Planning for my First Week of Speech/Language Services

Oooooh I so have mixed feelings when it comes to the beginning of the school year.  I love summer and I am always sad to see it go (although I sure do get excited with the idea of Fall festivities).  However, I enjoy the refreshing feeling of the start of a new year.  The beginning of the year feels fresh and full of possibility personally and professionally.

I started blogging in 2013 because I love browsing the amazing ideas from other SLPs and thought “hey…I can share my ideas, too”.  Soooo I thought I’d share with you my planning for the first week of services with my speech/language clients.

This year, I am working with students ranging from kindergarten through high school (although, as other SLPs are so familiar with, my caseload is fluid at this point) with goals addressing articulation, language, and pragmatic language.  Such a range of students and range of goals/needs requires creative planning and I am so looking forward to it.

Let’s start with talking about the beginning of the year.


I plan my first session (possibly first two sessions) with the main goal of the students getting to know me, me getting to know the students, and the students familiarizing themselves with the other students and my speech space.  Taking the time at the beginning of the year to allow for everyone to get to know each other absolutely pays for itself as the year progresses.  I am connected with my students, they trust me, they look forward to coming to see me (and I look forward to seeing them 🙂 ), I know how they work, and I have a better idea as to how to work with them to address their areas of need.  Here are some of the activities I will do in my speech/language sessions to start this school year….

Goal Card Activity:

I don’t lead with this.  I usually lead with one of the fun games or documents listed below, but one of the BEST activities I have done with my students is to complete a Goal Card.  (I will attach a picture of this after I have students complete them this week).  As a group, we review goals.  I do this so each student knows what he/she is working on and so that the students know what their friends are working on to help keep them accountable.  As we review the goals, students complete a Goal Card.  I give each student a large index card (or cut a piece of paper in half) and either have them write out keywords for their goal or I write it.  Then they can decorate it however they want.  I always say to decorate it in a way that might help you remember you goal.  At the beginning of each therapy session, I take out their goal cards so that we can remind ourselves what we are working on…


Jenga (amazon link)

  • I have Jenga blocks that I wrote conversation starters on…questions and statements that get students talking.
  • Check out my post on Conversation Jenga (<–click here)


Headbanz (amazon link)

  • I love this game.  I do not play it the way it is intended.  My students take turns picking a card (the guesser).  The other students take turners using their language and best speech sounds to describe (give a clue) the picture on the card.  After each student gives a clue, the guesser can guess.  If the person guessing needs more clues, he/she needs to ask for more clues (not only working on language skills, but also working on pragmatic language skillsScreen Shot 2017-08-12 at 10.36.46 PM.png

Printable Materials:

Getting to Know You packet by Jenna Rayburn on Teachers Pay Teachers

  • This document has scaffolded activities for students to complete in order to share information about themselves.  I’m excited for this given my wide range of ages of students.

My First Week In Speech by Nicole Allison on Teachers Pay Teachers

  • This document has GREAT resources.  I plan to use the “Speech Expectations” as a base…while adding in some of my own expectations.  Setting solid and high expectations at the beginning of the year and being consistent with those expectations helps speech/language groups to run smoothly throughout the year…even when “playing games” (and we all know that by “playing games” I mean the students believe they are playing games, but really we are administering our best interventions at this time…brilliant!)

What Did You Do Over the Summer? by Teach Speech 365 on Teachers Pay Teachers

  • This resource is FREE and fantastic for our students with limited language or who communicate better with visual supports.


What do you do your first week of therapy sessions?



Well hello there.  I have been absent for many months.  Actually so many that I have a new little love to introduce you to.  Meet my little lady.  She was born in June and we are all in love.

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With the addition of my little lady, I have been working on easy and fun activities to keep my toddler boy entertained.  I’m going to share some of them with you as we complete them.

First, let me share with you what I am calling our activity bag!  There are many variations of this idea out there and most of them are called busy bags.  I opted not to call it busy because I feel like when we call ourselves busy we are not owning our own time….a little soap box discussion for later.  Moral of the story, I call our bag an activity bag.

The idea is that while I am needing to dedication time to the newborn (nursing, changing diapers, nursing, changing diapers…you get my point), my toddler has engaging activities to do that he can work on independently and/or I can chime in so we are engaging in the activity together….maybe even all three of us.  I am all about following the child’s lead.  My toddler is very into Cars movies and letters.

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What’s in our bag:

-Collect items around your house: books, paper, magazines, cups….anything that you think your little one would enjoy exploring or that might fit into a “theme” you want for your bag

-Keep an eye on the Dollar Store of the Dollar Spot at Target.  You can get coloring books, flash cards, and other trinkets

-Search online for free printables of themes your child is interested.  My little guy loves baseball.  I found free printables of baseball themed numbers and colors.  In addition to just searching online, you can visit one of my favorite sites TeachersPayTeachers

-Since I work for home sometimes, my little one sees me using “work” materials.  So I put a small notebook, pen, and calculator in his bag.

Have fun with it! The beauty is that the activity bag will be changing…maybe once a week or every other day!


What have you found to be helpful to keep your toddler occupied and engaged while caring for a newborn?


Better Speech And Hearing Month



Well HELLO…it is almost MAY!  As my two year old would say, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”

Well, I kid you not.  It is almost May.  Did you know that in addition to being a month of gorgeous, sunny weather, May is also the month we celebrate Better Hearing and Speech?!

This month I’ll be posting some fun facts and trivia questions related to speech, language, voice, swallowing, cognition, and hearing.

I want to hear from YOU….do you have any topics you would like more information about?  Maybe you want more information about language development….maybe about communication after a stroke…maybe about hearing loss….  Let me know and I’ll work it into my topics for the month!

The Mitten and Story Resources

Getting back into a groover following a holiday and break from work can feel jarring.  In anticipation, I wanted to have solid therapy plans in place for my groups because I always feel better and more prepared when I am all planned out (even if nothing during our sessions goes according to plan 🙂 ).

Over the holiday break, my son received the book “The Mitten” by Jan Brett from family members.  HE LOVED IT!  He requested it, we read it over and over.  The SLP in me observed the language-rich opportunities for labeling, inferencing, cause and effect, story retell, and sequencing.  LIGHTBULB…this will be my book for the first week back at work.


Armed with an awesome book, I took to the internet to browse resources of amazing SLPs and educators…lucky me…jackpot!  I wanted to find an activity with visuals that would allow for working on goals ranging from articulation of beginning and ending sounds of words, expanding sentences, labeling to answering wh questions, retelling the story, and sequencing.

There are amazing resources out there, but the one that fit for me is from Home School Creations.  Home School Creations has a variety of FREE materials on The Mitten including a preschool packet, kindergarten packet, vocabulary, and math work.  I chose the preschool packet because I really wanted pictures of the animals and a mitten.  I also wanted the ability to add to this activity in the following weeks if my students really connected with it (and they did).


My students laughed out loud and gasped during the book!  They then eagerly answered sequencing questions and proudly shared their mittens with the parents at the end of our sessions.

Big hit…thank you Jan Brett for The Mitten and Home School Creations for the visual supports.



2016: 10 Halloween book recommendations

Children books are the best!  Some of my most popular and most requested posts are my posts with book recommendations.  Well, here we are at another October and here you have another book recommendation post…Halloween 2016 style.  There will be some repeats from 2015 (because a good book remains a good book 🙂 ), but there will also be some good new recommendations!  In no particular order…here are my top 10 recommendations!

(Want to check out my 2015 Halloween recommendations?  Visit: )

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Apples: Speech Therapy Planning

The air was cooler.  There was even rain here in California.  Time for fall speech/language therapy activities!  I knew I wanted to do some activity with apples and that I wanted to activity to be functional and meaningful; however, I did not have a lot of time to prep.

Thank you to  Carisa Hinson 1+1+1=1, Promoting Success, and Scholastic my sessions were planned with ease!

All of the resources were free, black and white printable, and easy to use.  All I needed to do was purchase the yummy apples.


Makeover Monday: Bottle Dishwasher Basket

Happy Monday!  Any one have a Bottle Dishwasher Basket at home that they are no longer using?  Maybe it is taking up space in your kitchen cabinets…let’s fix that!

This Makeover Monday appeared naturally as I was keeping my little guy occupied while I put the dishes in the dishwasher.  I have a drawer in our kitchen that my little one can play in…it has his cups, plates, bowls, and other odd and ends including the bottle dishwasher basket.

This morning he took out the dishwasher basket and started shaking it and putting his fingers in all of the holes.  Hmmm….it felt like a light bulb literally lit up above my head….let’s put pom poms in the basket through the holes.

This activity kept my 18 month old interested for 30 minutes!!!


What you need:

  • Bottle Dishwasher Basket (or any basket with small holes/openings)
  • Small/medium pom poms
  • Ziploc bag or plastic bag for storing the pom poms


How to use it:

  • MODEL IT!  Open the top of the dishwasher basket and put a few pom poms on the inside rack.  Push the pom poms through the holes and talk through it “I’m pushing the red pom pom in the basket”.
  • EXPLORE!  Put a few pom poms on the inside rack and sit back and watch your little one explore.
  • WATCH & LISTEN!  We, adults, can learn so much from watching and listening to our little ones.  Watch and listen to your little one and follow their lead with this.
  • EXPAND!  Play is the work of children.  Let your little one play and expand their play and language for him/her.
    • If your little one requests “more” pom poms, expand the sentence with “I want more pom poms”.
    • If you little one needs help, expand the sentences with “I need help”.
    • If you want to work on adding some manner words, expand the sentence with “More pom poms please”  “I want more pom poms please” “Help please” “I need help please”.



Language Skills being worked on:

  • Identifying colors
  • Counting
  • Spatial concepts (in, out)
  • Cause and Effect
  • Requesting
  • And many more 🙂


Hope this adds a little creative fun to your Monday!  Have a great day!


Shine on,