Monday, August 18, 2014

flex·i·ble            ˈfleksəbəl/            flexible
Definitions: Capable of bending easily without breaking, able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances or conditions, ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances. 
Synonyms: pliable, elastic, stretchy, resilient, bendy, adaptable, adjustable, variable, versatile, free, accommodating, cooperative, tolerant and easygoing.

The best advice I received before graduating with my Master's Degree was from my Fluency Disorders Professor Jean Jackson. She said something  like this, "Rachel, You have got to be more flexible!"

I swear...I am TOTALLY FLEXIBLE...sometimes. 

I know I have written about this topic before, sorry you get to read about it again! The reason I bring it up again is because being flexible is a huge part of this career and just a big part of life in general. Personally I struggle with "rolling with the punches" from time to time...I think everyone does!

There is something about having that perfect lesson planned (schedule, assessment,  IEP etc.) that just screams, "Right now is the perfect time for something to go wrong".  In one of my very first observations as a CF, I planned a great lesson with stamp pads, stamps and a printable with their sound to drill and stamp as a reward.  One student immediately put the stamp with ink in his mouth. Yay! Now I have a student with a mouth full of blue ink!!!!! Luckily it was non-toxic...it all worked out!
Another example, perfect group lesson planned, two out out of the three students were absent.  I had to do my observation while playing "Go-Fish" with my supervisor and the student. At first I just couldn't believe how much time I had spent planning to have it get messed up. However, we ended up having fun and the student got a great full individual session. 
Or the days when parents show up a day early for IEPs, something didn't get put in the right mailbox, a whole class is on a field trip, the one student you need to assess is absent, the phone rings in the middle of a session, and so on....
I am writing about this today because it was my last planning day before the first day of school and my puppy had to be taken to the vet. I had to take a half day at work and rush her over to get checked out.  First I was upset that my productive day was interrupted, then grateful that I have a job that allows me to take a few personal hours should I need it. Also thankful that my puppy appears to have a diagnosis after a month and should be getting better soon! It takes a while to see the good things that come with being flexible! 
I love this quote.. .
So if at first glance you think to yourself you are not flexible and this job is just going to eat you alive because nothing will ever go just "perfect". Remember that......

All the times when we have to be flexible and change up our routine are part of what make this job so fun and exciting! It's never the same and we learn so much by the "curve balls" our job throws our way! 
Trying to live in the light this year, but know that when the clouds come.....we must have rain or there would be no rainbows. <3
Disclaimer: images are NOT mine, but were found on pinterest. Click on the image to find out where they came from!

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Articulation Cans- A Review!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today I am reviewing (mostly through pictures) an amazing product by,
Go like her page: here

Cheap for what you get! 100's and 100's of words! 
I don't even know how many words because I lost track after a box of 200 Popsicle sticks, plus 3 more bags of 75! I still have words left to do! I need to make a craft store run now!  

Easy to make
 If you want to make them the easy way, print, cut and glue. 
I wanted to get fancy so I used a Xyron Creative Machine (there are many types of these machines!) 
I laminated the pages and labels then ran them through again using the adhesive backing 
Note: I had some trouble with the adhesive sticking to the laminate; so I ripped the back half of the laminate off and ran them through the machine with adhesive. It worked like a charm!

Multiple Uses 
Mia explains how she uses the sticks and even provides a few worksheets! I can't wait to use these with the students who are sick and tired of using articulation cards. I think that they will be great for the younger students I work with! Can someone say preschool!?

This is something you will actually use, use and USE! Seriously, think of all the possibilities! Like you can even use these for EET, vocabulary practice, Wh questions..or story telling! Have students pick out 3 and make up a story! 

 I wanted to make sure I remembered all the words so I wrote them on the back.
I will be putting these in my carrying cart to do hallway artic therapy! Also using for games, drill, and so much more!

The best part is the part where you get to personalize them! 
I found my "cans" (actually pencil holders) at the Dollar Tree. 
I have heard word that Target may still have some in their Dollar Spot section. 
Find a pretty paper that you like (or not if your containers are already pretty!) I found my paper in the scrapbook section of Michael's.
I LOVE getting crafty, cutting, laminating and sticking! Seriously, the perfect excuse to put your feet up, craft and watch tv for a good purpose!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Xyron, I purchased the machine with my own money! I also paid for Mia's products and LOVE them which is why I wanted to share the awesomeness.

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Data Tracking Dilemma

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This year will be my fifth year as an SLP.  I would like to say at this time that I have data tracking mastered. However, I can't seem to find "something" that works consistently. I am not sure that "thing" exists. Tracking data is an imperfect and ever evolving task!

What have I tried so far?
  • I have tried Super Duper Inc.'s data tracking app. It took a LONG time to input all students goals. Then to keep them updated after every IEP was a nightmare. 
  • I have also tried creating an excel sheet with groups. It worked for a while, but I grew tired of having my computer open during groups. 
  • I don't think I can even count how many different paper forms I have tried! I think I probably adjust my form about three times a year, maybe more. I end up getting inspired by a new form I find and then try it out for a while. 

 What works for me?
  • This last year I set a goal for myself to at least track the student's number of sessions to ensure I was meeting their IEP times.  This was the reason I created the Attendance Calendar (free!) I have the students circle that they are present in speech. 
  • I also created a log for myself that stated that they were in attendance, if not the reason why. I circled the goals we worked on and a note about what we did that session (e.g. artic drill, board game for vocab, etc.) 

Where I have trouble? (Admitting your weaknesses makes you stronger right?)
  •  I couldn't finding a place to track the actual trials, data, notes, levels of prompting, behavioral notes. As well as attendance and things got messy.
  • I had kept all my logs in each students folder, and I found myself with piles and piles of folders in front of me. At the end of the day it was daunting just to look at!
  • I like things streamlined...this was NOT streamlined. It wasn't easy to take data either and I ended up making things harder for myself.

What am I going to do about it?

  •  I got inspired by the lovely Ms. Thrifty SLP She shared her log with me. Which I loved! However it was still in paper form and wasn't working for me
  • Another SLP on the Facebook SLP group said she uses 2X4 shipping labels to take data.
  •  I married the two, I created a form using my old form, some of Ms. Thrifty's form, and 2x4 shipping labels and now I want to give it to you!!! 

  1.  Buy Avery White Shipping Labels in 2x4 (#18163) I found mine at WalMart. I only bought a few to start to see how I like it! 
  2. If you want to make your own version download the Avery Template here.
  3. If you want to use my pre-made labels download that here (note the preview will not show what it actually looks like, download it!) 
  4. Make a place to stick the labels, I used the same Avery template but deleted a few boxes to include a place for the student's name etc.  Download my version here or a new one with room for goals here
  5. Print and GO! 

  1. Grab a clipboard. 
  2. Keep a big stack of the labels on it. 
  3. I plan to fill out most of the info that I can. This way I have less work to do. If you make your own you can fill out the year, school. You can even make pages for groups and preload the students names on them!
  4. Take data during the group.
  5. When done with the session or at the end of the day take the stickers and SLAP (haha) them onto the students data sheet! DONE! I cannot wait to try this system out!
Would love to hear how it works for you, or feel free to share other ways you track your data!

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No working from home.....whoops

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Confession time! I brought work home!! NOooooOOoooo!

I work at a school where "No Excuses" is our policy...

BUT....I really did have to bring some work home. The wildfires of San Diego meant that school was closed for 2 days, and thus I got behind. I am not far enough ahead in my days yet. Which leads me to my next point...I will do better the next time around!

 Sometimes we are not going to succeed. The point is I tried. Even better, I did pretty well! Since April I have only completed 2 reports/IEPs from home. For me that's a huge improvement. While I was not at the level of 0% work from home. I am not sure that's even possible as if I am not working from home I am then staying late (not good either). I am not going to give up trying to keep work at work. I am also going to carefully look at my year next year, make a better schedule and tell people when I need help!

I am also a happier person when I don't focus so much on the SLP side of myself.

Again I think the most important part is BALANCE.
 Ain't that the truth!? 

I thrive on stress, but that doesn't mean I should. I have a hard time with quiet, sitting still and waiting. I had a teacher with me the other morning, waiting for a parent. She observed me whirling and swirling around my office getting things done and she actually said aloud, "Woah! You are busy!" Uh-oh am I that bad!?

I need to learn to slow down, think and plan better. If I don't I fear I will burn-out. My goal in the coming year is to really stop, plan and ask for help when needed. If I slow down, I might actually be more productive and happier. Not everything is an emergency.

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10 Things I Want To Do This Summer!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


This link-up randomly popped up in my facebook feed today! Decided it was the perfect blog post for this weekend! Thanks Mrs. Jump's Class!

My top ten list in no particular order

1. Spend more time with this little love! We got our new puppy in December, so I had some time to spoil her rotten! However, I have not had as much time to walk her and train her as I would like. This summer it will be puppy time!
Bindi and her dragon. Too cute.
2. Spend more time with my husband! We are newlyweds after all! We will be headed to Las Vegas for a friend's wedding this summer and it happens to be the same weekend as our 1 year anniversary! Can't believe it will have been one year since this glorious day....could not have been more perfect....
3.  Go to Pilates! A good friend of my suggested I go to reformer Pilates with her, I was a bit skeptical about my enjoyment of something with a strange machine...however I LOVE it! The problem has been finding the time to go. This is one of the reasons I started my vow to bring as little work home as possible so I could start taking better care of myself!

4. COOK! Okay, I have to admit I am horrible at planning what to eat during the week. I even made a cute menu board! haha the funny thing is it just hangs there empty. So we result to eating something easy or we go out, which is not always the healthiest thing to do!
Mine looks like this, isn't pinterest awesome!?

5.  Crochet. I am a serial crafter. I skip around various crafts. Right now my favorite pastime is crocheting! It has stuck around for a quite a while because it's easy to do while watching tv! Here is my summer project.
The inspiration from pinterest.
I am using only jewel tones and so far I am loving it!
6. Wish my amazing parents a happy retirement in person! My dad is retiring from Lockheed Martin after almost exactly 33 years to the day! My mom is retiring from Clement Preschool after gosh I think like 14 or 15 years? Maybe longer? She has been a preschool teacher for at least 20 years! They both retire this June! I cannot wait to go visit them!
Easter with my parents, sister and I in our front yard. My dad made that arbor! 

7.  Enjoy the beach! This is the beach that is 3 miles away from my house! Right now the "May Gray" and "June Gloom" are hanging around, I cannot wait for the sun to come back out of the marine layer!

8.  Spend some time creating TpT products! It's been too long since i Have made something new. My long list of ideas and my hoard of clipart continues to grow. 
9. Clean up the "wedding room". We have a spare room that has become the dumping grounds for all miscellaneous junk, along with wedding decorations and such. It's a mess up there!! 

10. Read a book and relax. 

What are you doing this summer!? Link-up with Mrs. Jump's Class!

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S...Peachy Feedback!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Speachy feedback time!!
I have never gotten around to doing this! Never to late to start!
I want to make sure you all know how much I appreciate all of you and the feedback you leave!
I am linking up the Allison's Speech Peeps and honoring one lucky feedback giver!
Thanks Val. O for the great feedback!
 I have used Structured Sentence Building the most with my preschoolers as well.  I love being able to complete the page in therapy and then send it home!
 I have more pages that will be added this summer! I can't wait to have more time to add to it and make more! The students really like them and I am glad that you are finding them enjoyable too!

email me with a product of your choice from my store!

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Day ??? of the no taking work home "vow"

Monday, May 19, 2014

Time goes by way to fast these days! I have held fast to my no taking work home "vow". It hasn't been easy....but here is how I have survived.

1. Lists (but not long ones) are my new best friend. I used to make LONG to-do lists. I ended up getting down on myself because it felt never ending.  One of those moments where you throw your hands in the air and say "I GIVE UP", but with no lists I was lost.
Now I make a short to-do list for that day. That's it. Short sweet and to the point. I try to get my little list done by the time I go home. I also numbered all the students I have due for assessments and get them done one at a time. I did all the testing first, now to get all the writing done. I also have a to-do sticky on the front of each file I am working on that says what I have left to do (e.g. CELF-4, report, IEP, meeting notice and so on). That way I can quickly reference what I have left to do! 

2. Changing my mindset. I can be a real Negative Nancy. Dwelling on all the work, how overwhelming it all is, the never endings lists. Negative, negative, negative. I lost sight of why I love my job! So I try to find more positive things about my day, even if they are small, like remembering to do my medical before I leave or copying that IEP that has been staring at me for 2 days.

I may just need to buy this poster for my office. Find it here
3. Staying a little bit late, sometimes. Now I am talking 15 or 20 minutes if it means not taking that IEP home. I don't encourage this behavior, but it really helped me keep work and home completely separated. Just don't do this....
property of icanhascheezburger.com
4. Think about your schedule! Thinking this year is bad? What could I do better next year to improve this situation? If you are really swamped think about your options right now! Are there some groups you could make a little bit bigger to give you more report writing time? Think about your time management skills, am I getting enough done during my prep time or am I talking to much? Maybe I should close my therapy door and do some work! Honestly sometimes you just have to be a little antisocial and then you can apologize later! Thank goodness for my awesome coworkers for understanding! Here are more tips:
Not my property. Find this image here
Lastly always remember this about yourself, no matter what...
I do not own this image, nor do I claim to. It can be found here

15 more days of work for the school year and more tips to come soon!

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