Friday, February 24, 2017

How to Declutter, SLP Style

Do you have boxes and boxes of speech materials piled up in the back of a closet in your house?  Or maybe shelves piled so high that you worry for your safety when sitting under them?  Perhaps its the junk drawer(s) that you have to open two inches, then slide your hand in to push the stuff inside down, so that you can continue opening the drawer?  It's not your fault! You're an SLP, and SLPs are naturally innovative and thrifty - constantly finding new uses for old objects. I'm guilty of keeping things way too long.  I'm sure my coworkers or husband have heard me say things like, "I know this puzzle doesn't have all the pieces, but I can totally turn that into a language lesson on the word "missing!" or "Well, I might eventually need a half of a piece of blue construction paper that already has a circle cut out of it."  But, if you're like me and are feeling overwhelmed with items in your office or personal space here are a few tips on decluttering.

-If you haven't used it in the past year, donate it or chuck it!

-If it's broken and you won't be able to fix it in the next 48 hours, toss it!

-If it's not appropriate for the population you are working with, sell it!

-If it's a test that is outdated, get rid of it and replace it!

-If it's a piece to a game or toy that you can't locate, out it goes!

-If it's got a coat of dust on it, you don't need it!

-If it has a questionable stain, bye!

-Cassettes or VHS videos when you don't actually have a tape player or VHS machine, Good Will it!

-If you still have grad school text books for topics you do not work with (i.e. you work in a special needs autism preschool, and you have shelves stocked up with text books on geriatric dysphagia), donate it to a local college or library!

-Would it fall into the category of scrap paper aka it's less than half the size of a sheet of paper? Out it goes!

-Is it a kind of electronic or a device that requires a special battery or cord to charge, and you've lost that battery/cord?  Get rid of it!  Don't kid yourself with thinking you'll take the time to search the depths of the internet for a replacement. 

*There are a few exceptions that should be noted when deciding whether or not to get rid of something, such as was it given to you by a special person or if you have a sneaking suspicion that it doesn't actually belong to you and maybe you forgot to return it to a coworker three years ago during that snow storm.  

Good luck decluttering!!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

5 of My Favorite FREE Valentine's Day SLP Resources!

Today was a blizzard in New York, and somehow, someway, the NYC Department of Education closed for a snow day!! After the initial shock wore off, I started thinking about how I wanted to spend my day.  After a few hours of the West Wing and pancake eating, it hit me that Valentine's Day was next week already!  This year has been going by so fast, and I don't feel like I have been taking advantage of holiday themed activities in my speech room as much as in past years.  So, today I took some time to find 5 awesome free Valentine's Day activities that I (and you) can put to use tomorrow, Monday, and Tuesday!  I also plan on saving them in a labeled folder so that I can pull them out easily for next year.

Here we go and in no particular order...

1. Following Directions Valentine's Day by The Pedi Speechie
I like this resource for a few reasons, but primarily because the directions are placed in adorable rhymes that will be fun for your students to each read aloud, or listen to.

2. Valentine's Day Mini Book Freebie
I've recently been a big fan of mini book resources because they can be started and completed all in one session. My students love being able to feel like they accomplished something that they can then bring home and show to their families.  I've also been trying to collaborate more with the OTs in my building, who would be happy to see all of the cutting activities being utilized.

3. Valentine's Day Interactive Book for Describing/Listening Freebie by Fun in Speech
So this is definitely something that you want to put in a safe place to use year after year, because interactive vocabulary books take a little bit of extra time to make.  This one is totally worth it though.  It has cute pictures and a lot of repetition (think Brown Bear, Brown Bear), which is great for our beginner readers to read aloud.  Really nice for targeting attending to stories and auditory comprehension.

4. Valentine's Day ABCs Alphabet Cards! by Lauren DiBiase
Okay so I'm a little biased here, but I really love using this alphabet cards with my kindergarteners who are working on phonological awareness, all the way up to my 13 year olds who somehow slipped through the cracks and still don't have the alphabet committed to memory. We use them by putting them all in order, by naming the sounds they make, and by thinking of words that have those letters in the beginning, ends, or middle of words.

5. Valentine's Day Craftivity Freebie! by Speech Paths
Holidays are absolutely an excuse to have some extra fun in speech, and extra fun means crafts to me!  This is an open ended resource so you can use it for anything- following directions, WH questions, describing, really anything.  I'm planning on using it with my higher functioning students who have emotional disturbances, to think of characteristics that they love in people!

Do you have any favorite Valentine's Day resources that I missed? If so, please share!!