Secret Pizza Party!!!

Have you read the book Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin? It is SUPER cute. My librarian recommended it to me (sign you are an SLP... when your librarian only recommends children's books to you) and I knew this would be a hit with my kids. You can check this book out here {Amazon affiliate link provided for your convenience}:

For those of you who are familiar with Adam Rubin's work, you know that his stories are very silly with great illustrations. Here is a brief summary of this book: Raccoon loves pizza! Unfortunately, people always chase him away from pizza with brooms. Raccoon and the narrator decide to throw a secret pizza party so Raccoon can finally get himself some pizza. Raccoon wears a disguise and fools the pizza man into giving him some pizza. He makes it past some obstacles (including Raccoon-Sniffing Broom-Bots!) and goes home to his secret pizza party. However, the party ends up being not so secret. Everybody shows up to the party in Raccoon masks! Raccoon only fools the party goers for so long until they find him and he runs away with the pizza.

Here is what I like about this book: 
  • The illustrations - The pictures tell a story by themselves. The pictures are often just as funny as the words!
  • Rich vocabulary - There is a good mix of Tier II an III vocabulary words in here, such as "convenient" and "enthusiast" and terms like "guest of honor". The author is also very descriptive. He describes the best part about pizza to be "the gooey cheesy-ness, salty pepperoni-ness, sweet tomato-ness, and crispity, crunchity crust."
  • It's just silly - Seriously. Raccoon-Sniffing Broom-Bots. This is the type of story my kids request again and again because they get such a kick out of it.

Check out my companion to go along with this book. I recommend using it with Pre-K through 3rd grade. It includes activities for both language and articulation.

(I may be biased... but isn't Raccoon so cute?)

Here is a peak at what is included:

This story mat with picture scenes (in color and black and white) is great for sequencing and retelling. I love sending these back to class or home with students to work on retelling the story later.

There is also a mini-book for additional practice with sequencing and retelling. I like to focus on a book across a few sessions and will often do a story mat after reading the book and a mini-book the next session. The last page of this mini-book has a prediction question where students can write and/or draw what they think will happen to Raccoon.

As I mentioned before, I love the vocabulary in this book. Here are some vocabulary cards with definitions and vocabulary matching cards. There is also a black and white homework or independent work page included.

Compare and Contrast Pizzas! The story goes into detail about "regular" vs "secret" things - like a secret pizza party or a secret handshake. Sometimes secret things can be more fun! There are a few compare and contrast pages included, as well as one blank to write in your own.

I often have mixed groups or students who are working on both language and articulation. Use these quick print sheets for students to listen for their sounds while listening to the story and color/dot art pizzas! (Includes /s/, /r/, /l/, /sh/, /ch/, /th/, /f/, /v/, /k/, and /g/)

I also made some reinforcer games that can be used with any target. Watch out for those broom-bots!

You can check out my book companion at my store!  Have you read Secret Pizza Party? What do you think? 



The Best Thing I Learned this Summer {Linky}

I'm excited to be linking up with the Frenzied SLPs today to share the best thing I learned this Summer!

The best thing I learned this summer... is how to BE on summer break. I know, this sounds like an odd thing! But this is the first time I have had a summer to be mostly free as a bird since I was 15! I have always picked up summer jobs and I am not very good at having no schedule for more than a week or so.  But this Summer, after a very stressful end to my school year, I decided I needed a break! I needed to take some time to rest and rejuvenate. Here is what I have been doing to help me relax!

I took a trip to visit my BFF in New Jersey! It was so good to catch up with this girl. We chatted, went shopping, went to the spa, and relaxed! This was just what I needed.

I played in a joint concert with my community concert band and the Quantico Marine Band! This was one of the best experiences I have ever had. It was awesome to work with people in an activity that had nothing to do with work or speech and to play in front of this huge crowd on the 4th of July. Playing with my community band has been my just-for-me activity and it really helps me to re-focus. If you play an instrument, I highly recommend checking out your local community band! 

Lastly, I wanted to cross some things off my bucket list this summer. I started blogging at the beginning of the summer and it has been so fun to learn something new and connect with people! 

So all in all... my advice to you is to take some time for yourself this summer! Slow down, rest, and do some things that are just for you!  Being an SLP is awesome, but at some point we ALL need a break. Go catch up with an old friend, do something for yourself not related to work, or learn something new!


P.S. Want to link up? Head over to visit SLPRunner and follow the directions!


Speech in a Snap!


I'd like to share my latest creation with you for the busy back to school season! Speech in a Snap is a no prep packet with activities for the whole month of September. I have included activities suitable for language, articulation, and fluency to keep all your bases covered.

I use theme-based therapy for most of my groups, so I wanted to create some simple activities for therapy and for homework to go along with the themes I use in September - Apples and Back to School. Here's a peak at what's included:

This mini-book is great for vocabulary, sequencing, and WH questions. 

There are both receptive and expressive activities for categories, irregular plurals, and irregular past tense!

There are also some activities that can be used for any speech target - like this apple craft! 

These foldables can be paired with any book you are working on. They are super simple and are great to send home to work on re-telling!

You can check out more details and snag a copy for yourself at my store here

Enter below to win a copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This packet almost makes me feel ready for September... almost.



7 Signs You Are An SLP on Summer Break

7 Signs You Are An SLP on Summer Break

If you are an SLP on summer break, you probably don't need a reminder! But just in case you are having some short term memory difficulties, here are some reminders.

You may or may not have spent the entire morning on Pinterest.

But hey! It was all all speech stuff, so that counts as professional development, right?

Speaking of Pinterest... your children have become Pinterest lab rats.

Because nothing on Pinterest ever works as well in real life. Somebody needs to test out those therapy ideas!

Back to school ads give you mini panic attacks.

Why can't target let us enjoy our summer in peace?! I swear they put that back to school stuff out less than a week into vacation.

Free ASHA CEUs was the best surprise of the summer.

Finally, some free CEUs from ASHA! All the SLPs rejoice!

You went to see Pixar's Inside Out.

For research purposes only of course! You need to be able to talk to the kids about it and of course develop some awesome social skill lesson plans.

Your non-SLP friends are jealous.

What can we say? Being an SLP has its perks.

You know you'll be ready to go back this fall.

But until then, relax and enjoy your break!

Hope you are all enjoying your summer!



Summer Time Therapy Activities {Linky}

Hi! Kristin over at Simply Speech is hosting a linky party for summer time therapy activities! I decided to join in the fun and share my favorite therapy activities for summer.  I don't work full time during the summer, but I see some clients privately and work with a few students at school. I like to keep things light and fun in the summer months, especially in this southern heat! Here are some things we love to do during summer! {Amazon affiliate links are provided for your convenience}

Who doesn't love sidewalk chalk?! On a nice day, the possibilities are endless. Working on artic? Trying drawing pictures of your speech sounds or playing hopscotch while saying your sounds. It's also great for describing and following directions!

Magnifying Bug Viewer

My kids LOVE these magnifying bug viewers. It is great for going on a scavenger hunt for speech sound items or targeting vocabulary, big vs small, or describing. Little items from speech sound tubs are great for these magnifying viewers.

Spot it! Splash Card Game

Have you played any of the Spot It games? They are great for object naming, matching, same and different, attending, and turn-taking. There are many versions of this game, but this one is great for summer and even waterproof - you know... just in case you are getting really into the beach theme ;)

I don't understand why Angry Birds is still so popular... but my kids all know what it is and they all love it, so I'll go with it! This game gets the kids up and moving. I like to use it for requesting and turn-taking or tape down some speech and language targets to the mat - the student can practice the target nearest where the bird lands. 

Picnics are a great summer theme.  Use a play picnic set to work on imaginary play, action verbs, labeling, and requesting. Sometimes I throw in some things that are NOT for picnics and work on negation or sorting.

Sometimes the simplest things can be the funnest therapy activities. Try using a washable marker to write artic words all over the beach ball. Where the student's right pointer finger is when he/she catches is is they word he/she has to practice! This can also work for naming a synonym, verb tense, adjectives, categories, or opposites. Try taping on pictures for little ones who can't read yet.

This is such a fun summer-themed game and is easily modified. If you play it as is, you can target attention and matching. I like to add my own pictures to target for matching instead of just the burger toppings. The pieces are also great for pretend play.

What are some of your favorite summer therapy activities? Comment or click on the picture below to link up and share!



Changing our Perspective on Language Evaluations

I recently attended a conference sponsored by my state education department. It was close to home and fairly inexpensive. I won't lie - I first signed up just to get some easy CEU's! But this conference ended up being a GREAT experience and I learned a whole lot.

The presenter, Douglas Petersen, Ph.D. is from the University of Wyoming. He discussed changing the way we do language evaluations to focus more on a dynamic assessment. I know what you might be thinking... I already incorporate lots of things in my assessments! I observe, I test, I language sample. Why do I need another thing to add to my assessment procedure? While standardized testing can provide some valuable information (and I am not telling you to go throw away your CELF-5), it is very... static. It is a snapshot. It can tell you relatively well if a child has areas of weakness in language-based tasks. A static standardized test tells you what a child knows about language, but a dynamic assessment can tell you how well a child can learn language. And isn't finding out if a child has difficulty learning language what our goal should be in an evaluation? 

There are lots of reasons students may not perform well on a typical standardized test... English as a second language or low socio-economic status for example. But when using a dynamic assessment, the examiner can look past those things and focus on the student's modifiability - how much effort is required to teach that student something new. If a student catches on to new language concepts quickly, he or she has high modifiability. If it takes a lot of work for the student to learn something new, he or she has low modifiability - this is a strong predictor of having a language learning impairment.

So where can you get a snazzy dynamic assessment? You can download a narrative assessment tool for FREE (you heard me) here called the Narrative Language Measures Cubed (NLM3). Seriously, who presents free assessments at a conference? All the SLPs in the room were in speech nerd heaven. The NLM3 is designed for children ages preschool to third grade (although the presenter did say he has used it on older students, too). It includes 25 stories per grade level - 9 benchmark stories (3 fall, 3 winter, 3 spring), and 16 progress monitoring stories. It is designed to be scored live. He had us practice on each other a few times and once we got the hang of it, scoring was pretty easy. Here's how it works: the therapist reads a short story one time and asks the student to tell the same story back to the therapist. Use the student's median score out of 3 in a single session to see if the student gets better with practice.  A table is included in the manual to determine if the student obtained what is considered to be an acceptable score, but Dr. Petersen stressed the content of the child's narratives should also be taken into consideration, not just the score.

What I like about this assessment:
  • It focuses on an important task used at home and at school: telling stories. It includes targets for story elements and language complexity, but also gives you insight into a student's ability to sequence, grammar, and vocabulary.
  • I work with a large ESL population. Sometimes it can be tricky to tell if these students truly have a language disorder. This assessment takes being an ESL student out of the picture and lets you look at their true language learning abilities.
  • My time at school is precious. This is fast and easy to administer and score. We are talking 5 minutes. Easy peasy.
  • Progress monitoring tools are included to look at student's progress throughout the year. Not only does this make me happy, but the data will make my administrators happy.
  • Have I mentioned everything you need for this assessment is free?

What do you think? Are you using dynamic assessments in your evaluations? I plan to incorporate them this fall into my evals. I will let you know how it goes!



New Planner!


I know it's summer... but I am already thinking about next year! With two new schools, I know I am going to need to keep organized.  I am excited to share my speech planner for the 2015-2016 school year.  I used this planner last year, but I have made a few tweaks for this school year and decided to share it with you.

It includes a cute cover with colorful polka dots. I like to write my name and classroom number in the little box on the bottom. 

I love these colors! I would like to think that cute things help me stay more organized... right? 

Here's what's included:
-Cover Page with space to write your name, classroom, etc.
-Blank Therapy Schedule
-Blank Master School Schedule
-Year at a Glance to easily view calendar for all of 2015-2016 academic year
-Labeled dividers for each section
-Monthly calendar page
-Monthly reminders page (includes IEPs due, Evals due, To Schedule, and blank)
-Monthly therapy plans at a glance
-Weekly To Do page for each week of the academic year
-Blank notes pages
-IEP student list
-RtI student list
-Medicaid info (I use this to look up medicaid numbers and codes ALL the time)
-Referral Log
-Screening Log
-Eval Tracker
-Contacts page
-Contact Log
-Due Dates Reminder Pages

I printed my cover page and back page on cardstock and then brought it to Staples to have it bound. It could also be placed in a binder, which is what I did last year, but I had a hard time from keeping the first few pages from tearing! This way I know it will last me the whole school year. My favorite part is that I have all of the things I need to reference ALL the time in one spot! It makes planning and scheduling much easier.

Interested in checking it out? Click here to head over to my store.  

Are you getting organized for next year? What are some ways you keep it all together? Having summers to prepare (and rest!)  definitely helps in my opinion :)