Tuesday, March 3, 2015

#lucky2BEanSLP and a techy tip!

March is upon us!!! 

My students and I have been reading about lucky charms from all around the world in preparation for the fun (and weird) holiday of St. Patrick’s day, and it’s really got me thinking about how lucky I am to be an SLP.  
I’m so proud to say I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist.  

Not anyone can achieve such a hard-earned title.  You have to work harder and be smarter than the average bear.... and be a jack of many, many trades!!  Once you reach the work place, you have to constantly be on your toes and on top of trends and changes in our field.  Heck, almost every new child that I see leads me to do google google google and learn more, more more!  
No speech or language disorder or delay is exactly alike.  
We aren’t your average professional, y’all! 

There’s so many reasons I’m #lucky2BEanSLP!
It’s such a kick butt profession!! We literally change the course of people’s lives.  Communication is power, and we have the power to give that to others. 
I mean, COME ON!! THAT’s COOL!!    
That's why I am #lucky2BEanSLP: 


I’ve always worked in pedatrics, and I think all the time....at what other job would I ever score so many genuine little hugs on a daily basis?? 

In what other job would I be surrounded by giggles and milestone moments? 

Sure, there’s a little spit and snot involved (LOL) Sometimes there’s biting and chasing events, but hey, every job has its hazards :) 

Mostly, we make communicators. 
We give others a voice. 
We build crucial skills that last a lifetime.  
Pretty.      darn.     awesome.  

Did I mention there’s never a dull moment?  
Never.  Not one day.  

SLPs are the ultimate problem solving, disorder diagnosing, toddler wrangling, sentence scaffolding, fluency facilitating, speech shaping, technology toting, language building, report typing, esteem building, data taking, bubble blowing, skill drilling, storybook reading, prop playing, multi-tasking professional!  

      Join me and my fellow frenzied SLPs to proclaim why YOU are #lucky2BEanSLP

Post WHY YOU feel #lucky2BEanSLPfor the world to see-  
 on facebook, twitter or instagram!

How?  

 Here is the graphic:  



Now here is my favorite way to add text to any graphic: 
{*believe me once you learn this quick techy skill you’ll be stoked!}

1) Right Click on the Image and to download it or save it to your computer! 

2) Get a FREE ACCOUNT on PICMONKEY! It's my favorite image editing website!!     
    Seriously, it's amazing and you'll wonder how you ever lived without it! By the way,  
    I'm in no way affiliated with that website nor do I get anything for saying how fab   
    it is.  I'm just a shameless fan. 

3) Once you have an account, click on EDIT on the picmonkey website! 


4) When you click edit, it will prompt you to choose the image on your computer that you want to edit, and it will plop that image right on the screen like this: 


See? There it is!!  TADA!!

6) Click the "Tt" to add text. 


7) Pick your font!!   There are so many to choose from! 
   (Later you'll definitely want to play around with the other fun features!) The ones    
   with the crown next to them cost $$.  I happily pay $4.99 monthly for the extras. 


 8) After you pick your font, click on ADD TEXT.  A text box will appear on your image.    
     You can move it wherever you would like and it will adjust automatically to '
     accommodate your text.  I chose the Chelsea Market text. 


9) Use the text options to customize your text however you like.  You can change the  
    color, size, justification, and more!  Then just click SAVE and save it to your   
    computer!! 

 VOILA!! 

You just learned a new skill that will help you customize any image for personal use! 

I hope you will "hastag up" with me and my Frenzied SLP friends to share why YOU are #lucky2BEanSLP
Tag me or another SLP to spread the luck!

Wanna know another reason I'm lucky? 
I'm lucky I've gotten to know so many fellow SLPs like you...
even if it is just through this little blog, my TpT store, or social media! 
Since you're here, I'd love nothing more than to read your comments! 
xo

-Mia 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Groundhogs and Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras, OH MY!!

It’s an exciting time of year here in Louisiana!! 
We have Valentine’s Day and Louisiana’s biggest holiday, Mardi Gras, coming up in the next 8 days!! 
It's hard to squeeze it all in!


Oh, and Punxsutawney Phil says there’s 6 more weeks of winter.  I’m fine with that because while most of the U.S. has been pounded with snow, I’m still waiting for winter.  It’s a nice 73 degrees here which is lovely.  The bad part is that I have lots of cozy winter wear waiting to be worn! (#southerngirlproblems). 

In any case, I LOVE teaching and talking about LOVE! Love is definitely in the air in my speech room :) 

Come on in and see what's going on! 

With these two fun holidays coming up, we've been having lots of fun in therapy.  Here’s a peek of what we have been doing and what’s going down this week....




We’ve been rocking the EET to describe Valentine’s day and now Mardi Gras





There will be many-a-bead thrown in the speech room this week anytime my students gimme some good communication.  






















On the Valentine’s Day front, you know, we’ve been doing some quick drill!! 
(continuing my life long quest to rid the world of the word "Valentime.")

The kids all get grossed out when they pick the card that says “You got kissed” or “You’re in love!” LOL 

I’ve used and abused my Love Letters for articulation and this week we will be mailing love letters again- this time the EET activity for describing that goes along with this one. 

It’s amazing how tickled kids can get just by slipping a card into a make-believe mailbox.  I hope they never lose that - that thing that lets them get so much happiness from something so simple. 

The book, The Valentine Grump, went so well with these activities. It's about how getting a valentine in the mail even makes the grumpiest of grumps happy. 


















Today I laminated my newest Valentine's Day product, Valentine Basic Concepts Fun! I made this especially for a preschooler and kindergartener that’s struggling with basic concepts . 
It’s hot off the press in my TPT store :) 

This is prepped and ready to go for tomorrow.







We’ve been doing lots of articulation homework from my Valentine’s Day Fun Pack... 


...AND some listening/following directions practice from the same packet.  

Oh my, this was so hard for them :( 






I’ve been using a Valentine Sticker scene for artic and language with my little ones. If you haven’t discovered the sticker scenes from Oriental Trading, you must check them out. My artic kids earn stickers to put on their scene with correct productions and my language kids earn stickers by labeling or describing them  (they aren’t allowed to point) and by telling me where in the picture they plan to put them. Them we use the scene to make up a story, answer questions and so on. I have them for every holiday and they keep little hands and brains busy.  








We started making foldable Valentine cards today for the peeps we love, and we will be doing that all week!  These are also from the Valentine Fun Pack. There's plenty of space inside to write sweet messages or draw a picture for mom. 











In honor of all the love going on, I made the trek to Target yesterday to gather up some Valentine treats for one and all! 












Last week. Mardi Gras king and queen crowns were made my one and all!! 


I love the peel-and-stick gems from Lake Shore and the Foam beads from Oriental Trading.  They make craft projects easy and mess-free.

I knew my girls would be ecstatic about making these. A couple of crowns ended up being Valentine crowns....













....but I had no idea how much the BOYS would love it, too. 



It just goes to show you everyone loves a good crown! {hahaha}

We’ve played some Mardi Gras Old Maid and some “Who’s got the baby.” 
We have also been learning from Mardi Gras vocabulary from that same packet.






















                                         We’ll be doing some dot art, as usual,

and some art with some of my favorite big foam stamps


During the last 2 weeks of therapy with my older kids (both in the classroom and my room) we have been reading about the history of Mardi Gras and discussing Mardi Gras traditions throughout our state (as well as some fun facts and interesting tidbits). 

We are continuing it this week. So many kids celebrate Mardi Gras but don’t know the reasons for the Mardi Gras traditions we practice (the parades, the beads, the feasting, etc)... even though they live here!  It's an absolute MUST that they learn about it- it’s their culture! 


On Friday- just before we leave for our 4 day Mardi Gras break- I will be sharing  my personal photos from Mardi Gras, playing some traditional Mardi Gras music, sharing videos of my family's traditions, and showing them my husband's traditional Cajun Mardi Gras costume, mask and capichon (hat).

You can see my hubby decked out in his costume HERE


In case you're interested in our old Cajun Mardi Gras traditions, here is the short version:

The week AFTER Mardi Gras we will be doing some silly Mardi Gras Stamp-A-Stories while the kids tell all about their fun Mardi Gras adventures! You can read about those stamp stories HERE, and download that freebie HERE

Whew, I need to rest up for another jampacked day of therapy tomorrow.  

I hope your speech room is filled with LOVE, too! 

Happy Valentine's Day 

and 

Happy Mardi Gras, y'all! 

-Mia 







Saturday, February 7, 2015

How I store my speechie stuff!

I’m linking up with my friend, Jen, from SLP runner to show you some storage solutions that I use in my speech room. 


 After about 15 years in an 8 X 8 hole of a therapy room, and sharing a room for 18 years, I finally have my very own real-people-sized classroom!  I fully realize this puts me in the minority and among the blessed. Please don't hate me :)  I have plenty of room to spread my wings now but after so many years of being squished and having to be creative with space saving, I’ve learned some tricks. 

First off, if you're like me you have a ton of TpT products.  For those, I always use good ole manila clasp envelopes. They're cheap and handy and keep everything held together nicely. I tape the cover pages to the front of the envelope and put the pieces and parts inside. I use binder clips, rubber bands or plastic bags to organize the separate the decks of cards (if there are any). 


Big products (with full pages or game boards) get large envelopes and smaller products get small envelopes. 
See? 













<<< I bought cute, green plastic bins at the Dollar Tree for 1 buck each, and I stack my packets there for see, grab, and go readiness. 

I love having my favorite go-to items close at hand!









I store away "off season" items in bins with my various seasonal items.
I have a storage bin for each season and I pile everything {else} in there.  


If my craft items for that season get out of control (on the verge of ridiculousness),
 I make a separate bin for just THAT season’s crafts. 


Of course, I have fabric bins (with labels I made) for everything under the sun.


  I lucked out that the bookshelves I’ve had a dozen years (provided by the school board) were a perfect fit for Target’s fabric bins.  My bins hold paint, preschool toys, social skills programs,  timers, prizes, Super Duper books, Phonics Faces materials, cleaning supplies, tissues, office supplies, artic cards, language workbooks.... you name it. 


I keep worksheets or other papers that I can quickly copy and use in hanging file folders in a crate- arranged by season and holiday on this super cute metal rolling shelf/cart that I bought from One King’s Lane 
(I’ve also seen this cute cart at Target and Ikea) 



I could not live without my rolling bin from Ikea.  It’s a hot mess but it’s got everything in one square foot of floor space 
(glue, crayons, stickers, scissors, chipper chat tokens and wands, pens, tongue depressors, ipad, paintbrushes, sticky notes, artic word lists, paper clips, my stapler, tape, dice, spinners), and that polka dotted 31 bag hold all of my quick drills!

Not only does it hold a LOT OF STUFF....

I can roll it over to my table or roll it to the carpet when we are having therapy on the floor. 








My last storage solution is something I just tried this school year.  I bought some fabric and cut it to fit around my large work table.  I hemmed the bottom, top and sides of the rectangles but that probably wasn't even necessary. I could have just as well used double sided taped or that handy hemming tape.   >>>>>


I starched and ironed it really well and attached it to my table using just thumb tacks {which you can see below if you look really hard.}  I overlapped the fabric to create a pleat and pressed in each thumb tack. It wasn't nearly as hard as you might think. 

I did it in panels so I can raise 1/3 of the skirt to reach certain things hidden underneath in different areas. 







Let me tell you, THERE’s A TON OF STUFF stuffed under that skirt!!  
<<<<<<<<<<<



There are stacked storage bins of all sizes,  a printer, a microwave and a refrigerator!! All of my surge protectors and wires are also hidden under there.  

It’s a hot mess under there but no one knows! Shhhhh 

Mhuahahahahahaha





Well, that's it- my solutions for storing (hoarding) all of my stuff.  If you want to read about how other SLPs stash their stuff, head over to Jen's linky party.  Don't miss Jen's post because she has some super creative storage secrets!
I'd love to hear how you manage your goodies and clutter!

-Mia 

Oh, by the way, follow me on instagram for lots of storage solutions!! 
That's where I post photos everyday! 


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Me...a very frenzied SLP

Well, hello!! 
If you’re reading this you’re either...a regular reader (wow, I never thought I would have those) or you’ve clicked on a FRENZIED SLPS link that led you right here to my little blog. 

In any case, I’m glad you’re here. If you’re new - be warned - I’m wordy.  Stick it out through this long post, though, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded :) (I'm serious!) 

I’m stoked to announce today that I’m part of a primo group of speech-language pathologists called the FRENZIED SLPs! We’re just a bunch of friends who’ve ganged up to bring you regular posts about how to manage your frenzied SLP life!    

Let me introduce myself ...

1) BOOKISH BOY MOM Like most SLPs, I AM BOOKISH.  I’m a big reader and word nerd (if you doubt me, just read this nerdy wordy post). I’ve completely shunned eReaders of all kinds; I'm hopelessly devoted to the real-deal-paper-pages-between-2-covers.


In our home, there are books everywhere you look.                                         

                                         Don’t even get me started on the whole subject of Harry Potter.  If you follow me on Pinterest you know I’m a little bonkers over everything HP! Although I love libraries, I can’t stand to part with a book I’ve fallen in love with after reading it.  So...I am a book hoarder.  My "sciencey" hubby humors me and hangs out with me late at night at bookstores.  I have successfully managed to bring my two sons, however, to the “book side” with me.   


My oldest son, Ferris, was a journalist who quickly jumped ship from that profession to pursue a grad degree in creative writing and life as a novelist in New Orleans.  My "baby," Riley, plans to chase those same dreams.  My little bookworms.  We are so easy to please---all we need is our blankies, our books, and something to sip on. 
2) CAJUN FOODIE Born and raised in the heart of Cajun country, I’m all about our culture, music, language, and FOOD.  My husband and I travel far and wide basically just to eat at cool places, but I swear there’s NO food on Earth like Louisiana.  In fact, I’m thinking about adding a section to my blog about our old school Cajun cooking and our eating adventures. Whatcha think? If you follow me on instagram you already know I’m a food fanatic (and one of those annoying people who won’t let anyone eat until I’ve taken pictures of the food).  


3) CRAFTER/CROCHETER     You see, this is probably why I’m so frenzied- I have TOO MANY HOBBIES! I sew a little, scrapbook a bit, and I crochet like crazy.  Like with food, I'm constantly sharing my crochet on instagram. Something about the repetitiveness of it relaxes the frenzied me.  


My husband gets on the crafty bandwagon with me, too.  There’s nothing he won’t paint, refurb, or reinvent if I get a crazy idea. We love taking junk from zero to hero, and we love traveling to find unique pieces of trash to turn into treasure.   

We’ve been collecting old books lately....to turn into a headboard like this: 


(I love it when my passions collide!) 

4) PIANIST   My mom made me start taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old.  I whined about it ALOT.  I didn’t realize at the time that she was blessing me with a hobby for life.  Playing piano was a huge stress reliever for me growing up.  
I played at church and have played in weddings. Even now in my job, I’ve played for school plays and Christmas caroling outings with my Jr. Beta students.  My boys say their favorite Christmas tradition is us sitting around the piano while we sing carols at the end of Christmas day.  Since both my sons play trombone and my husband plays the Cajun accordion, we joke that we could have a family band,  but what a strange band that would be! 

So I’ve already confessed that I crochet and play piano to help with stress.  The good food and reading helps, too! 

People think I’m all...


Uhh....no way.  I might appear that to have my act together at first glance. My cutesy therapy activities might make you think I’ve got it under control, but here's the truth.....I'm really more like.... 


I somehow manage to hide my stress (on the outside), but all the while, I swear most days I think my head will explode.

When it comes to our jobs as SLPs (managing our caseload, staying on top of paperwork, holding conferences, individualizing therapy, yada yada yada)are overwhelming. Truth be known, I’m overwhelmed on a daily basis.  

I work in the school system, and the education world keeps trying to shove me (us) into a little teacher box.  I don’t know about you but, I don’t need "lesson plans."  Shhhh don’t let the administrators hear this!!  SLPs keep lots of detailed records.  I have my students' goals on tally sheets and I could recite them to you backwards and forwards.  I have a wealth of therapy supplies and I KNOW what I need to do with each child to get their communication in gear.  I could easily wing it and pull an activity for therapy 2.2 seconds before each student walks through the door, but.....principals and supervisors don't always take kindly to that. 

In our district, we are now being evaluated much like teachers - on a rubric that addresses (among many things) lesson plans.  Even though I address my students’ IEP goals, keep excellent data, and make note of the activities I use on my data/tally sheet, some administrators wanted evidence that I had planned.  I protested. I told them that the IEP goals are the lesson plans and the activities are just a frilly sideshow.  No kidding; I stomped my feet and used my whiny voice and everything.  However, being the perfectionist  healthy achiever that I am, I have now caved.  I caved to the lesson plan.  

I put away my rebel ways and made a doggone lesson plan.  To be honest, I did it with no intention of using it.  It was only a means to an end to get myself a good evaluation.  Now, I’m ashamed to say, I kinda like it.  I don’t have to wing it anymore.  It’s keeping me organized and ahead of the game, and dang it, it’s grown on me.  Now I do weekly lesson plans (just the activities) to go along with my tally sheets. I just type in this nifty form I made, print it, post it on my board, and then at the end of the week, I hole punch it and put it in a binder.  

My evidence of planning all year long :)


It’s decreased my frenzied-ness.  Maybe it will help with yours, too.  You can grab my customizable pdf weekly lesson plan {freebie} here.  

Just add your name and title, circle the dates that the plan encompasses, type in your activities (I do it by age group and disorder)and get on with your business.

If you like it or use it, I'd love to hear from you!! 
Your feedback is what keeps me going on my most frenzied days. 

-Mia


***This form only covers August-May. I've already had requests to extend it and I plan to do that. Stay tuned.

Special thanks to these artists whose clipart is featured on this product: 
Heather Jackson (doodle rectangles) Crazy Miss Rains (doodle circles)