Spread the Love with Your Bulletin Board

Saturday, August 26, 2017 No comments

When designing the bulletin board in my classroom, I wanted to use photographs in an inspirational way for my students. My district has an initiative to demonstrate pride for the city that it is in so the two came together perfectly with this one.

I loved the idea of creating a bulletin board that would inspire my students to think of speech when they are outside of my speech room. Using visuals on my bulletin board helps my students do just that. When they are out and about around the school or community, they make connections between what is in our speech room and the outside world. The more they reference our speech room outside of their speech time, the more they may think about what we actually do in there.

I often get asked where I purchased the wooden bulletin board. It is actually just Fadeless Designs Weathered Wood bulletin board paper that I purchased from Amazon. I have since spotted it at Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Joann's Fabrics as well for less than $10. Remember to bring along your coupons or use a coupon app to save even more!

The ruler clip boards were from the Target's Bullseye Playground. I had the burlap ribbon border, twin and clothes pins on hand. I cut out the letters using my Cricut Machine.


First, I took some photos of student hands making a heart above a neon green piece of poster board. The poster board served as a green screen. I quickly learned that this was a lesson in following directions and fine motor challenge for a few of my friends. 

Next, I put out an all call for photos around town. I also took a few of my own on our school campus. The power of teamwork never ceases to amaze me. Our night custodian sent me so many gorgeous photos. I also received a couple from a fellow SLP Blogger, Rock Chalk Speech Talk from when she had lived locally for graduate school. It was awesome!

Using the Green Screen app by Do Ink, I placed the photos that I had acquired as overlays on the heart photos. The beauty of this is that you can do so right from your iPad or iPhone.

To do so, layer the scenic photo on the bottom layer. Then add the hand photo to the middle layer. The image will look as if the hand is in front of the scenic photo. To have the image on the hand, select the rainbow circle on the bottom (this determines which color is washed out depending on the color of your green screen). Typically, I select a bright green. However, this time tap on the hand portion and the photo will appear within the hand. To adjust the opacity, adjust the sensitivity bar.

Once you have saved the image, you can open the image in a photo editing app and convert it to Black and White. I used the app Color Story; however you can also do so by simply editing the photo with your device's built in editing features. I then printed the photos on card stock using my regular printer.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial. What bulletin board inspiration tips do you have? I'd love to know. Let me know in the comments below. 

Got Goals? Increasing Student Accountability & Goal Awareness

Saturday, August 19, 2017 No comments
One of my biggest pet peeves is when students do not know why they come to speech therapy. "To play games" just doesn't cut it in my book. Do we ever play games in my room? Absolutely. Not every session, but it does happen. However, that game is a medium to address the specific goals, not the goal itself. Now, I know that you all know that so you're probably thinking I'm preaching to the choir, right? My point is that WE know what the purpose of that game or activity is but do our students?

Having students know what they target in speech-language has always been an important factor for me but a couple years ago I had to take a good hard look at HOW I was doing that. As a token of congratulations for being nominated educator of the year, my sweet SLP colleague compiled a book for me with responses from my students about what they love about coming to speech. The responses truly touched my heart (I may have shed a tear or twenty) but responses that referenced the WHY they came to speech were in the minority. I am a big proponent of self-reflection so I had to take a step back and really think about what I could do to make sure that was in the forefront of their thinking about speech. My challenge? It was important to me to address that in a way that would not sacrifice the strong interpersonal relationships with my students that I hold near and dear to my heart. 

Flash forward to the next year... our SLP assignments were changed and I was now tasked to ensure that my self-reflection of increasing goal awareness took place while also establishing authentic relationships with new students. The solution that worked for me was using Speech Therapy Goal Tags. I'll be honest here... they weren't just helpful for my students but for me as well! Not only were my students learning what their speech therapy targets were, but I was learning what their specific targets were. Particularly for my students targeting language skills, this can be a difficult task.

What I didn't anticipate was how much the students would LOVE the tags. I intentionally made the goal tags in landscape orientation so they would be easy to discern from brag tags that we added. To the students, the tags were regarded as an ID badge. I included a schedule badge to encourage students to come down to therapy independently at their scheduled time. I had to hide my giggles when I would spot a student testing out their badge to see if it would gain them access to the elevator like staff badges do. 

How did they work?

Students were active participants in assembling their goal badges onto their lanyards. This was a great opportunity to talk about what they were working on in speech in a relevant project based manner that held relevance. The badges then traveled with students back and forth from class. They were also a helpful reminder to teachers about what each student was targeting in student friendly "I can" terms. Students took pride in them and would often ask for special permission to take them home and show their parents (ummm... absolutely!). 

I highly recommend trying it out to see how it works for you and your students. You can create your own tags with index cards/cardstock or use the Speech Therapy Goal Tags that I made if you want a print and go option. I added a customizable option as well so you can taylor them to meet your specific needs. 

What works for you? I'd love to hear. Shoot me a message or let me know in the comments below!

UPDATE: Do you want to hear more about using Goal Tags? Check them out in the video below!
(Don't mind the awkward screen shot... thanks YouTube!)

SLP Toolbox Storage

Sunday, August 6, 2017 No comments

I see you working your tail off for your students/clients. I see you supporting your colleagues, sharing ideas and implementing evidence based practice. I see you when you are elbow deep in paperwork and Medicaid billing, wondering when/if it will ever end. I am right there with you. 

I created these toolbox labels to go with the rustic decor of my Fixer Upper Style speech room. As a simple way for me to say THANK YOU for following along, I am sharing them with my newsletter subscribers for free! Not a subscriber, no worries! You can subscribe here.

I know how happy it makes me to have my room set up in the beginning of the year, organized and ready to bring on the new school year. It won't be perfect by any means, but that time I put in at the beginning of the year sets the stage for my year. I hope that this SLP Toolbox will help ease your load, even if just a bit. At the very least, it will make your organizational heart happy to look at as you use it throughout the year.

What tips, tricks or advice do you have for starting the year? I'd love to hear them! Comment below with what works for you.

P.S. If you haven't heard, I am currently moving on up in the world to a larger speech room. I am sharing the journey of my Fixer Upper style makeover with all of you. A picture says a thousand words, so if you would like to check out what I've done so far (bloopers and all), hop on over to SLPTalk on Instagram or Facebook. Before you go though, don't forget about your FREE SLP TOOLBOX DOWNLOAD!

Functional Storage in My Speech Room

Thursday, July 27, 2017 No comments

Speech Room Decor

I made a bit more progress on my speech room makeover today by repurposing a display for eyeglasses. I love that it rotates and provides functional decor for my room!

I switched out the existing display with white pegboard that I purchased at Home Depot. They cut it to the exact size that I needed. To go along with my rustic style, I used plastic flower pots from Home Depot that I glued twine onto. They were the perfect size for my needs. I attached chalkboard clothespins found at Michaels to label each flowerpot. That certainly wasn't necessary but having them match the style of my speech room just made me happy. 

Prior to my current display, I have used book bins or the top drawer of a rolling storage cart to store Articulation and Language Sticks. Their durability and having multiple targets on each paint stirrer make them an easy resource for me to grab and go in a pinch. 

Speech Room Makeover

Articulation Sticks are honestly a staple in my speech room. I love having over 1,000 stimulus words at my fingertips to target articulation while also introducing a variety of vocabulary concepts with picture supports. Working with a high risk, low socioeconomic and high ELL population, it is important that I maximize our activities to close that gap. 

Language sticks allow me to further differentiate student needs within mixed groups. Currently displayed are Category Sticks and Describing Sticks.  I am updating my Grammar Sticks so I can share them with you and add an updated version to my collection. If you are interested in learning more about how I use the sticks, you can check out the links below.

Language Sticks in Speech Therapy

Descriptive Language in Speech Therapy

Using articulation sticks in speech therapy

What tips do you have for organizing materials using functional decor in your classroom? I would love to hear!

Fun & Functional Speech Room Decor: SLP Books

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 No comments

These books were one of the first decorations I put out in my new speech room. Not only do I love the way these SLP books look, I love their function too! I am very intentional about the decor in my room and the meaning that each holds. When I spotted these at Michaels, I just knew they were perfect for what I had in mind!

is for SPEECH. The "S" will house favorite moments as students graduate from SPEECH. I only wish I had started this 17 years ago! When students graduate speech, I will have them write what their favorite memory was in speech and I will write something I love about them. Relationships are huge and anytime I can take the opportunity to share a meaningful connection, I am all in.

L is for LAUGHS. I will write the LAUGHS that I always want to remember in "L". Our job is full of them! What better book to open when you are having a tough day or need to lighten up Medicaid billing? I keep a little "He Said, She said" journal of funny moments with my own kids that we love to look through together. Our "He Said, She Said" journal along with our Thankful Journal are my favorite books in the house.

 P is for PATH, as in the path you take in life. The "P" will include stand out moments with students, families, and colleagues that remind me why I am on this PATH. You know, the ones that affirm that you were right where you were meant to be

I am busy working on my "Fixer Upper" style speech room but will be sure to post the reveal when I am finished! In the meantime, if you love a good DIY project on a budget, head over to Instagram for some behind the scenes action.