Gobble Up Holiday Goodies

Can you believe it’s the LAST WEEK of November?! This Fall has FLOWN by, and I can’t believe it’s almost time for Thanksgiving! Thankfully, I have plenty of goodies for you to gobble up, along with many of the other ladies that are a part of The Frenzied SLPs!

First off, if you have to work a portion of this week leading up to Thanksgiving and still need some turkey-themed activities, here are a couple of ideas for you:

1.  Articulation chef hats

These were so cute on the kids! Our 4 year old classrooms are doing food units and learning about bakers/chefs, different kinds of foods, and different tools you may use to cook and bake.  The chef hats were a perfect tie-in!

If you have short sessions like I do (15 minutes) and want these done in one session, then I’d recommend cutting up artic pictures ahead of time in addition to having the strips already cut and ready to go (If you have one of those industrial paper slicers in your building, that makes it way easy!).  However, you could easily stretch this into two sessions and have them color the pictures while they practice during one session, and then during the next session,  have them glue the pictures on while practicing.

2.  Dough and Dot:  Fall Edition

Fun fact #1:  Little kids love dot markers.  Especially the “extra juicy” ones that give out a lot of paint without a lot of pressure.  I mean, I guess if I were in preschool and could make a lot of mess with very little effort, I’d probably be happy, too.  Fun fact #2:  Little kids don’t ever get tired of playdough. Ever.  EVER!  This packet includes dot marker pages for Fall/Thanksgiving WH questions and basic concepts, and playdough pages for -ing verbs/pronouns/’be’ verbs, vocabulary, and open-ended pages.  I stick the playdough pages into 3 ring page protectors so I don’t have any prep work involved!

However, if you are off the whole week, or have your Thanksgiving lesson plans already set and are gearing up for winter, I have some ideas for that, too!

1.  Christmas cookie craft

When I look back at this picture, it always makes me chuckle 🙂 I’ve typically used this activity during our Give A Mouse A Cookie unit, but this would be great leading up to Christmas (if you celebrate and are allowed to incorporate it into your lessons at school) to pretend to decorate Christmas cookies!  It’s a fun sensory experience that usually gets my littles talking, and we can work on simple sequencing of steps, too. I can hit some /sp/ blends with this too– if we use a “spoon” to “spread” the shaving cream and use glitter as the “sprinkles!”  Find more cookie activities in this blog post.

2.  TpT Products & A Freebie

Grab some language activities for your younger students, and get your kids up and moving with the phonology games! Winter Wonderland of PreK/K Language, Decorate the Tree Phonology, Build a Snowman Phonology-full version, Build a Snowman Phonology-freebie /f/ version

Also, over 70 SLPs contributed to this year’s Gifts of Gab ebook— download it for free to see hundreds of both paid and free TpT products for your holiday/winter season!

What are some fun holiday activities you do with your kids? We’d love for you to link up and share your ideas with us, too!

Thankful and Grateful- A reflection on the last 2.5 years (and giveaways!)

Hi, guys! I’m teaming up with the rest of the ladies from The Frenzied SLPs to bring you a “thankful and grateful” blog hop with the chance to win some great prizes! After reading, you will want to collect the letter at the end of my post, and make sure to hit “next blog” to continue along the hop. When you put all of the letters in order, starting from the first blog, it will spell out a message that you’ll enter into the drawing for some great prizes!

I can’t even believe it’s been almost TWO AND A HALF YEARS since I started this blogging journey.  I started in July of 2013, after several months of talking myself out of it, convinced that I couldn’t do it.  As I sit here reflecting on the last couple years, there are so many people and opportunities I am thankful for, so bear with me– this may get a little long.  And, maybe a little sappy… #allthefeels

I am beyond thankful for every single one of you reading this right now.  Every single instance where you have taken the time out of your busy days to pop over to my blog and read a post, every time you have “liked,” commented on, or shared something of mine on social media, every time you spend your hard-earned money in my TpT store– every single instance encourages me to keep going.  I’m just one little fish in a sea of many incredibly creative and talented SLPs, and to know that my ideas are inspiring others and being used all over the country (the world?) is inspiring to ME! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all of your support, no matter how large or how small of a gesture!

I wouldn’t have started this journey without my husband.  He has been 100% supportive and believed in me every single step of the way, even when I didn’t believe in myself. He was the one who, ever so slightly, kept nudging me towards stepping outside my comfort zone and going for it.  He refuted every argument I had until I had no more, and convinced me that what I had to contribute to the SLP world was worthwhile.  He is and always has been my #1 fan!  Words would never do justice to the gratitude I have for him being my personal cheerleader and always pushing me to do more, even when I think I can’t!  Both of our families have been super supportive, too, and my little sister tells every SLP-to-be she meets at college about my blog, for which I am also very grateful! 🙂

Right around the time I was almost/kinda/pretty sure I maybe wanted to start a blog, the School-Based SLP Facebook page was started, and in the thread for introductions, I said I had a TpT store (I had started about 6 months prior to that), and that I was contemplating blogging.  Mia from Putting Words in your Mouth, said she found me on TpT and was following me <insert excited squeal and total fangirl moment> and encouraged me to start a blog if I was already thinking about it.  I loved Mia’s blog already, so her encouragement helped nudge me in the right direction.  Rachel from Queen’s Speech, whose blog I also had already been following, was really supportive in that thread, too, and gave me advice on starting a Facebook page for TpT/blogging (I was probably just fan-girling all night throughout that thread, talking to all of those “big-timers” I had followed for a while!)  I’m sure Mia and Rachel have no idea that I still think about their encouragement from that thread from time to time… but I do!

“A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships”

If you happened to watch the Lucky Little Learners/Schroeder’s Shenanigans in Second periscopes from TpT Vegas this past summer, they used this quote several times to talk about the importance of supporting others. Helping other fellow bloggers/TpTers be their best in turn helps you be your best.  Keeping in line with this, I have to give shoutouts to some other SLP bloggers that have helped me along in the journey, whether they realized it or not!

1.  Jenn from Crazy Speech World:  My very first blog post was participating in her “Show me the Data” link up.  She was so sweet responding to my post, saying she felt lucky that I linked up with her for my first post, related to my being chronically messy, and welcomed me to the blogging world! Having another one of my favorite bloggers take the time to read through my post and acknowledge various things I said in there was SO COOL! (I was ecstatic when she commented on my post… another fan girl moment. Don’t judge.)  It was another little nudge in the right direction– this time, to keep going, rather than just beginning.

2.  Jenna at Speech Room News:  About 4-5 months after I started blogging, Jenna messaged me on Facebook to tell me she’d nominated me for “Best New Blog” in the Edublog awards! (I simultaneously celebrated and, you guessed it– fan-girled out again at the same time.  Are you noticing a trend here?) I was ecstatic and so honored that a well-established blogger with thousands of followers took notice of my blog! That was probably a major turning point for me, when I thought, “Hey! I really CAN do this!”  Words would not do justice to the amount of gratitude I have for giving me that moment. THANK YOU, Jenna!

Jenn & Jenna are also two people whose “voice” and personalities really come through in their writing through blog posts and posts to Facebook/Instagram–something I am always striving to do more of! I really admire their ability to do this with such ease.

3. The ladies that are a part of the Frenzied SLPs: I was genuinely honored to be asked to join your group of other great bloggers over the summer! I’ve been struggling to keep a balance this school year, trying to juggle my workload + TpT + blogging + social media for blogging + keeping the non-SLP parts of my life alive, and I probably would not be as motivated to keep blogging as consistently without the topic ideas and support from all of you! <3 You are all wonderful, talented women and I have so much respect and admiration for what each of you do!

4.  Everyone who has asked me to guest post, join their blog/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook hop, or join their giveawayManda & Shanda at Twin Speech, Felice from Thedabblingspeechie, Danielle from Sublime Speech, Elizabeth from The Speech Owl, Lyndsey from Speech to the Core, Jessica from Figuratively Speeching, and Maria from Communication Station.  There are hundreds of other bloggers you could have asked instead of me, so I have always been grateful for the opportunity to join in the fun!  I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Felice and Danielle a bit more, too, and they are both hilarious– grateful for the SLP friendships this blog has opened up for me!

Starting a blog/TpT store was a risk–a risk in the sense that I was putting myself out there to be judged and was making myself vulnerable.  Heck, it still is a risk!  Every time I create something new or write a new post, or am about to share a therapy idea on social media, that little voice of insecurity comes back to rear its ugly head.  As we all know, though, without risk, there is no reward, so I’m much better now at silencing that voice than I was when I first began.  And speaking of rewards….

One of my Instagram posts was featured in the August issue of the ASHA Leader a couple months ago!!  THE ASHA LEADER that is sent out to over 150,000 SLPs every month!! (#nobigdeal #famous)  I decided last January that making it into the ASHA Leader via my blog would be one of my goals for 2015. #REALTALK:  Honestly– I was way too scared to put it in writing in my 2015 SLP Resolutions blog post because I thought it was maybe too far of a stretch or that other people reading would think that was a dumb, unrealistic idea.  But, referencing Lucky Little Learners’ Periscope sessions from the summer again… “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”  Despite that inner voice of insecurity, I continually put myself out there over and over via this blog, and the rewards have been greater than I could have imagined! One of my coworkers is good friends with someone on our school board, so she passed on the article link to the Board member, and it then made its way to my superintendent, director of special education, and principal.  I mean, really, how cool is that?! And it’s all because I have had support from my husband, all of you readers, various bloggers, and other friends/family!

In closing… Blogging has made me a better therapist. It pushes me to try to think outside the box and be more creative with my students in order to have material to blog about or share on social media, which benefits all parties involved! Blogging has also allowed me to connect with others who are passionate about what they do, and I am inspired by them every single day.  I am SO thankful for this avenue and for every opportunity I’ve had to connect with other SLPs, both bloggers and non-bloggers alike.

If you’re still with me (I know, I’m sorry this was long.. I just have a lot to be thankful for!), thank you.  Thank you for all of your support over the last two and a half years.  I wouldn’t be here without you! xoxo.

Here is my letter for you to collect along the hop: