Monday, September 11, 2017

A Peek Inside my Therapy Binder!

Staying organized seems to be a constant battle, but a total necessity to keep my sanity. As a traveling therapist, I have become pretty good at collecting piles of "stuff." Therapy notes, receipts, data sheets... oh my! Keeping client information and therapy plans in order is a must. I wanted to share with you how I organize my therapy binder and what works for me.
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 First things first. Let's be real,  a pretty binder cover is a must. It's something you look at daily, multiple times a day at that. So why not make it something you enjoy looking at? I frequently make new binder covers, but the ones I am currently rocking are tropical. I am totally into pineapples and flamingos right now. You can download the binder covers I am currently using, here! They are editable!
When you open the binder, the first thing you see are 2 clear pocket folders. I use one to stash receipts. The other one I use to keep copies of important documents that are often requested by the schools I go into to see students. I usually keep a copy of my professional liability insurance, my state SLP license, and driver's license.You never know when you may need that and it's nice to have copies on hand.  I do not remember where I got my exact folders from (most likely Target) but here are similar ones on Amazon. 
Next I keep a copy of Speech Musings' data cheat sheet, The Speech Bubble's Quick Reference Chart, and the Speech Sound Development chart from Mommy Speech Therapy in page protectors. All have come in handy more times than I can count. I love having the speech sound development chart handy for teachers and parents that are concerned about their child's articulation. It's a very easy way to explain what sounds are still developing and what they should have mastered. 
Also in page protectors is a copy of my schedule and a Plan of Care list of due dates. Insurance companies requires a new evaluation and report every 6 months, so I like to keep a list handy of expiration dates so I don't miss one!
All of my quick reference and go-to forms are in the front of the binder. In the back is where I keep all my student information. I use pocket dividers to keep all their information in. I'm obsessed with these pocket dividers. (Maybe it's a pocket thing, I love dresses wit pockets, too!) You can snag some similar ones, here. In each student's section, I keep a copy of their goals, their Soap Notes, and my therapy plans. 

That's it! This is what works for me. I would LOVE to hear what works for you because I feel like this an every evolving project.
Happy organizing!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Words to Stick With! Homework Freebie

I am a big fan of sending home speech folders. Not just for sending homework, but for communication with the parent. They need to know what we are working on and hear about their child's progress so they can help him or her, too. Last year I wrote a post about what I include in my speech folders, you can check that out here. 
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. This means if you purchase something using my link, I may receive a small commission. 
But in addition to the communication aspect of speech folders, I do like to send homework once a week. Nothing major. Nothing that will take up a lot of time. But something that will help the child practice his or her goals when they aren't with me. I am a huge fan of simple things to send home. I am also a huge fan of pretty colorful things. So, with those two things in mind, Words to Stick With was created! Plus, I am totally digging the cactus right now... along with pineapples and flamingos :)
The cacti are actually a font from A Perfect Blend.
 3 slips fit on a page and they are black and white so they are friendly to your color ink! Don't these look awesome on AstroBrights paper?! 
To use these, just print and cut! I leave these in the front pocket of my therapy binder so I can easily grab one when I need to. It takes 10 seconds to fill these out and send home in their speech folder. And they are the perfect size to put up on a refrigerator and keep up all week to practice!
You can download these for FREE in my store, here!

Friday, September 1, 2017

How I Teach With Smash Mats!

I really should take stock out in PlayDoh. Seriously.  I have used PlayDoh to help my students reach more goals than any other toy or material. They love it. And I don't blame them. It's squishy, it's fun, and it's super motivating. With the love of PlayDoh so high amongst my students, I decided to make some activities that would help them learn as they played. And this is how Smash Mats were born!
My original goal for Smash Mats were to simply teach vocabulary. After we read story, I would name a target vocabulary word, and the child would smash a ball of PlayDoh on the picture of the word. Simple, yet effective! It was a great way to keep data on receptive and expressive vocabulary. But then so many more on the spot, teachable moments happened while using the mats. And now, the use for smash mats has grown to reach so many different areas and therapy goals. Here are a few examples of how I am currently using the mats....
Articulation, Apraxia, and Phonology. I created smash mats for every consonant, blend, and diphthong. I have my students practice their target word before they smash a ball of PlayDoh on the word. But I have been able to use smash mats to target articulation even with my vocabulary mats. If a child is working on the /s/ sound but we are using the under the sea mats, I will have them say, "I see a crab" or "I see a shark." 
Answering Wh-Questions. I created a whole packet just for Wh-Questions. Having the visual available is great for younger children or those just learning the concept of answering who, what, where, and when questions. 
Asking Questions. This can often be a tough concept to teach. We ask our students questions all day long. But how do you teach a child to ask us questions? I have had a lot of luck using smash mats and letting the child be the teacher. Start with a simple imitation, but let them ask you where the target word is on the mat, "Where is the bat?"

Story Sequencing. This has been so much fun. After we read a story, I love using the smash mats to help my students re-tell and sequence the story. The visuals of the characters and vocabulary words are so helpful for them.
Pronouns. Using he/she/him/her/them/them can be a tricky concept for so many students. Why not make the learning process more fun with PlayDoh? My students have a blast finding the picture that matches the description then smashing a ball of PlayDoh on top! I also have used it expressively by having the child describe the picture using correct pronouns before the smashing begins!

Sight Words. These mats were created specifically for one of my students that hated practicing sight words. Enough said!
Categories.  This has been a very effective way to teach about items that belong in the same category and items that don't belong!
 
Now with all these mats, how do you store and organize them? I use a binder. I print, laminate, and hole punch the mats before I stick them in my binder. It's easy to store them this way and very easy to take with me as I travel to see my students! Smash Mats are so much fun and definitely something I will continue to use to help my students reach their  goals!