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Happy Back to School (& Speech) Season! It's a truly frenzied time of year. I've already been organizing and prepping my speech room as well as planning with teachers as I push my speech and language services into classrooms. 

As teacher-authors, we are so grateful that you allow us to be a part of your classrooms and lives and want to give you a big virtual hug in the form of a giveaway. We know that teachers (& SLPs) can use a little bit of extra love this time of year, and I have teamed up with some amazing teacher-authors to show one lucky educator LOTS of love with a pair of the brightest and most comfy teacher shoes ever, a pair of Tieks! AND a $150 gift card to Teachers Pay Teacher to use to keep your sanity in the upcoming year! 

You can enter the giveaway up to 41 times!!! 

Enter now in the Rafflecopter below! 

Best of luck! Prize: $200.00 Tieks Gift Card and $150 TPT Gift Card 

 Entry: Use the Rafflecopter below to enter! The giveaway runs August 4th-August 12th. The winner will be announced and contacted on August 13th. 

Be sure to check out their TPT stores! 

I was inspired by Amy's post on being a new working mom. I thought I would share my tips for being a working mom at a very different stage in the game of juggling parenthood and a career. My children are currently 13, 9 and 7! I have not yet figured it out and often feel like I am going to burst, yet I'm forever fortunate to be experiencing this ride!

Here are some tips to consider (in no way am I an expert):


Rely on family and friends to help raise your kids! I have a great support system from family to friends/neighbors and without them I could not do it alone.
Enlist the help of your kids when you can. Mine are quite capable of contributing to the family. My oldest cuts grass for the neighbor and works for me for cash! The others do daily chores for the privilege of getting to enjoy their extra curricular activities.
Allow others to take the lead. You don't have to be in charge of every activity and organize everyone else. Stepping back from being a Type A personality is actually freeing. I do always remember to thank others for stepping up!

Go Digital to Stay Organized

Use a digital calendar! My brain at this point in my life is not equipped to remember anything. If it's in the calendar, alerts will remind me. This also helps with delegating. Share your calendar with others so they know where you may need some help! With my kids, I'm always outnumbered, so having an extra set of eyes making sure everyone is picked up on time, it critical!
Record reminders and ideas that may come to you to create your to-do and wish lists.

Keep Your Routines and Streamline

I've always thrived on routines and being motivated to accomplish my goals. This became EXTREMELY DIFFICULT over the past couple of years. Some days I don't know which way I'm going.

I moved to a capsule wardrobe for myself. I also stopped wearing make-up (maybe not the best decision) and started using dry shampoo! Time savers for sure.
I set out or have my children set out clothes each night.
I make lunch bins with items for the week for ease in packing lunches. I also keep a stocked snack bag in the car. Dinner is another story and I don't have any advice for that, except that I can tell you which fast food restaurants can provide your kids with an acceptable dinner for the least amount of money!
I keep bags packed with items for myself and youngest kids for waiting/downtime. Waiting for practices to finish is what I do most often, so I need to batch some items to be productive.

Be Present

Whether it's at work (which I find is much easier) or during those times when your kids need you the most, be present. Remind yourself this chaotic time shall pass before you might be ready and try to soak up any moment you can! This is a work in progress for me! Through delegating, staying organized and keeping routines (plus a lot of self-talk), I am choosing to be present for those in my life and in return, I'm gaining so much more!

Take Care of Yourself

Exercise often, drink water, and shop alone or have lunch with a friend occasionally! The kitchen can close at a certain hour at home and mom can have her kid-free time. You can even cry when you need to. Find a co-worker/friend that gets you and will listen.  Taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally is important. And instead of FOMO (fear of missing out), it's okay to miss an event, you can always get the play by play through communication afterward. Sometimes rest is needed!

Accept the Chaos

I have accepted it, although it took longer than it should have. My house will again be clean and organized someday. I might even hang pictures on the walls and decorate as I once did. I will find all the missing items that have somehow disappeared. My clothes will be put away neatly in my drawers. I will make all returns to the store rather than just keep the unwanted items. I will catch up on my scrapbooking. Cute treat bags will make more appearances and thank you cards will be written more often. My purse (and car) will only contain designated items, not my life. My speech materials will also be completely prepped and not partially. The piles in my speech room will dwindle. Now is just not the time for any of that!

Are you a working mom? What stage are your currently enjoying? I welcome any tips!

Back to school is coming soon. What better time to talk about bulletin boards in your speech room. I've never been one to change bulletin boards throughout the year, so choosing something that lasts the year (or several years) is very important. Though I spend most of my time pushing into classrooms, I'm still fortunate enough to have a speech room and bulletin boards. Let's start with some ideas for decorating your bulletin board and then I will share some items I include.

Decorating Elements

I do not have an eye for decor at all. What has worked for me includes the following staples.

Thick wrapping paper for the background.
Bulletin board border for the edges.
Thick heavy or wired ribbon to add some dimension to the top.

SLP Bulletin Board Elements

I am lucky to have a bulletin board over my desk; however, even when I didn't, the side of my filing cabinet or wall contained some go-to SLP items. Here are my suggested items.

Showcase your favorite school SLP quotes!

  • Be a mover and a shaker not a whiner and complainer!
  • Blessed are those who are flexible for they shall not break!

Display your credentials.
Include speech and educationally relevant norms.
Post checklists for workload tasks.
Keep handy the school calendar.
Ensure important contact information for those you reach out to most is available.
Save room for any student gifted artwork or notes!

Speech Room Bulletin Board Elements

My bulletin board in the main area of my room always contains somewhat functional decor. Here are my suggested ideas.

Post I CAN statements with common core links for each area of speech and language. You can find my current targets within my Modern Rustic Speech Room Decor pack. I also have the same posters with different decor within my Back to Speech pack.

Secure therapy materials using utility hooks (I have a nice metal edge around my bulletin board) or heavy duty tacks for hanging tasks cards on rings.

Make the bulletin board interactive. In my former speech room, I hung a pocket chart with monthly thematic words. Once a month, students would get a chance to choose words to use in a sentence and attempt to find words with secret stickers hidden on the back. This predictable game was a favorite in my therapy room and made good use of a large bulletin board!

Display speech room rules, behavior charts, brag tags, or student goal tags/cards.

Ensure important visuals are in clear view for your students. I recently made my Essential Visuals into signs which would be perfect for this purpose.

There is still a little bit of summer left for me. Before you know it, I will be back looking at my boards. Luckily I left up most of my elements from last year! What are your favorite items to include on your bulletin boards?

Life is very busy these days and staying organized is something that gets away from me often. About two years ago I transitioned to using Google Calendar. I still carried around my paper planner for over a year and I'm happy to say I no longer even print a paper calendar. I do still print some paper planning pages for my SLP school life. So, let's talk about the ways I stay organized using a planner, with both digital and paper elements.

Digital Calendar:

A few reasons I moved to using Google Calendar:

This post is not mean to provide a "How To" for using Google Calendar or promote any one type of planner, rather give you some ideas on how I stay organized with options for you to explore! You can check out G Suite here to learn about Google Calendar. (No affiliation.)

  • My school is a Google for Education school and therefore everyone has Gmail and Google Calendar. I have access to my administrators' schedules which makes planning team meetings efficient. I can invite staff to a meeting and usually am notified instantly whether I have everyone available for the chosen meeting. The amount of time it saves me is priceless. No more running down the halls trying to check calendars.
  • My calendar alerts me when I need to be at meetings! Yes, I do still check and keep a list on my weekly checklist; however, a little pop-up never hurts...and often helps!
  • I can share events with family and friends just by inviting them to share my calendar. This is ever so helpful with my family life. It's divide and conquer time in my household and having grandparents ready to pick up or drop off a child when I'm overbooked is priceless. 
  • It's available on my phone, tablet, computer and watch so there is no need to dig for the paper calendar or run to get it!

I no longer use a paper calendar; however, it you still find this helpful, I have included a write-in any year calendar with large date boxes for writing in my SLP Planner product.

Paper Resources in my Binder/Planner:

  • Caseload List:  I've always created my caseload list in Excel (or now Google Sheets) with boxes for documenting dates each quarter.  I type in the annual review and triennial evaluation dates per quarter and also use this for marking when interims and progress reports are complete for each student.
  • Workload Documents: I like to keep some workload documents in my binder for reference and record keeping. I've definitely streamlined the quantity over the years. Some of my must haves include:
    • Testing Logs-Initial and Reevaluation Logs
    • Screening/Response to Intervention Logs
    • CEU Log
    • Year at a Glance Calendar
    • Themes/Ideas Lesson Planner Page
These forms are included in my SLP Planner and can be viewed in the preview if you wish to create your own!

Since streamlining, I keep my billing documentation on my weekly schedule (which is kept on my clipboard).

Digital & Paper Combined:

I found that I needed a few forms that were digitally FILLABLE for quick creation on a more weekly basis. I used Adobe Acrobat to make my PDF forms fillable so I can bring them up on my computer for weekly adjusting and printing.
  • Weekly Planning Checklist
  • Weekly Lesson Planning 
These forms are also included in my SLP Planner and can be viewed in the preview if you wish to create your own!

What items are necessary in your SLP planner/binder? Have you moved to a digital calendar yet?

I'm not sure I know an SLP without a clipboard. I don't leave my home or therapy room without mine. For the past, almost 20 years, my SLP clipboard has always kept the same very important documents. 

#1 The school master schedule: This prized possession lives on my clipboard from day one through the end of each school year. I reference it all the time when trying to track down students and make scheduling tweaks.

#2 My therapy schedule:  In my early years, the schedule was stuck to the back for easy reference. Once I started using my schedule to take attendance (to simplify that system) I began copying one weekly. Since no SLP ever has kept the same schedule all year, I now update my schedule weekly, using Google Sheets, and print a new copy each Friday for the next week. I slap that schedule right on my clipboard.

#3 My weekly planning checklist: Early on, the "checklist" was a yellow legal pad with a continuous to-do list. The "checklist" is now a very detailed electronically fillable form with spaces for every SLP workload task. Since I went completely digital with my calendar last year, I felt lost without my planner. Now, each Friday I check my digital calendar and fill-in my weekly planning checklist. It then gets attached to my clipboard. (My fillable checklist is included in my SLP Planner product.)

Along with my weekly therapy schedules, I keep the planning checklists attached for the quarter and then I staple the entire lot together and file it away. Each quarter, I have a lighter load on my clipboard! 

I know you have an SLP clipboard. What must you carry around on yours?

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