Sunday, August 11, 2013

SLP Back to School Blog Hop

Welcome to the Back to School SLP Blog Hop

You will get the chance to collect great back to school ideas for SLPs, win prizes and get freebies by touring 17 fantastic blogs!

Use the Linkytools at the bottom of this post to hop around 17 blogs, collect ideas, and the clues!

Summer...where did it go?  For me, summer brought about BIG changes in my professional life as my journey to CCC-SLP finally came to an end!  Summer also brought about a BIG change in my career path as well, as I accepted a position as an SLP in my children's school district (my DREAM JOB!).  Having already completed my student teaching in this district, I am so very fortunate to be now be joining this amazing team of SLPs and working with students in the school setting again!  

The big question do I transition from working in an outpatient pediatric clinic to working in the school setting?  As of right now, I am still working toward a good answer to that question :) School starts Wednesday and I am right in the middle of planning and prepping for my new students.  

Here are my top 10 tips for anyone preparing for their first year working in the schools

10.  Breathe:  I have had to remind myself to do this several times.  I am NOT one who likes change, but my friend Jennifer over at SLP Runner told me the other day that "Change is hard...but it's one of the secrets to a happy and fulfilling life".  For me, this is so very true.  Changing careers in my late 30s/early 40s, while scary, has been both exciting and fulfilling all at the same time! Just remember - you've got this!!

9.   Take one day at a time:  It is easy to get overwhelmed and caught up with all the things on your to-do-list.  I know I have had several of those moments throughout the past couple of weeks.  As with everything else in life, it WILL all get done - maybe not as quickly, or as smoothly as we'd like, but it will - just be patient!

8.   Network, Network, Network:  I am so thankful for all of you with whom I can ask questions, collaborate, share stories and just laugh with - without all of you, this journey would be far more difficult and not nearly as much fun!

7.   Be organized:  I know, easier said than done, right??!!  I am a list maker for sure.  This helps me to organize my thoughts and prioritize what needs to be done and when.  Good 'ole paper and pencil work for best for me as I love the satisfaction of crossing things off my list - but if you are a gadget guru - kudos to you!

6.  Use your resources:  With so many SLPs now blogging, it has been easy for me to gather helpful tips, check out speech room organizers/designs, find data sheets, and be reassured that I'm not alone in this venture!  Thanks to all of my fellow SLP bloggers who find the time to share what works for them with all of us!  So grateful for each and every one of you!

5.  Choose a theme:  For me, I decided on an outer space theme for my speech room.  I wish I could share pictures with you, but it is still a work in progress - made a trip to the teacher supply store just a couple of hours ago...stay tuned!  But honestly, it helped me plan out bulletin boards, speech room decor and gave me something to get excited about when I felt overwhelmed by all that still needs to be done. are some work in progress pictures of my new "space".

Welcome to Speech accompanied by the "In Our Speech Room" poster Jenna from SRN created.

Therapy Central!  My room is pie shaped, so not a lot of extra room or wall space to decorate, but the rocket is by far one of the coolest decorations in my room!  My "Welcome To Speech" get-to-know-you worksheets (see the link to that freebie below) are on the left and my super cool new TPT binder covers decorate the binders on the right!  Also pictured are my Give Me 5 posters - also a freebie off TPT!

Last, but not least decoration-wise is this set - I am going to let each of my students decorate a star with their name on it and put them up trailing off from the big star (think shooting star here!)

Storage galore thanks to my custodians!  I started with zero cabinets when I moved in and ended up with three (I still even have empty cupboards to fill with all my new supplies that should arrive early next week!)

4.  Take a tour and introduce yourself to other building personnel:  I was fortunate enough to schedule a time to meet with my principal prior to the first staff day.  I was also lucky enough to meet the school secretary and head custodian - you'll definitely want to get to know all three as soon as possible!  That is how I secured carts for moving in all of my supplies, was able to access my office when my key didn't work, and figured out how to get from point A to point B and back again through all of the hallways!  I think the secretary is getting chocolate on Monday as a big thanks!  It was a miracle that she was in the building on a Saturday afternoon at the same time I was!  Thanks Lynda - you're the BEST!!

3.  Take inventory:  The first thing I did before unpacking my personal speech materials was to take inventory of what was already on hand.  Both my special education director and my principal offered to purchase materials I felt I might need, but I needed to know what I already had to make wise choices about what I needed.  I was excited to find that a couple things on my list were already in my supply closet!  I almost felt like a kid at Christmas sorting through all of my newly acquired materials!  

2.  Be PATIENT :) With 3 days to go until school starts, I am still anxiously awaiting the awarding of my state teaching license...fortunately, I have 12 weeks after the start of school to initiate an emergency permit. This one goes hand-in-hand with taking things one day at a time.  Patience is not one of my strong points, but it seems to be getting a little stronger every day.

...and last, but certainly not least...

1.  HAVE FUN!!  This is perhaps the most important tip for me personally!  I sometimes get so caught up in the politics and planning and paperwork that it is easy for me to forget that I LOVE BEING AN SLP and  I LOVE WHAT I DO!  Don't EVER lose sight of that!

Hopefully these tips prove worthwhile to those of you new to a school like I am - or at least gave you a good laugh if you've been in my shoes before!  For sticking with me through that lengthy top 10 list, here is a freebie for you that I created.  It is entitled "Welcome to Speech"  My caseload is made up of both preschool and K-5th grade students.  This is a little "get to know you" activity that will give me some great information from each of my students with which to plan therapy activities.  You can get your copy in my TPT store by clicking here

Now back to the BLOG HOP:

5 winners will receive a goodie basket of TPT products from our stores.
which includes a copy of my Articulation Bingo for /s/ and /z/, 

which you can also check out in my TPT store by clicking here

1 GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive the following in addition to the activities:
a $50 TpT gift card
School of Multi-Step Directions from Virtual Speech Center
Articulation Station from Little Bee Speech
and Kid in Story from LocoMotive Apps

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, you will be asked to type in the secret code.  have fun and enjoy blog hopping with us!  The contest will run from August 11th to August 17th, 2013.

Enjoy reading through the blogs, downloading the freebies, and participating in the blog hop.  Good luck everyone!

HERE IS MY SECRET CODE!  Enjoy the school year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway