Are you a traveling SLP? Do you feel like you spend more time walking the halls to get students than in your office providing services? By any chance, are you at one school but do not have an actual office?  Or perhaps, you find that by the time you pick up your students on one end of campus to take them out to your portable that is on the opposite end of campus that you have just enough time to touch the door and head back? Or my personal favorite, you get your students and then the fire drill hits and once it is over you have 10 minutes left?  Been there!  Done that! Yes, I have been in ALL of these situations and I KNOW that I am NOT alone in finding a way to just make it work in an effort to provide the best services possible to our favorite little clients (our students!).

Quick Tips to Make It Easier:
  •  INVEST IN A ROLLING CART- I love mine!  It is definitely a wonderful investment if you are going to be at one location and not traveling from one school to another (getting them in and out of the car is a nightmare, at least for me).  However, it has really come in handy and saved my back when I found myself without a permanent office or when having to have an office on wheels for a bit.  It was especially helpful for me in these situations:
    • Door-to-Door RTI or Serving Speedy Speech (or Daily Apraxia) Kiddos: I could just put all my materials in the cart and roll around the school site without losing time from picking students up and walking to office and back.  It made schedules with heavy caseloads easier too!
    • Hauling Early Childhood Props: When I provide services to our Early Childhood Class, I like to bring a lot of goodies!  I typically go along with my Early Childhood Teacher’s thematic plan and choose a book with the theme and build my whole group lesson around the theme or dramatic play but targeting specific skills that the kiddos are working on. This often requires a lot of props.  The cart is also helpful in hauling the materials to target individual goals when working with some of my Pre-K kiddos individually. 
    • Goodies Galore for Self-Contained: I like to have more than just one or two Type A Level Reinforcers in my goodie bag while working with my self-contained students with Autism or Multiple Disabilities.  When possible, I use the materials in the class especially when teaching them to communicate using their device or a picture exchange system.  It is best practices since those are the materials in their immediate environment and what they will have access to when making requests or commenting. However, sometimes those items are no longer reinforcing and I need to pull out some of my own goodies to get a response. Carts are WONDERFUL tools for that!  Otherwise, my back would be even worse than it is if I was still carrying around my 2 different bags to contain it all.
  • TABLET- Oh, how technology has made my life easier!! My tablet goes with me everywhere.  It is almost like it is my own little communication device. I do not always use it, but it is great to have on hand!  Between the many different application programs I have on there to address a wide range of skills, quick articulation screener, or to use as a reinforcer, my tablet is an easy go to and now I do not have to carry a million books or copies of papers from books.  Plus, it saves the trees by not having to make so many hard copies.
    • Dropbox- I have easy access to some of my favorite TpT products on here, as well as important school information to make jumping from school site to school site easier on me.
    • Moka - Do you have this app?  If not, you may want to consider the small investment to get it.  I am able to put some of my old files or books in these apps.  For example, I have put a folder of search and find games into them and I am able to easily pull them up. 
      • Searching by Sound: I have the students find pictures that have their sounds in it and highlight the picture or circle it.  
      • Language Ideas: Same as the ideas as above but I describe an item and they have to find it or I provide the student with 1-3 step directions and they complete the task using the highlighter and colored pencils. 
      • No Print Tpt- I put a lot of my No Print TpT products in here.  Then it really is No Print and I can move around in the product as it is intended.
  • SCHEDULING-  Schedule your time super wisely! Easier said than done, I know.  However, when I start scheduling kiddos, I block off a set time every day to provide for RTI or Speedy Speech kiddos.  Same time every day, that way I can seriously just go door-to-door, pull the student out, drill like a bandit, return the kiddo to their class, and go to my next door to get the student. It is fast, and efficient!
Okay, so now you have an idea of my go-to materials to make it work.  However, what about the kiddos that time seems to be wasted with the walk but there is simply just no place to see them outside their class and they have a lot of service minutes (traditional services) or you are walking from one part of the school to the next collecting a little harem of kiddos? I have some ideas for that too! I won’t discuss them all, as I have put six of them into a little freebie for you and you can just go download them and have them on a ring as a go to.  But I will mention a few fun games I play while we make that long walk.
One activity I find that I incorporate into our walk for my speech sound kiddos is Sound Search.  I incorporate this even when we are not having to walk very far just because I like to get their mind thinking beyond just the drill and kill word lists.  I want them to acknowledge and know that sounds are everywhere around us and that if I asked them to go home and come back with a list, this would not be a hard task.  I start them off early doing this so that when they get to the stage of self-correction they are more cognizant and really slow down and think about the words that they are saying and to learn to listen to themselves. 

SOUND SEARCH- While walking from point A to point B, I ask the kiddos to look around their environment and see if they see anything that contains the sound they are working on.  If there is, I have them say the word while practicing good placement, say it a set amount of times, and then tell me if the sound was at the beginning, middle, or end of the word.  If they are past the word level, then I have them use it in at least two different phrases or two different sentences.  If it is a word that has more than one meaning, I ask if they can think of two different meanings for the word and use it in a sentence in at least two different ways.  The point is, I want them thinking, engaging, and not wasting time while we walk towards our destination.

If I know that we may be limited with time, then I bring along my little data flip sheet.  We can easily get 100 trials in if they are at word level without even making it a game (though, I find they like to take turns on finding things).  Also, once we have gone over our immediate environment over and over and we can not think of any new words on follow up walks, I change it so that they have to imagine a place (bowling alley, grocery store, library) and ask them to think of words for things they would find in that location.  I find it continues to keep them engaged plus they like to see if they can stump me and I run out of words before they do!

For this and other ideas (with the little data spaces) on little flip cards that you can take with you on the go, check out my freebie.  Just remember, although obstacles may exist there is always a way to get around them.

Organize Your Speech Files

For me, it is officially that time of year where I go back to work in the schools.  I am all about starting the year being organized.  It makes the rest of my year flow so much easier. Many of us have pieced organizing tools together as we have needed them.  I find later that I have to search through my huge flash drive of files to relocate these initial files as I need them and that just wastes time for me.  I like to be efficient and this just adds one more stress when I cannot find the right file.  That is why, I was so happy to see that my friend Jennifer over at Speech Therapy Fun created a file full of forms to help us keep our Speech Files Organized. Even better, she provides the files and calendars in both locked format and editable (via computer) for those of us who are truly perfectionists (such as this girl right here writing this blog post) and cannot stand when our handwriting is a mess!

This comprehensive pack offers 12 different pages of calendars!  I love that I can have a different background for every month of choose my favorite to make a SLP Planner for the year!  Plus it is editable so if I want to print it out and write with a pen, I can!  If I want to edit and fill it out on my computer (because my handwriting is a mess) and print it out, I can!  Or even best of all, if I want to put it on a editable/readable program on my tablet such as Goodnotes, Moka, or Cabinet, I can!  Now it is a calendar on the go that I can edit as I need and is available without using ink!  LOVE IT!

The pack also offers a huge pack of files for organizing my speech therapy life.  Again, these are fully editable so I can have the entire file on one of my editable/readable programs and use as needed. Another option is to edit it on my computer (or use in handwritten form), print it out and put in a binder to keep them all together.  It includes: a caseload list, schedule, parent contact form, RTI student list, Log time list (with example), Teacher referral form, parent input form, To Do Lists, Daily Notes, Birthday list, Articulation Screener, Language Screener, IEP at a Glance, Parent Intro sheet, Homework forms, Sticker Charts, My Speech Goal, and more! This pack offers so many wonderful resources but my two favorites are the IEP at a GLANCE, and MY SPEECH GOALS forms!!

IEP at a GLANCE- I LOVE this! I can edit it on the computer and place the files in a secure file on my ipad for easy access, or print it out and put in the kiddos working files.  These forms cover all the important details from an IEP such as student info and contact details, speech duration/frequency, goals, IEP and Re-evaluation dates, other resource services provided, and a place to add any medically relevant information!  How wonderful is that?! This form covers ALL of the important information and is so much easier to find it than to pull out and dive into IEPs every time you need the information!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!  I will definitely be using this form to get myself organized this year!

MY SPEECH GOALS- Another wonderful addition to my files this year!  When we ask kids what they are in speech, far too often we hear “to play games”.  At least, I know I do.  I remind them at the beginning and end of each speech session.  This is a wonderful form to use at the beginning of the year to talk about their goals and to make the students more accountable.  I plan for each of my students who are in Kindergarten and up to talk and complete the form which we will place in their homework notebooks.  I can’t wait to use this!  Then they always have it to go back to reflect on why they are in speech. 
This is a very comprehensive pack!  It even includes binder covers (several designs to choose from) to dress up your files should you decide to print it all out and put in a binder.  If you are a new SLP, a CFY, a graduate student completing your practicum/internship, or one of us that just gets frustrated because you have a difficult time locating your forms ever year… then this pack is for you!  

Luckily, Jennifer has agreed to allow me to giveaway a pack to a lucky winner!  Be sure to enter in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
We just got back from a family trip to Disneyland.  It was my Hub and daughter’s first time and I had not been there in 20 years!  We had a blast! However, now we are running around like crazy trying to get ourselves ready to begin the new school year.  Usually, I just have to get myself prepared but now I have to get my daughter ready too as she will be in Kindergarten this year (where did the time go?!).  Now that she is prepped and ready (well, more so than I am), I need to get myself all ready and prepped for my caseload!

Therefore, I was SUPER excited to hear that there was going to be a BONUS day for Back-to- School Sales!  There are just too many wonderful products on TpT and I have a serious therapy materials addiction issue! Sure, I make my own materials but I also purchase from fellow TpT SLP’s as there are just too many products and not enough time in the day to create everything I need for my caseload!  So, I am teaming up and linking up with Jen of SLP Runner who is kind enough to host a Shining Stars Linky Party!  I love joining these type of Linky parties as I always find new products that would be perfect for my caseload but that I did not know was already created by a fellow SLP on TpT.  Hopefully, you too will find new products to fit your caseload needs!

Here are some of my shining star products: am so pleased with my consonant sequence Mega Games pack.  It works on S, L, R Blends with fun and interactive ways.  Just like my Multisyllabic Mega Games Pack, it can also be used to address language and fluency goals too!  I use the Find it Fast game to describe an item by its semantic features (or student describe it) and the communication partner has to figure it out and Find it Fast.  For fluency, I have the student work on using their fluency shaping techniques while describing the item or using it in a sentence.  I also take turns generating sentences with the students so that they can work on identifying disfluent speech in self and others. 
My kids LOVE moving around while practicing their sounds at word, phrase, and sentence level!  I find that I cannot stand sitting still and neither do my students.  I try to incorporate movement as often as possible because: students get out their wiggles, research has shown that learning is increased when paired with movement and I LOVE the sound of kids laughing and having fun! 
We LOVE using Dramatic Play in my speech room!  Again, the kids get to move around, incorporate role-play, and have open ended and unique opportunities to practice carryover of skills while playing! My sets all include open-ended games, sensory station, open-ended price guides (to allow tailoring to target word problem math skills at student level), vocabulary cards in color and black and white (great for take-home practice), barrier games, and so much more!

Products from other SLPs on TpT that I would give a shining star to include:
The Daily Social Skills Journal from Jen of Speech Therapy Fun is a great way to teach the social skills and have a take-home journal for kiddos to review when needed!  I especially love that it has a sort of social skills challenge at the bottom of the page (what should I do today task)!

Long ago there was a product called FOKES Sentence Builder.  It has been discontinued.  However, it was a WONDERFUL tool.  Kristin from Beautiful Speech has created a  Pronoun-Verb Flip & Practice which is a  great sentence builder product that is fun and functional! kiddos have difficulty with recalling sentences which is why I have that task in some of products.  The Recalling Sentences Expressive & Receptive Language Set by Ashley from Sweet Southern Speech took it to the next level by also addressing subordinate clauses and multiple modifiers.  It also has a cute open-ended game for reinforcement.  

What TpT products are you planning to purchase or would you give a shining star?  What products out there should I be made aware of because you find that you use them so frequently in your speech room?  Don’t forget to use the code:  MORE15 for up to 28% off.  I know my entire store will be 20% off plus the additional using the code. Happy Bonus Back-to-School Shopping Day to us all!

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