How to Survive the End!

I do not know about anyone else but I am ready for THE END.  I mean, I'm ready for the end of the school year.  This has been a tough year.  In all my years, I have never had so many out of state students come in or as many of the initial evaluations. So, YES!  I have been on the count-down wagon for some time. 

Truth be told, I know the chaos of a fast year is not the only thing that has me stressed.  My family is also looking at a possible BIG MOVE and that requires a lot of preparation. Keeping my sanity has been #1 on my TO-DO List.  Here are the TOP 5 things I have been doing to maintain my sanity and hopefully, they can help you keep yours too!

1.  LIST IT & PRIORITIZE.  Okay, I am notorious for making lists just so I can cross things off and feel like I accomplished something for the day.  It's true!  Don't tell anyone but sometimes I add simple things on my list just so I can feel super accomplished (get out of bed, feed the kid, etc..).  So I highly suggest you make your list of what you HAVE to accomplish (make a separate list for WANT to accomplish) and put your deadlines next to it.  This will help you prioritize your list and life!

2.  "I'm HAPPIEST WHEN...list".  I know, it is another list.  My husband hates the mess I leave behind in lists but I am a very visual person.  I feel like if I can "see" it then I can "be" it. Write a list of 5-15 things that make you smile.  If possible, make it be things that will not be unhealthy for you in the long run.  For example, I'm happiest when I am scarfing down a huge 8 inch chocolate bunny (left overs from Easter).  However, although I will be immediately happy from chocolate bliss, in the long run my hips will not be pleased with me. My list contains things like, playing a board game with my daughter, tickling her senseless so I can hear her melodious laugh, or fill the tub with yummy bubble bath and relax with a good book while soaking!  What makes you happy?

3.  VISION BOARD REWARDS.  Search the internet or old magazines for pictures representing what you will reward yourself with or make another list.  Again, you do not have to break the bank (but feel free to put that family camping trip or pedicure on your list if it is in the budge). For each day you complete your list or after all deadlines are done.. reward yourself!  YOU DESERVE IT!

4. MAKE YOUR JOB EASIER.  By this time of year, planning is about surviving the last few therapy sessions.  Make it easier on yourself.  Teachers pay Teachers has a lot of wonderful end of year products.  Personally, I start Summer a little early.  You know, all the kids are dreaming of it just as we are. Working on Apraxia, Articulation, Language, or Phonological Processing Errors? These beach ball crafts work great for mixed groups (yes, so those last minute mixed groups you need to put together to squeeze an additional 30 minutes in your schedule to assess a new student... you are covered!).  Best part, is that they make cute take home crafts for students to practice their during summer break. another mixed groups idea?  Grab Summer Open-Ended Games pack. You can work on any skills and reinforce the group as a whole with three different games featuring a summer theme! a lot of students working on articulation and need a little something to go home for summer practice?  My students have loved practicing their sounds while coloring in mystery pictures.  I think it is funny what they think the picture will create in the end.  They have come up with some imaginative things! They have also enjoyed working through the summer themed mazes!

5.  REFLECT and ENJOY.  On my last session with the kids, I like to talk about what they learned over the year and what they plan to do during the summer to continue practicing. I like them to think of practical ways and when necessary I help facilitate that thread of thinking.  For example, practice their sound while reading aloud to parents for 5-15 minutes a day, play "I spy" in the car for describing skills, inferencing skills, and practicing fluency and articulation. 

Hope we all SURVIVE THE END with a smile and a feeling of accomplishment!  Do you have any end-of-the-year survival tips or traditions from your speech room?

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