Monday, October 26, 2015

Easy Peasy Playdough Monsters for Language Therapy

Halloween is just around the corner, so it’s all talk of costumes, monsters, and creepy crawlies around here! The kids get SO excited in the days leading up to Halloween that it can be hard to keep their attention, so I needed some fun, new activities to keep them working and focused during our time together… Cue: Playdough monsters!



I decided to try these playdough monsters out on a whim when I saw one pop up on my Pinterest feed as a party craft.  I had an idea of how to turn it into a language activity, so I collected some fruit loops from the preschool snack closet, grabbed beads, straws, and googly eyes from my arts/crafts drawer, and cut some bamboo skewers because I couldn’t find my pipe cleaners over lunch (and broke my scissors in the process... womp womp.  At least I got enough cut for the activity, though!).



I took these materials, along with playdough, into the preschool rooms for my in-class small group language lessons, and they were a huge hit!  It kept them engaged the entire time (which isn’t an easy task!) and kept their little hands busy, as well.  We used these to target basic concepts and following directions.  They were given directions like…


-Put 2 googly eyes on your monster
-Find the long stick and put it above the eyes
-Find the short stick and put it next to the long stick
-Put 1 red fruit loop on the short stick
-Put 2 green fruit loops on the long stick
-Take 2 straws and give your monster two noses (and talked about whether our noses are above or below our eyes)
-Find another googly eye and put it below the monster’s noses
-Stack 3 purple fruit loops on top of the green ones
-Add 2 yellow fruit loops to the short stick
-Take 5 beads and make a mouth below the nose and eye


...and so on and so forth!


 


We hit on spatial concepts by using words like “above” “below” “under” “on top of” and “next to,” and hit size concepts by discriminating between the long stick and the short stick to stack the fruit loops.  This activity was great for working on colors, counting, and even some fine motor skills, too, which are all areas of need for many of my students!


Check out other fun Halloween-themed language treats from The Frenzied SLPs below!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Organizational tips!


This post is all about functional, easy, time-saving tips to help you GET and STAY organized. These tips are coming from a non-Type A SLP so I promise these are totally doable! I implemented these ideas at the start of the school year and they have continued to work wonders for me thus far, a full 9 weeks in, so I wanted to share them all with you! I'm quickly approaching 60 preschool students and counting, so I HAVE to be extra organized in order to make it through this year alive!

You may have seen some of these tips and tricks on my Instagram over the last couple months, but some of these tips will be new ideas! I hope these tips are helpful for you guys, because we all know... #speechinainteasy #neitherisorganization ;-)



1. Organizing books by theme:


Mayyybe you don't know this about me yet, but I love themes. As in, I love themes in every aspect of my life-- themed therapy, themed parties, etc...(check out the "Saying Goodbye to the Roaring 20s" party I recently threw for my husband and several friends' 30th birthdays!).


Since I plan my therapy by themes, I keep my books organized by theme/time of year, too. Now that I'm using cardboard magazine holders from IKEA, it's SO easy each week to grab a box and pick books to use, and it's really easy to put books back in their spot.  I don’t have any wall cabinets and have limited shelving, so I love that I can store them above filing cabinets and my bookshelf.  BONUS: They're only $1.99 for a 5pk!


2.  Organizing artic card decks by initial/medial/final position for each phoneme


Guys.  This has been LIFE-CHANGING!! Life. Changing.  I cringe to think about all the time wasted sifting through card deck tins to pull out the specific phoneme position I needed for each kid.  I can switch out sounds and specific positions so quickly now!  I bought french fry boxes from Hobby Lobby for cheap and stuck magnets on the back, inner portion of the box to hold it to my filing cabinet.  I've had to tape the sides of some of the boxes that have come slightly undone, but overall they have held up well.


3.  Using 3 ring page protectors for play dough mats

Using the page protectors cuts down on lamination (and subsequent cutting) time, which is a win-win for me! I can swap themed play dough mats in and out quickly, and I can save on the number of page protector sheets I need if I can swap in and out, as well.  


For example, If I know I'm only going to be using the "All About Me" or "Apple" pages during those units, then I can swap them out for another set of mats I know I'll only be using for another specific unit.  For more general ones that I might be using year round, I put each individual page in a protector with copies behind the originals, so I can add those to the empty page protectors if I need multiple copies of the same page in a group. I keep them all stored in a 3 ring binder, either in a page protector or in pockets/pocket folders within the binder.


4.  Keeping Memory games/puzzle pieces in pencil cases from the $1 store
I love that these are clear so I can see what's inside.  This method prevents you from losing puzzle pieces that might otherwise fall out when you try to store the puzzle, and it also saves space when you don't have to keep the whole box for games like Memory!



5.  Keeping all testing manuals together in one spot for easy access


When I didn't have a designated spot for the manuals, they might have ended up on two different bookshelves, or in the testing material bag, or who knows where, and I'd have to waste time looking for them.  No more! This year, I have a magazine holder specifically for testing manuals.  I have easy access to all of them when I'm ready to score an eval, and I always put them back in their designated holder now! (Why did it take me so long to come up with this idea?!)


6.  Having an assessment tub

This has worked SO well for me since last Spring.  I have folders that hold my play-based assessment forms, and all the other informal assessment forms/stimulus items I might need for evals or annual IEPs (check out Busy Bee Speech's free Preschool Quick Probes and Speech Room News' evaluation forms!).  I keep my WH question card tins and object function rings from The Speech Summit in here, too.  The tub keeps everything together and I can just pick up and go when I am needing to do more informal or play-based assessments in the classroom or in the preschool pod!


7.  Grab & Go activities by sound/language target
 
As much as I try to plan therapy activities by the thematic units being used in the classroom, sometimes, it just isn't going to happen. I have print and go activities from various SLP bloggers/TpT sellers divided up by sound or language target (ie "categories" or "grammar"), so on days when I need to grab something quickly, I just pull something out of these folders! I have things like artic puzzles, do-a-dot pages, roll and cover/roll and color pages, etc... in the folders. These activities also double as easy homework pages to send home for parents! I also keep other general items like blank data sheets, parent handouts, etc.. in these, too.

PS- how stinkin' CUTE are the front two folders?! I snagged these at Home Goods in August during Back to School and I couldn't possibly adore them any more than I already do!



Well, what do you think? Which one of these tips was your favorite? What easy organizational tips do YOU have for ME?! Leave a comment below and share your ideas with me!