How to use Easter eggs for the majority of your elementary school SLP caseload!

I like to incorporate fun, seasonal activities into therapy when I can - especially when my students don't realize we're actually learning, too!  But I hate taking tons of time to set up activities that I will only use for a couple of students.  When I found these dozen Easter eggs at my local store for less than a dollar, I knew I wanted to be able to use them for the majority of my students for at least one session this week.  So I created this freebie to use!

How to use Easter eggs for the majority of your elementary school SLP caseload!

This free mini-unit is designed to be used with the majority of an elementary school SLP’s caseload, which can be used around Easter, in the spring, or any time during the year. Have some seasonal fun with your students while targeting goals as varied as articulation, phonology, describing, synonyms, irregular past verbs, formulating sentences, vocabulary, and fluency.

You will need a dozen Easter eggs and two different colors of permanent marker. Put the eggs together, and with one color of permanent marker, write the synonym pairs on each side of the egg. With the other color of marker, turn the eggs over, and on the far side, write the present tense and irregular past tense verb pairs on each side of the egg. (Alternatively, you could use labels on the eggs – just make sure they are different colors.)

Next, print the page with 12 pictures on it, and cut the picture cards apart. These stimulus cards may be used to target describing, formulated sentences, or speech sounds. For speech sounds, you will need to use your own word list or picture cards.

When targeting describing, formulating sentences, articulation/phonology, and/or fluency, you may fill the eggs with the picture cards, hide the eggs around your room, and have your students find all of the eggs. Then, have you students either describe the picture or use the word in a sentence, or say their target sound/word/sentence the number of times indicated on the card.

When targeting synonyms or irregular past tense verbs, separate the egg halves and spread them out on your table. Have your student(s) try to make matches – provide guidance and example sentences as necessary.

Three worksheets are included for additional practice.

I don't know about you, but I have students that just don't seem to "get" time concepts.  They're the ones who ask me, "Do I see you today?" every time they see me in the hallway, or will "When will it be Halloween again?" five times in a month.

I finally decided I needed to target these skills, but how?  I tried pulling my calendar off the wall and using that for a few sessions, but I realized my students just didn't have the foundational concepts down, and needed specific practice targeted at these skills.  So I created this:

This 50 page unit is divided into three sections, each of which build upon the previous unit.  It starts out with months, then moves to seasons, and then moves to holidays.

Each section includes:
- Master reference sheet
- Sorting activity (seasons and holidays only)
- 24 (seasons) or 32 (months and holidays) question cards
- 6 (holiday) or 8 (months and seasons) interactive book
- 4 worksheets for take home practice

These activities can be used over multiple sessions and with multiple students in a session over the course of an entire year. They could be used in either individual or small group speech-language therapy sessions or in a special education classroom setting.

Tell me, do you have students that need this practice, too?

PS:  Have kids that need help with days of the week, tomorrow, yesterday, next week, etc.?  I have another product in the works for these concepts, too!  :)
Today, my friend Brittany Barker from BB's SLP (Facebook and TpT) is here to talk about a big way she left her "SLP comfort zone," by moving abroad!   (Check out other posts in the series here.)  
                 - Natalie

First of all, I would like to say THANK YOU to Natalie for organizing this awesome blog series.  A little fun fact is that Natalie and I attended undergraduate and graduate school together!   I know we received some wonderful training and lifelong advice from our professors. 

From 2009-2014, I worked as a school based SLP for a Chicago suburban school district.  This was my first job as an SLP, and I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed it.  After 5 years, you definitely start to get more comfortable with your workplace and their procedures.  Throughout my time with this district, I also met and fell in love with an Australian.  After what felt like a ton of discussions, we decided that it was best for me to move to Australia (I know, hard decision, right? …especially with Illinois winters). 

I joke about the weather, but this move has also meant being away from family and friends as well as learning a new country’s SLP guidelines.  In order to work and live permanently in Australia, I have been filling out forms and collecting necessary supporting documents for over a year.  So, if you’re thinking about moving abroad, start collecting your documents early and check with that country’s visa and SLP guidelines.  With all that said- know that IT IS POSSIBLE! J I am happy to say that I recently received my permanent Australian visa!   (Department of Immigration hat off, SLP hat back on)

If you’re thinking about making an international move or already live abroad, take a look at this Facebook group I created.  It’s called SLPs Going Abroad.  Members are from all over the world.
I’ve been in Australia since August.  Since that time, I was able to provide SLP services for an amazing organization on a short-term basis.  The students were forgiving as I used terms such as: ketchup (tomato sauce), swimsuit (togs), trashcan (bin), candy (lollies), the list goes on.  I was so thankful for that experience because it allowed me to pick the brains of Australian SLPs, make new friends, and develop work related connections in this country.

My journey and comfort level as an SLP will continue to be tested in the months ahead as I am getting ready to move within Australia to a very remote area.  I have been doing my best to prepare by learning more about the people and cultural differences in remote areas.  Also, I will most likely be switching from my comfortable school setting into more unknown territories of older clients, private practice, or home health care.  Although the uncertainty makes me nervous, it’s also a reassuring feeling to know that a career as an SLP opens the door to numerous opportunities.  We are blessed! 

All the Best,
Brittany Barker
Today's Sweet and Simple Therapy Idea is perfect for days when you don't have much time to plan, or want to make drills in therapy more exciting!

I found these stamper markers at IKEA last summer for about $2.  Each one is a different color with a different stamp.  (I believe Crayola also makes a similar version.)  There are MANY ways you could use these in therapy, but here are two to get you started!

First, I used them with my artic and phono students.  I made some quick tables on the computer - one page had 100 squares, and the other had 50.  (I used the smaller one for my younger students.)  For every time they said their sound/word correctly, the students got to put a stamp of their choice in one of the boxes.  If they said it incorrectly, I used a different stamp on the page.  Not only did this make the drill more fun, I could also quickly add up the data at the end of the session by looking at the different colors of stamps!

Another way I used these is with a student who has difficulty with time concepts (yesterday, tomorrow, weekends, next week, etc.).  I printed off a paper calendar of the month, and we used the stamps to indicate different events that occur during the month.  (Notice how I snuck the heart in for speech-language therapy days?  ;))  Then we talked about how many days it was to a certain event, the days of the week, and months of the year.

Have you ever used these before?  What other therapy ideas do you have for them?

Today's post is by my friend Kristin, who regularly blogs over at Simply Speech!  - Natalie

As SLPs, we are very lucky with the wide range of placement opportunities this job offers. You can work in a hospital, in a nursing home, in a school, or even from your own home. My first job out of grad school was in a school setting. I always knew that I wanted to be a school based therapist because I have always loved the school environment. In fact, before I discovered the amazing field of speech language pathology, my heart was set on being a first grade teacher. I spent 4 years there until my daughter, Kenzie, came along. I weighed my options with different setting options and what would be the best for my growing family and myself. I decided that private therapy was the best option because it allowed me more time with my daughter while still getting to do what I loved. However, being a therapist in a school setting, I was not exposed to many types of therapy, feeding therapy being one of them. Over the last year I have been working with patients that have feeding disorders. This was not an area that I thought I would ever like to practice in as it is a huge step out of my SLP comfort zone, but guess what, I really enjoy it.

I have learned many things about children, their eating habits, and patience over the last year. I was very used to typical articulation and language therapy where students would progress at a somewhat fast pace. I have learned that feeding therapy is very different and is a marathon type of therapy. Unfortunately, parents are usually so incredibly stressed and worried about their child when therapy first begins. They want immediate results, but it is so important to stress to them that this is a slow process. With many children, you just need to make them feel comfortable being around food first.

Working with these students has made me a better therapist and forced me to think outside of the box. Feeding therapy is more than just eating. When you are working with a child that has a feeding disorder, you can't just jump in and expect them to take food from you because you said so or because you will reward them with a sticker. You first need to make food something they are comfortable with. Therapy needs to be fun! Color pictures of food. Make food out of PlayDoh. Try incorporating plastic or wooden foods into your sessions. Have your child pretend to feed his favorite teddy bear. Contrary to what we all learned growing up, it is OK to play with your food and get a little messy!! 

Stepping out of my comfort zone with feeding therapy is something that I am glad I did. I am by no means an expert in this area; I still have lots to learn. But I can say that I am definitely enjoying the journey!


I often have buyers ask, “Will you make something with X?” when X is Minecraft, the movie Frozen, Sponge Bob, a specific superhero, Dr. Seuss-themed… You get the idea.

Here’s the thing - you won’t ever see identifiable characters in any of my products or on my blog.  Do you know why?  Because those characters are protected by copyright - plus, the names are usually trademarked.

"What’s the big deal?” you wonder.  “I make stuff like that for therapy all of the time - I just googled the images and put them in my document.”  That is fine.  The “fair use” section of United States copyright law allows teachers and other educational personnel to use copyrighted materials for teaching purposes.  What you make in your therapy room stays in your therapy room.  However, the line is often confused with posting materials online.

I often have sellers and bloggers ask me where exactly that line is, and I decided it would be easiest to address some of the most frequently asked questions here.  This is meant to be a helpful guide.  (Please note, I am not a lawyer, and if you have a serious legal question, you should consult an attorney, not me!)

Frequently asked questions:

“I’m not charging anything for it.  That’s not a copyright violation, is it, since I’m not earning a profit?”

Yes, it is a copyright violation, and it doesn’t matter if your item is free or paid, as long as it is posted online.  This could be on TeachersPayTeachers, a personal blog, a school website, or Pinterest.  If you don’t own the character/image, or have permission to use it (where clipart or photos are okayed for commercial use), posting it online is likely against the law.  This applies not only to images, but books, free or paid materials downloaded from TpT, test manuals, and more.

“I bought this Frozen clipart to make this product, and it said commercial use was ok.”

Here, the problem is that if you can recognize the character, it is a copyright violation.  The artist you bought from is violating copyright law in the first place.  This is where many sellers make mistakes, and is very unfortunate.  You are the one posting the material, so you are ultimately responsible in the eyes of the law.

“No one told me that this was a problem, so I can’t get in trouble for not knowing, right?”

Can you still get a speeding ticket when you weren't paying attention to the speed limit signs?  Of course.  Copyright law applies just like any other law - it doesn’t matter if you are aware you are breaking it or not, you can still be sued.  If you are posting things on the internet, it is your responsibility to educate yourself about copyright and trademark law.  (Good news!  You’re reading this post now, so you are off to a good start.)

"I’ve never gotten a cease and desist letter, so my product is fine, right?”

Companies don’t have to do you the courtesy of sending you a cease and desist letter - they can move straight into a lawsuit.  Trust me when I say - you do not want this to happen to you.  Even if the court rules in your favor, you will be responsible for all court costs, which add up quickly.

"How do I know if a name is trademarked and to stay away from it?

There is a website called that is very helpful to see at a glance if a name is a registered trademark, and for what category.  If a name is trademarked only for building materials, for example, using the term for educational products and/or games is probably ok.  For example, the term “Ace” is trademarked for both bandages and a hardware store - but because those categories don’t overlap, they were approved.

“What about making materials to go along with a program like ‘Reading Street’ or the 'Expanding Expression Tool’?  Can I use those names in my product title or description?”

It depends on the publisher/author.  If you are not sure, contact the company directly and see what they have to say.

If a title is trademarked, you cannot use it without permission from the trademark holder.  “Reading Street” is trademarked by the publisher for educational use, which means it is off limits.  As far as I know, the “Expanding Expression Tool” (EET) does not yet have a registered trademark, but I believe the author is in the process of having this done.  Unless you obtain direct written permission from the owner of the trademarked name, do not use it in your products or the description.

Additionally, the EET itself is a copyrighted idea; the author has stated before that you may not use the colored circles and the corresponding labels together in any product.  Use of the colored circles with no labels *may* be allowed with attribution, but you really need to check with the author first.  

Tip:  If you have indeed gotten permission to use a product name or trademark in your product, it is a good idea to include a statement to this effect in your product description.  (For example, "The term XX is used with permission from the author/publisher/trademark holder NAME.  The author of this product has no affiliation with the author/publisher/trademark holder, and these materials should not be used without purchasing XX.")

"What other common names are trademarked?"

Terms such as the Super Bowl, Read Across America Week, March Madness, and the Olympics are all trademarked and should not be used.

"Can I make a companion activity to go along with a certain book?”

Generally speaking, yes*, as long as your product does not replace the need to purchase/use the book itself.  You should not use large direct quotes from the book (usually a sentence or two is ok).  It’s not a bad idea to include a disclaimer in your product description along the lines of, “The author of this product is not affiliated with the author or publisher of BOOK TITLE.  This product is designed to be used as a companion for BOOK TITLE, not as a stand alone product.”

Also, you can’t use the book cover or any images from the book (unless you obtain written permission from the publisher - which is granted on occasion, but is not very common).  The best bet is to use images that represent the theme of the book, without being direct copies of the original illustrations.

*You can use book titles in your product UNLESS the name has been trademarked.  This includes Dr. Seuss and any associated titles and characters, Eric Carle and any associated titles and characters, and Pete the Cat.  Check before starting to be sure.

"Can I use whatever images I want on my blog/free product?  I’m not making money from it."

No, you should not use Google images (or any other search engine) when finding pictures for anything you post online, whether it is for your blog, free products, or paid products.  It doesn't matter if you are making money from it or not - don't post things online with images or content that either don't belong to you or you don't have permission to use.  This may mean you need to take pictures yourself, find clipart that is ok to use commercially, find pictures that are in the public domain or those that have no restrictions for commercial use.  I have heard of several bloggers losing lawsuits against them for using an image they did not have permission to use.  It isn’t worth the risk!

"Other people have items with Dr. Seuss or Frozen characters posted.  Why shouldn't I?"

Just because other people are doing something doesn't make it legal or ethical.

I hope this post has been helpful!  If you have other questions, feel free to contact me directly or post them below, and I will do my best to point you in the right direction for an answer.

I often have fellow SLPs ask me, "How do you find time for it all?  Your blog, TeachersPayTeachers store, Facebook, plus handling your regular job and family?"

I won't lie, it certainly is challenging, but I have found some ways to make it easier.  (Check out this post for tips on how I handle my "day" job.)

First of all, you need to take a step back, and think about the following questions:
  • Why do you want to have an online presence?  Do you have lots of ideas you have always wanted to share with other SLPs?  Do you have a passion for creating therapy materials?  Have you seen other SLPs online, and thought, "I could do that"?  Are you looking for a new hobby?
  • How much time are you willing to invest?  What could you give up to find some extra time to work on this?
  • Are you the type of person that starts a lot of ideas or projects, but doesn't always finish them?  Or are you the type of person that tends to stick with things for the long haul?
Honestly, if you aren't serious about it, or are seriously overloaded in life right now, it's not worth the time commitment.  I've seen many people start stores or blogs, post things for about two weeks, and then stop, because it's just too much work.  But if this is something you are committed to, and want to continue with in the long run, here are some tips that I have found to make things easier:
  • Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."  It is tempting to fall into the trap of, "Well, she can get three new products and two new blog posts done in a week, so why can't I?"  We are all in different stages of life, and yes, some people will have more time or energy than you to devote to this.  If you compare yourself to others, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment.  Focus on what you can do in the time you have available and not on what others are doing, and you will be much happier.

  • Figure out where you have "margin" time in your week, and use that for creating new materials.  Do you tend to spend an hour in front of the tv at night?  Bring your computer to the couch to work at the same time as your favorite shows, or cut out some of the t.v. time.  Are you a morning person?  Try getting up 15 or 20 minutes earlier in the morning.  Do you usually have an hour to yourself while the kids are napping?  You may think you can't get much done in that time, but it definitely adds up.
  • Educate yourself about copyright and trademark before you start creating products.  You don't want to have to remove items later on down the road because you made mistakes when starting out!  Some highlights: Don't use images in products or on your blog that you don't have permission to use.  The images you use need to clearly say they allow commercial use (and this doesn't matter if your items are free or paid); this means DO NOT use images from Google or any other search engine.  Don't use trademarked names in your products, especially in the titles.  (Not sure if a name is trademarked?  Check  Some definite names to stay away from include Eric Carle, Elf on the Shelf, Pete the Cat, and anything related to Dr. Seuss or Disney.)  Don't use look-alike character clip art - even though it is for sale, the clip artist has likely already violated copyright by creating it.
  • Keep something with you at all times to jot down product ideas, whether it is on your phone or in a small notebook.  You never know when inspiration will strike!
  • Keep an ongoing to-do list, and re-prioritize things as necessary.  Do you have several product ideas, but need one in particular for your own therapy this week?  Work on that first.
  • Make templates for yourself.  I prefer to create materials in Powerpoint, and I have a couple of template files that I can copy and paste from to save myself time.  I have a template for task cards with all of my copyright and store info already typed in, as well as credit and thank you pages.  You could also do this for cover pages or product hyperlinks.
  • If your store is just starting out, focus mainly on product creation, rather than social media.  You can go ahead and create a Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram account for your brand, but don't worry too much about posting there until you have at least 20 products or so, especially if your time is limited.
  • When creating products, consider the marketability of your idea.  Is this something you have needed for your students because you couldn't find anything else like it online?  Or is this similar to other products out there?  It is a much more productive use of your time to make something original than to copy something else that has already been done.  (For example, there are literally hundreds of articulation cards on the market, both on TpT and through traditional publishing companies.  Don't waste your valuable time making another set when the competition is so fierce.)  Also, directly copying others' ideas is considered akin to plagiarism, and is very inconsiderate to fellow sellers.
  • Once you are ready to start posting more to social media, take advantage of things like being able to schedule Facebook posts in advance and having your Instagram account post directly to your Facebook page.
  • Take time to pin new products to Pinterest when you make them.  It only takes a minute or two.  Don't worry about pinning more than this if you don't have the time.
  • When you are preparing for therapy in the morning, take a few quick pictures of the therapy materials you plan on using that day or week.  This is an easy way to find ideas of what to post on your Facebook and Instagram pages.
  • Make friends with fellow sellers and bloggers!  Collaboration is key.  These people have been walking the same path for years now, and have helpful advice and tips.  They also make great editors, cheerleaders, and proofreaders, and can help give your platform a much needed visibility boost.
  • Keep track of your statistics (number of followers, products in your store, total sales, etc.) every month.  The process can feel discouraging if you look at how slow your growth is every day, but if you look at your progress monthly, you will see growth!

What other tips do you have to share?
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