Speech Room Setup

My speech room received an upgrade this year, so I wanted to share what I am doing with some of the extra space I have. Some of these practices are to help with social distancing due to COVID-19, while others are here to stay permanently.

Interactive Bulletin Board: 🌟This year I’m using a numbered organizer for all of my students to have their own supplies. Inside they have crayons, glue stick, and reward punch card. Hopefully this helps cut down on germs!🌟I’m using @aperfectblendteaching interactive language board to target a wide range of language skills. This is perfect to discuss while we are putting on our hand sanitizer.

SLP Style: 🌟Love my new SLP lanyard from @igotchewshop Use code GINGERSPEECHIE for 10% off 🌟 Together Again face mask from @shopdisney 🌟 PTA provided buttons so our kiddos can see our faces!

Sensory Corner: 🌟Sensory area for my students this year. There are pillows with different textures, sensory bottles, and other sensory items for students. 🌟In order to keep students safe, I have my Clean Me bucket. This is for fidget toys, headphones, and other things that need cleaned once used. I might not always have time to clean them right away, but when I do have time I can clean them for other students to use. Grab your decal here to make your own!

Color Coded Stations: 🌟Colored stools paired with a dot on the table help keep students in their area during therapy. This also allows students to know where to go for speech/language centers.

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.