How To Pass Your Evaluation With Flying Colors!

Thursday, May 30, 2013
It's that time again. The time of year when observations, evaluations, and stress levels are at an all time high! But more importantly, this is your time of year to shine. Most principals will be the first ones to admit that they honestly have no idea what we as therapists do. That is why it is so important that we show them. Use your observation sessions and evaluation conference to brag about your self. Last year we had a new principal at our school. We all had to complete self evaluations to bring into our evaluation meeting. Like many other fellow staff members, I humbly completed my evaluation. In the past, our principal had always raised our scores and would make comments such as, "Oh you know you are fabulous at..... you always score yourself too low." Since this principal was new he was not comfortable moving our scores up much higher than we rated ourselves. I learned a valuable lesson that year. 
This year I came in prepared, and so should you!
This is my "Speechie Brag Book!" 
Inside, I have the areas of our appraisal divided by indicators and each section filled with evidence of how I am an effective- highly effective therapist. Below are some examples of the indicators and what I put in my "brag book"
Now I know that all of our evaluations and criteria will vary based on county and state. But everything that I have collected for my appraisal will help you, too. 

Indicator 1.1: Ability to Assess Instructional Needs
In this section I included the following items:
-My IEP student log list (name, IEP due date, re-eval date, meeting date)
-My Speech/Language Screening Log
-A copy of an IEP with the student's confidential information blacked out.
-A copy of a speech and language evaluation report with the student's confidential information blacked out.
-Sample data sheets

Indicator 1.2: Plans and Delivers Instruction
In this section I included the following items: 
-My lesson plan template (student names, lesson plan, and IEP goals)
-Student speech and language goal sheet (they list their goal, how they plan to reach their goal, then graph their progress)

Indicator 2.1: Maintain a Student-Centered Learning Environment
In this section, I included the following items:
-Graduation certificates
-You Reached Your Goal certificates 
-Classroom layout (and use of centers!)
-Student interest/ info survey
-My classroom routine
-Use of Class DoJo!

Indicator 3.2: Engages in Continuous Improvement for Self and School
In this section I included the following items:
-a copy of my district transcript listing all of the trainings/ courses I have completed
-My parent phone number list
-My parent contact log

When I came into my evaluation meeting, my AP had the evaluation already completed. She said to me, "This is how I completed the evaluation, if you want me to move a score up, prove it to me." So glad I made this notebook because the proof was all inside! I felt so much better about my evaluation this year.. and it turned out great! 

Summer Book Club!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Happy Wednesday!! I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend. I can't believe there are only 5 school days left. With that being said, it's never too early to plan some summer activities. 2 years ago I set a new year's resolution to read a book a month. Well, that has yet to happen but I would really like it to. I would like to invite you to join me in a Summer Speechie Book Club! I will post a new book each month (we can vote on the upcoming books) and anyone who wants can read along with me. I wish there was a virtual Starbucks we could all meet at, but since there is not (yet!), we can have end of the month blog discussions. 
June's book will be....
Carly's Voice by Arthur Fleischmann and Carly Fleischmann
I was drawn to this book after I saw the YouTube video, Carly's Cafe, which was sent to me by a coworker. 

I hope you will join me! If you have any suggestions of books or know of a virtual Starbucks...
 please leave a comment!

When Life Hands You Pronouns... Make Lemonade!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Happy Day #2 of Language Week! 
I wanted to share a 12 page pronoun activity that will get you in the mood for summer! 
I created this sorting activity because I had a lot of students this year that were still having difficulty with grammar, especially pronouns. This activity targets: he, she, him, her, his, hers, they, and them.
 To play, first print, cut, and laminate the Pronoun Pitchers and lemon slices. 
Lay the pitchers out on the table (you can use all of them or just a few based on the students' goals)

You or a student will take turns choosing a lemon slice and reading the sentences on the lemon. Decide which pronoun pitcher the lemon belongs in.

2 pages of blank lemons are also included so you can create your own sentences!

Expanding Vocabulary with EET

Monday, May 20, 2013
Happy first day of Language Week at Simply Speech! Miss Speechie wrote a guest post about EET. If you are a regular reader here you know that I am a big fan of The Story Grammar Marker. I have recently learned about EET. I was very excited to read her post because I have not used EET in my therapy sessions yet. Take it away Miss Speechie!

Expanding Vocabulary with EET
You may have seen those magical letters floating around Pinterest and the blog world.  Those letters stand for Expanding Expression Tool.  It is a multi-sensory approach for expanding vocabulary and verbal expression created by Sara L. Smith.  Click HERE to learn more about the products and see how you can grab an EET for yourself!
I have been using EET for almost 2 years now.  The progress has been amazing!  First of all, my students love anything that they can touch and play with!  They also love anything that helps them and makes communicating easier!  I always start out my school year with introducing the EET and teaching each “bead.”  I have created some activities to help teach each “bead.”   You can learn more about them by clicking the following links:
Once my students have learned how to use the EET with common vocabulary and objects, we incorporate the EET to describing curriculum vocabulary.  I bring in social studies and science vocabulary and allow them to practice!  I even give them graphic organizers to complete which they can bring home to study from!  They have found this extremely helpful!  Some examples of vocabulary concepts: volcano, knight, lungs, galaxy, government, and cells.
For my older students, we practice reading non-fiction stories and articles and complete graphic organizers with information learned from the text.  We use markers or highlighters to locate the evidence in the text!  This is a great skill for them to learn and practice!  It has even helped them learn how to locate key words and phrases and not just highlight complete sentences!  Click HERE to read a previous post about using EET for reading non-fiction texts!
If you are unfamiliar with EET, I recommend checking out their website and watching the video on it about them.  There are also several videos on YouTube as well.  I look forward to continue using EET in my speech therapy room and watching my students progress even further! 
Miss Speechie, M.S. CCC-SLP is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and author of the blog Speech Time Fun.  She currently works with elementary students and private clients in a home care setting.  Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TeacherspayTeachers.

Summer Lovin' Articulation!

Thursday, May 16, 2013
Happy Thursday and Happy Day #4 of Articulation Week! 
In celebration of summer break being so close, I wanted to share a fun summer themed articulation activity (and give away a few copies too!)
This is my 25 page Summer Lovin' Articulation Pack that targets the /k, g, f, l/ sounds in the initial, medial, and final position of words. 
I tried to target as many "summer-ish" words as possible in this packet. 
Here are a few examples:
vacation, lake, hike, August, sea gull, hot dog, flag, fun, fish, flip flop, rainfall, lifeguard, bonfire, photograph, sun roof, waterproof, Labor Day, low tide, island, volleyball, pool, etc. 
The activity includes 144 flashcards but there are a million and one ways to use this pack. 
Here are a few ideas...
-Print 2 copies and play a matching game.
-Print 2 copies and play Go Fish.
-Hide them around your classroom (or hotel room!) Have the kids practice the words they find.
-Put out 5 cards for the kids to see. After 15 seconds take them away and have the kids try to remember the words they saw. 
-Have your students pick a card and practice the word 5x before they take a turn in a game. 

Try to win a copy below!

A Fun, Easy (and cheap) Way to Target /k/!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Welcome to Day #3 of Articulation Week! I am excited to introduce Nicole as my guest post author today!

A fun, easy (and cheap) way to target /k/

I have a client who can produce the /k/ in the final position of words but not word initially or syllable initially (within a word).  I typically find that the PROMPT technique ( usually works for this phoneme—but not this time.  I then tried the lollipop trick—where I put a lollipop (or tongue depressor) on the tongue tip (to hold it down) and instruct the child to articulate the /k/.  This didn’t work either.  My client was also not AT ALL interested in any of my exciting ideas for the session to target this sound…/k/ bingo, /k/ worksheets, /k/ Go Fish!  I needed to come up with something fast, so I looked around my room and gathered the following:
YES, that’s right, a handful of paperclips, a small paper cup and a magnet “fishing” pole.  Doesn’t every SLP have these?!?
I also invited some friends to join us:
Oscar, Cookie, and Monkey!   They are always ready to join in on the action in my office!

I threw the paperclips on the floor and explained that we were going to pick them up! This was an easy way to then chain this sound –we were pick-King up the clips!
I instructed my little guy to say, “pick up”—pick-Kup—pi KUP.
Immediately after he picked up a paper clip, I would have him put it in the cup, requiring him to articulate “cup” after I “flew” the cup over to him while singing “in”.
Oscar, Cookie Monster and Monkey all took turns pi-King up and putting in the Cup! 
My kiddie LOVED this activity and eagerly attempted each target word, over and OVER and OVER AGAIN!! 

Ahhh…if only it was this easy all of the time!
Nicole Kolenda is a Speech & Language Pathologist in private practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, an adjunct professor at Hofstra University and a proud mother of two!  She can be reached

Articulation Game Show!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Happy Tuesday and welcome to Day #2 of Articulation Week! 
I wanted to share my new favorite activity for speech therapy.... Articulation Game Show! 
Who doesn't love a good game show?
Articulation Game Show is a 12 page activity that targets the later developing "sh" "ch" "th" /s/ and /r/ sounds. 
Each sound has a point value page and a corresponding question page. 
I like to put the point value page inside of a page protector and use a dry erase marker to mark off the categories as they are used. 

The question page is filled with 20 questions or prompts with answers that contain the target sound. Here are a few examples from the "S Jeopardy" page:
Fill In The Blank: 
My new shirt was only $7. It was on _____. (sale)
Name a word that rhymes with dress.
Make a Sentence For the Word:
What Am I?
I am a big house. The king and queen live here. (castle)
Mystery Square:
Which would you rather have and why? 
Ice Cream or Popsicle

Try to win a copy below!

I Dare You To Check Out This New App!

Monday, May 13, 2013
Happy first day of Articulation Week here at Simply Speech! 
I wanted to kick off Artic Week with a bang, so who better to host a guest post than Erik X. Raj?! Erik is one of my favorite bloggers who always has such amazing and creative ideas to use in the speech room. My students and I are huge fans of his Multiple Choice Articulation app. I'm sure you will love his newest app, I Dare You Articulation, too! He is even giving away a copy of his app at the end of the post. Thanks Erik.... take it away :)

As the 2012-2013 academic school year comes to a close, a strange occurrence starts to happen in almost all speech therapy rooms . . . kiddos start to get a bit antsy! I am willing to bet that it has to do with the fact that the glorious summer break is in sight (hooray!). Warmer weather almost always triggers thoughts of jumping into a refreshing swimming pool, running around the local park playing fun summertime games, or some other exciting gross motor activity. With all that being said, are you looking for a new speech therapy app that allows your students to get up out of their seat and move around while practicing their speech sounds? If the answer is yes, I am proud to introduce to you I Dare You Articulation.
I have created an app that is filled with 600 child-friendly dares and the kiddos on my speech therapy caseload simply can't get enough of 'em! Now let's say you have a kiddo who is working on producing that crisp and clear initial /R/ sound? Well, how about asking him/her to do this dare:
While your student is pretending to row a rowboat down a river, make sure to have the student repeat the silly dare! 
Then, how about this sentence:
 bet you never thought you would have a racoon in your speech therapy room, did ya? 
Or how about this one:
A wrestler? Oh my! Now THIS is getting very interesting.
If you think this app is for you, click here to download it for your iPad. 
Oh, and you can enter to win it below, too.

Get Your Paint On!

Saturday, May 11, 2013
Ever since Kenzie was born I could not wait for her to complete her first art project! I had some 12x12 canvases in my back room for her first finger painting experience for months but the fear of her putting the paint in her mouth stopped me. Finally a few weeks ago I discovered a paint recipe on Pinterest (God bless Pinterest!) that is only made up of flour, salt, water, and food coloring. Hallelujah Kenzie could finally get crafty with me! So Kenzie and I (and her little friend Liam) have been making mother's day gifts this week (mom, I hope you are not reading this!) 
Here is the link to the paint recipe from the Get Your Mess On blog!
The recipe calls for:
1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1 cup water
a healthy squirt of food coloring

In the photo above, I halved the recipe and it still made a ton of paint. Next time, I would make the recipe without the food coloring, separate the mixture into separate bowls, and then add food coloring. I had an excess of pink paint!

Here's my little artist hard at work!
Ta Da! The finished product! 
This would be great to use with the kids at school. It cleans up extremely easy and you don't have to worry about them eating it. PS-Kenzie did put her hand in her mouth at one point and made a grossed out face!
Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies out there!!

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