Half the battle of lesson planning for therapy is actually knowing where your materials are located–right? I know when I have a specific home for my materials, it is easier to remember what my options are for therapy. Do you have a “put it in a pile” place in your speech room? Guilty as charged.
I do have a designated area for my “pile” so that when I don’t have time to organize, I can keep the chaos contained to one spot. Above is a picture of my “needs to be shredded pile”. However, I can only live in organized chaos for a short period of time. When my materials are organized, it reduces extra brain energy spent worrying about future lesson planning. If a lesson isn’t going as planned, I can easily grab different materials because I know where they are in my room. Today, I wanted to share some tips and supplies for organizing your speech materials. (Amazon Affiliate links are included in this blog post.)
Organize Your Speech Materials In Batched Chunks
In the real SLP world, you don’t have extra hours in the day just to organize. And, when you have a multitude of disorganized spaces, it is hard to know which one to tackle first. I have found some success with picking one thing I want to organize. Then, I work on that one task until it is finished. Best solution for getting it done? Blocking out time on my schedule for organizational tasks. My next best solution, stop trying to do 3 projects at once.
For example, I wanted to organize my craft materials so, I made a “to do” list and blocked out when I was going to tackle each task. First task: get the file bin (order on Amazon or schedule the day you are going to go to Target or Walmart to get the bin). Plan out when you are going to get any other supplies needed like page protectors, hanging file folders, etc. Then, I made a list of what I would want to keep in the bin. I wanted to store the craft template, have some card stock stored in there, and pre-prepped artic and language stimulus cards (I use my any craft companion printables), so I could have some things prepped if I want to do a last-minute craft.
Do One Organizational Project At A Time
The rest of the week, I schedule any small open chunks of time to devote to my organizing project. If you schedule something in all your open time spots, you will remember to do them. So, I schedule my day with everything I do, such when I have to attend an IEP meeting, progress monitor a student, call a parent, write therapy logs, do medicaid billing, make copies of data sheets, organize visual supports, etc.
Tips For Organizing Themed or Skill-Based Materials
For themed therapy, a lot of SLPs plan their lessons around a book or theme. I found that storing the materials all together helped me prevent losing them, and I knew exactly where I could access the resources. If you have lessons that target skill-based materials, you can keep them all together as well. I highly recommend labeling what is inside your bins/containers/folders. Your brain will thank you later!
Storage Solutions For Themed & Skilled Based Materials In One Place
Expanding file folders are perfect for the traveling SLP or the SLP that goes into the classroom a lot. Similar materials that you may need for a mixed group won’t get lost in a file folder. You can stick most books inside, along with all the extension activities you planned. My seasonal grammar and vocabulary activities easily fit in these file folders. I can fit most of my seasonal grammar and vocabulary activities in one folder, and store on my shelf. You will not lose all the task cards, lesson plan cheat sheets or visual supports that go with the lesson.
I also found plastic poly files on Amazon and some at the Dollar Tree that clip shut. If you have book companion materials or several speech or language activities that you transport for push-in language support, these folders help keep all the pieces together.
Some books even fit inside these folders. I put all my themed language lessons that I use for push-in and pull-out groups. When planning push-in lessons, I usually pick a book or theme. Then, I plan many different speech and language activities around the book or theme. So, in order to keep all the little parts together, I can put them in one folder.
These large clip boxes keep materials from falling out, and are easy to store in a supply closet. You can store skill-based materials, such as my Parts of Speech sentence flips, so they are all in one place.
If you have small task cards, jewelry boxes or scrapbook boxes can be great for storing materials. Small task cards or PECS icons work really well with these containers.
An Easy Organization Solution For The Busy SLP
If you have NO time to maintain an elaborate organizational system, or–let’s be real–no money right now to invest in organizational supplies, using a file crate to keep the month’s lessons organized is great solution.
I grab all the books I may want to use for the month and put them inside. Then, I out the materials I will be using to target goals for students during the month. Having this crate with file folders helps you to clean up your materials quickly at the end of the day. This method eliminates keeping things in piles or shoving it back in your therapy closet. After I am finished with the materials for the month, I put them back in my giant storage bins or in my therapy closet.
Put All Similar Themes Or Skills In The Same Bin
This large bin stores all of my sensory bin materials. I put everything in plastic bags or tiny containers. To make things easy, I keep my bin fillers, toy materials and companion materials in this bin. If you are looking for more sensory bin ideas, check out this page for sensory bin inspiration.
I have also used large bins for storing language, social skill and articulation materials. When I need some new materials, I take out what I need from my bin. This organization method will help you if you have a small space. It is also helpful for SLPs that need to see what materials they have available.
Organize Your Speech Materials With Binders
Binders are an easy way to store materials. You can keep similar resources in one binder, have fun tabs on the outside so you can easily find the binder you need, and they fit nicely on bookshelves.
I also use binders to keep a lot of similar resources together using page protectors.
For resources that have stimulus items, lesson plan cheat sheets and visual supports, I will organize them by keeping them in binders. My Seasonal Sensory Bin Companions store well in binders. I can keep the lesson plan sheets, data collection sheets, and stimulus items for all the different goals in one place. I use tabs to separate the different seasons, so I can quickly flip to the season I need.
Organize Your Speech Materials In the Way That Works Best For You
The best place to get more organized is to identify the place in your office that always feels disorganized. The second thing you need to do is figure out what will work best for you. If you are a traveling SLP, expanding folders may be great for keeping multiple materials in one place. The expanding folders have a zipper, so materials can’t fly out. Or if you have great bookshelves in your room, using binders to keep your materials organized will help you. The crate is a great organization option for you if you just don’t have the time or energy to invest in re-vamping your material storage.
How Do You Organize Your Speech Materials?
Where are all of my SLP organizational ladies and gents? I would love to know your genius organizational hacks! Share an organizational tip in the comment. Or, send me a picture of your organizational system at firstname.lastname@example.org Of course, you can always share your organized speech room on instagram and tag me @thedabblingspeechie. I would love to see the amazing solutions you use to keep your speech room pile-free.
Want more ways to stay organized in your speech room? Check out more tips in this blog post HERE. Also, if those first few months back to school have you super overwhelmed, I have a FREE checklist and IEP monthly calendar to help keep you organized that you can access HERE. Check them out!