Good organizational skills are a necessity if you work in our field. We are always collecting new activities, games and programs, not to mention being bombarded with paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork! Without good organization skills our jobs can become even more overwhelming and challenging to manage. Good organizational habits are also a good way to demonstrate, first hand to our students, those all important executive functioning skills that we teach. After all, we should try our best to practice what we preach!
I work primarily with middle and high school students. I have been an SLP for many years. I have collected many materials over those years and continue to find new, fresh, motivating materials. I try to “clean house” every so often and get rid of outdated, ineffective materials in order to make room for new finds. I have also accumulated materials that are my tried and true stand-by’s that I use over and over again.
So here is how I keep some of the materials for older students organized and easy to access:
#1: Organizing my graphic organizers. I have quite the collection of graphic organizers and have them all separated out with color-coded tabs. I used these daily with my older students to address a variety of goals. I find that while one organizer works well for one student, a different format may be more effective for another so I have several versions that may address one area (i.e. vocabulary development). You name the area of language, I probably have an organizer for it! Vocabulary development (I have at least 20 different graphic organizers for this area), comparing/contrasting, cause/effect, multiple meanings, inferencing, two-column notes, before/after, and the list goes on. I also keep a separate binder for my writing organizers. Top-down, sequencing, authors purpose, character traits, story maps, etc, etc, etc. I have a few copies of each printed and ready to go in my binders so I am prepared for any spur of the moment need for an organizer.
#2: Organizing my programs and daily “go-to’s”: Can you tell I like to use binders?! Yes I have lots of them! I order most of my materials from various vendors on CD. When new ones arrive at the start of the school year, I download it , print it out, three hole punch it and add my shiny new binder to my bookshelf. By the way, Word Feast Adolescent and Tasks of Problem Solving Adolescent are two of my favorites! I use these frequently. I use all of the the binders pictured below throughout the year. It’s so much easier for me to remember what great materials I have when I have them labeled and organized in clear view for easy reference. My “go-to’s” are on a separate shelf located on my desk. These binders contain my graphic organizers, joke of the week, quote of the week, idiom of the week and picture of the week binders. I display these in clear plastic 8X10 picture holders (the kind you can buy in the dollar store.) I can quickly switch out a new page to my plastic holder by keeping these references in clear sight on my desk. My students love when I display these and look forward to finding out what my new “….Of the Week” display will be each time they visit my room.
#3: Organizing my seasonal and themed activities. I create TpT products (mainly for older kids and often with a seasonal theme), I purchase TpT products too. I have sooooo many TpT products!! What to do with all those TpT products??!! I store mine in clear plastic containers and house each activity in its own large business envelope. Luckily I found containers that are the perfect size for the envelopes. I have containers labeled General Themes, Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. I also have an overflow container with miscellaneous language worksheets and activities. I think I may need to invest in a few more containers or start weeding out the activities that I am not using or finding effective. My space is limited so I will need to do a little house keeping very soon!!
These are a few organizational tips I use to keep me sane and my therapy room orderly! I hope you have found them helpful! The Frenzied SLPs have many other great ideas for you, so don’t forget to check them all out! Here’s to a well organized 2016!!!