This New Year's Eve, I took a moment to reflect on the resolutions I made for 2015, as well as what I want to focus on for 2016.

Here were the resolutions I made last year:

  • Attend the ASHA convention.   Update:  Done!  I had an amazing time with some of my best blogging friends, and I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to fly and travel to Denver all by myself.

  • Leave school AT school.  Update:  Ongoing.  I'm getting a lot better about this, but I think it's definitely an ongoing battle!

  • Earn more CEU's.  Update:  Partially Completed.  Attending the ASHA convention did help, but I didn't do as many online courses during the rest of the year as I had hoped.

  • Better inform/involve parents of students.  Update:  Ongoing.  I think my parent/teacher speech-language handouts have greatly helped me to better explain what I do in therapy and why it is important, but I think there is always room for improvement.

  • Keep creating materials.  Update:  Done (and Ongoing!).  My goal was to make at least 15 new products for my store, and I have added 16 new items in 2015.  I must admit, that doesn't sound like a lot, and it's hard not to compare myself to other sellers that put out many times that amount of products each year.  But most of my products tend to be in the 30 hour + range to create, and they take a lot of creative energy - and I am proud of all of the products in my store.

  • Blog at least once per week.  Update:  Done!  I'm proud to say that I was able to keep up with this commitment.

Looking ahead to 2016, I decided that instead of setting specific resolutions for myself, I wanted to focus on a particular theme.  After much deliberation, my word for 2016 is...



Balance.


If you know me, you know this is a continual struggle!  I'll be honest, it is very hard to juggle being a full time school SLP, wife, blogger, material creator, and the role of president of Snyders Publishing.  But at the same time, they are all roles I love to have, and I haven't done the best job of balancing them all in the past year.

That is why my 2016 focus word is balance.  I know that I need to step back from some tasks and responsibilities, and focus more on others.  That means I have to say "no" to some opportunities that come my way, which is hard for me to do, but I know I need to take care of myself better.  I need time to recharge my creative batteries and spend quality time with those that are important to me.

So what does that mean for you?  Well, don't worry, I still plan on keeping up with this blog!  (To be honest, I have so many ideas to share that I might burst if I don't have a place to share them!)  I probably won't be posting every week though - I am aiming for at least twice a month.  I also will keep working on creating quality speech and language materials to post in my TeachersPayTeachers store.  (I have several half-finished ideas that I hope to complete in the near future!)  I also plan to attend the TpT Seller Convention again this July for more inspiration and ideas to help the creation process happen a little faster.

Tell me, what is your focus word for 2016?  Leave a comment below - I would love to know!


I don't know about you, but I always seem to have a hard time finding appropriate materials for my middle school students.  Either the tasks are too difficult or abstract to start with, or the tasks are at my students' level, but the graphics are much too young.  It feels like it can take forever to find exactly what you need!

Today, I'm going to help save you some time, as I have gathered a selection of some of the best middle school speech-language therapy materials available on TeachersPayTeachers.com.  (There were too many to fit in one post, so be on the lookout for more posts to come!  There is a whole post on FREEBIES here.)

Assessment


  • Don't know where to start with your students?  You will definitely want to check out my own Language Progress Monitoring and Grammar Progress Monitoring Tools (Upper Levels).  These will help give you a good picture of what your students' strengths and weaknesses are, as well as monitor their progress with these skills over time.

    

  • These Curriculum Based Language Assessments for grades 6-12 from Nicole Allison are another good option to quickly assess your students' skills.  These are aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  
  • This Stuttering Screener from The Speech Bubble SLP is a great way to take baseline data with your fluency students.

Language


  • This Around the World Language Activities Unit is a great way to help your students learn about the world and different cultures, as well as target important language skills such as summarizing, describing, comparing, contrasting, past tense verbs, and more.



  • These Inferencing Paragraph cards from The Peachie Speechie are great to target inferencing skills with your students.  I really like how the answer cards not only provide the correct answer, but explain how to figure out the correct answer.

  • Secret Messages for Main Idea from Teach Speech 365 is a fun way to target a complex skill.  My students enjoy trying to figure out the hidden secret messages!


  • This Language Blocks unit from Panda Speech covers multiple targets (including categories, comparing, contrasting, WH-questions, and many more) while having fun with a Jenga or stacking blocks game.



Vocabulary: Synonyms, Antonyms, & Multiple Meaning Words




  • My Multiple Meaning Words Bundle is full of realistic pictures and activities to help those higher-level multiple meaning words make sense for your students.

  • These Language Crossword Puzzles from The Speech Bubble SLP are designed to target synonyms, antonyms, multiple meaning words, and irregular past tense verbs.
  • This huge Word Detectives unit from Speech to the Core focuses on prefixes, suffixes, and root words.


Articulation


  • "Speech-Zee" is an articulation dice game by Panda Speech for /l, s, z, sh, ch, th/, as well as s/l/r blends and vocalic /r/.   




  • This Match It Quick game from Courtney Gragg is a fun way to get in some quick practice with vocalic /r/ words.


Fluency


  • This very popular Stuttering Mini-Unit has been an excellent resource to use with my older fluency students.  The focus is on making students more aware of what stuttering is, as well as on techniques to help make their speech more smooth.



  • These Fluency Homework Labels from Jenna Rayburn quickly turn any worksheet or assignment into homework for your students working on fluency!


Social Skills


  • This Social Group Curriculum from Nicole Allison is a comprehensive unit for your middle school and high school students working on pragmatics.  It contains everything you need for 20 separate sessions.

  • These Social Skills Breaks from The Dabbling Speechie are perfect for helping students learn to carry over pragmatics skills, as well as fill those awkward 5 minute gaps in sessions we sometimes have!

  • This "Do I Detect Sarcasm?" unit from Smartmouth SLP comes with a great checklist and practice cards to help students learn to identify sarcasm.  

  • This Question and Answer Unit from The Dabbling Speechie is perfect for your life skills middle school students.  Focus on helping your students respond appropriately to questions, as well as respond to formal greetings.




Decor


  • These "I Can" CCSS posters for 5th-12th grades come in 6 different color options, and provide a positive decor option for your older students.



There were so many great products to feature, I couldn't get them all in one post!  So make sure to keep an eye out for Part 2 of this series.  (Want to make sure not to miss out?  Enter your email address in the "Follow by Email" box on the right hand side of this page to have future posts sent directly to you!)

Looking for a quick, easy activity to pull out in the next few weeks?


Make sure to check out my Winter Wonderland Category Freebie!  Recently updated with new graphics, it is a stand alone sample from my Winter Wonderland Language Activities.

On each card, there are four items listed; three of the items are related, while the fourth doesn't belong.  Have your student identify which item doesn't belong, and state the category for the remaining items.




Did you hear?  TeachersPayTeachers.com is having a site-wide sale for Cyber Monday (Nov. 30 - Dec. 1), and everything in my store will be 28% off, including bundles!  I am linking up with Jenna over at Speech Room News to show you what is in my cart.

What's in Your Cart? Linky

Some items from my own store that I'll be using in the next few weeks include:

Stuttering Mini-Unit for 3rd-12th grades:  I have a couple of new fluency cases this year, and I love being able to pull this off the shelf!



Time Concepts for Speech-Language Therapy:  I have several students that have a very hard time understanding months, seasons, and holidays, as well as the progression of time.  I'll be focusing on the holidays portion in the next few weeks.

 Time Concepts for Speech-Language Therapy

 Time Concepts for Speech-Language Therapy

Around the World Language Activities for Upper Elementary and Middle School:  This unit is great for practicing common language goals such as describing, comparing, contrasting, reasoning, and grammar while learning about different countries around the world.  I use it with my fourth graders on up throughout the school year, and my students really become engaged when choosing what country they want to study next, as well as looking up additional information.

 Around the World Language Activities

 Around the World Language Activities

Now, what am I looking forward to using from other sellers?

Snow Globe Language and Craftivity from The Speech Bubble SLP:  I actually got this one last year, but I just pulled it out again to use with my students in December!  I love the variety of activities included, so I can use it with a wider range of students.



Student Language Helpers from The Dabbling Speechie:  These look like a great reference to have for my students working on language and grammar!


Articulation Context Clue Cards Using Tier 2 Vocabulary from Nicole Allison:  I love anything that can target multiple goals, especially mixed groups!



Following Directions Dice Decks by Kelly Workman:  I have one student working on following directions and auditory comprehension, and I can always use new materials for these skills!



Tell me, what are you looking forward to picking up during the sale?



I don't know about you, but this time of year starts to get a little crazy for me!  With the holidays coming up, field trips, class parties, IEP meetings, and everything else that disrupts my regular weekly schedule, it can be hard to find the time to come up with new therapy ideas and prep them.




This year, I've got you covered!  I recently posted a set of fall vocabulary picture cards that are perfect to use in the hectic partial week of therapy leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.  I love these, because I'm able to use these in so many different ways to target so many different goals, from articulation to language to grammar.  I have included several of these ideas with the cards in case you need some ideas.



I simply printed them out, laminated them, and then put them on a ring that I can easily hang up on my bulletin board next to my table or slip inside my clipboard.



Tell me, do you think this is something you might be able to use?  Head on over to my TpT store to download this freebie now!


It's hard to believe ASHA 2015 is over!  It was a whirlwind three days, filled with amazing friends, great new therapy ideas, and meeting many of you.



One of the best parts was spending time with these amazing ladies!


I loved getting to spend time with these 14 wonderful bloggers - Felice (the Dabbling Speechie), Jenna (Speech Room News), Cheri (Super Power Speech), Hallie (Speech Time Fun), Jessica (Consonantly Speaking), Jenn (Crazy Speech World), Whitney (Let's Talk), Nicole (Allison's Speech Pees), Lauren (Busy Bee Speech), Shannon (Speechy Musings), Danielle (Sublime Speech), Courtney (Speech Therapy with Courtney), Rachel (Let's Talk Speech Therapy), and Maureen (the Speech Bubble SLP)!  We've all known each other online for about three years now, but I've only had the privilege of meeting a couple in person before this week.



All 15 of us spent time at the SLP Bloggers Booth 429 in the exhibit hall, and we also hosted a meet and greet on Thursday night, organized by the fabulous Felice from The Dabbling Speechie. 






We had a great turnout with over 100 people gathering for desserts (provided by the fabulous ladies at Yapp Guru) and giveaways.  We had tons of great prizes donated, including gift certificates from all of our stores, a Super Duper gift certificate, app codes from I Can Do Apps and Erik X. Raj, subscription boxes from Time for Speech, an R Made Simple kit, Quick Take Alongs from Super Duper, Smarty Symbols subscription, and more!  

I also attended some great sessions while at ASHA.  I love being inspired by practical new ideas that I can come home immediately and implement on Monday! Some highlights included:



Listening to my friends Nicole Allison (from Allison's Speech Peeps) and Jenna Rayburn (from Speech Room News) present on practical ideas to incorporate the CCSS into therapy.


Learning about ideas to use story books in therapy from my friend Maureen Wilson from The Speech Bubble SLP.

Other sessions I really enjoyed were on how to teach inferencing skills, how to target complex syntax systematically with your students, and how to support math skills from a language persepective.

On Saturday, I had the privilege and honor of co-presenting a session in front of 100 people titled "Social Media Resources for Today's SLP" with my good friends Maureen Wilson (The Speech Bubble SLP), Danielle Reed (Sublime Speech), Felice Clark (The Dabbling Speechie) and Cheri Chin (Super Power Speech).  I will definitely remember it as a highlight of my career!  It went so well that I already am thinking about session proposals for next year.  :)








While ASHA 2015 in Denver was my first ASHA convention, it certainly won't be my last!  I am already looking forward to Philadelphia next year.
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