs!  
Want some songs your students recognize? Download FREE TV theme songs here at Television Tunes I could spend forever browsing all the songs, it's so much fun!  
I hope you found some nonverbal prompts that will help you save your voice.
More Rick Morris tips from my speech room to yours coming soon!

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The Five Year Burnout

Sunday, November 16, 2014

This is my fifth year as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Many studies have reported that nearly half of teachers quit by their fifth year.  I can see why.....

I am not going to lie, last year was rough. Being an SLP is not all sunshine and roses. Seriously.  I felt like I was on the verge of giving up on this profession. I felt I wasn't being listened to, I was overwhelmed, and taking far too much work home. I became Rachel the SLP at work and at home. SLP 24/7.  I stopped doing things I enjoyed on the weekend because I had to write reports. Even when I wasn't working, I was thinking out it. All. The. Time. Even with all the SLP media, facebook groups, TpT, and blogs. It's everywhere! I find it very hard to believe that being an SLP is on the top 10 LEAST stressful jobs, really? I beg to differ.

I lost sight of who I was as a person. I was in a struggle for regaining balance in my life. I am not just Rachel the SLP. I have a husband and an adorable puppy. I have friends and family. I have a life.  I love crafting, crocheting, painting, glitter, and creating. I actually like to exercise! I enjoy walks on the beautiful beach a few miles from my house, especially during the day, outside, getting fresh air. I love reformer Pilates, who knew!? I like to meditate to help me calm down, especially listening to visualization tapes.  I missed my friends! I enjoy baking. Many hobbies I left by the wayside because I was "too busy" or became too stressed and anxious. I was exhausted (and I still am sometimes).

I do not own this image
I think we all have to be nicer to ourselves, especially those of us working in the public schools. We are great at what we do, but that doesn't mean it has to become us. It also doesn't mean we have to take on the world and everything thrown our way.

Here are some things I have done that help:
  • Our work will never be done, so create boundaries.
  • Plan ahead so you don't have to work from home. I mean this, I really do. It will change your life.
  • Make time in your schedule to get things done at work, yep bigger therapy groups.
  • Ask for help!  
  • Breathe.
  • Don't feel defeated or like you are not good enough if the workload is too much. 
  • Change your perspective and negative thinking. This one is HARD for me. I get so stuck in my "twisted thinking".  Love this quote....
I do not own this image
  • Take your lunch and actually eat it, in peace. 
  • STOP feeling guilty. 
  • You are enough, you do enough and it will be okay. 
  • The work will still be there in the morning.
  • Disconnect from your computer for a while. 
  • Disconnect from everything SLP related for a while, including social media. 
  • Leave your laptop at school one night, it's freeing! 
  • Simplify! Are your reports too long? Could you make your life easier? How? Think about it and brainstorm ideas to make a change.
  • Take Breaks (check out all these great ways to take breaks)
  • I do not own this image
  • Talk to someone, yes therapy. It helps. 
  • Listen to good music. 
  • Talk to colleagues and share ideas. What are they doing that could help you? It also helps to commiserate and know you are not alone.
  • Take a mental health day if you need to, that is why they exist!
  • Use aromatherapy in your office (as your school allows), it helps bring me peace.
  • Consider a job change. I know I am...private practice? Clinical supervisor? Professor? New school? Who knows...there are options!
  • LOVE yourself, you are imperfect and a wonderful human anyway.
  • Write in a journal-nope not a blog. A real paper journal, a pretty one and write with fun colored pens. I found I really enjoy it. 
  • One of the best things I realized about our job is no matter how many students we have, WE are responsible for trying to make it work in a way that best works for us and the students we serve. If it's not working out, look over your schedule (I know it's hard), but maybe there is wiggle room you didn't see before.
  • Know that you are NOT stuck, you have options and you create your destiny.

My list will keep growing as I grow and learn. Having a career isn't always easy. I am grateful I have a fabulous job, great pay and time off to relax. However, I think we can get caught up without realizing it. You wake up one day and realize work has taken over.

Take this quote to heart and live it. 
I do not own this image
What do YOU do to help you maintain balance in your life? Do you have a favorite hobby or activity? What is it?

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Oh hello there November!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I'm back! I took an inadvertent break from blogging. Let me tell you it was nice to have a little break! I love the holiday season and I thought it was time to come back and start sharing again. I have been creating, go check out my new Thanksgiving product!

Here is a great mini-book from Figuratively Speeching SLP It's called LEAVES! This is just perfect for my preschoolers. I have 12 preschoolers this year, which is double what I normally have! Having extra resources is nice!

Step 1: Prep your books. Copy, cut, and staple together. I pre-cut the leaves because it would take to long for the little hands to cut, color and glue in a 30 minute session (I should mention it was a session of 3 girls who LOVE to color).
We practiced saying all the fun sentences that are included in the book and the leaves are on everything! Great thing is you can just practice putting leaves on and off with a pocket in the back to store the leaves or you can actually glue leaves onto the pages. It's up to you! 

We read a book about fall leaves and I showed the girls this page for a reference of colors to use, but using other colors like purple and pink was okay to ;)

We had so much fun!
Thanks Jessica from Figuratively Speeching SLP

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Easy Princess Therapy

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I have a lot of young girls who LOVE Frozen. 
Yes. Still. Love. Frozen! 

I think the boys are tired of it, but on the rare occasion I get to have a therapy session with girls (or boys tolerant enough to sing) it's been so much fun! 

Materials for FROZEN /s, z/ and /s/ cluster therapy
1. Let It Go on your ipod, or computer
2. Princess wands are optional but fun. 
3. Let It Go FREEBIE to sing along and track data!
What to do:
1. Practice /s/ using artic cards or sticks (as seen above by Mia McDaniel). We waved the magic wand over the sticks and pretended to be Elsa making snow.
2. After we got tired of doing that, we put on the song Let It Go and I started tracking away. 
3. The students love this so much. They could sing it over and over again. Which means you get a ton of data from ONE SONG! 

Check out the tracker I made:
Click on the image to download the freebie! 

To use: the tracker lists the word in the order that they appear in the song. Once you are done singing tally the amount correct, divide it by the total, multiply by 100 and get a %. Hooray!  Done!

Enjoy the freebie and happy singing!

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Disney, I do not own the rights to the lyrics, or anything involving Frozen what-so-ever. This was just something I found useful in therapy. I make absolutely no profit off posting this freebie. Just wanted to share!

Please purchase the song. Pirating is illegal. 

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SLP Facebook FROGGY Frenzy

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Another Facebook Frenzy is happening now! 
This time we have a whole set of FREE activities based on:
 The Frog Prince and The Frog Prince Continued

Here is a Frenzy Map to help you find all the free goodies. 
Click on the images. It will hop you right to their Facebook Page! 
Easy peasy! 
My freebie includes:
 1. Mini-book with two different endings, depending on the version of the book you read to your students. 
2. Multiple Writing Prompts and graphic organizers. 
3. A pacing board that can be used with fluency or voice students! 
Directions for assembling the mini-book:
Step 1- Cut just the center dotted line.
 Step 2- Fold in half length wise, then fold in half width wise.
Step 3-Push sides together so it looks like this from the top.
Step 4- Finish folding by folding the cover on the front and wrap the back around!
If you have questions about folding send me an e-mail:
Students can color in the pictures! 
They can then retell the story to you and take it home to retell it for parents as well!  
I should make note that my AMAZING sister Tessa Osborn created the clipart for my freebie! 

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Monday, August 18, 2014

flex·i·ble            ˈfleksəbəl/            flexible
Definitions: Capable of bending easily without breaking, able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances or conditions, ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances. 
Synonyms: pliable, elastic, stretchy, resilient, bendy, adaptable, adjustable, variable, versatile, free, accommodating, cooperative, tolerant and easygoing.

The best advice I received before graduating with my Master's Degree was from my Fluency Disorders Professor Jean Jackson. She said something  like this, "Rachel, You have got to be more flexible!"

I swear...I am TOTALLY FLEXIBLE...sometimes.
I know I have written about this topic before, sorry you get to read about it again! The reason I bring it up again is because being flexible is a huge part of this career and just a big part of life in general. Personally I struggle with "rolling with the punches" from time to time...I think everyone does!

There is something about having that perfect lesson planned (schedule, assessment,  IEP etc.) that just screams, "Right now is the perfect time for something to go wrong".  In one of my very first observations as a CF, I planned a great lesson with stamp pads, stamps and a printable with their sound to drill and stamp as a reward.  One student immediately put the stamp with ink in his mouth. Yay! Now I have a student with a mouth full of blue ink!!!!! Luckily it was all worked out!
Another example, perfect group lesson planned, two out out of the three students were absent.  I had to do my observation while playing "Go-Fish" with my supervisor and the student. At first I just couldn't believe how much time I had spent planning to have it get messed up. However, we ended up having fun and the student got a great full individual session. 
Or the days when parents show up a day early for IEPs, something didn't get put in the right mailbox, a whole class is on a field trip, the one student you need to assess is absent, the phone rings in the middle of a session, and so on....
I am writing about this today because it was my last planning day before the first day of school and my puppy had to be taken to the vet. I had to take a half day at work and rush her over to get checked out.  First I was upset that my productive day was interrupted, then grateful that I have a job that allows me to take a few personal hours should I need it. Also thankful that my puppy appears to have a diagnosis after a month and should be getting better soon! It takes a while to see the good things that come with being flexible! 
I love this quote.. .
So if at first glance you think to yourself you are not flexible and this job is just going to eat you alive because nothing will ever go just "perfect". Remember that......
All the times when we have to be flexible and change up our routine are part of what make this job so fun and exciting! It's never the same and we learn so much by the "curve balls" our job throws our way! 
Trying to live in the light this year, but know that when the clouds come.....we must have rain or there would be no rainbows. <3
Disclaimer: images are NOT mine, but were found on pinterest. Click on the image to find out where they came from!

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Articulation Cans- A Review!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today I am reviewing (mostly through pictures) an amazing product by,
Go like her page: here

Cheap for what you get! 100's and 100's of words! 
I don't even know how many words because I lost track after a box of 200 Popsicle sticks, plus 3 more bags of 75! I still have words left to do! I need to make a craft store run now!  

Easy to make
 If you want to make them the easy way, print, cut and glue. 
I wanted to get fancy so I used a Xyron Creative Machine (there are many types of these machines!) 
I laminated the pages and labels then ran them through again using the adhesive backing 
Note: I had some trouble with the adhesive sticking to the laminate; so I ripped the back half of the laminate off and ran them through the machine with adhesive. It worked like a charm!

Multiple Uses 
Mia explains how she uses the sticks and even provides a few worksheets! I can't wait to use these with the students who are sick and tired of using articulation cards. I think that they will be great for the younger students I work with! Can someone say preschool!?

This is something you will actually use, use and USE! Seriously, think of all the possibilities! Like you can even use these for EET, vocabulary practice, Wh questions..or story telling! Have students pick out 3 and make up a story! 

 I wanted to make sure I remembered all the words so I wrote them on the back.
I will be putting these in my carrying cart to do hallway artic therapy! Also using for games, drill, and so much more!

The best part is the part where you get to personalize them! 
I found my "cans" (actually pencil holders) at the Dollar Tree. 
I have heard word that Target may still have some in their Dollar Spot section. 
Find a pretty paper that you like (or not if your containers are already pretty!) I found my paper in the scrapbook section of Michael's.
I LOVE getting crafty, cutting, laminating and sticking! Seriously, the perfect excuse to put your feet up, craft and watch tv for a good purpose!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Xyron, I purchased the machine with my own money! I also paid for Mia's products and LOVE them which is why I wanted to share the awesomeness.

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