Can I make a confession?  One of my least favorite things to work on in therapy is the dreaded /r/ sound!  It's so hard to demonstrate to students what exactly you want them to do with their articulators to make the sound, because it's just not a very "visible" sound.

I had read somewhere online that an SLP had some success in guiding placement for the /r/ sound by using a disposable dental floss pick.  I kept meaning to try it, but never remembered to bring a pack to school.  This morning, I was brushing my teeth, and remembered that I had a student on my schedule for this afternoon that has been struggling with the /r/ sound, so I grabbed our little jar of these to take with me to school today.

What you are going to do is use this to show your student exactly how far back your tongue needs to be in your mouth to make a good /r/ sound.  When looking at the "u" shape of the pick, put one "leg" of the "u" right behind your top front teeth.  The far "leg" of the "u" should push back your tongue; tell your student to try to touch the top tip of the pick with the tip of their tongue.  

Once you've got their tongue lined up, try a few /r/ sounds in different contexts, like /er/, /or/, or /ar/.  Once you find one that sounds pretty good, have the student practice it multiple times.  Then, pull the pick out, and see if they can find that tongue position without the pick, and say the target sound again.

I found that with my student, using the pick really made him more aware of where his tongue is supposed to go for the /r/ sound, and he was able to pull it out and make a stronger /r/ than I have heard from him before!  It's definitely not a magic wand, but it certainly helps!  And when it comes to the dreaded /r/, I'll take all the help I can get.

Note:  As you can see, all I had were the mint version, but if you can find an unflavored version, get those instead!  You'll quickly get tired of the mint flavor.  :)

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Do you ever have those moments in therapy where you just stop and think - "Yes, this is why I love my job!"?  I have had several of those lately, and wanted to share just a few of those happy moments with you today.

  • When I was introducing the /th/ to one of my first grade students for the first time, we spent a lot of time looking in the mirror and talking about where our tongue should go to make this sound.  After about ten minutes of practicing, he turned to me very seriously and said, "You know, it's a good thing I have my front teeth now, because otherwise I couldn't make this sound."  #futureslp?
  • In my second session ever with one of my kindergarten students, I decided to target the /l/ sound.  After practicing how we make it, we made a picture with all the words we could think of with the /l/ sound.  Every time he heard another word containing the /l/ sound, he would yell "Oh, oh!" and jump up and down like I told him we were about to go to Disney World.
  • One of my third graders was clearly focusing on other, more important matters during our session on other things than the similarities and differences activity that I had been working on, as she randomly blurted out, "It's cool that you and Mr. Snyders got married, cause you are both teachers.  And you can share your stuffed animals and stuff."    
Do you have any happy SLP moments to share?

Does anyone else have a huge collection of stimulus cards printed from TpT that just seem to pile up?  I seem to keep collecting them, but just don’t have a good place to store them!  (If you caught my Periscope a few weeks ago - @slpnataliesnyders - you got a sneak peek.)

After my success making over these plastic drawers, I decided to see if I could find a plastic toolbox drawer unit with drawers big enough to hold some of my cards.  (I have a couple of smaller ones that hold my office supplies, but the drawers aren’t big enough to hold cards.)  After some searching, I found this on Amazon:

I decided to spray paint it the same color I used for my larger drawers here.

I knew I would need an easy way to label these drawers to make sure my materials stayed organized.  While browsing at Target the other day, I came across this dry erase tape.

I immediately decided that I would find some good use for this tape, and went ahead and bought it.  When I got it home, I realized that if I cut it in half and fit it to the outside of these drawers, the tape would make perfect labels that I could change out easily!  As an added bonus, it somewhat hides the contents of the drawers from prying student eyes.

I added a label to each drawer, then started sorting my most used cards.  After I sorted different therapy targets into the different drawers, I wrote the targets on the labels with a black dry erase marker.  (Note: if you want to change the labels a few weeks or months down the road, it will take a bit of persuasion to get the dry erase marker to come off, but a Clorox wipe worked fine for me.)

I decided to store these near my therapy table, so I could quickly grab them as needed.  What do you think?

Today, I would like to give you a peek into my speech-language therapy room at my K-6 elementary school.  If you know me at all, you know I love decorating!  My philosophy is that I spend more waking hours in this room than I do at home during the school day, so it should be a space where I feel comfortable.  (Note:  I spent my first three years traveling between ten different schools per week in a different district, so I was very happy to have a space of my own to decorate!)

My room is in the older wing of our building, and is actually the former principal's office.  You have to walk through the Title I room to get to my room - thankfully the Title I teacher is one of my good friends at school, and we usually see a lot of the same students.

 Here's the view from the door:

On the bulletin board by my table are my student rules and my High Stakes Vocabulary Builder (Jr Edition).  On the other wall is my student goal display  - not all of my kids have completed it yet this year, but these are the ones I have had time to laminate.  (All of my bulletin boards are covered in fabric.)

Here's a closer look at my drawers and bookshelf next to my table.  This is where I store a lot of frequently used materials like my monthly homework packets, articulation homework packets, and progress monitoring tools:

Here's my desk area.  It's hard to see in the picture, but I have my black inspirational quote posters on the bulletin board behind my desk.

A close up of my desk.  (Remember this DIY project?  I still love how it turned out, and it makes me smile to see this quote every day!)  Confession:  this is not what my desk normally looks like.  I moved my paperwork piles to my student table to take this picture.  :)

This is the wall by the door.  The big black cabinet has student reward charts on the outside, and stores a variety of supplies on the inside.  On the bulletin board, you can find my CCSS "I Can" Posters in lime green.  The chair and rugs are from IKEA and the lanterns are from Schoolgirl Style.

On the back of my door are my "See You Later, Alligator" posters that I use as an exit ticket for my articulation students.

Thanks for stopping by!  What do you think?
 Stuttering / Fluency Mini Unit for Speech Language Therapy

I don't know about you, but I often have trouble finding materials that include both the targets my students need to work on, as well as age-appropriate graphics.  (If you have seen my store, you know "cutesy" just isn't my style!)  For my fluency/stuttering students - who tend to be male - I have had a difficult time finding materials with graphics that weren't too young looking.  I finally decided it was time to make some of my own!

Fluency is not an area where I have extensive experience, but I did have an excellent professor in grad school (shout out to Dr. Dell!).  I dug out my notes from class, as well as studied several different resources when deciding how I wanted to structure my product.

My goals for this unit were:
  • Create an easy to follow hierarchy of materials that require minimal prep work
  • Assess what students know (or don't know!) about stuttering before beginning the unit
  • Teach students about what stuttering is, and have them share that knowledge with others
  • Introduce different fluency enhancing techniques
  • Provide students with ample opportunities to practice fluency enhancing techniques
  • Include "fun" games/activities
  • Provide pages for home practice
  • Provide enough materials to be used for at least a month's worth of therapy sessions, if not more
  • Include a culminating "final project"
  • Assess student learning at the end of the unit
  • Have graphics and tasks appropriate for upper elementary, middle school, and high school students

Included in this unit are:
  • Pre-test
  • Post-test
  • Fluency enhancing strategies poster
  • Fact sheets
  • 6 homework pages
  • 2 games
  • 19 true/false cards
  • 112 fluency enhancing strategy practice cards 
  • 1 final hands-on project
The fluency enhancing strategies practice cards are separated into four different sets (A, B, C, D), which all designed to be read aloud using a specific fluency enhancing technique and progress in difficulty.  Set A is short sentences to read aloud (ex: How are you today?).  Set B includes a short fill in the blank phrase (ex: hot and __).  Set C targets answering specific questions with a whole sentence (ex: Who are your best friends?).  Set D consists of open ended questions (ex: What would the best day ever at school look like?).

Tell me, is this something you might be able to use with your students?

Last year, my district required an individual growth plan for the first time as part of our adoption of the Danielson model of evaluation.  For my goal, I chose to focus on communication with my students' parents.

While it is a new school year, and I technically have a new "plan" in place, I wanted to continue my focus.  In years past, I have always sent home a short note about what times I would be seeing each student for therapy and my contact information, but this year, I decided to make it a little more personal.

I think it is a good idea for parents to have an idea of who is working with their child!  While I am not a parent myself, this is the kind of information I would like to know if I was one.  Some important things I wanted to include:

  1. My name and contact information.
  2. A picture of myself, so parents might be able to recognize me in the hall or when they come in for Open House or IEP meetings.
  3. A brief introduction of myself - how many years I have been working as an SLP and in this district, my family, and something I did this past summer.
  4. A head's up to watch for anything green, because I try to make sure my student folders and notes I send home are green.  (Read about why I do that here!)  When I made copies of these to send home, I made them on bright green paper.
  5. When I am tentatively planning to see their child for therapy.
  6. Where to find me in the school building.  (If you are only in the building certain days of the week, make sure to note this here!)
  7. When to expect our next IEP meeting.  (It's hard to keep track of dates!  Make it easier on parents with multiple reminders.)

Since I also have some IEP meetings already scheduled, I made these matching meeting reminder notices to keep on my desk as needed.  (Again, my copies are in bright green!)

Want your own editable version of these forms?  You're in luck!  I just uploaded a free version in my TpT store here.

Tell me, is this something you might use?

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