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Get Ready, Get Wise, Get Organized! {Back to School STUDENT Planner}

There are so many amazing organizational planners out there created by so many amazing SLP bloggers and TPT store owners!   I think SLP’s have got to be the most organized group of professionals around!   So I thought it would be great to get our busy student’s lives on the right track to organization too.  You know they are going to see our great planning systems and want to be just as planned out and organized!!   (Well, maybe some of my middle school boys won’t feel this way immediately, but once they see how much it improves their ability to get motivated, focused and on-track they are going to be glad that I helped them!)

In my last post, I blogged about the importance of helping our students make the shift from summer to school.  I created a game that addressed Executive Functioning strategies to help them gear up for the new school year.  That product is available in my TpT store.  It’s a great way of turning a not-so-exciting  topic into a fun and interactive learning tool.  I hope you have a chance to take a look at it and grab it!      So now I’ve taken good organization and time management to the next level with a practical student organizer.  This is not your typical classroom homework planner!  It is more of a ”Now that I’m home, how do I keep track of all my homework, tests,  projects, other activities and chores?” planner.  Unlike the school homework planner that many  students receive from their school district, this planner breaks down and organizes a student’s after school routine by the hour, day, week and month.  Not all the pages need to be used every day.  The planner can be tailor-fit to the needs of the student and what’s going on in their lives at the moment.   As the SLP, your role is to give your student a set of these planner pages, review and discuss how to use them at home and then occasionally check back with the student to see that he/she is utilizing them.  Have them bring back the planner from time to time so that you can monitor their organization skills.  It also serves as a great communication tool between student, parent and SLP!

I made this product with my middle/high school students in mind, but upper elementary students could take advantage of this planner as well. Find it in my TpT store here!!

Let’s take a look inside to see what is included and how your students can benefit.

















*Please note that this planner will print out in landscape format (across the page with a horizontal orientation).  I felt that I could fit more information onto each page, with less crowding,  by doing so. 

(The planner was created using simple  graphics and kept primarily in black and white in order to lessen distractions and cut down on colored ink usage. )

  • I created a Letter to the Parents .  It explains the purpose of the planner and how to use it at home with their child.
  • Three different versions of a cover page were created so students can decide which theme best suites their personality.
  • Monday –Friday home organization pages to keep track of  homework/activities and the time needed for each.  These pages address time management to help students become more aware of how much time they realistically need to complete tasks. Spaces are provided for estimated vs actual times needed for tasks.
  • Morning routine organizer: Fill in this chart with tasks that need to occur in your morning routine. You can fill it in the NIGHT BEFORE to get an idea of what your morning  should LOOK  LIKE in advance!  Did you lay out your clothes? Make your lunch?  Check your book bag? Consider doing THESE things BEFORE bed!
  • What does my WEEK look like? Fill in the Key graphics: Fill in the tests, projects and other tasks that need to get done during the week.
  • What does my MONTH look like? Fill in at the beginning of each month. Color code/highlight    each task i.e—all test in blue, sports practices in green, etc .
  • Project organizer—Although students generally receive a rubric when assigned a      class project, this organizer addresses some practical areas that a class rubric may  not include (estimated time needed to complete, steps required to start and  complete project)
  • Homework completion chart .Color in one star for every homework assignment completed each day.  Decide how many stars will earn a reward at the end of the week.
  • Homework coupons for home use.  Two pages of original reward ideas and one page of blank coupons to fill in with reward ideas created by student. Students can cut out and submit coupons (after working out a reward system agreed upon by their parents.
  • Home organization reminders.  This graphic is a check list that students should review after school and before bed time to help prepare for the next day.
  • 6 Subject black/white labels (math, spelling, writing, social studies, science, reading) that can be color-coded according to student’s needs and used for organizing home folders, dividers, containers or for use on school notebooks, folders, book covers.


First, choose a cover with your student from the three different styles.  (Pardon my ink for running low in the photo shown!)



















Although this planner is for home use, this is the part that the SLP can help set up with the students.    Help students organize a meaningful layout and decide which order will best suit their needs.



Planner sheets can be hole punched and placed into a 3 ring binder (this one has a 1″ ring).  I organized the pages so that two sheets would face each other when opened for at-a-glance viewing.  You can double side when you print or tape/staple pages back to back, depending on the order you would like to organize them in the binder.

















The coupon page can be cut out and laminated and placed into a separate zip lock bag so they are ready to go when a home reward is warranted.




















I made the spaces large on the fill in sheets so there is plenty of room to write lists.  The monthly planner has spaces to the right to add details about things occurring during the month.  It is meant to be a quick reference—the detailed specifics should be included in the daily and weekly pages.



I hope your students find this planner helpful in getting their school year off to a great start!      This item is for sale in my TPT store for $4.50.   If you purchase this item along with the Back to School Executive Functioning Strategies game ($3.50) , you can pick them both up for $6.00….for a savings of $2.00.  Check it out in my store!


BACK TO SCHOOL BLOG HOP! Trading in the boogie board for a notebook–Adjusting to the back to school transition (and a few healthy school lunch ideas too!)

Welcome to the Back to School SLP Blog Hop!




I’m so excited to join some other fabulous SLP bloggers in my first ”blog hop.”  You will get the chance to collect great back to school ideas for SLP’s, win prizes and get freebies by hopping around to 17 amazing blogs! Use the Linky Tools at the bottom of this post to visit each of the 17 blogs , collect some fantastic ideas and grab all the clues!


Are you heading back to the classroom yet?  Depending on where you live, you may already be back! If you have a few more weeks of freedom like me, enjoy them while they last!  As a speech pathologist working in schools, the adjustment back to the old school routine requires me to reorganize my thoughts, my daily pace, my overall mindset.  I always put myself in the shoes of my students when the new school year begins.  If I (a pretty organized person) find it a little tricky to readjust, I can only image how challenging it must be for many of my students!  So many of them need to strengthen those all important EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING skills—and back to school transitions definitely present a true challenge!

Applying good Executive Function skills when faced with a change (like adjusting back into the school routine) can make it so much easier to get back into the swing of things! Did you ever think about what goes into the daily functioning of a school age child and the adjustments they must make once summer time turns into school time?   I created this chart to break things down. It includes some of the key areas of executive functioning.  I have compared how these areas are often carried out during the summer break -vs- during the school year. It provides a good “snapshot”  of the summer to school transition and contrasts the ways kids function during these opposing times of year.

Note: The Educational Services Dept. at Rush NeuroBehavioral Center developed a back-to-school transition plan using Executive Functions as a guide. The form that I created below was modeled using this site as a reference.



ef chart rev















Applying executive function skills like organizing materials and setting up a time management system will contribute to a positive attitude toward school.   Sometimes a little helpful guidance is needed in getting this accomplished!  This is where the speech-language pathologist can help make a difference.  As SLP’s, we are aware of various tips and strategies that will help students improve time management, organization of space and materials, planning and setting goals.

I have made those strategies into a fun and FREE board game that can be used in the beginning of the school year (or any time you need to address executive functioning strategies with your students).

As a “thank you” for participating, this activity will be free for a limited time—during the blog hop this week only—so grab it while you can!  I created this activity with my middle and high school students in mind, but the content is also appropriate for use with older elementary kiddos as well.  I hope it helps guide your students out of the pool or off the beach and back into the classroom this school year!  This FREEBIE is available in my TpT store.

bts collage


To play: The SLP reads the 36 Executive Functioning strategy cards to the students as they take turns answering questions/listening to tips related to preparation, time management, organization and good listening strategies that will help get them centered and focused  for the new school year! After answering a question, players roll a number cube and move a token around the game board collecting all 7 school items. (Make 3-4 copies of the school item cards on pg. 7 before playing) The first to collect all 7 items is the winner. **Collect only one color backpack.  If you land on a backpack that someone else has already claimed, you lose one turn!  Good Luck and Welcome Back—here’s to another great year ahead!!!!



IT’S TIME TO MAKE THE LUNCHES (and apply good executive functioning!!)

There are so many executive functioning skills put into practice when navigating the school lunchroom scene! Time management, organization, initiating conversation….. I could go on forever.  Do your students bring a lunch or buy a lunch?   While the lunchroom menu has somewhat improved in many school districts across the country, I  usually opt to pack a healthy lunch for my own kiddo.  Brown bagging is often healthier, more cost effective and will keep students out of the long cafeteria lines so they can focus on spending a few moments properly refueling before heading off to the rest of their busy school day. Need some ideas for making lunch delicious and nutritious?  Here are a few favorites in my house. And remember to let your kids take part in the process!  It will help build their executive function skills and it’s an important life skill as well!

1-Turkey Tortilla Wrap —you can check it out step-by-step here!!     



2- The “ABJ Sandwich” In our house, the Almond Butter and Jelly Sandwich rules!!

albtr sndwh

I introduced my son to almond butter when he was very young. (One of the main reasons not to give peanut butter to your children until they are older is to prevent them from developing a peanut allergy). Almonds produce the mildest reaction of all the tree nut allergies.  Plus I learned that almonds/ almond butter were significantly better for you compared to peanut butter.  I started putting almond butter on apples, bananas, toast and crackers. The almond butter “stuck” with us as the favorite nut spread in our house.



3- Snow Pea Salad Snow peas are high in vitamins C and also contain vitamins A and K.   They are a quick, delicious idea for packing in the school lunchbox. Simply blanche your snow peas and place in a zip lock bag.  To jazz it up, add tomatoes, cubed cheese, etc. and  a light dressing.


4- Apple Pie in a Bag
I discovered this one when my son was in preschool.  I wanted to give him cut up apples without having to add lemon juice to avoid the browning. (apples just don’t taste right with lemon juice on them).  So cut, cube or slice the apple however you like.  Throw the apples in a zip lock bag and then add a generous sprinkle of ground cinnamon.  Zip up the bag and shake, coating all the apples.  Done!  They will never notice the slight browning since the apples are covered in cinnamon… and the school cafeteria will smell like apple pie!  As a substitute for pie crust, pack a few graham crackers to accompany the apples.


5-Dried Fruit and Nuts This is so quick and simple, yet full of everything necessary to sustain your child’s energy.  Remember, lunch doesn’t always have to be a sandwich–there are plenty of other great options and substitutes. Of course if your child has a nut allergy, or has a nut-free cafeteria, this one may be off limits!!



5 WINNERS will receive a goodie basket of:  TpT Products

1 GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive the following in addition to the TpT products bundle:

  • TpT Gift Card  for  $50
  • 3 awesome apps from the following developers: Virtual Speech Center, Little Bee Speech and LocoMotive Labs  

The rules of the contest are simple:

  • You must decode a secret message
  • In order to complete this task,  you will need to visit each of the 17 blogs and find the OWL CLUE
  • The OWL CLUE will include one word that is part of the code.
  • When you enter the contest through  RAFFLECOPTER on any one of the participating blogs listed below, you will be asked to type in the secret code. Have fun and enjoy blog hopping with us! The contest will run from: Sunday, August 11th -  Saturday, August 17th

      Enjoy reading through the blogs, downloading the freebies, and participating in our Blog Hop! Good luck everyone!  





And before you enter this awesome and amazing giveaway, I just wanted to share with you all the ways that you can find me.  I’d love for you to stop by to say “hi,”  leave a comment, or share a fun and kid-friendly recipe idea (and if it’s school-friendly, all the better!)

Find SpeechSnacks on:


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August “Speechie” Link Up


I’m posting my first “link up,”  with Laura from All Y’all Need. Every month she posts a new acronym/theme where SLP’s  can link-up their thoughts.  For August it’s all about Back To School–B.T.S.  For me, Back to School isn’t until September, but it’s time to start getting my head back into the game so that I’m ready to hit the ground running after Labor Day!  So here’s what I have to share…..


august link up















New windows for our house!  The windows are 25+ years old so I’d say it’s due time for some energy saving windows!  And with the fall and winter right around the corner, the timing couldn’t be better!  After obsessing and researching for months, I think we finally decided on the right ones to purchase.  The new “Anderson’s” will arrive by the end of the month–along with the hefty bill!   I’m really excited because the kitchen window will be a garden-style!  I can’t wait to grow herbs and flowers in my sunny window year round!! And I’m hoping my heating/cooling bills will reflect some savings!!

garden window








We are shareholders at a local farm.  Every Saturday morning I pick up my delicious fruits and veggies.  From May until November I am in “foodie farm heaven!!”  I love using all my fresh foods to make salads, soups, pies, muffins.  One of my new favorite veggies is BEETS!  I never ate them as a kid, but that all changed once I started eating farm beets! There is nothing like the taste of a fresh beet salad!  In fact, I just used a bunch of beets to make a Beet Cake–you heard me right.  I know that it might sound a little strange at first, but it was amazing!!!  If you want to sneak something healthy into your kiddos diets, you MUST try this!  And don’t tell them you added beets—until after they have raved about how yummy it tastes!!!  Check out the recipe below……









Beet Cake with 5 Minute Brown Butter Icing


1 1/3 c. flour

1 c. sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground cloves

¼ tsp. ground mace

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. salt

2/3 c. vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 ½ c. shredded raw beet

6 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 ¼ c. confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil. Stir this mix into the dry ingredients with a spatula until just combined. Stir in the raw beets – the mix will be quite thick. Divide the batter between the two pans, and press into the pans using the spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt 6 tbsp. of unsalted butter over medium heat, swirling the pan until the butter becomes fragrant and golden brown. Remove from the heat. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and continue to beat until it is spreadable.

When cakes are cool, invert from pans. Ice immediately with brown butter icing. Can be refrigerated until serving.


I’m brushing up on some Writing Strategies to use with my middle and high school students this fall.  So many of them need help organizing their thoughts to write good sentences and paragraphs.  Basic Writing Skills by Judith C. Hochman, Ed. D. is a great resource!  Another SLP I work with attended her workshop several years ago and shared her program with me.  The original manual is out of print but the above link includes an updated version of the original.  She breaks down the writing process and includes great strategies and practice pages for building  good sentences and paragraphs. I will definitely be incorporating this into my therapy sessions this fall….and maybe even use the model as a guide to create some new TpT products!
















August is SMA Awareness Month {and a Time to Remember}


It is a pleasure and honor to be a part of a profession that makes a positive impact in the lives of others.   And it’s nice when students come back years later to thank those that gave them the tools to succeed.   It is also true that educators often look back and can recall that one student that made a difference in their lives somehow.  Whether it be something humorous or heartfelt that the student said or did, a breakthrough that we had with that child or some other connection that created an indelible mark in our memory, many of us have that one special student that made a lasting impression.

Although I can recall fond memories and stories of many past students, there is one that I will never forget.  In fact he made such an impact, that I wrote a blog post about him (with his parent’s permission).  I wrote the post a while back, but wanted to repost it again this month since it is SMA Awareness Month.

Do you know much about SMA (Spinal Muscle Atrophy)?  Have you ever worked with a child with this condition?  I never did….until I met Pranav.

If you have a moment, please visit the link to My Wednesday Morning Wake Up Call.  Thanks for taking a moment to learn more about this disease and for letting me share a memory I hold dear to my heart!





It’s A Birthday Cake and Ice Cream GIVEAWAY!

My birthday is coming up  in a few days and I’d like you to celebrate it with me!  I figured, what better way to enjoy my big day than by sharing it with all of the wonderful people who follow my blog, as well as my facebook page,  my TpT storePinterest boardsBloglovin’ and  Twitter.

I hope you’re hungry because I’d like to offer you a chance to win some cake and ice cream!!  Okay, so it could get a little messy if I sent you the real deal so I have the next best thing for you—- TWO of my favorite items from my TpT store.   It makes me happy knowing that these goodies will not only go to a ”SpeechSnacks” fan, but in return you will be sharing them with some well-deserving kiddos in your sessions while helping them address their speech/language goals!    So here’s to a great way to celebrate another 365 days!


My first giveaway item is “Put A Candle On the Cake”    I created this item to help me keep track of my student’s birthdays—and it’s always nice to have a birthday themed game to pull out on their special day!  The activity targets categorization, WH questions and problem solving. I’ve also included a birthday chart that can be filled in with students names and a certificate to give the birthday boy/girl on their special day.  You can find the complete post that accompanies this product here.  




















My second giveaway item is: The One Stop Ice Cream Shop!     This is one of the newest additions to my TpT store.  It is a 45 page download that targets a variety of language areas including comparing/contrasting, spatial concepts story starters, sentence building, antonyms/synonyms, and auditory processing. All of the vocabulary used in this packet is related to ice cream!   You can find all the therapy ideas and recipe details to accompany this product here!   



icrm pict



















My actual birthday is August 7th, but this giveaway will run from August 1st until August 7th.  There will be THREE  lucky winners  who will receive a copy of BOTH of these fantastic and fun items from my store!  Good luck, and thanks for celebrating with me!

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