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Back to School 2015 Linky Party! What’s in Your Cart?

tpt 2015 linky

It’s that time of year again!   Time to start shifting our thoughts from the beach to the books…the surf board to the smart board…time to think Back to School!  And while I still have the entire month of August to look forward to, I realize that these precious days will float swiftly by!  I am enjoying every moment of sunshine but thoughts of school are definitely swirling around in my mind.  The TpT Back to School Sale is the perfect way to get your head back in the game.  Jenna is hosting the linky party at Speech Room News so be sure to click on the link and find out what other SLPs are recommending to help start your school year off!

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 Here’s what I plan on using from my own TpT store when I return to work with my middle and high school  crew:


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My  Back to School Problem Solving for Middle and High School Students  includes step by step strategies for solving problems, scenario cards, open ended speech/thought bubbles, some tips to help  teens start off the school year, and a recipe card with healthy lunch ideas!!


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My Back to School Bundle {Student Planner and Executive Functioning game} is two products combined into one bundle!

First, this unique activity addresses good organization in older kids.  I created a home planner for students to help them keep organized when they leave the walls of the school and get them through their morning, afternoon and evening routines!

The second activity in the bundle includes 36 executive functioning strategy cards that will help students answer questions/listen to tips related to preparation, time management, organization and good listening strategies.  A great way to help get them centered and focused for the school year!


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This item is apple-themed for the fall season and focuses on ways to develop a rich vocabulary through specific strategies.  I was inspired to create this item after revisiting a wonderful resource, the book ”Bringing Words to Life” by Isabelle L. Beck, Margaret G. McKeown, and Linda Kucan.  The book brings to light the importance of teaching vocabulary through strategies that reach far beyond the basic dictionary definition of a word.   I have utilized some of the basic concepts found in this book into this TpT product.    Check out the complete packet in my TpT store! 


I am also keeping a wish list of a few items created by fellow SLPs that I would love to add to my toolbox to keep things fresh as we begin a brand new school year:

Is there any better way to get your tweens and teens to connect and stay motivated than through music?!  I love this theme and know it will be so much more enjoyable to address figurative language skills when I present it to my students using Figurative Languae In Pop Music from SLPrunner.     Plus you will also receive FREE song updates to correspond with top 30s pop song charts!! Good deal!
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Figuratively Speeching SLP has added Super Strategies for Word Retrieval Deficits (fall themed) to her store.  Her original Super Strategies product is super popular, so I’m sure this one won’t disappoint!  If you are looking for ways to address vocabulary building with your students, this product should be on your list.

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And finally, social skills are a huge focus with my population of students and The Dabbling Speechie has something that will fit the bill!  Making Social Inferences uses real photographs and works on higher level inferencing tasks.    Social skills and inferencing —two important areas addressed in one product.

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Don’t forget to check out all the great product suggestions at Jenna’s linky party.  The sale runs from August 3-4.  My store will be 20 % off plus there will be an additional savings when you enter the promo code BTS15.   Enjoy shopping and don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the season….after all,  it is still summer!!!




Inspiration in Preparation of the New School Year

As I sat in the waiting room during my son’s orthodontist appointment this past week, I began flipping through a photo album in the office.  The album contained many pages of happy patients showing off their new smiles after treatment was completed.  In the front of the album was a quote that immediately caught my attention:  “The man who works with his hands is a laborer, the man who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman, the man who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”   These words from St. Francis of Assisi not only hold great meaning to my son’s orthodontist, but are so true of our profession as well.

As SLPs/educators, we are a combination of laborer, craftsmen (or craftswomen!) and artist.  We incorporate our hands, our head and our heart into our work every day.    Our hands are in perpetual motion as we use them to cut, glue, fold, write, draw, wave, hold, point, clap, gesture……Our heads help us create, plan, decide, troubleshoot, listen, learn, grow…..Our hearts are a source for caring, guiding, sharing, loving, reassuring.   I think St. Francis’ words definitely sum up our profession very accurately!   We truly are like artists–the students we work with are each a unique masterpiece.  Their young minds are the canvas and we provide the vibrant brush strokes that help enhance and develop these creations!

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I liked the quote so much that it inspired me to create my own visual so that I can display it in my therapy room when the new school year begins.   I wanted to share it with all of you as well!   You can find the poster in my TpT store.  I included three colored versions and one black/white design.  I hope it will be an inspirational reminder  of why we do what we do every day and bring you positive vibes as you prepare for the upcoming school year!   Enjoy!  (I’d love to get your feedback on this freebie so don’t forget to leave a few words in my TpT store.)

Music in the Speech Room: Rapping and Rhyming for Better Hearing and Speech Month (and all year long!)


May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and this year to celebrate,  I wanted to add something unique and engaging to my TpT store geared toward  the elementary population.  I wanted it to be FREE , fun and motivation while promoting good speech and language during the month of May.  I composed a poem and gave it a little twist.  I’ve added my very first audio activity to my TpT store!!  It’s a poem, it’s a rap, it’s a rhythm, it’s a fun way to practice speech skills and language concepts!    I employed the help of a couple young and willing volunteers and together we created a BHSM Poetry Rap!

BHSM-Logo-Horizontal Do you incorporate music into your speech/language sessions? Here’s some evidence to support the value of using music in your therapy room:

  • Research indicates the entire brain is active when participating in music. There is no specific music center.
  • Research indicates that music facilitates retention of new information and positive emotional and psychological benefits.
  • Researchers believe that music instruction impacts a student’s brain functioning in processing language, which in turn impacts reading subprocesses like phonemic awareness and vocabulary. These subprocesses ultimately impact a student’s ability to read with comprehension.
  • Musical activities are cited by researchers as effective experiences for building listening skills in the classroom (Hirt-Mannheimer, 1995; Wolf, 1992), for both mainstream classrooms and classrooms with children who have disabilities.(Humpal & Wolf, 2003). Recent brain research (Flohr et al, 1996) shows that music training changes and improves brain functioning related to listening.
  • Researchers have recently verified that musical instruction can have an exciting impact on young children’s phonological awareness. Many top educational researchers recommend integrating music into phonological awareness instruction. These researchers recommend songs, and specifically rhyming songs, as an effective mechanism for building phonemic awareness with children in early childhood classrooms (Adams, Foorman, Lundberg & Beeler, 1998; Ericson & Juliebo, 1998; Yopp & Yopp, 1997)
  • Components of a verbally enticing song include:
    • Frequent repetitions
    • Songs that invite participation
    • Raps and rhythms
    • Songs within the child’s verbal ability
    • Natural musical flow of words and phrase
  • You can find more amazing evidence to support the value of music in the development of speech and language in this comprehensive document from ABC Music and Me

Although my poem was made with your younger students in mind, music certainly can effectively be incorporated into lesson with older students.  Song lyrics are a great way to address vocabulary, inferencing skills and  figurative language. I especially look for songs that have  lyrics that contain a positive and inspirational message. Additional  inspiration for creating this poetry rap came from a recent experience.  In April (National Poetry Month) my son’s school went on a field trip to see The Mayhem Poets.  This trio of 20-something- year-old poets rapped and rhymed about every topic under the sun from politics, to fast food to homework and their target audience is middle and  high school students.  It was a great way to engage older students and get them excited about discussions on current events and age appropriate topics!

Need more evidence on the effectiveness of music, rap and rhyme in language development? Check out the audio/video program Flocabulary!   Flocabulary uses music, rhythm and rhyme to teach concepts on many subject areas from grades K-12.   Flocabulary uses  music to facilitates memorization and recall of academic content, while the use of hip-hop and other culturally-relevant media to increase student engagement. I was introduced to this musical tool when my son’s teacher used it to help the class learn the parts of speech and literary devices.   He was rambling off the details of these language concepts in no time with Flocabulary.   There are some free demos as well as options to purchase a subscription available on their site.


You can visit my TpT store to download your FREE audio copy of my poetry rap.  Use this catchy tune to promote a positive message while working on a variety of skills with your students!! (Be sure to have Windows Media Player downloaded to your computer to view this file.)

Use the rap to address the following areas:

•Search for rhyming word pairs
•Listen for all the words that contain their targeted speech sound
•Address good listening and comprehension skills by asking questions about the information in each section of the poem.
•Target written language by asking your students to create their own lyrical ending for the poem.
You can also download the printed version of this activity so that you can print out a hardcopy for reference here.

…..And if you are looking for more activities to help promote Better Hearing and Speech Month in your school, take a look at this product in my store: bhsm tpt cover The packet includes fun language-based ideas can be used across a variety of age/grade levels: 1—Read the BHSM poem (written by yours truly) with your students and use the follow-up page to identify rhyming words, synonyms and to explain the idiom all found within the poem. (pages 3-4) {this activity would be suitable for upper elementary/middle and even high school students} 2—Make the “I’m a Good Communicator” craftivity using the avatars, name tags and speech bubbles included. Display your student’s finished projects in the halls, on the doorway or in your therapy room to help publicly promote BHSM in your school. (pages 5-12: includes avatars, name tags, speech bubbles) {Use this activity with a variety of levels-Pre-K through middle school and adapt accordingly} 3— Speech and Hearing Fun Facts and Opinions—use the information sheet as a review/reference to identify which of the 36 cards are fact and opinion statements about speech, language and hearing. Use the included sorting mat to organize which category the cards belong in. These cards can also be used to help educate and increase awareness among your school staff about speech, language and hearing information! Answer key included. (pages 13-19) {use with older students and school staff} 4–-My Year in Review—A Speech & Language “Snapshot” consists of sentence starters to create a “snapshot” of your student’s experience in speech/language therapy. Have students share/discuss their responses. (page 20) {suitable for K-high school}

BHSM-Linky-Party-2015Jessica at Consonantly Speaking is holding a link up during BHSM so go check out her blog for more speech/language/hearing inspired posts all month  long!

Two Facts and A Fib REVEAL!

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I hope you had fun playing with us during the “Two Facts and a Fib” blog hop.   As I hopped through the blogs reading all of my fellow SLPs facts and fibs, I found it difficult to determine which statements were facts and fibs!  The facts were just as amazing as the fibs!!  I was fascinated by all the stories and realized that SLPs lead some pretty cool and exciting lives!!

Fib Reveal: 

(c) I quit smoking “cold turkey” 10 years ago.

So here is my fib (which is not so exciting or entertaining, but really rather ordinary. )  It is a FIB that I quit smoking “cold turkey” 10 years ago!   If you have ever quit any bad habit ”cold turkey,” I definitely applaud you, however I have never even smoked a cigarette a single day in my life!     Truth be told, I absolutely hate the smell of cigarette smoke.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  Growing up, my mom smoked on a daily basis.  I used to sneak into her purse, find the cigarettes and flush them down the toilet!  I’ve never even been curious about taking a puff.   I guess I have my mom to thank for despising cigarettes so much.  BTW,  my mom did quit smoking cold turkey many years ago!

And in case you were wondering…..

a) I Had an 11 lb baby.   True! 

I had a perfectly normal 40 week pregnancy and a very happy and healthy baby boy, however when I was pregnant, most people thought I was carrying twins!  I definitely got vey BIG during the last few weeks.   I’m 5’3″ and wear size 2 and 4 clothing so I am not exactly the body type you might expect to be carrying such a big baby.   My doctor nicknamed my son “Little Buddha” when he was born and told us he was ready for kindergarten! And as a side note, I did have a C-Section after laboring for many hours!


b) I made the Division I lacrosse team when I was in college even though I had never played the sport before.  True!

Although I had not played lacrosse prior to my college days,  I was a field hockey player in high school and college. I was always very athletic and fast!  In college, I was what is called a “walk on,” which means I tried out for the lacrosse team without being on scholarship.  Some of my field hockey friends also played lacrosse so they showed me some of the basics before the try outs.  I learned enough to get a position on the team and had the opportunity to travel to other colleges all over the Maryland and Virginia area.  I was by no means a superstar, but I did get some playing time. It was a great learning experience and I use the story to this day as a lesson for my own child and my students.   When I talk about my lacrosse experience I tell them, “You never know what great things you are capable of until you try.  Set your expectations high and you might be surprised what you are able to achieve!! ”  Such a great life lesson!



Thank you all for playing!  You can check out the winner by heading over to Speech Universe!  And  don’t forget to check out the #AprilSLPMustHave sale on TpT!  This is the last one for the school year!  My End of the School Year Variety Bundle will be 50% off for April 7th ONLY!!

Two Facts and a Fib Blog Hop!


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I’m keeping this blog post brief because I am at the airport awaiting  my flight to France.   I will be serving as the private SLP to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s youngest children for the next few months at their home in Chateau Miraval in Southern France!  April Fool’s!!!!!!!   (Talk about the ultimate dream job! )  I love that we have this fun day in our calendar for saying something truly outrageous and getting a reaction from others!   My speechie friends Erik Raj and Jennifer Gibbs-Moses (SLPrunner) had a few fun April Fool’s Day ideas that you can try with your students. Check out their very entertaining blog posts!

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A few of us SLPs joined up and decided to celebrate April Fool’s all week long with our “Two Facts and a Fib” blog hop!  The  rules are simple:  Read all three of my statements below and decide which two are the “facts” and which one is the “fib.”  Record your “fib” responses as you hop from one blog to the next (you can also download and print out this black and white answer sheet created by Speech2U here!!    The person with the most correct responses will have the opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card!  In the event of a tie, will be used for the tie breaker.  Want to take the on line quiz?   You can find it over at Speech Universe, the last stop of the hop!

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So here are my three statements:

a)  I gave birth to an 11 lb. baby.

b) I made the Division I lacrosse team when I was in college even though I had never played the sport before.

c)  I quit smoking “cold turkey” 10 years ago.

Can you guess which answer is my fib?     When you are finished, head over to the next blog on the hop, Consonantly Speaking, to see what facts and fib she is sharing!  Good luck!


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To start at the beginning go to Speech2U (Special thanks to Kelly at Speech2U who had the fun and creative idea for this blog hop!)   Hope you have fun guessing our fibs!

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