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Are you starting out in your school career, or just want to try something different during the first week of speech-language therapy?  Here's what my first week of therapy in the elementary school looks like.


My personal goals are pretty simple for the first week.  My primary purpose is to get to know my students and help them to be comfortable around me, since I will be asking them to try difficult things during the year.  I also think it is important for my students to know why they come to speech-language therapy.  Finally, I like to get some sort of baseline data to see how each student is doing with each of their IEP goals.



First, I welcome the students to my room, and introduce myself.  I show each one around the room, pointing out their reward chart, the treasure box, etc.  I try to make a point of explaining my bulletin board with "I can" statements, and show each student several that relate to their goals in therapy.


Next, we fill out these pages from my Free Student Goal Display.  While they are coloring a picture of themselves, I spend a little time getting to know the students, or if they are continuing students, what they have been up to since I saw them last May.  We also talk about what each student's individual goals are, and why they are important.  (It's so interesting to see why students think they come to therapy!)  I will take these and mount them on colored card stock to make a display for one of the walls in my therapy room.


Then, I will start quickly assessing my students' skill levels with each of their IEP goals.  My favorite way to do this is to use my progress monitoring tools for articulation, phonology, language, and grammar.  If I have a group of students, I will let the others draw me a picture, play with play-doh, or work on a quiet educational app on one of my iPads while I progress monitor with each student.  (This may take a full session or two, depending upon how many goals each student has.)


For my articulation, phonology, and fluency students, I also have them fill out my student self-rating scales.  I just created these last year, and I have found them to be very revealing to see how each student views his or her disorder.  These are also something I like to do again at the end of the year to see how much their perception has changed.


For my older students, we also spend a few minutes discussing how they will come to speech-language therapy.  Some prefer to come on their own, while others prefer me to come get them.  I think it is important to respect each student's wishes, and do what I can to work with each one.

What do you do in your first week of therapy?



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I don't know about you, but one of my favorite parts of birthday celebrations is getting to share the day with some of my favorite people.  As I approach a milestone birthday (the big 3-0!) I wanted to take a minute to celebrate with a few of my favorite people - and you are one of them!

Sadly, birthday cake just isn't made for sharing over the internet.  But, I do have a few great giveaways of a few of my favorite things for a few lucky followers!

Check out the three prize packages you could win:


The top package will be given away here on my blog to one of my readers.  The bottom right will be given away to one of my email newsletter subscribers.  (Not signed up yet?  Go here!  www.bit.ly/NatalieSnydersNewsletter)  The bottom left will be given away to one of my Facebook followers.


So, what is included in the blog giveaway?

  • "SLP" lunch tote from Erin Condren
  • $100 gift card to ErinCondren.com
  • $50 Target gift card
  • a set of PaperMate Flair pens
  • EOS lip balm
  • "Highly Koalafied SLP" pin from PeachieSpeechie.com 

How to enter?  Choose one or more of the entry options below by 7:00 pm CST on Sunday, August 14, 2016.  (US residents only)







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Guess what?  It's time for the Back to School Sale on TeachersPayTeachers.com!  

It will run from August 1-2, and I am offering 20% off of everything in my store (INCLUDING bundles), plus you can get an additional 8% off with TpT's discount code.


Today, I'm linking up with Jenna over at TheSpeechRoomNews.com to share a few things that are in my cart!

First, here are a few items from my store that you should definitely check out:

Multiple Meaning Words: Mini Unit

 Multiple Meaning Words - Mini Unit for Speech Language Therapy

This unit recently got some formatting updates, and I'm excited to use it this year with my upper elementary and middle school students!

Stuttering Bundle for Speech-Language Therapy




This new bundle consists of my best-selling Stuttering Mini-Unit and new Stuttering Homework Calendars.  With a focus on stuttering education and fluency enhancing strategies, it's a perfect low-prep option your fluency cases in 3rd through 12th grades.

High Stakes Testing: Vocabulary Builder (Jr Edition)



Back to school is a perfect time to pick up my High Stakes Testing: Vocabulary Builder!  Pictured is the younger version for first through fourth grades, but there is also a version for about fifth grade through high school.  These products will help you systematically target words frequently found in classroom and testing directions, and provide an opportunity to expand your impact beyond just your therapy room.

Here are some items I'm looking forward to picking up during the sale myself!

Articulation Carryover Activities for Initial R, R Blends, and Vocalic R by Felice Clark


I don't know about you, but I can always use more activities for /r/!  I love how Felice has designed these to be visually appealing and appropriate for all ages.

Evidence Based Interventions: Vocabulary Edition by Nicole Allison



Nicole always has well-researched and comprehensive products, and this one looks like a fantastic addition to my collection!

No Prep Speech & Language for a Year by Maureen Wilson



School SLPs are busy, and I'm no exception!  I love no-prep activities, and Maureen has got me covered for the whole year with this great bundle.

Speech News Bits: Non-fiction Articles for Speech, Vocabulary, and Comprehension by Speech32


This unit from Nancy looks great for my mixed upper elementary or middle school groups!

What's in your cart for this sale?  Make sure to head over to Jenna's blog to find some other great therapy material suggestions!

PS:  Don't forget that you can leave feedback on previous purchases from TeachersPayTeachers.com to earn free credits towards future purchases!  I love to hear what you think of my items, and who doesn't love an even better discount?!  ;)

As school based SLPs, many of us are required to write a professional goal for ourselves each year.  In my district under the Danielson model, we call it an "Individual Growth Plan," while others may call it "Professional Development Goals," "Professional Goal Setting," "Professional Learning Plan," or something similar.


Now, as SLPs, we write goals for our students all the time, but I've found that it can be much more difficult to write a goal for yourself!  So today, I would like to share some example goals that may help you with writing your own.  Something to keep in mind is that your goal(s) must be SMART; that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.


So, where to start?  

First, take a moment to try to look at your job/role as an outsider.  If you are like me, you probably know areas of therapy you need to learn more about, or areas that you would like to improve in.  Do you need to learn more about stuttering therapy?  Do you need to become more comfortable with AAC devices?  Do you want to share some of your knowledge and expertise with others?

Next, think about your students.  Do the majority understand (in a general sense, at least) why they come to speech-language therapy?  Can they explain it to someone else?  Is your therapy style effective for your students, or would you like to try a new approach with some (such as centers with large groups or the 5 minute/speech speech approach for articulation)?

Also, think about other teachers/professionals in your building.  Are there ways that you can help support or re-inforce some of their curriculum?  Do you see your students struggle in specific environments outside of your therapy room?  Are there other professionals that might be willing to collaborate with you or be receptive to push-in therapy?

Don't forget about parents!  How do you communicate with them?  Do you know how the majority prefer to be contacted (text, phone call, note home, etc.)?  Are there ways you could improve on this?  How do you keep track of their contact info, as well as keep a record of your communication with parents?

Let's take a look at some sample goals you might choose.  

Keep in mind, you want to make sure your goals are realistic - don't give yourself too many extra tasks that will interfere with your regular job duties or home life.


The way goals must be written tend to vary across districts and states.  After speaking with several different SLPs, it appears that some (like me) write professional goals for themselves, while others must write goals tied specifically to student improvement.  For my district, I have to choose one main goal with four objectives to be accomplished through the year.  I have heard from some SLPs that their districts require several goals, each with individual objectives.

Here is the professional goal I wrote for myself during the past school year: 



Here were the "action steps" I wrote - essentially, measurable ways for me to meet this goal: 


  1. I will provide packets of information to each teacher, regarding each of their specific students on my caseload, their disorders and goals, and possible academic impact.  (by August 2015)
  2. I will provide packets of information in parent-friendly terms, specific to each student (regarding their disorder and potential academic impact), to be given to parents at the beginning of the school year and at each annual review meeting. (by May 2016)
  3. I will attend & present at the 2015 national American Speech- Language Hearing Association conference.  (in November 2015)
  4. I will take at least two continuing education courses on topics pertaining to my current caseload. (by May 2016)
Here are some resources and articles if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:
  • From TpT: My Parent and Teacher Explanation Handouts were used for steps one and two.  I made lots of copies at the beginning of the year, then kept them on hand for whenever I had an IEP meeting.
  • SpeechPathology.com:  I used my personal subscription to watch courses on stuttering assessment and treatment.
  • If the ASHA conference isn't convenient and/or too expensive, you could substitute any specific conference or course that would be more realistic for you to attend.

Here are some resources and articles if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:

Here's another example goal:




Here are some possible action steps:

  1. I will provide packets of information to each teacher, regarding each of their specific students on my caseload, their disorders and goals, and possible academic impact.   
  2. I will send out a survey to my IEP students' classroom teachers to determine which classrooms would benefit the most and which available times work best with my existing therapy schedule.
  3. I will collaborate with at least one general or special education teacher to plan and execute at least one lesson or center time during the first quarter [month, semester] of the school year.  [You could repeat this one for each semester or quarter, or name a specific teacher/discipline in each one].
  4. I will trial the "5 Minute Articulation" approach with at least 5 different students this year in order to determine if shorter, more frequent sessions are more effective than being pulled out from the classroom for traditional, longer therapy sessions.  
  5. I will trial centers for articulation therapy for student groups of 3 or more in order to determine if it is more effective than traditional therapy sessions with all students at the table together.
Here are some resources and articles if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:

Here's another example goal:



Here are some possible action steps:

  1. I will provide packets of information to each teacher, regarding each of their specific students on my caseload, their disorders and goals, and possible academic impact
  2. I will provide packets of information to each parent about the nature of their child's speech-language disorder and the possible academic impact at the beginning of the year and at each IEP meeting.
  3. I will send out a survey to parents to determine how each prefers to be contacted, day/time preferences for IEP meetings, and which families would like speech-language homework/activities sent home and how often.
  4. I will write at least five notes/emails to different parents each month regarding their student's progress in speech-language therapy and tips to maintain their progress at home.
  5. I will provide weekly/monthly homework activities for parents who request it during the school year.
  6. I will maintain a page on the school's website, offering tips and suggestions for parents to help promote communication skills, which will be updated on a monthly/quarterly basis.
  7. I will promote awareness of good communication habits and information during Better Hearing  and Speech Month in May.
Here are some resources and articles if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:

And one last example:



Here are some possible action steps:

  1. Before the school year begins, I will create a bulletin board of "I Can" statements in student-friendly language.  During each therapy session, I will review which statement(s) we will be working on, and then at the end of the session, have each student tell what was targeted.
  2. During the first week of therapy, I will have each student fill out an individual profile that lists his/her general goal areas and why these areas are important.  These will be displayed in the therapy room and reviewed periodically throughout the year as needed.
  3. I will use progress monitoring checks at least once per quarter to assess student progress with their individual goals.  I will review progress individually with each student, and he/she will update their personal goal graph sheet with their progress each quarter.
  4. I will have my students working on articulation, phonology, and/or fluency fill out a self-rating scale at the beginning and end of the school year.

Here are some resources if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:


What professional goals have you written for yourself?  



PS:  Want to make sure to stay up to date?  Sign up form my email newsletter at www.tinyurl.com/nataliesnyders and never miss anything (plus get exclusive freebies sent straight to your inbox!)
If you have followed any SLP bloggers on Facebook or Instagram in the past year or two, you have probably seen the SLP Must Have Sale mentioned a time or two.  But what is it, exactly, and when does it happen?


The #SLPMustHave sale is where many of your favorite speech-language pathologist sellers on TpT offer one item from each of their stores on the 7th of every month during the school year at a 50% discount for that day only.

Why the 7th?

  • Because that's your lucky day!  :)  Also, it is easier to remember when we keep it the same day each month.
Does it continue through the summer?
  • June 7th will be our final sale event for the 2015-2016 school year, and it will return on September 7, 2016.

How can I find out about the items on sale?

  • First, make sure to follow your favorite sellers on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, as that is where many sellers announce which item will be on sale.
  • You may also want to sign up for their email newsletters - my subscribers get an exclusive head's up about which item will be on sale, as well as a chance to vote in advance.  You can sign up here:  www.tinyurl.com/nataliesnyders 
  • On the 7th of the month, you can type in that month's hashtag into the search bar on TeachersPayTeachers.com, and all of the items on sale will come up.  (For example, this month is #JuneSLPMustHave.)
  • Also on the 7th of the month, you can click on your favorite sellers' links in this link up to be taken directly to their sale items.

Tell me, have you taken advantage of the #SLPMustHave sale this year?
As a busy school SLP, I'm all about comfort when it comes to clothes, but I also want to still look professional at the same time.  I have been seeing the ads for Betabrand "Dress Yoga Pants" online for a while now, and finally decided to give a pair a try.  I shared some pictures of my experience on my Instagram account, and had several people comment that they would like to hear more about the pants, so here is my full review!



Betabrand has several different styles and colors of yoga dress pants available, along with travel styles, tops, and dresses.  Some of their items are still in the "development" phase, and if you pre-order one of those styles, you can get a 10-20% discount.



After some deliberation, I decided to go with the pewter gray "Straight Leg Dress Pant Yoga Pants."  I have a lot of both black and blue in my wardrobe, and I figured it would coordinate well with these colors.  I wasn't quite sure about the sizing, so I compared Betabrand's size chart with a different online store that I often buy from to help me figure it out.  (This turned out to be perfect on the size for me.)

After I got them in the mail, I couldn't wait to try out my new pants!  They were a little long to start with, but they description said they would shrink a bit after washing them.  I washed them on delicate, and let them air dry, like the directions suggest.  (Actually, I did put them in the dryer on low for about 10 minutes the next morning so they would be dry enough to wear, and they were fine.)  When I put them on, they felt amazing!



Off I went to work, ready to start the school day.  I paired it with a simple short sleeved shirt and black cardigan, along with my black Tieks and one of my favorite necklaces.


Like many SLPs, I do a lot of walking in my school day.  Our school houses about 600 students or so in preschool through sixth grade, so we have some long hallways!

In the afternoon, I see more of my younger students, which often can mean getting down on the floor.  On this day, I decided to go "fishing" with my kindergarteners.



After school, I walked to the post office (about 3 blocks from my house) to pick up the mail.


So, after giving the Dress Yoga Pants a full day's trial, here are my thoughts:

Pros:  These pants are VERY comfortable, no matter what the situation or activity.  (I think they would be especially great to travel in for a long car or plane ride!)  Other than my favorite worn-n pajama pants (do those count as pants??), these are the most comfortable pair of pants I have ever worn.  They come in a good variety of colors and styles.

Cons:  They are a bit pricey, unfortunately.  (However, you can get $15 off your first purchase by using my referral link here!)  Also, one minor quibble, but I wish they had pockets.

Overall impression:  I was really impressed by just how comfortable these pants were, yet still look professional at the same time.  I will definitely be purchasing more pairs in the future!

What do you think?  Have you tried these before?  Are you ready to try a pair now?  Let me know in the comments!
I must admit, I am not much of a craft person when it comes to therapy!  However, every couple of months, I like to pull out an quick and easy craft for my students to do.  Most of my students (and ok, myself!) are dreaming of summer with less than four weeks left in our school year.  I decided we should make something with a summer theme, and voila!  This cute ice cream cone craft was the result.

This simple craft has been great for all sorts of articulation and language goals!  All you need is different colors of construction paper, scissors, and glue.  I cut large pieces of contruction paper into three strips each for the background paper, then either I or the students (depending on their level) cut out the "scoops" and cone from the different colors of construction paper.  After this, we wrote our targets on each scoop, and finally glued them to the page.



Here are some of the goals I targeted with this craft:

  1. For students working on articulation/phonology goals, we wrote their target words/sentences on each ice cream scoop.
  2. For students working on describing with the Expanding Expression Tool (EET), we made our scoops match up with the colors in the tool, and wrote the corresponding attribute on each one.
  3. For students working on following directions, I gave them specific instructions to follow when we assembled our ice cream cones.  (For example, "Put the blue scoop below the white scoop.")
  4. For students working on expanding utterances or asking questions, I put the materials out of their reach, and had them ask for what they needed.  (For example, "Can I have the blue scoop?")
  5. For students working on plurals and verb tenses, we wrote the target form of the word on each scoop.
What do you think?
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