What is Theme Smashing? – How to Plan Speech Therapy Themes by Month

What is Theme Smashing? – How to Plan Speech Therapy Themes by Month

When we plan themed therapy lessons for our speech therapy caseloads we want them to help students make progress on their goals. In this episode of the Real Talk SLP podcast, we are going to be talking about how to play speech therapy themes by month and learning how you can theme smash two themes together! I will be sharing what theme smashing is, how to do it, and ways to think through the themes you are choosing throughout the year. 

Why It’s Important To Use a Theme for 2-4 Weeks

Get a free themed monthly calendar for planning your speech therapy lessons and learn what theme smashing is!

Before we chat about what theme smashing is, I encourage you to use a theme for longer than a week. At the beginning of this podcast episode, I share two of the benefits of planning only one or two speech therapy themes in a month. 

Free Themed Speech Therapy Planner

Trying to pick a theme for your speech therapy caseload can be overwhelming. When you have lots of paperwork and caseload management tasks, picking a theme can be the last thing on your list. That’s why I created a giant list of 100 seasonal and nonseasonal themes you can use to get inspiration for speech therapy lesson planning. Use the free speech therapy themes by month calendar to get organized with what to plan!

We discussed having templates for speech therapy reports is so helpful with saving time! Oftentimes, SLPs create a library of templates for assessment batteries and different portions of the report, which can take TONS of time to do. Or, we pull up a previous report and use that as a template, which leaves room for errors with having the wrong name, dates, or pronouns in the report.

What is Theme Smashing?

Get a free themed speech therapy planner and learn about theme smashing!

Theme smashing is when you work on two themes at the same time and infuse them into your themed unit.

You can bring in concepts from your last theme into the new theme to increase opportunities with background knowledge, vocabulary, and concepts from that theme.

Here are some examples of theme smashing options:

During this episode I break down how you can plan out these themed unit back to back to provide more opportunities with concepts from the previous theme. In the March and April months of the Themed Therapy SLP membership, we have options for baking, weather, insects, spring, community helpers and chores making theme smashing easier!

Links to Resources and Blog Posts Mentioned About Themed Speech Therapy

If you are just getting started with planning themed therapy or have been doing it for a while now, but need fresh ideas, take my free Themed Therapy SLP quiz! It will send you LOTS of blog posts and ideas for whatever stage you are in currently.

Here are some resources mentioned in the podcast episode:

If you have any questions about planning by themes or need ideas, feel free to reach out on social media @thedabblingspeechie

Learn tips for how to plan speech therapy themes by month and get a free SLP planner.

What is Theme Smashing? - How to Plan Speech Therapy Themes by Month Ep 111

by The Dabbling Speechie

10+ Engaging March Speech Therapy Themes With Free SLP Planner

10+ Engaging March Speech Therapy Themes With Free SLP Planner

While many will watch March Madness on TV this month, our therapy rooms may also start to feel like madness. Between IEP meetings, evaluations, treatment sessions, and more, the mayhem never ends. As always, themed therapy is here to help relieve some of this stress. I’ve rounded up all the March speech therapy themes for you! In the blog post, I share themes relevant to the time of the year and national holidays.

This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. 

One Thing to Remember with Theme-Based Therapy

Get ideas for March speech therapy activities you can use with your preschool and elementary caseload.

As SLPs with high caseloads, remember that you DON’T have to use a theme for only one week. Planning can be time-consuming when you constantly prepare for a new themed unit each week. You will lead yourself to burn out FAST switching materials each. We want to stay energized from lesson planning, so when you pick a theme, use the mindset that you will use this theme for 2-4 weeks of therapy. I talk all about that on the Real Talk SLP podcast episode 45. 

Check out the Themed Therapy SLP membership if you love using themes for your speech therapy caseload but struggle to find the time and energy to plan your lessons. The membership is for busy school-based SLPs who serve Prek-5th grade students and want to streamline their therapy planning process.

When you become an SLP themester, you can access three themed therapy units a month!

The March speech therapy themes include fairytales, weather and frogs. An annual membership gives you access to 36 themes, including penguins, baking, space, and arctic animals, to name a few!

Get themed therapy activities for frogs, weather and fairytales for speech therapy

SLP Themed Planner for the Year

Use my free-themed therapy yearly SLP planner to help you plan what themes you want to use for the year. It gives ideas for what to prepare and has an editable lesson plan template to keep notes on what you did with a theme. When you have notes for your themed units, it will jog your memory when you pull out your March speech therapy activities the following year. 

March Speech Therapy Themes on National Holidays

Get 10+ March themes for your speech therapy caseload!

March is full of national holidays- some super popular and others that are new to me! Here are some ideas:

  • March 14th: National Pi Day- Talk about math and pies with your students. 
  • March 17th: St. Patrick’s Day speech therapy is always so much fun!  You can always try a green theme, too!
  • March 19th: The first day of Spring– A new season always brings new vocabulary and topics to address with students. 
  • March is National Women’s History Month- Use books or articles from Wonderopolis or Readworks to learn about famous women. 
  • March is also National Reading Month- Use March speech therapy books to celebrate this!


Weather Themes To Do In the Month of March

With a new season comes new weather patterns to learn about with our students. As I mentioned before, this is one of the themes included in the Themed Therapy Membership. Here are some weather-based speech therapy themes:

Get ideas for planning a weather theme in the month of March for your speech therapy caseload.

Animal Speech Therapy Themes for March

Get 10+ March themes for speech therapy activities
  • Frogs: Talk about the life cycle of frogs, complete a frog craft and use 5 Green & Speckled Frogs with your little ones. This is also one of my March speech therapy themes included in the membership!
  • Bear theme: For those living in cooler places, bears emerge from hibernation in March. 
  • Zoo: The zoo speech therapy is always fun and filled with endless ideas with books, crafts, songs, games and play. 


More March Themes for Speech Therapy Lesson Planning

There are so many meaningful and fun national holidays that would make for great themes to plan in March! Here are some other alternative themes you can plan if you don’t want to rock St. Patrick’s day or rainbows all month.

  • Use a sensory bin during your sessions. I wrote about rainbow and St. Patrick’s Day sensory bins in my  March Sensory Bin Ideas post. 
  • Basketball: Use articles from Wonderopolis to learn about the inventor of basketball and March Madness. Grab a door basketball hoop and play with your students or play trash can basketball.  
  • Fairytales: The Themed Therapy SLP Membership includes this as a March speech therapy theme. There are books and ideas for all ages with this theme such as The Three Little Pigs, Princess and the Pea, and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters
  • Nutrition: Use play food and learn about balanced meals. Talk about sizes, colors, and more about food. The ultimate theme smash would be using Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to talk about food and weather.
  • Fitness/Movement: Get moving with Fabio’s Meatball Run or other action-packed videos.  
  • Sound Science: Use this free lesson plan to help prep you for your session or whole class lessons.
  • Here are 10 themes for older students that you can use any time of the year.
Get 10+ March themes to use with your preschool and elementary speech therapy caseload.

What theme-based units do you plan in March?

Get ideas for planning themed speech therapy units for the month of March!

Let me know in the comments what theme-based speech therapy lessons you plan for your elementary caseload. Tag me @themedtherapyslp with your themed activity, and I will share it in my stories!

Fun & Engaging SH Sound Speech Therapy Activities

Fun & Engaging SH Sound Speech Therapy Activities

I recently had a third grade group in which all of my students were working on the /sh/ sound. At first, I was relieved to plan a session all around one sound. When I looked closer, I realized my students were all at different “stages” in working on the sh sound. It was one of their first sessions working on the sh sound, another was working on it in the middle of words and the third was working on it in sentences. This is our job as SLPs, but it made me really brainstorm some ideas so that all of my students felt successful, challenged and most importantly, motivated. Here is my list of SH sound speech therapy activities from elicitation to conversation. 


This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

SH Sound Speech Therapy Resources for Elicitation

First off, we need to elicit the SH sound all by itself. Here are some helpful resources for teaching the sh sound in speech therapy. 

Learn resources to help you produce the SH sound in speech therapy

SH Syllable and Word Speech Therapy Activities

Get this free SH sound syllable printable for speech therapy

Once I’ve elicited the sound in isolation, I’ll start working on the /sh/ sound in syllables and words. As all SLPs know, we continuously have to push our students to the next level so they’re making progress all while feeling successful and challenged. (Quite the balancing act)


    Word Lists and Word Level Activities

        Have SH word lists for your speech therapy sessions with these no print articulation activity flipbooks

        Sound Loaded SH Phrases & Sentence Ideas

        Get ideas for working on SH in your articulation speech therapy sessions.

        Now that your student has SH in words, get working on the sound in phrases and sentences!

        • Make sound-loaded phrases with your students on paper that you can practice in the session and then take home for the weekly homework. For example, you can use the phrase “Let me show you the ____.” Then, students think of different words. They don’t have to have an /sh/ because the word your student will be working on is “show.” When using mixed groups, give them a category group to name items. Here are some more examples for sound loaded phrases:
          • “She has a ___.”
          • “I want to share the ___.”
          • “We need to wash the ___.”
          • “Add ___ to the shopping list.”

          Sentence Level Articulation Ideas for the SH Sound

          • If you do a theme-based approach, you can do this activity but use the theme’s vocabulary. See this IG for more details
          • Compare and contrast similar nouns that contain the sh sound. For example, goldfish and shark,  or shovel and brush would be great SH words to compare. If you need pre-selected compare-and-contrast flashcards, check out the SH, CH, J articulation carryover set
          • Have your students create tongue twisters with your word lists that they can practice. You can even have them illustrate  tongue twister to make a fun speech sound book. For example, you could use “Shelly shared shells at the shore” or “She shouldn’t wash dishes with a shovel.” ChatGPT would be a great way to get more SH tongue twisters quickly!
          • You can make alliteration SH poems and then students can draw their poem.
          • Play guessing games for secret words that only have the SH sound. Add in carrier phrases for people to use, like “You surely won’t guess this word! It is especially tricky,” or “You sure are correct,” or “You should guess again.”
          SH sound sentence level activities for articulation therapy.

          Speech Therapy Crafts for the SH Sound

          SH words for speech therapy using easy articulation crafts.

          During your students’ journey up the ladder, it’s always fun to incorporate crafts so your students can decorate a bulletin board in your room or bring home a piece of work to share with their caregivers. Here are some craft ideas:


          • Make speech sound wallets that they can store in their speech folders or use to practice at home. 
          • I love doing crafts with my students but I prefer something that’s quick and easy to prep. The paper plate challenge craft is just this for a SH sound speech therapy craft.
          • Make some milkshake craft or a shape craft to use for practicing the SH sound.
          • Have students decorate their own shirt, shorts, or shoes! Sketch the shape of their clothing item on paper, cut it out, and have them decorate. They can decorate with /sh/ words or more craft materials (stickers, bingo daubers, crayons, etc). 

          Articulation Games with the SH Sound

          Most of our speech students are always asking to play a game when they come to speech. There are plenty of options for /sh/ sound games.

          • There are so many games with natural opportunities for SH sound to help keep kids motivated. 
          • Play Pinball on Toy Theater and practice words like “Push,” “Shoot,” and “Shake.”
          • On ABCYa, make a face and practice words or phrases like “She has…,” “Should I give the face…”

          Count fish in ABCYa’s Counting Fish game or dash through a dungeon in ABCYa’s Dungeon Dash (there are also versions with numbers, shapes and colors!). 

          SH articulation games that will help you get high trials.

          Where to Find SH Sound Loaded Stories

          Get ideas for SH sound loaded articulation stories and reading passages for carryover.

          If your student is a reader, incorporate SH sound-loaded reading passages into your therapy sessions. 

          SH Sound Conversation Activities

          Once your student has shown consistent success for /sh/ in sentences (and reading or retell), time to focus on generalization of the sound in conversation. While having a conversation can seem like the most straightforward task, ensuring that your student uses /sh/ sounds in the speech therapy conversation activities can feel tricky. Here are some ideas:

          • I linked this before, but make sure to check out my SH Sound conversation activities for some low-prep ideas. 
          • Find more sound-loaded non-fiction articles to read aloud. Discuss them afterward with your students. How much can they retell you? (There are non-fiction passages in the SH carryover activities.)
          • Make sound loaded questions, or would you rather games
            • Make a game like “What should I do?” and make up silly scenarios that students have to explain what you “should” or “shouldn’t” do.
            • Have students read the directions of a game, or read the cards while playing a game like Bubble Talk.
            • Create a list of words that start with the SH sound (shopping, shark, dishes, washing, brush, flush) then have students make silly sentences or create a story trying to get the sound-loaded words in the story.
          Help your student's graduate with SH articulation carryover activities

          What Articulation Activities Do You Love to Plan for SH?

          While we generally follow the same sequence of steps with sounds, it can be tricky to think of activities for each sound and each step. I hope these ideas help keep your students motivated and/or help you think of some more speech therapy SH sound activities. What else is in your SH sound toolkit? SHare with us on social media!

          Tips for Using YouTube Videos in Speech Therapy Ep 110

          Tips for Using YouTube Videos in Speech Therapy Ep 110

          Using YouTube videos in your speech therapy sessions can be a great way to increase engagement and help you plan quick, effective lessons. Because YouTube is one of my go-to speech therapy material resources, I like to find tools and tech tips to make finding and organizing my videos easier. Today in this Real Talk SLP podcast, I am sharing my top tips for using YouTube videos in speech therapy to help save you time and stress for using them in sessions.

          Free Winter and Spring YouTube Video Google Slides

          One of the best ways you can save time looking for themed YouTube videos is downloading the list I compiled for free! Storing your favorite winter and spring YouTube videos on Google Slides can help you stay organized for your teletherapy or in-person sessions.

          Learn tech tips for using YouTube videos in speech therapy.

          Themed Therapy SLP Membership Finds the YouTube Videos for You

          Get the best tips for using YouTube videos for speech therapy

          If you struggle with wanting to use YouTube videos because it takes SO much time trying to find videos that match the themed unit you are planning, you don’t have to waste any more time. In the Themed Therapy SLP membership, we provide Google Slides for Prek-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-5th with links to YouTube videos for book read-alouds, songs, movement breaks, wordless shorts, science videos, and more! They are all organized like free spring and winter YouTube videos.

          Tech Tips for SLPs On How To Use YouTube Videos

          In this episode of the Real Talk SLP podcast we share these top tech tips:

          • Use tools such as safeshare.tv or viewpure to block unwanted ads, comments, and suggested videos when showing YouTube videos to kids.
          • On the YouTube video you can create a clip of the video right from YouTube. You can also clip videos using Google Slides. When you embed a YouTube video on a Google Slide, you have the option to put a start and end play time. So, if you want to skip the introduction or avoid a section of a video, you can do that!
          • Make embedded questions and stimulus items directly on a YouTube video using EdPuzzle.
          • Control the speed of the YouTube video so that you can slow it down for students who need more processing time with the words or movements in the video.
          • Use Chrome Extensions like Webpaint to write directly on webpages and videos. So, if you want to visually cue a student for something to pay attention to while watching the video you can draw on it. Or, you can pause the video and draw on a specific portion of the video while discussing concepts. 
          • Create playlists of your favorite songs, books, wordless short videos, etc. for different treatment areas, themes or type of content to easily bring up again when you use with a new group or client. Plus, you can also search for public playlists and find videos quicker!
          • For SLPs wanting to send homework or modeling techniques to parents, you can timestamp your video in the description so that parents or students can quickly get to a section of the video that they may need to rewatch.
          Get the top tips for using YouTube videos in speech therapy.

          What tech tips do you have about using YouTube videos?

          Learn all the best tips for using YouTube videos in speech therapy

          If you have any tech tips for using YouTube videos in your speech therapy sessions, do share in the comments! Or, if you have a favorite channel you love to use in speech, let me know. For SLPs that have been following me a long time, you know I am a big fan of Simon Cat’s Videos.

          Best SH Articulation Games For High Trials & Motivation

          Best SH Articulation Games For High Trials & Motivation

          My nephew recently yelled “Shh!” to me while holding his finger (horizontally) in front of his lips. At first, it made me laugh but then I thought “Aha!” he’s got the /sh/ sound! These “Aha!” or “Ta Da!” moments are so exciting to watch as caregivers as well as speech therapists. It made me think of the students working on this “sh” sound. They work so hard on this sound during each session for these “Aha” moments. I love to use engaging, functional and motivating activities to help them keep practicing and eventually have their own “Ta Da!” moments. I have plenty of fun SH articulation games that I wanted to share with you, plus some new ones that I brainstormed, too. 

          This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

          Here are some ideas for you to use in speech therapy when working on the sh sound.

          SH Articulation Games for Preschool & Elementary

          Shark Bite is a fun game for “Shark Week” or “Ocean animals” theme, but can also be used at any time of year. 

          • You and/or your students take turns rolling the die and fishing for sea creatures using a fishing pole BUT you never know when the shark will bite. 
          • This game obviously allows for great practice of /sh/ initial words like “shark” or “sharp teeth.” You can also practice /sh/ in the medial or final positions by prompting students to practice words/phrases such as “fish,” “fishing,” “I/you fish,” and “I am fishing.”
          • Talk more about: Sharks live in the ocean. They make splashes!


          A classic card game, Go Fish is another fun way to work on the /sh/ sound. 

          • While the target sound is right in the name and script of the game, I also shared New Ways to Play Go Fish in Speech Therapy in my blog. 
          • I found this fun adaptation of Go Shark on Amazon. While again, the targets are in the name and script, you could also use phrases like “Show me your card” or “I wish I got __.” You could also ask students to describe the shark like “Big shark” or “scary shark.”


          Fun SH games for speech therapy with free Go Fish rules visual

          More Ocean Themed Games for Speech Therapy to Work on the SH Sound

          Get ideas for SH speech therapy games you can use to get high trials in speech.

          One of the first games I bought for my speech room: Let’s Go Fishin’. Don’t forget batteries for this one! 

          • I like to turn this game off and on and have students tell me to “Push” the switch or “Shut it off!”
          • Before they start fishing, we’ll practice phrases like “Time to fish!” or “I’ll get the __ fish!”
          • After we “shut the game off,” we’ll practice phrases like “Show me your fish!” or “I have (number/color) fish.”


          I was so excited when I found Sophie’s Seashell Scramble last summer, and so were my students! 

          • Similar to “Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game,” students spin one wheel and have to collect seashells and starfish for Sophie the otter. This game adds another challenge in matching patterns. 
          • Some sh initial words to practice during this game include “shell,” “she” when talking about Sophie, “share” when you have to share with a friend” and talking about the “shapes” on each starfish or shell. You can also practice /sh/ in the medial and final positions of “seashell” and “starfish.”
          • Need more words to practice? Incorporate questions that “sure” may be the answer! Re-name “Sophie” to a name like Shonda, Shelly, Michelle or Shayna. 

          Speech Therapy Games for SH Sound with Ships

          Battle Ship is another fun SH articulation game for older students. Pro tip? This game may take extra time so play a modified version so you can “finish” the game in one session. 

          • Practice the word “ship” by itself or “battle ship” to work on /sh/ in the medial position. 
          • You can practice phrases like “That shot fell short!,” “I wish you didn’t sink my ship!” and “That was an ambush!”


          Last but certainly not least, Don’t Rock the boat, is another fun way to practice the /sh/ sound. This is fun for a pirate, penguin or transportation theme.

          • Change the name of the game to “Don’t rock the SHIP!” and talk about what the ship does. Does it “crash?”
          • Students can choose what pirate they’d like to use–some are “short.” Then, ask students “Should you put a pirate there?” and they can answer “I should/should not.”
          • Students “should not rush” so the pirates and ship don’t “crash” or “smash!”
          • During a pirate theme, practice a silly phrase like “shiver me timbers!”
          Get ideas for speech therapy games you can use to target the SH sound.

          SH Words You Can Target With These Popular Games

          Find fun sh articulation activities using sound-loaded games!

          My students and I love Chutes and Ladders. It keeps students on their toes and has many practice opportunities. Check out my  toy companion cheat sheet for this game or the full set of toy companion sheet. Make sure to explain to students what the “chutes” are. You can also grab the full set on TPT

          • Some ideas to use as targets for this SH articulation game: “Is the chute/ladder short or tall?” “Dash up the ladder!” “I wish I didn’t have to go down the slide.” 
          • You can also talk about what the children on the game board are doing…For example, one child dropped the dishes and another child’s ball smashed into a window.


          Play Headbanz and only put SH words in the headbands! 

          • Look through the deck of cards provided, or make your own deck of cards with /sh/ words. 
          • Are you or your students “shocked” at how easy or difficult it is? 
          • Students can tell you to “Show” them the card.


          Who doesn’t love candyland? Play this classic but call it “sugarland”!

          • There is also a toy companion cheat sheet for this in my sets.
          • Hold the cards and have students request “Please show me my card.”
          • Talk about all the “sugary” treats on the board and the “shiny” jewels some of the characters have.
          • Are students able to find or land on any of the “shortcuts?” What colors are they “wishing” for?

          Even more SH articulation game ideas!

          Shelby’s Snack Shack is another fun game similar to Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. This is great for a pet/dog theme but of course can be used year round. The key to use SH articulation games to get high trials is to come up with sound-loaded phrases.

          • Spin two wheels and then collect bones from “Shelby’s Snack Shack.” Two great targets right in the name of the game! Who is selling bones? Shelby! Where? Her shack! Where is her shack? On the seashore! You can also talk about “shopping” 
          • Plus, every time a student gets a bone, they have to put it in their “dish.”
          • For more practice, talk about what the children see on the beach including some “fish” in the “ocean.” 


          The game Perfection allows for practice of /sh/ in all positions of words. 

          • Before taking their turn, talk about the “shape” of the piece or students can practice “Put the shape in.”
          • Then, students have to “push” or “shove” the pieces in.
          • When students put a piece in, was it “perfection” or did “The pieces shoot out!”?
          Find speech therapy SH sound games you can do in your articulation and phonology sessions

          DIY Games Speech Therapy You Can Play

          Get a great list of SH games for speech therapy!

          If you are on a budget, here are some SH articulation games you can make with stuff you have on hand. While you can buy your own Charades for Kids, you can also make your own with /sh/ words.

          • For the store bought game, students not acting things out can practice calling “Action!” or “Time for the show!”
          • Participants can remind others “Shhh, just show us!” so they don’t use words when acting things out. 
          • To make your own “sh” charades game, use words like: fish(ing), crash, hush, brush, washing dishes, shark, shrink, shout, shut the door, and shopping. 


          You can also play trash can game

          • Crumble up paper, put out a trashcan and have kids try to shoot the paper into the trash can. 
          • Do carrier phrases “I am going to shoot” “I shot it” or “It’s in the trash can.”
          • Make a sensory bin and have students clean up the “trash” and put it in a “trash can.” The “trash” can be “sh” picture cards or mini objects. 

          Remember This When You Are Shopping for Games

          SH articulation games can be so easy and fun to use! A lot of these ideas have great options for groups with mixed goals which is always a plus! Remember you don’t have to buy ALL these game recommendations. Get the ones that fit your budget, student interest or will be the most versatile for other speech therapy goals. How do you practice the /sh/ sound with your students? I can’t wait to hear some of your ideas!

          Get ideas for SH articulation games to use with your elementary speech therapy students.
          5 Things to Help You Get Stuff Done With Your Speech Therapy Caseload

          5 Things to Help You Get Stuff Done With Your Speech Therapy Caseload

          In this episode of the Real Talk SLP podcast we are chatting about 5 things you can do to get stuff done for your speech therapy caseload. We manage a LOT of students in the school-based setting, which means we don’t just do speech therapy sessions. Just to list a few of our speech therapy caseload tasks, SLPs are responsible for attending IEP meetings, taking in new speech referrals, billing Medicaid, writing therapy logs, collaborating with staff on implementing the IEP and doing progress reports for the student’s IEPs. We are juggling so many things that it can quickly get overwhelming. That’s why this episode is all about how to help you manage your day better so you can leave work knowing the important tasks got done.

          Amazon affiliate links are provided for your convenience. When you purchase an item with my affiliate link, I receive a small commission.

          Stressed About Planning Speech Therapy Sessions?

          If you are stressed with getting all the caseload management tasks done and need some help with planning for your mixed groups, join the Themed Therapy SLP Membership. We help SLPs have engaging themed activities for your preschool and elementary caseload. Take the stress out of planning and let us do the heavy lifting with speech therapy sessions.

          Have engaging themed speech therapy materials using this membership for preschool and elementary.

          In this episode of the Real Talk SLP podcast we talked about these 5 things you can do to get stuff done for your speech therapy caseload:

          Get practical tips for managing your speech therapy caseload.
          1. Write down what you will do your entire day with strategies like writing must dos vs. may dos. You can use this free weekly Google Doc editable speech schedule to write in what you will be doing during your week outside of therapy groups.
          2. Block off time for those caseload management tasks where you do not fill that time with potential meetings or therapy groups.
          3. Look ahead at least three months. Map out all your IEPs, assessments, etc., so you know what is coming
          4. Make cheat sheets to check off the steps of big tasks. For example, write out all the steps you need to do for your progress reports so you know where you left off. With your assessments, checklists for booking a translator, calling parents, etc. 
          5. Have systems specifically for your speech referrals and other things that take time.

          Checklists & Tools for Staying Organized With Your Week

          Here are some tools for writing down your most important word tasks and helping you stay focused with your speech therapy caseload: 



          What tools or systems do you use to help you with managing your speech therapy caseload? I would love to hear what you use or do! Email me at fe*********@th*****************.com

          Use these tips to improve your speech therapy organization with caseload management tasks.

          EP.109 5 Things to Help You Get Stuff Done With Your Speech Therapy Caseload

          by The Dabbling Speechie

          Top Toys for Teaching CORE Words Open and Closed

          Top Toys for Teaching CORE Words Open and Closed

          In this Real Talk SLP podcast episode 108, I share the top toys for teaching CORE words open and closed in your play-based speech therapy sessions. We want versatile toys when picking toys for our preschool and elementary caseload! That’s why the toys I recommend can work on AAC CORE words for open and closed and other speech and language skills.

          Why Teaching the CORE word Open & Closed Are Effective in Speech Therapy

          I am sharing some of my favorite toys to teach the CORE words open and close. We know that kids love hands-on learning and using toys. Training the core words open and close are great word pairs to teach in therapy for various reasons.

          First, it’s easy to visually show the word pairs in play, especially if you use some of the toys I recommend later in the show.

          Secondly, coaching parents to model and work on these words during daily routines and in-play activities is feasible for their busy schedules. For example, you can teach how to open/close the door, a snack container, a toy item, and the clothes drawer.

          Thirdly, open and close can be paired with other nouns, so if you want to help a client begin using 2-word utterances, being able to communicate open or close can later be paired with nouns, such as open box, open door, etc.

          The best toys to teach AAC CORE words open and closed in speech therapy

          Toy Companion Cheat Sheets for Play-Based Speech Therapy

          If you enjoy using toys in your play-based speech therapy but struggle with adapting the toy for different speech and language goals, these toy companion speech therapy cheat sheets are for you! And, if you need help with coming up with targets on the spot, you can reference the toy cheat sheet while working with your clients. We provide wh-questions, at least 24 verbs to use with the toy, tier II vocabulary words, basic concepts, articulation sound words, adjectives, and ten ways to use each toy or game to target therapy skills. Grab your free bubbles toy companion cheat to try these cheat sheets in your play therapy sessions. 


          Speech and Language Toys Shared in This Podcast Episode for CORE Words Open and Closed

          Get the best toys for teaching open and closed to help build vocabulary in preschoolers.

          In this episode, I shared about different sets of toys to teach CORE words open and closed. Here is a round-up of the resources and blog posts I mentioned (Amazon affiliate links are provided for your convenience):


          What Toys Do You Use to Work on Word Pairs Open and Closed?

          Get toy ideas for teaching open and close for the CORE word of the week.

          If you have an engaging toys that you love to use to teach the AAC CORE vocabulary for open and closed, please share in the comments. SLPs are always looking for toys that can work on speech and language skills in a hands on way!

          Engaging Penguin Lesson Plan for Co-Teaching Speech Therapy

          Engaging Penguin Lesson Plan for Co-Teaching Speech Therapy

          If you work with preschool and early elementary, planning a penguin lesson plan for your speech therapy sessions is a must for the winter months. Usually, teachers are doing a penguin preschool theme in the winter season. Planning a penguin preschool whole-class lesson for co-teaching in your self-contained classroom can be a great way to reinforce the vocabulary and skills that the classroom is doing. You can also use these penguin activities for your small groups.

          Books for Your Penguin Lesson Plan

          An engaging penguin lesson plan for your speech therapy push-in sessions.

          Typically, when you plan a co-teaching lesson, you want to pick materials that will be part of your core teaching content. Using a penguin-themed book on the carpet is a great way to plan the foundation of your push-in lesson. As you read the book on the carpet, pair it with shared book-reading strategies and iconic gestures. Not only are you providing effective strategies for building vocabulary and other language skills, but you are also modeling for the staff in the classroom. Here are some penguin book suggestions for the preschool and kindergarten ages:


          Themed Therapy SLP Membership Makes Planning Lessons Easier

          When planning themed therapy activities for your Prek-5th grade caseload, overwhelm immediately sets in as you try to find engaging materials to use with your students.

          You either become burnt out trying to prepare lessons or feel lost with how to cover all the speech and language goals.

          To make themed therapy planning easier, join the Themed Therapy SLP membership. We take lesson planning off your plate so you can enjoy doing therapy. Check out the January and February months with a penguin, arctic animals, space, community helpers, friendship, and baking themes for your preschool and elementary caseload.

          Penguin Lesson Plan Movement Activities for the Carpet Time

          After you read the book with the class, use the teacher’s SMARTboard to do an interactive song or movement break. The kids can stay on the carpet before transitioning to table station activities. Here are some fun penguin songs:

          We have Google Slide presentations in the Themed Therapy SLP membership, and the penguin push-in language lesson plans also have Google Slides with links to penguin songs, videos, and activities to do on the SMARTboard. 

          Another quick activity you can do after reading the penguin book is to use a penguin printable or plush penguin to work on basic concepts with the kids on the carpet. Some other fun movement activities could be verb charades doing penguin verb actions such as waddle, dive, eat, slide, etc.

          Get ideas for penguins preschool speech therapy push-in lesson

          Station Activities for the Penguins Preschool Theme

          Get penguin speech therapy activities for your push-in lesson plans

          When co-teaching, you want to utilize all the adults in the room to maximize small-group instruction.

          If you have instructional aides, you can break students into three groups and have one to two teachers as floater teachers.

          Otherwise, you can do one tabletop activity and have students at tables with similar goals, students who get along or based on levels of scaffolding.

          Penguin Speech Therapy Station Activities for The Push-In Lesson

          Use a sensory bin using the penguin-themed verb and vocabulary flashcards from the Themed Therapy SLP membership for your first penguin station. You can work on conversational recasting verbs, describing vocabulary by attributes, increasing MLU, answering wh-questions, and more. another penguin sensory bin option is to make icebergs and use penguin figurines to work on various articulation and language goals.

          Easy penguin push-in lesson plan for busy SLPs

          Station #2 Penguin Activity to Work on Basic Concepts

          Plan a preschool language activity with penguins to work on basic concepts

          Use a plush penguin to work on basic concepts with a plastic egg and styrofoam. You can cover basic concept pairs on/off, near/far, together/apart, in front/behind, and between/next to. With the penguin props, you can also work on “where” questions for the egg and penguin. What other goals could you cover with these props?

          Station #3 Story Retell With the Penguin Book

          With your penguin book, have your students work on story retell and comprehension. If you need visuals and extension activities for penguin books, the Themed Therapy SLP membership provides book cheat sheets, story maps, and companion activities. Use the pictures in the book to review the story elements, vocabulary and answering wh-questions.

          Plan an engaging push-in lesson using Tacky the Penguin book

          Additional Penguin Activities for Preschool & Elementary

          Get penguin speech therapy activities that you can use for push-in

           When planning new push-in lesson plans, continue using the penguin theme for at least another week or a month. You can continue to plan engaging penguin-themed activities by switching out activities. Follow this similar framework each week, but instead of doing the story retell station, do a penguin craft or play the game Don’t Break the Ice. Keep some elements from your previous lesson to create consistency, but add in one new activity to make it feel novel. Or, the following week, don’t do three stations, but have every table do one activity.


          Use these penguin speech therapy ideas to give you more inspiration for what to plan. As always, if you ever need ideas, reach out on social media @thedabblingspeechie or email me at fe*********@th*****************.com

          Best Preschool Speech Therapy Toys for Play-Based Learning

          Best Preschool Speech Therapy Toys for Play-Based Learning

          If you are working with preschoolers aged 3-5, keeping them engaged in your speech therapy sessions can be tricky! Sitting for long periods with flashcards and worksheets usually works poorly. Instead of working on speech and language goals, you might find yourself redirecting and managing behavior. When you can use a play-based learning approach in your sessions, you will see a BIG increase in engagement with your preschoolers. Today, I share the best preschool speech therapy toys to rock your play-based sessions. 

          Considerations When Purchasing Preschool Speech Therapy Toys

          Many of you may be on a budget for buying speech therapy toys. It isn’t realistic that you can purchase toys for every stage of development. And spending money on toys that meet your students’ interests is tough. The best way to approach purchasing preschool speech therapy toys is to look at a toy and envision all the skills you can cover with it. Typically, battery-operated toys have specific actions or sounds, which could limit creativity. That’s why finding good toys with various functions and the ability to be simple or complex in the play will be the best bang for your buck. 

           Consider The Child’s Motor Stages

          The other thing to consider when purchasing speech therapy toys for toddlers and preschoolers is what motor stage of development your clients or students are functioning in. When the toy or play activity requires heavy motor or sensory work, it may be harder for your client or student to focus on the communication and language skills you want them to practice. For example, fine motor skills develop around 24-48 months (2-4 years). Fine motor toys may include puzzles, or filling containers with smaller objects. So, if you have a student who is 3 years of age but whose fine motor development is delayed, participating with toys with many fine motor skills may be difficult. So, I like to look at preschool toys to see if I can adapt them for simpler gross or fine motor skills or if I need to adapt them for play-based speech therapy sessions.

          Preschool Toys for Parallel & Associative Play

          Children doing parallel play can work together, doing their own thing. Having toys that allow kids to play parallelly and then work towards associative play is easy to adapt as the child progresses. Associative play is when kids start sharing and have more interest in other children. 


          • Bubbles are great for associative play, cause and effect, and if you have multiple wands with one bubble tray, children can do parallel or onlooker play. 
          • Stacking cups or stacking towers to model verbs, spatial concepts, and CORE words such as more, look, etc. This toy can then move into sharing, waiting, and turn-taking. 
          • Blocks or Jumbo Legos are always great to have on hand because you can start with simple one-action play and later move into turn-taking. These toys are good for kids still in the gross motor stage and struggling with fine motor tasks.
          • Playdough is a sensory-friendly toy that can have many possibilities when it comes to play and works well for kids at the parallel or associative play stages.
          Get ideas for speech therapy toys for preschool to use in your play-based speech therapy sessions.

          If I Had to Pick Only One Toy for Preschoolers

          Magnetiles are awesome because you can use these for parallel to cooperative play. They are so versatile and easy to adapt that this is my overall pick if you can only pick one toy set in this list for parallel play. You can use this toy with younger kids; older students also think this toy is awesome. Plus, it has elements of building and stacking, so if you can’t afford to get blocks, stacking towers, and magnetiles, just get these!

          Have Speech Therapy Cheat Sheets To Use With Your Toys & Games

          If you love doing play-based speech therapy but struggle to remember targets for articulation, verbs, vocabulary, adjectives, basic concepts, carrier phrases, and wh-questions, use these cheat sheets with 45 of your favorite toys and games to reduce brain fatigue when following your student’s lead with play. Each toy companion has 10 ways to use the toy and evidence-based practices when doing play-based learning in your sessions. 


          Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

          Get ideas for preschool toys for three year olds to use in speech therapy.

          With associative and cooperative play, preschoolers are learning how to interact with one another. During associative play, children do the same activity or use the same toy but do not necessarily move toward a common goal. So, for example, with associative play, two children could be playing with a farm toy house, but one is playing with the cows while the other is driving the tractor around the farm. As children progress into cooperative play, they will solve problems together, engage in pretend play, or create stories or games with the toy.

          Here are some great toy sets that will allow you to work on speech and language goals at both stages:


          • The farmhouse toy is versatile and can be used any time of the year, and kids love animals!
          • Play food makes for a great toy to invest in because you can cover a variety of themes such as food, breakfast, picnic, dessert, and cooking, and you can use the food as props with books you read.
          • Critter Clinic is a pet vet toy with so many options when working on speech and language goals. This toy works well for open/close, verb action, taking care of pets, and more!
          • Having a play toy house is something to invest in because you can cover furniture, rooms of the house, and play schemes related to the child. We all have a home, and working on vocabulary and concepts familiar to the child is meaningful. 
          • Dinosaurs are a fan favorite and can be adapted in many ways in therapy.
          • Train or all-around town toy sets allow you to cover verbs, transportation, basic concepts, wh-questions, and more!

          What Speech Therapy Toys Do You Recommend for Preschoolers?


          If you have a toy set that you always use with preschoolers, share in the comments what you recommend! It’s always nice to hear from other SLPs to see what tools and toys they use to work on play and other speech therapy goals.

          Find preschool toys for four year olds that you can use in play-based speech therapy.
          Low Prep Christmas Social Skills Activities EP 107

          Low Prep Christmas Social Skills Activities EP 107

          In this episode of the Real Talk SLP podcast I am sharing easy, low prep Christmas social skills activities to help you rock your pragmatic language groups without stressing. Between the IEP meetings, finishing assessment reports, progress monitoring and running groups, you have zero time for planning. That’s why this round-up of Christmas social skills lessons will help you get to winter break with a smile!

          Frameworks for Planning Your Group Social Skills Lessons

          When it comes to planning your social skill groups, it can get overwhelming. Especially if you are starting to run out of ideas. To help me with planning overwhelm, I always use a framework that I breakdown in this podcast episode. It will help you with some of the ideas mentioned and give you tips for how to structure your lessons so you can stretch out. 

          Low prep Christmas social language activities for elementary and middle school.

          Christmas Social Skills Activities With YouTube Videos

          Plan engaging Christmas social skills lessons with wordless short videos.

          In this episode, I shared about a variety of YouTube videos you can use to work on pragmatic language skills such as perspective taking, thinking bubble, social inferencing, and social rules. Here is a round-up of the resources and blog posts I mentioned:


          Other Christmas pragmatic language activities mentioned in this episode are working on gift giving through role playing how to respond when you get a gift, to understanding how to use a gift based on other’s interests. You can use worksheets and the lesson plan for gift giving in my social skills lessons resource

          Discussing the expectations when visiting family for the holidays and how to communicate during those events is another great lesson plan idea.

          For those quick days when you need something that feels like a game, using holiday social skills bamboozle games is a great way to go!


          Group pragmatic language activities with a Christmas theme.

          What Christmas Themed Pragmatic Language Activities Do You Plan?

          If you have an engaging pragmatic language activity you plan with a Christmas theme, share the resource or activity in the comments. You can never have enough ideas to pull from when planning group social skills activities.