The Frenzied SLP’s—Make Each Day Count in Your New Year!

january frenzy pix

Happy New Year!   I’m so excited to kick the year off with The Frenzied SLP’s!  Each month we will be posting tips, tricks and ideas to help make your busy lives a little easier.

Let me start off by explaining my intro…

1.  foodie forever–   If you have been following my blog for a while then you might have guessed that I love food!  Making it, writing about it, using it in therapy (when appropriate), and of course eating it!  In my next life I think I would come back as a pastry chef and own a small patisserie or boulangerie in Paris!  For now I will settle for sharing my passion with my family, friends and students!   You can browse my site for lots of food-inspired activities and TpT products with a food theme!

2. guitar girl–  I first picked up this instrument at a very young age.  I was taught to play the guitar by a nun (no, not Maria Von Trapp! lol!)  I played at all the folk masses in my church and as a teenager studied classical/acoustic guitar with a British guitar teacher.   When I became a parent,  I loved writing fun and silly songs for my baby boy.   Maybe one day I will get up the nerve to play for my older students—but I better learn something really cool so I can impress them!  I am a big advocate of using music in your speech/language lessons with all ages.  It’s such a great motivator!!

3. family of educators–Practically my whole family is in the education business!   My husband is a school principal.  He used to teach middle school Spanish and started his career as an elementary school teacher.  My three sisters are middle and high school English and science teachers.  My brothers-in-law are music and physical education teachers.   We always joke about opening our own school someday.  I think we have all our bases covered!

4.  mom of a middle-schooler–  I thought the day would never come, but here we are.  I have a tween!  My son started middle school this year.  I am bracing myself for these years.  I have worked with middle and high school students for many years so I am well aware of the trials and tribulations!  Here’s hoping we have fairly smooth sailing.

This month, I have an inspiring tip (it’s actually a freebie in my TpT store) and a tasty dish to help you start off the new year on the right foot!  Let me know if you try either, I’d love to hear from you!

mini book

Instead of thinking about all the things that I didn’t finish at the end of the day, this year I vow to focus on what I did accomplish (no matter how small or simple it was!)  And to remind myself that all the little things add up to big things over time, I’m going to keep track in a mini calendar.   It will serve as a simple and effective way of noting daily accomplishments.   By the end of the week/ month/year, I will have many reminders of all the positive, productive, meaningful tasks that I completed!

I think this will be the perfect way to start off the new year, without making definitive and specific resolutions that often stress us out and then later fizzle out!

You can grab your own copy of my “Make Each Day Count” mini-calendar HERE.   Remember, your tasks might be as small/simple as filing away papers to clear your workspace,    finally finding your favorite speech reward stickers that had been missing, changing the light bulb that has been out for the past month at home!   The tasks might be more involved such as completing an evaluation on a challenging student, getting a student to finally produce a difficult sound, or cleaning out your messy closets at home and donating the unwanted items.  The important message is that you remind yourself that you are moving forward, making a difference in some small (or large) way, and always trying to “make each day count.”

calendar 1

Keep your mini book in your school planner, at your workspace at home, in your purse, next to your bedside or somewhere you will remember to take a moment to record a few words before the end of each day.

calendar 2

And I couldn’t end my post without sharing a recipe!  (I’m hoping to have a new one for you each month.)   Some people believe that consumption of black-eyed peas will bring luck and prosperity in the new year so I whipped up some Cowboy Caviar for you!  Not only does it have symbolic value but it is also a very healthful way to start off the New Year!

 COWBOY CAVIAR

cowboy 1

Combine the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl: 1 can black-eyed peas (rinsed and drained), 2 cups corn ( I prefer thawed, frozen corn to canned corn) 2 cubed avocados, 3-4 diced Roma tomatoes, 3-4 chopped green onions (scallions), 1 can chopped black pitted olives, 1 diced red pepper, 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

cowboy 2

Mix the following dressing ingredients: 1 freshly squeezed lime, 2-3 cloves garlic finely minced, 2-3 tsp Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, salt/pepper to taste

Mix dressing ingredients well and add to chopped ingredients.  Let sit overnight in refrigerator to allow dressing to infuse into all ingredients and enhance flavors.  Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

cowboy 4

 

Share and enjoy at home with your family or bring some in to work for your coworkers!  It will make lunchtime more enjoyable and you will be sharing the gift of luck and prosperity with those around you!  All the best in 2015!

The Year in Review—and something new too!

happy new year pict 2015

The year flew by!   Each year seems to move faster than the one before it.  I know they say “time flies when you’re having fun,” but it also tends to behave in the same way as a result of  growing older!  I’m trying to convince myself that the initial, not the latter, is the reason for the accelerated pace!

I’d like to wrap up my busy year by sharing a few bloggy highlights, count-down style!   So let’s start the count at 10.  Here are my highlights from this past year……….

 

* added over TEN NEW PRODUCTS in my TpT store

My target population is middle and high school students.  Most of my activities are language-based and many carry a seasonal theme or a theme of high interest to older students.   Creating activities for the older students can be a challenge but it is so rewarding to get a positive response from them–they are my biggest supporters (and critics) and they think it’s pretty cool that I create activities just for them!   You can find all  my products in my TpT store.  I’d love for you to visit when you have a minute!

* whipped up at least NINE “SpeechSnacks” food-tivities on my blog:

…like this hysterical and creative April Fool’s fake-out idea.…and  this “toothy” treat for Halloween

Browse the post archives on my site for many more food-tivities to try at home or with your students at school when permitted!

* created EIGHT NEW FREEBIES in my TpT Store:

You  can check them all out here, but please, please take a moment to leave a little feedback and let me know what you think of my activities.  I put hours of time into my products, even my freebies, and it would mean so much to me!!   I would also LOVE if you followed my store by clicking on the green star next to my logo!!!!

* posted SEVEN crafty ideas to use in your therapy sessions:

Here are a couple you can quickly access—-I was inspired by a very healthy root veggie to create this crafty Valentine idea……and this St. Patty’s idea was inspired by some wine corks that I just happened to have left over after enjoying a glass of red.

 * conducted SIX PRODUCT GIVEAWAYS:

I gave away apps (thanks to the generosity of Smarty Ears, my own TpT products and a product box filled with amazing materials thanks to 3D SLP).  Check out the complete 3DSLP blog post here!!!   Keep following my blog and you might be the lucky winner of a product to add to your therapy bag of tricks in 2015!

* participated in FIVE LINKY PARTIES:

Are you familiar with these?   Jenna at Speech Room News does an awesome job organizing linky parties throughout the year.  If you want some great product suggestions to add to your “cart” during the big TpT sales, then you must check out what SLP’s are recommending from various  TpT stores!

* joined  FOUR FACEBOOK FRENZIES:

I had so much fun joining an amazingly talented group of SLP’s on Facebook this year.  We created freebies and gave them away on our Facebook pages when followers “liked” our pages.  Facebook has changed the rules a bit, so we won’t be throwing any more frenzies, however we have a new surprise in store for you.  Keep reading to find out more!

* reviewed THREE PRODUCT:

an app review for Language Trainer by Smarty Ears,

an app review for iName It by Smarty Ears,

a product review for Tatyana Ellesef– Executive Function Impairments in At-Risk Pediatric Populations.

* shared TWO  EXPERIENCES that connected my real-life to my speechie-life….

You must check out how I compared my kitchen renovation experience this past summer to the language concepts and students I teach!  Read about it HERE and HERE!

And see how I shared my own holiday traditions with my middle and high school students to form meaningful connections with them!

* named to ONE TOP 75 LIST!

I was so honored to find out that my blog made this list!   I’m in great company so check out all the amazing sites that were named to the

BEST WEBSITES FOR Speech Pathology–TOP 75 for 2015!

Top_75_SLP_Websites_Logo-e1418671212395

And now for something new!

Introducing The Frenzied SLP’s…coming to you this January 2015!

We launch in January with an introduction from each SLP contributor along with some tips for making this a great New Year 2015!  Stay tuned for my tip (and a recipe) to start your year off on a positive note!

frenzied slp

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Looking forward to all that 2015 has in store!

Building Connections by Sharing Traditions during the Holidays {FREEBIE included}

This past week I used several holiday themed reading passages with my middle and high school students to highlight tier-2 vocabulary as well as reading comprehension and identifying main ideas and supporting details.   I use these sites as some of my best go-to resources for finding great age-appropriate text:

One of the words we came across in a passage was “traditions.”  I proceeded to ask some of my middle schoolers if they could provide examples of traditions that their families celebrate during the holidays.  Their answers included , ” I don’t know of any,” “We don’t have any,”  “I’m not sure,” and “What are those?”   Our lessons became a great teachable moment as we began a discussion of traditions.  I shared many of my own family’s traditions that I experienced growing up and found that many of my students became very engaged and interested in hearing more.  They were also motivated to put more thought into their own traditions .   By the time our lesson was over, my students could name at least one tradition  their family celebrated.   For example, “We always go to my aunts house on Christmas Eve.”  “We open gifts only after Christmas morning mass. ”   “We have lasagna for dinner on Christmas Day.”   ”We fry all of our Hanukkah food with olive oil.”

I went home that evening and began searching for family photos and other pictures that represented  holiday traditions in my own upbringing.  I shared a few of these visuals with my students:

During the holidays, my family has always celebrated an Italian-American tradition known as La Vigilia (The Feast of Seven Fishes).  This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. My mom cooks this Christmas Eve feast every year. It includes at least 7 different fish dishes as well as other side dishes.   It is the most anticipated night of the year in my family!  Our table looks something a little like the picture below:

fishes

My Polish-American background is also big on traditions during the holidays.   We break oplatki or “Christmas wafer” prior to our feast.  Everyone gets a piece of oplatki on their plate and we all take turns breaking off a piece of each others wafer. This Christmas Eve observance symbolizes unity and solidarity with all members of the family.

oplatki

Growing up, it was a tradition for me and my three sisters to get a new pair of pj’s from our grandmother on Christmas Eve.  Very often we received identical pj’s so that we all matched!   It was a very cute tradition and I adore looking back at the photos of me and my siblings in our matching outfits! I am the oldest of the siblings—the first one on the right in the picture.   (I think my students found this one pretty amusing!)

sisters

Another holiday tradition in our household was the baking of the cookies.  My mother made at least 7-8 different types of cookies for the holidays.   Today, the tradition has been past down to me!  I make many of the same cookies as my mom and have added a few new additions of my own.  I bring them to our La Vigilia feast every year. (And yes, I like to take pictures of my Christmas cookies as shown below!!)

xmas cookies

cookies 4

I enjoyed sharing these memories with my students.  It was fun walking down memory lane and it gave them a better understanding of this concept.

(My list is too long, but I  have many other traditions that I celebrate with my own family, some old ones as well as some new ones that we have established over the years.   For starters, my son received his first Hess Truck from Santa on his first Christmas and will be guaranteed a new Hess collectable as long as they keep making them!   I’m sure he will find it very amusing to receive toy trucks when he starts entering his adult years!)

hess truck

I was inspired to put together a packet that would be a great follow up to our discussion about traditions.  I will be using this activity in the days leading up to our holiday break.  I think it will be a great way to tie in vocabulary building, written language and conversational skills.   You can grab this FREEBIE in my TpT store here!

traditions freebie

During this holiday season I hope my students can take away the following messages about traditions:

  • Traditions can be unique to our own individual family units and yet they also help us connect with others  since many of us share similar traditions.
  • Holiday traditions apply to all religions, ethnic groups  and races.  Even the smallest of gestures that you participate in annually can be considered a tradition.
  • Although our students might not quite realize it yet, the memories we build and the people with whom we celebrate our traditions is far more valuable than any material gift we  receive!

What are your holiday traditions?   I’d love to hear how you celebrate!   Wishing you all the best during this festive season. Health and happiness in 2015!

What’s In Your Cart? Linky Party!

linky pict 2014

It’s time for the TpT site wide cyber sale and I’m getting ready to do some serious shopping and saving on Cyber Monday!   Jenna at Speech Room News is hosting another linky party so that you can easily browse and shop for new therapy products by visiting all the SLP’s that have linked up with their recommendations.  Check out my list below.  It includes some great suggestions from my own store as well as some gems that other talented SLP’s have created.  I can’t wait to add new materials to my therapy lessons.  It’s always so rewarding to find just the right product to help motivate my older students!

From my store, here’s the latest:

night b4 xmas

The Night Before Christmas Companion Packet:  I can’t wait to start using this  poem companion with my older students. There are so many great tier-2 vocabulary words in this classic poem.  I know my students will have a whole new appreciation for it once we take a good look at word meanings.  And I have a super-fun food-tivity to share as well.   If you are permitted to use food in therapy, you’ll love this project included in the packet!

calendar pic 2015

Newly updated for 2015:  My Recipe Keepsake Calendar would make a very special gift, a fun craftivity, a cookbook and a great way to address temporal concepts all rolled up into one!    If you would like a project that your students can give a family member in time for the holidays, look no further.  Oh, and it makes a great calendar to hang in your speech room as well.  Use the recipe pages as inspiration for food-tivities to use in your speech and language sessions all year long.

I’ve also added two bundles to my store.

A holiday-themed language bundle……

Holiday Bundle Preview 2014 1

 

…as well as a winter-themed language bundle.   Check these out for some great savings during the sale!

winter bundle preview

And now for some great products that I will be adding to my cart during the sale…..

Safebook–Perspective Taking   by Slprunner.  This product is so relevant for today’s kids.   I like that I will be able to use it as an opportunity to discuss internet safety and keep them interested in a current trend.  I can never have enough social skills/perspective taking materials.

safebook

Selfies and Social Skills  (by Mia McDaniel) Selfies?! Say no more—I think my middle school social skills kiddos are going to give this two thumbs up!

selfies

 

8th Grade Vocabulary Activities by Big Hair Speech Therapy.   This product appears to have lots of great tier-2 words appropriate for my high school students.   I’m always looking for ways to address vocabulary development and it’s not easy to find products for older students so I am looking forward to checking out what this product has to offer.

vocab

Social Problem Solving by Speechasaurus presents social problem solving using real-life scenarios.   I love products with practical application so I think this will be a meaningful product for many of the students I teach.

social pict

 

I’m looking forward to kicking off the month of December and the holiday season by taking advantage of these great finds.   Check out all the amazing product ideas at the link up!   Happy shopping!!

The Last Hurrah! How (Bitter) Sweet It Is!

Well this is it folks!   Facebook is putting the “kibosh” on us!   As of November 5th,  Facebook is changing its policy and anyone with a Facebook page will no longer be able to ask those who visit  to ”like” you for a freebie/giveaway.   Naturally we found it fitting to dub this last giveaway ”The Last Hurrah!”

So why is it so (bitter)sweet?

1–The obvious reason (it sure has been nice getting all those likes, comments, followers, etc.)

2–Our theme is a “sweet” one.  The freebies will all  have a candy theme.  Our frenzy includes 22 freebies. We have each created a set of game cards addressing various speech/language targets.  The candy theme can be used throughout the entire year since there is no one holiday candy used for the freebies.  Plus, to go with all your game cards, one SLP created an amazing candy-themed  game board.

3–Now for the “bittersweet” part.  I was invited to join this group of talented SLP’s when they originally formed over a year ago.  This will be the  7th frenzy/giveaway  that I participate in.   I’m so glad I said “yes!”  when I was asked to join.  It has enabled me to not only gain more exposure for my blog, TpT store, etc., it has also inspired me to keep creating new materials and ideas.   I am proud to be among this group of SLP’s.  We represent various parts of the country, various ages, years of experience and areas of expertise, however we all have one thing in common, a love for our profession and a passion for creating  new and exciting ways to inspire those we teach!  So thanks ladies, it’s been a blast!

Our frenzy will start this Sunday, October 26th at 9 am EST and continue until Monday, October 27th at 10 pm EST.

Click on the picture below to download a clickable doc frenzy map.  Open the map up in Google docs and click on any of the squares.  It will take you to that specific Facebook page.  My freebie is last (but not least) on the map. 

oct frenzy

 

Here is the cover page for my freebie—Candy-Coated Questions {for higher level thinking}  There’s enough content in this little freebie to last an entire lesson, and then some!  And I’ve included my signature “SpeechSnacks” recipe card for a yummy chocolate/pumpkin fall treat!    Enjoy your  ”sugar rush” as you collect these sweet freebies!

candy freebie cover

 

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