Elementary Speech Room Behind the Scenes

Having a speech room is a blessing that I wish was guaranteed for all speech therapists. This year I changed districts, and am lucky to be supported by having an amazing speech room! Check out some of my favorite behind the scenes info on my speech room ⬇️

Small Group Table– This is the first MUST HAVE in any speech room. I love having my students close to me while we work on their goals. The colored seats are a great way to tell students where to sit, or let them choose their favorite. Last year I added colored dots to my table to match the stools (something I’m looking into doing again).

Storage– Another must in any speech room is storage. How are you going to organize all your games, flash cards, files, and more? I am lucky enough to have these great shelves for easy grab and go activities. Tip: To help hide the lower shelves I used curtains and command strips.

Calm Corner– If you have the space for a separate corner, desk, or chair for students to process in I highly recommend it. My calm corner has forgets, books, pills, and other items for my students. When I do centers in speech it is also used as a break area for kiddos.

Sound Wall– I think sound walls are a great way to add some functional speech decorations to your room! These are from my speech decor kits you can find on my Etsy and TPT shops. They are valuable in 4 different colors.

Mirror– As we all know mirrors are another MUST HAVE speech therapy item. I have small hand mirrors for everyday use, but my large mirror also gets a lot of love from students. Perfect for modeling, following directions, or practicing emotions.

Wall Tapestry– The wall tapestry is from my Etsy shop and is available in a variety of designs! Perfect for an office, classroom, or wherever you need a little extra décor. The styles that I have in stock quickly change, so if you see a style you like make sure to grab it quick.


What are some of your favorite speech room must haves? Let me know by commenting on this blog post or joining the conversation on Ginger Speechie socials!

A Letter to ASHA

Dear ASHA,

We, the school speech language pathologists, are frustrated with being given inadequate therapy rooms. Some of us are happy just to get a room with a door at all, and that is unacceptable. We provide a range of specialized services that require a proper space for our students.

School SLPs are often overlooked by admin and school boards when it comes to a proper space for our students. Speech services are not always seen as critical, even with advocacy provided by building and district SLPs.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) does require a basic level of privacy for our students, many of whom do not receive this when a therapy space is shared with other teachers or staff.

What message are we sending to our students when we provide services in storage closets, school hallways, cafeterias, or similar spaces? This is often the norm, not the exception, when it comes to school SLPs/SLPAs.

We look to you to not only advocate for us, speech language pathologists, but also for our students. Our profession has been in the school setting for far too long to continue to be looked over when it comes to proper therapy spaces.

How do you as our national governing body plan to make changes and advocate for us on a national and state level? We look forward to your statement and support of your school speech language pathologists.

Sincerely, A Frustrated SLP

What can you do to help make change? Reach out to ASHA through the ASHA National Office. I have linked the Action Center page below as well as listed their phone number to help voice your options. Share this post with other SLPs, admin, and supporters to get the word out. Reach out to local teacher unions you may be a part of a share your experience and the experiences of others.

Action Center:

online contact form

Phone: 800- 498- 2071

email: grassroots@asha.org

Journey to Speech Language Pathology

Growing up I never knew exactly what I wanted to be. A baker, a teacher, a dancer, even a professional potato peeler on a Navy ship (that is 100% true). After many years of searching I landed on a Speech Language Pathologist. How do you go from potato peeler to SLP? This is that story.

Little Elizabeth 💃🏼

Now as a kid I was always trying new things. Technology? Sure! Mission work? I got you. 4-H President? You’re talking to her. But that made choosing my “thing” very hard.

In high school I started to narrow down my choices, and after having a fantastic time doing labs in Chemistry I thought I had found it. I would spend my free time in study hall going down to set up labs for other classes. Doing experiments were like the creative side of me peaking through, while to math spoke to my analytic side. I was going to be a Chemistry High School Teacher.

High School Graduation

I applied to several school for undergrad, but I knew there really was only one place I wanted to be. Ball State University. The Harvard of the Midwest (totally joking). I had found the school after my mom had signed me up for a two week summer architecture program there in high school. Yes… landscape design was on my shortlist for awhile. Getting back on track, I was so excited to start at BSU, and study chemistry secondary education.

First Day of College

Well it wasn’t very long after I had moved in to the dorms and started classes that I realized that chemistry was not for me. The physics classes and calculus classes were not enjoyable at all, and I felt way over my head. The only saving grace my first semester was my lab class. I loved going back to the hands on learning.

The amount of time that I wanted to attend my classes and do my homework were quickly declining. By Thanksgiving break I knew I had to figure something else out. It was hard for me to admit that I needed a change. I told everyone I was going to be a Chemistry Teacher what would they think? Looking back now I am so glad I made the switch, and I now realize no one will care if you change your mind, you’re still learning!

Now I am a huge TV junkie and I had been binge watching all of “Switched at Birth”. If you haven’t seen the show it’s about two girls switched at birth, one of which is deaf. I was interested in the ASL culture of the show and wanted to know more. Talking with my parents over Thanksgiving break, I decided to share my newest interest. Ball State had a deaf education program which I thought would be a perfect carryover from chemistry education. Although that path was on my list to consider, my parents brought of speech language pathology as a path in life. At the time I had heard a couple girls in my dorm were doing that major, but honestly I didn’t know much about it.

Ball State University

Doing some research I came to find the large scope and range of services that an SLP can provide services. SLPs can work in schools, hospitals, private practice, and more! It allowed me to pull in all of my different interests, and allow myself to branch off if I ever need a change. All of these things really spoke to me.

So I quickly changed my major and classes for second semester. I knew I would need to pull up my poor grades from first semester if I ever had any chance of getting into grad school… But what would that experience hold in store for me?

Part 2 coming soon…

Best Selling Speech Therapy Materials

Ever feel like you are stuck using the same materials again and again? These speech and language resources are perfect for your next therapy session. Some of my best selling and highest rated activities!

One Sheet Articulation Activities

No prep articulation activity pages to target each speech sound from isolation to sentence level. Includes visuals for how to make each sound. Includes all sound areas in all positions. {b, ch, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, initial r, s, sh, t, th, v, w, z} Perfect for homework or centers!

Students can work their way through the articulation levels with one simple worksheet. Start with sounds in isolation, move to words, phrases, and then sentences. This is great for students to use during those long breaks away from therapy! Grab it here.

These articulation lanyard cards are perfect for the on go therapist! Targets /b, ch, d, f, h, g, j, k, l, m, n, p, initial r, s, sh, t, th, v, w, z, vc, cv, cvc, cvcv/. Pushing in to classes, but are always running around with your students? Then these are great to use with your students for quick therapy targets. Sized perfectly to fit on your lanyard!

Only choose which cards are on your high priority list for target sounds. That way you can add or take away cards as needed depending on your caseload. Grab it here.

Teen Problem Solving & Inferencing | No Prep | One Sheet Activity

This simple, no prep, problem solving & inferencing activity is perfect for social skill lessons! Great prompts for teens and older students. Covers a variety of topics and situations.

Use the pictures to help guide students in their problem solving questions. Each page includes a short passage for student to read detailing a particular problem. These problems are real life scenarios students face in today’s ever changing world.

Also includes blank pages with world bubbles about each picture. This can be used to help extend your lesson by role playing what each individual may say. Perfect to use for students and those hard to had to take data on social skill goals! Grab it here.

No Prep Dinosaur Articulation Coloring: All Sounds

No prep articulation coloring and dab it worksheets. This MEGA packet includes all sound areas in all positions. Each page even has the word list of each target picture.

{b, ch, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, sh, t, th, v, w, z}

Students will love coloring, dabbing, or even smashing their target sounds with this fun dinosaur coloring sheet! Includes one black and white worksheet per sound. This makes for an easy print and go activity to finish our your dinosaur unit, or use on it’s own! Grab it here.

Dress Challenge Final Thoughts

I wanted a challenge. Something that I could look forward to everyday when I went into work. This past year due to COVID we were aloud to wear jeans everyday to work. I decided to merge my challenge with this change of clothing. The dress challenge was then born. everyday I went to work I would wear some type of dress or skirt to work. My dress challenge in April really made me realize somethings that I didn’t think it would. Here are some of the highlights.

Pink hair for April Fools Day!

1) Re-wearing clothes that make you feel great help improve your attitude on the day. I swear I felt better on days where I was really feeling my outfit. I even when through one of the hardest days yet of my career during this time, and looking back I am so happy I was wearing a comfortable dress on that day.

Monochrome Moment

2) I have wayyyy too many clothes that I don’t like, and need to get rid of. If they don’t make me feel great, then why have them? I know that I have some clothes that are two years old, and I have never worn them. I always said that I would wear them someday, but if that hasn’t come yet then it’s not worth holding on to. Knowing that all pants were out for the month allowed me to realize what dress and skirts I actually like!

Denim jacket became a staple!

3) Dresses can be powerful. There was something about taking on my feminine side and having dresses be a closet staple. (Yes, anyone can wear a dress/skirt, personally I equate them with my feminine side). The freeness that comes with wearing a dress and still kicking some therapy booty was so powerful. I think sometimes we are afraid to express the feminine side in case we come off as “weak” or “unable to complete a task”, let me tell you, YOU can do anything in a dress! I paired them with shorts and found athletic dresses that have built in shorts for those days that I know I may have to tackle a lot!

Cardigan from Shein.

4) My students were able to relate with what I wore. Little girls would come up to me and say how they are wearing a dress and we matched. It was wonderful to make those small connections throughout the day. This pairs with number 3 above with showing littles how powerful that side of ourselves can be! I feel like overtime we begin to wear dresses less and less for a variety of different reasons, but I want to reclaim the reasons I may feel like I can’t.

Black & White became a theme

5) Confidence in my body grew. Sometimes I didn’t always like how a skirt, shirt, or dress would fall on me, but it was amazing how the more I wore, the more confident I was becoming. The first few days I was super self-conscious wearing a dress to work and kept pulling at the hem. Slowly overtime I found a confidence in myself that grew to love whatever I chose and others didn’t have to worry about it.

I loved pairing graphic t-shirts with skirts or over dresses!

6) Stepping outside my box- this was my biggest takeaway. I put together color combinations, materials, and clothing items that I never thought I could pull off. I’ve found a fashion that I think 14 year old Elizabeth would have been proud of.

I’m a School SLP

I’m a school SLP.

That means that I focus what I learned in graduate school on children from ages 3-21 with a wide range of abilities. I can help your child who has trouble with his “s” sound. That also means that I can help the student who stutters while presenting in front of the class. That student who is nonverbal? Yes, they are on my caseload too. Don’t forget about the student who has language difficulties, and sometimes answers questions with the wrong ‘wh’ question. Or how about the student with autism that keeps getting in fights because they have difficulty interpreting social situations? I am on their team too.

Some students you may not realize that I also see could be the child who just had their cleft lip repaired. The student with a life long syndrome that affects their ability to swallow, and eat at lunch with their peers. The student who was in a car accident, and now has a Traumatic Brain Injury affecting their speech.

You may see us playing games in the room, or see us walking around school with one student and think it’s easy. I’m a professional who is constantly evaluating and reassessing my students so they get the best therapies possible.

School SLPs have to ride this fine line between the school and medical communities. What I say next is not everyone, but it’s enough to be said. We are often alone (or greatly outnumbered) in our school districts. Most teachers, staff, and administrators don’t fully grasp our scope of practice. Medical SLPs, OTs, PTs, and doctors don’t always think our evaluations, recommendations, or therapy practices to be up to their level. The letters after my name are the same whether I work in a school or hospital. School SLPs play games, love hands on activities, and participate in school spirit days that to some in the medical community may diminish our professionalism in their eyes. It’s difficult to for me to find my place, and that’s not something that grad school prepared me for. I think this feeling is why school SLPs feel so connected to each other via social media.

I love puns, bright colored classrooms, silly sock days, classroom parties, eating school lunch with my students, and working with teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, and counselors to help our students.

We (myself included) need to help educate both the school and medical communities on the importance behind what we do. Only through this can we better help our students, families, colleagues, and our own importance in serving the school districts. Be that importance show it’s self in salary, supplies, or even a room larger than a janitors closet.

I am a school Speech Language Pathologist.

Speech During A Pandemic

As we enter the month before most schools start, I began to take sometime to get my list of must have for school next year. My school has not made the decision yet on what we are doing, but I do know that speech during a pandemic is going to have to look a bit different. Here are some of the items I have on my back to school list.

Expectations– Spend the first week of therapy talking about expectations for your speech room. Most years I have done this in bits and pieces, but this year I am going to tackle it hard. Make sure the students know what you expect for them, and have them decided ways they can keep other students safe that use your classroom. Some ideas are showing where the tissues are, using hand sanitizer when you come in and out of the room, staying in your assigned seat, etc.

Clean Me Bucket– I know that I don’t have a ton of time between groups, so I made this Clean Me bucket for when I do have time. Students can put things in here that they have used so I can clean them for other students. You can grab your decal to make your own bucket here.

Dry Erase Markers– Did you know you can write on most tables/desks with dry erase marker and it comes up easily? (Make sure to try it out first.) Draw a square, circle, line boundaries to keep students in their area of the table to reduce the spread of germs. Having students stay in their bubble of the table doesn’t have to be scary for them, but turn it into a game!

Sensory Bottles– Sensory bins are so last year… Just kidding! I will still be using sensory bins, but to start the year I’m using sensory bottles. These can be filled with lots of small objects that you can use to illicit language. Sensory bottles are also a great way to meet sensory seeking behavior needs, while being able to quickly wipe down between students.

Extra Dice– Make sure to have simple things like extra sets of dice so each student can have their own. There are a TON of ways you can use dice, especially with articulation. Give a student a word, have them roll the die, and say and color in the word on a 100 trials sheet the number on the die. You can grab some free 100 trial worksheets here!

Face Mask– As a speech therapist we HAVE to be able to model our mouth for our students. Although it is unclear if school next year will mandate masks, I still purchased myself two masks with a clear window. This will allow my students to see my mouth for a visual model.

No matter what you do, make sure your students know the WHY behind it. Yes, even your preschoolers and other young students who may need reminding. The more communication and explanation, the more seamless your school year will be!

What are some of your tips for next school year?

Let’s Talk Motivation

Motivation 🎯 We all need a reason to do what we do everyday. Yes, I love my job, but extrinsically the money is what motivates me to come to work on the days I really don’t want to. Now you may be thinking, “Elizabeth, I do it for the happiness it brings me”, and that’s okay too! You getting that intrinsic feeling may be enough, but I know I need a bit more sometimes.

Well, our students aren’t that different! Different students require different levels of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to work hard during therapy. Some students are okay with a good job or thumbs up, but others need a bit more (and that’s ok)! Let’s put ourselves in their shoes… You may be pulling them out or pushing in on a time they don’t really enjoy. You are pushing them to get better at something they struggle with, so they may feel a bit apprehensive to mess up. Not I know that’s not ALL students, but it is human nature to need to be motivated.

These are just some of the ways I am currently motivating my students extrinsically during therapy. Some take some prep, while others are just a Target run away!

Mini Erasers: Small & easy to use. Perfect to put over target sounds, vocabulary words, or even just to have for good behavior. Themed erasers illicit language too! I get mine at Target or you can buy in bulk on their website. I have seen them available at other stores too!

Smash Mat: I get asked a lot about what it is used for, and the answer is anything! Great to pair with mini erasers or play dough to cover pictures. I like to pair them with my sensory bin cards, when they pull that picture it get covered. I have these available with every themed articulation coloring sheet on my TPT!

Popper: Easily themed for units. Students can pop them at picture cards or use it as a reward for so many things done. I have found these at Target sometimes, but Amazon has a large inventory too!

Play-dough: My students can’t get enough of this sensory item! Great for smashing on cards or smash mats. Bonus free time at the end of therapy! I am a stickler with my play-dough though, NO mixing colors. 5 Below has some cheap play-dough tools that I picked up at the start of the year too.

Whatever motivates your students, whether it be words of affirmation, candy, or something above keep it fresh! I would love to hear what you use to motivate your students by commenting below! Also, check out some of the past ways I motivate my students.

Speech, Language, and Hearing Screenings

With my move to a new district this year also came with me being the only SLP. I was excited to figure out how I wanted to set up screenings that made sense to me. At our district we screen all Kindergarten, 2nd, and 4th grade classes to start the year. Here is what I used to stay organized as I screened about 150 students in one week.

Step 1: Can you hear me now?

Hearing screenings… the one thing we get thrown into. Sometimes the school nurse does them (if this is you I’m jealous), sometimes the SLP gets them. Honestly I don’t mind doing them… if the students can follow directions. I had one student who would tell me I didn’t hear that every time I hit the button, and only when I hit the button… I’m sure there are lots of ways to have students respond, but these are someways I had my students respond to the tones.

  • Raise your hand when you hear the sound.
  • Touch the ear you hear the sound in.
  • Give me a high 5 every time you hear something.
  • Touch a sticker on the table when you hear the sound.

Step 2: What to use as a screener?!

I looked all over the internet and TpT to find a screener that matched my style of screening. I ended up using the Interactive Articulation and Language Screener bundle from The Dabbling Speechie. I loved how it was broken up into grade levels and even came with screening forms. I ended up making my own forms just for how my brain works, but the full color pictures worked great! I now keep both screeners clipped to my cabinet for easy grab and go when I have REDs. I’m

Grab the bundle here from The Dabbling Speechie!

Step 3: Keeping Track of Pass/Monitor/Fail

All this screening ends up leading to something right?! How can you keep all the students in the correct piles to make sure you don’t miss someone?

I used a color coding system for pass, re-screen next year, and fail (refer). Each grade also had their own folders so I can pick them all up at the start of next year. I printed out a class roster so I could also highlight which students I saw and which folder they ended up in. This extra step made double checking that students were receiving the next steps of RtI or referrals much easier.

Yes I didn’t have a green highlighter so it didn’t all match 😅

Step 4: Keep em moving!

Now you may ask how did I get through my students so quickly being that I had several grades to take care of all of my own. Well lucky for me since I am at a smaller school classrooms are rather close to me since I am up near the office. I put a rainbow rug that is usually in my room outside with some quiet books and puzzles for students to work on while they were waiting to be called in. I would have students on a rotation, two on the carpet or one is in my room. Every time a student was done with me I would send them back to the classroom to grab the next student in line. Many of the teachers already have their students numbered which made keeping the students on track easier.

Stickers! Using my special smelly stickers also made it easier for teachers to identify who they had sent to see me and who still needed to see me. Any student loves to get stickers whether they want to admit it or not. Making them smelly stickers is an added bonus!

Grab them from Amazon!

I hope this helps with your screenings in the future. Please comment below any tips or tricks you have found handy as we know this field isn’t ever a learning process.