July 31, 2015

What’s in Your Cart? {BTS 2015 Linky Party}

School starts next week. Do you know what that means? It means....
I've been gearing up for the sale and have created a few new products just in time for back to school! I've worked hard this summer to get my shop closer to where I want it to be, and over the course of a few months, I have created 12 new products.
12.  New.  Products.
Although I enjoyed my first summer "off" since who knows when (I've always either worked or had graduate school or both), it was not time wasted. I enjoyed every minute of designing new creations for the upcoming school year.
Here are some helpful products from my store to get your school year off to the right start.

 This product is a "Just Hit Print" bundle. 

By purchasing this bundle, you are saving more than 25% on these products! These products, purchased individually, are a $9.50 value.

This bundle contains FIVE fun back to school activities that can be used in speech therapy, special education classrooms AND with the general education classroom.  These activities are friendly for those who are still struggling to write as well. These students can draw their answers, instead of writing. Each activity in this bundle comes in both color AND black/white. 
There are 5 activities included: 
Back To School: Roll The DiceBack To School: Scavenger HuntBack To School: Summer ScoopBack To School: Tell Me 5, and Back To School: My ProfileThese activities are a great icebreakers or can be used to gather baseline data for fluency, articulation, language, etc.

Available in 6 color options (one being grayscale to save $$$ on color ink), this product includes:Multiple Binder Cover Options, Week At A Glances, To Do Lists, IEP Due Dates by Month, 

Scheduling Helper, Lesson Plan Template, 2015-2016 Academic Year Calendar, Communication Log, Screening Log, RTI Log, Evaluation Log, Caseload Log, Progress Reports Log, Attendance Tracker, Medicaid Billing Log, Various Notes Pages, Password Tracker, a Social Media Planner
and Various Blank Pages.

Whew. It has a little bit of everything.

This product is designed to incorporate those tricky Common Core Critical Vocab Words into speech-language therapy sessions .This booklet has one page per month for months August-June (plus one for reflecting on winter break). There is also a page for the student to record up to 3 goals they are working on, as well as a glossary of the critical vocabulary that both you AND the student can refer to. There is an option to print one sided, or double sided. I recommend using colored paper!

Here are some items I am excited about purchasing from other TPT sellers:

I've had my eye on this one since last year, but now that I am (more than) ready for fall, I decided it was time to make my purchase. I can't wait to use this with all my littles. I have sooo many pre-readers.

I'm telling you-- I am ready for fall! This will be great for my older students who have comprehension goals.

Last but not least:
Creators gotta create. I have big plans for this one.

Now it is your turn to head over to Speech Room News and join the linky party. Click the pic below to head straight over! Enjoy the sale!
What's In Your Cart LInky Party

July 29, 2015

What's the Deal With Critical Vocabulary?

Hello everyone!

Well, school starts back in 7 days! Yikes! I would be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little bit ready, though. 

Already, our staff has been required to attend professional development (PD) days. Sometimes, as an SLP, I worry that the information presented at these PDs aren't exactly relevant to my role within the schools. Yes, I know that there is always a way to tie in the information, but realistically, most of the presentations are geared towards those who teach a variety of subjects and have 20+ students in their room at a time.

However, I must say I am extremely impressed with the PDs that were chosen for this past week. One day was over recognizing the signs of bullying and potential suicide victims. This is such a hot topic among schools in the United States and it is so important that we know the struggles that our students are facing.

The other day focused on a few important topics: Bloom's Taxonomy, Bloom's Question Starters, Formative Assessment Strategies, and the biggie: Critical Verbs and Nouns

Every single one of these topics are extremely relevant to my job. I do my best to incorporate each of these areas as often as possible during therapy. Since I work with a variety of grade levels (PreK-6th), it's important that I understand the developmental levels of my students in each of these areas and attempt to integrate the information into my sessions.

Now, on to what this post is really about:

As you're probably already aware, given the increase of emphasis on the common core, there are 29 critical verbs and 20 critical nouns. As stated on Marilee Sprenger's site, "Researchers estimate 85% of achievement test scores are based on the vocabulary of the standards. Students from poverty, ELL students, and other at-risk students are particularly in need of learning these words in ways that meet their specific learning needs."

Guess what everyone... The children we see in therapy most certainly fall in the area of at-risk students. I know test scores are not everything, nor should we act like they are. However, we want our students to do well, we want them to succeed and we want them to have a chance to earn that proficient/distinguished. We do NOT want our students to become stumped on a state test (or any test!) because they do not understand ONE word in the question. This is how we help them-- by incorporating these critical vocabulary terms into their therapy sessions.

The critical verbs/nouns are the ones you see in test questions such as:
1) Identify two presidents.

2) Compare and contrast qualities of these two presidents. 
3) Which president do you feel performed best while in office? Cite evidence to support your answer.

Okay, maybe that question was a little loaded with critical vocab, but really, look at all those tough words! If a student doesn't know the meaning of ONE of them (much less the meaning of any of them), how can they correctly answer the questions? They can't. They're behind before they even begin.

To prevent this from happening, I suggest that during each therapy session, throw in some of these words. Write one on the board or say it aloud and watch the students' expressions. Our students may not ask what the word means! You may have to watch for clues that they do not understand the vocab, and take that time as a teachable moment. Use some of the formative assessment ideas from the link earlier in the post and see who is really understanding the vocab you are using. 

"Okay everyone, who can distinguish the difference between ___ and ___."
"I want you to evaluate your neighbor's speech today."
"Look at this from the Old Lady's point of view. How do you think she is feeling?" (Yeah, you know you use the Old Lady books!)
"Who can make a connection between the book from last week and the one from this week?"

Simple. Use those words, even with your littlest students. Take the time to use the vocab, check for comprehension of the vocab, and if there is confusion, teach them the vocab. It doesn't have to be a whole session, but maybe 2-5 minutes of a session, to explain the vocabulary that our students so desperately need to understand. Sometimes we get really hung up on the cute theme vocabulary and forget to add in the really "tough" stuff. Challenge your students! They can handle it!

This PD really encouraged me to implement this vocab in my own sessions. This is an area of improvement for me! This being said, I created a product to go along with the critical vocabulary we should be using in our classrooms.

This is a monthly reflection booklet for our students. We, as teachers, are encouraged to reflect, but so should our students. They need to remember what they are working on in speech/language therapy and WHY they are there. 


I do not do much writing in my therapy room either (we have specialists that work on much of that), but I would like to incorporate it somehow into my sessions. This booklet has one page per month for months August-June (plus one for reflecting on winter break). There is also a page for the student to record up to 3 goals they are working on, as well as a glossary of the critical vocabulary that both you AND the student can refer to. Take this time to talk about the target word, discuss as a group, then allow time for your students to write a response. 

Your administrators will be happy you did.
And so will you.

July 1, 2015

The Monthly Top Ten! {LINKY PARTY}

This is my latest linkup of the summer, woop!

So here goes. This link up is a "top 10" style party, hosted by The Third Grade Nest. She had a great idea to start up linky parties over our top 10 favorite things-- whether it be music, movies, books, etc. This month she has chosen to ask about our 10 favorite TV shows. So here goes!

There are a couple of themes going on here... one being that I have crushes on my favorite characters, another being that I like the "typical" shows everyone is into (GOT, TWD) and a final being that I am a sucker for 2000s teen dramas. #notashamed

Don't forget to join the party!! Link back to The Third Grade Nest  and grab the blank list.

Until next time,