Data, Data, Data - How to Use Digital Tally Counters to Maximize your Time & Energy with this 4 Letter Word

Sunday, October 16, 2016 11 comments
How many repetitions do you get from your students during a session? Principles of motor learning show that eliciting maximum repetitions is not just something that we should do, but essential to the very essence of success for our students. I’ll let you in on a little secret too (okay, so it’s really not a secret)… tally marks just don’t quite garner the same excitement from the students as the number shown on digital data collection means. I know that it sounds silly, it certainly isn’t rocket science, but let’s meet our kids where they are in a digital world and make our own jobs easier in the process. Here are some helpful tips and tricks that I use to do just that!
 These are so easy to use. There is something gratifying about the simple principle of pushing a little button.  At a little over $1 per counter, they are cost effective as well. I use two tally counters that I line up on each finger. One is used for correct and the other incorrect. Little Tip: Use a sharpie to draw a star on the correct counter. Track productions/responses with the simple touch of a button and put your attention (and eyes) on the student so you can give them performance feedback. I don’t know if the students look at me as if I am an elaborate multitasking SLP gaming ninja or just an avid data collecting SLP but they are motivated beyond belief so it works for me!

Happy Tracking,

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Let the Data Continue... Blogpost Coming Soon: 

Percentally Pro 2:

Do you have an iPad that you can use to track data during therapy? If so, this may quickly become a valuable resource as well. Percentally Pro 2 allow you to program in your students, student goals and track data either by occurrences of delineated by incorrect/correct responses as well as offering the option to capture prompted responses.

Ghost Talk Blog Hop

I love when I can take one activity and adapt it to use throughout my caseload. It makes for Boo-tiful planning. This Blog Hop should help you do just that. You will start here at the Pedi Speech where you will download the story "The Ghost That Wasn't Spooky". Next, you will hop through the Steech Attic, The Speech Owl, Sparklle SLP, Speech Wonderland, Speechasaurus and SLPTalk with Desiree (that's me!) where you will build your companions to the story. The blog hop loops around so if you happened to come across this post first, just follow along the links provided on each blog post to grab them all!

My companion targets Social Skills. Students will love the interactive, self-checking format of this companion. Students select whether the behavior described is a a choice that one would expect and have positive thoughts about (thumbs up) or one that one would have negative consequences or provoke negative thoughts (thumbs down).

Students can shine a flashlight behind the hole of their choice (through the back side) or they can fill in the circle with a wipe off marker. If shining a flashlight, a moon and stars will illuminate around the correct answer choice. There is also an answer key provided for those who prefer to check their answers in that manner.

You can download my Social Skills companion to The Ghost That Wasn't Spooky here. Please remember to leave feedback for each product, even if it is free. Your feedback helps me know what your preferences are and inspires me as I create new products. 

After you download the Social Skills companion, hop on over to my sweet friend Sparklle SLP's site by clicking on the link below. You will love her wonderful Articulation/Phonology companion to add to the fun!

Warm wishes for a SPEECH-tacular Halloween,

Kindness Matters

Sunday, October 9, 2016 No comments

Hi all! As SLPs, we specialize in communication skills and what we communicate to the world matters. Unfortunately in current news/social media, kindness is often overshadowed by negativity but in my minuscule corner of this Earth, I choose kind. I am not looking to produce ratings, I am looking make a difference. So today I wanted to share with you some little tokens I incorporate into my practice that as well as celebrate some acts of kindness that have been bestowed upon me and my precious littles recently. I hope that you find these simple gestures refreshing (sorry, I can't resist the opportunity for a play on words). 

I place these water bottle wrappers on water bottles in the conference room to welcome parents and staff as we discuss their students. It is a simple gesture really and one that does not break the bank at a little over $3 for a 32 count pack of water bottles. 

What purpose does a meeting serve if the parents aren't there? I hate scheduling (and then rescheduling) as much as the next person. These mints serve as a friendly reminder to parents of upcoming meeting, communicating to them in an inviting way that their support matters. I send them home 1-2 days before a scheduled meeting to remind them of our planned get together. Again, the play on words with commitment is not lost on you, I am sure. [Whatever it takes to get us through, right?]

Having my little smarties in speech is the reason I show up at work every day. These small tokens invite my students into my speech room on Open House in the beginning of the year and are a warm thank you to have on hand when a student returns a paper from home with a precious signature from their parent. I do not give out candy on a regular basis so these sweet treats are a pleasant surprise. 

These labels are available to Print and Go (no color ink required) as a freebie here.

Last week, I received a sweet, sweet card in my mailbox from an administrator at the Board that made my day. Knowing that this person had taken time out of their busy day to perform such a kind gesture meant so very much. Call me old school, but there is something about getting a handwritten card in the mail that is unrivaled by an email or text. I suppose it is akin to my love of printed books. I will cherish it along with my collection of other written notes from parents and students for years to come. Challenge yourself to pay forward those seemingly simple acts with sending a kind note someone's way.

This past weekend, my own son was the recipient of the ultimate act of kindness: time. These two amazing teachers Mrs. Garwood and Mrs. Carpenter jumped on the opportunity to see three of their past and present students shine by cheering them on at their ice hockey game. My son was excited beyond belief when he came home from school and told me that they were coming. It was all he could talk about. For those who know him, you may know that he is a shining example of what I strive to be. He was born with an omphalocele, has fought through Lyme's Disease and defies expectations at every opportunity. The boy bleeds GRIT and determination. He works HARD at school and does not shy away from a difficult task. On the ice, he is in his element and truly shines with ease. I am beyond thankful that he has the support of these remarkable educators that shine at what they do.

I'd love to hear what acts of kindness you can pay forward. What ideas do you have? Please let me know in the comments below to inspire myself and others!

Shine on,


Pumpkin Construction Zone: Speech Therapy in Progress

Sunday, October 2, 2016 1 comment

This pumpkin activity is a favorite among my students every year. The look on their faces is priceless as I pull out a pumpkin, some golf tees and a rubber mallet. Yup, I have their interest alright! What is this madness you ask? Well, we aren't smashing pumpkins, that is for sure! Let's reserve the Smashing Pumpkins for our listening enjoyment as we unwind on a relaxing fall evening at the fire pit.

I have students select a target word/task prior to hammering a golf tee into a pumpkin. You can use a toy hammer or purchase a rubber mallet from your local dollar store. Students targeting articulation then say their target sound each time they pound the golf tee. It assists in pairing articulation with a motor movement in a fun, engaging way. I use my Articulation Speech Sticks to elicit target sounds and Sight Word Sticks to target various language tasks, however you can use your own task cards as well.

Students spin the spinner to determine whether they will hammer a golf tee into the pumpkin or remove one (using pliers or their fingers).

As an added bonus, this Pumpkin Construction Free Activity Companion bridges the gap between what happens within you therapy session and the home environment by providing a carryover game activity that students can play at home. Each student writes the word or target vocabulary he/she practiced on an empty space on their game board after each turn. They can then use the completed game board to practice at home!

So, what do you say? Are you ready to put on your Pumpkin Construction hat and get to work?

Warm Wishes for a Successful Therapy Session,