Make a Speech Therapy Theme Calendar

Make a Speech Therapy Theme Calendar

I recently talked with a graduate student about managing a large caseload while also balancing school-based responsibilities-IEP meetings, evaluations, recess duty, and more. “How do you have time to plan?” My answer? Use a speech therapy theme calendar to streamline your monthly lesson plans.

I explained that speech therapy themes use a specific topic or category to frame concepts and language. You plan books, games, crafts, and more all relating to the chosen theme. To learn more about the themed-based approach, you can read my blog post here

I could see her wheels turning as she took it all in and started thinking of the themes she could do in the future. I went on to explain that themes in speech therapy still involve some planning, but it saves time that we’re already so limited with. 

One way to streamline your planning time is by using themes each month. Avoid feeling overwhelmed with themes and make a speech therapy theme calendar. Here is my advice when it comes to making a speech therapy theme calendar.

Take the FREE Themed Therapy SLP Quiz

I wanted to let you know about a free Themed Therapy SLP quiz I created to help you get information about using a theme-based approach. Whether you are new to themes, trying to get more organized, or need fresh ideas for planning by themes, you will want to take the quiz to get an email with links to podcast episodes, blog posts, and resources to help you with your themed therapy planning.

How Many Speech Therapy Themes to Plan Per Month?

Make your SLP planner for your monthly themes.

Like I said, themed therapy still requires planning but there’s a way to minimize it to help you save time and avoid burnout in the long run. 

When you’re planning speech therapy themes, it’s important to first decide how many themes you want to use each month. At first, your immediate answer might seem like 4 by using 1 theme each week. What if I told you, you could plan less themes? Listen to my podcast episode about why you should use a theme longer than a week. 

By using a theme for at least two weeks, you can plan 1-2 themes for each month! Avoid the added stress and save time and energy in implementing therapy.

Tips for Making Speech Therapy Theme Calendar

Before you start planning themes for speech therapy, I’d recommend downloading my free-themed therapy planner. It has loads of seasonal and non-seasonal theme ideas as well as worksheets to map out your plans on. 

I have a few more pointers when making your speech therapy theme calendar…

1. Map out your calendar for the year. If you’re new to themed therapy planning, aim to do one theme a month.

2. Talk with your student’s teachers about the units they cover each month. Is there a way to align your plans with the teacher’s units and classroom themes? 

  • This is a great way to address functional words, vocabulary, and related concepts! 
  • You can even start a theme a week before their teachers introduce it in the classroom. Pre-teach vocabulary and concepts to help build your student’s background knowledge and confidence!

3. Fill out the SLP-themed planner with books, activities, printable activities, and vocabulary that you can use with the theme. Don’t forget, you can always fill the planner out as you are doing the theme, so it is fresh in your mind. These will be cheat sheets to reference the next time you do the theme.

      • Watch my Instagram reel on how to use the planner and edit it!

      Example of Themed Speech Therapy Lesson Plans

      Learn tips for how to plan speech therapy themes by month!

      4. Working with older students? Have them vote on themes they like. By having them vote, you’ll (hopefully) increase their buy-in to therapy. Students are more likely to engage in therapy if the topic is of interest and relevant to them!

      5. Need some examples of what to plan? Check out some of my themed speech therapy plans… 

      • My Back to School Theme includes books by grade level books, toys, picture scenes, digital activities, crafts and language based activities.
      •  My Camping Theme includes books, tips for structuring lessons around books, speech therapy activities, crafts and activities for older students. 
      • Get ideas for planning an ice cream theme for your preschool and elementary caseload. 

      How to Pick Themes for Your Speech Therapy Caseload

      There are so many different themes you can do… everything from food to sports to chores. It can be hard to narrow down which themes you want to do. There are a lot of factors that go into picking a theme for your caseload, and it might feel a little overwhelming. 

      There are a few things to think about… 

      • What motivates your students? 
      • What’s relevant and important to them in the classroom and in the community?
      • What motivates you as a therapist? You will be learning and talking a lot about these themes, so pick something you like!
      • What can you adapt across age and skill levels? What can you adapt for all goals?

       

      Need some more advice on picking a theme? Check out my 4 tips to help pick speech therapy themes. 

       

      Have you been feeling overwhelmed with the long SLP To Do list? Try using speech therapy themes to help limit planning time and motivate your students. It might require some additional time at first, but it will save you time in the long run! Snap a picture of your theme calendar or notes and share it with me on Facebook or Instagram!

      Tips for how to make a speech therapy calendar with a free SLP planner!
      Speech Therapy Folders Pros and Cons – Ep 101

      Speech Therapy Folders Pros and Cons – Ep 101

      If you are new to being an SLP in the school setting or have been trying to find an organizational system for managing all your students therapy materials and logs this episode is for you! I will be sharing the pros and cons of making speech therapy folders for your caseload, so that you can figure out if investing the time to make these will be worth it!

       

      Digital Speech Therapy Folders

      For SLPs that do teletherapy or want to make less trips to the copier, you need to check out the digital speech therapy folders that use Google Slide templates to help you create a speech folder for sessions. You can see a step-by-step tutorial for how to make a digital speech folder. Check out all the digital speech folders for minimal pairs and different individual sounds.

      Pros for Making Speech Therapy Folders for Your Caseload

      speech-therapy-student-folders
      1. You have a system to find everything you need for the student, including data sheets, worksheets, and visuals that are specific to the student. You have a spot, so keeping things organized is easier.
      2. If you want to set up a home program with the family, having a speech folder to send back and forth is easy for updating the family.
      3. Students can take ownership of their speech or language therapy practice, and you can have them help with maintaining their speech therapy folder.
      4. It helps with revisiting previously taught concepts or using activities from the previous week as a warm-up.

      Cons for Making Speech Therapy Student Folders for Your Caseload

      1. It can be time consuming to set up 50+ speech therapy student folders with the individual needs of the students. Having a checklist of things you want to include in all the folders does help such as data sheets, IEP goals, parent contact form, and certain visual supports.
      2. Making speech therapy folders for your entire caseload can also be expensive especially if you don’t get any money from your school. For example, if you have a caseload of 60 kids, and get a durable folder, you are looking at spending $60 plus dollars for your caseload.
      3. Finding your student’s folder when that group walks in can distract from getting started with the lesson.
      100-trials-for-speech-therapy

      Tips for Setting Up Speech Therapy Student Folders:

      speech-therapy-student-folders
      1. Instead of using folders for every student, make folders for similar skills or goals. For example, if you have a lot of students with consonant cluster speech sound goals, create a folder with everything you need to target that goal. That way you can pull the activities, visuals and tools out whenever you target that speech therapy goal. I moved towards using a therapy data binder and then having folders for specific groups or skills.
      2. Use book holders to keep track of folders by your group times so that you can easily find the folders you need.
      3. The folders can get bulky quick with activities and work from the student. It can become a burden to clean out the folders and send things home with the student.
      4. Taking data can be tricky because you have to open each students folder to get to their data sheet. A solution to that is to use group data sheets, allot time at the start of the session to take data, so you don’t have to flip back and forth, or implement a progress monitoring approach for updating progress on goals.
      5 Ways to Use Google Forms for Speech Therapy

      5 Ways to Use Google Forms for Speech Therapy

      Many school-based SLPs cover two or more different sites with their caseload. Managing all the paperwork, documenting progress, and communicating with the IEP team is a LOT!

      It can take a lot of papers and forms to document all the caseload duties, so why not use Google Forms to help manage your speech therapy caseload?

      Nothing is worse than going to a new site and realizing you forgot that one paper that contained all the info you needed to write an IEP or get started with progress reports.

      In this blog post, you will learn five ways that Google Forms can help streamline your speech therapy caseload paperwork!

      Use Google Forms for Speech Referrals

      Managing a couple of school sites and want all your speech referrals in ONE spot? Use Google Forms for speech therapy referrals to collect information from teachers digitally.

      We know how many speech referrals we receive throughout the school year, and managing them can quickly get out of control. I used to put a few copies in each of the teacher’s mailboxes, and often the following would happen:

      -The teacher would lose the form and ask for a new one when they had a speech referral
      -I would forget to check my mailbox to get referrals, so I was not getting back to teachers promptly

      This is why I started using a Google Form to collect speech therapy referrals. I could email teachers directly with the link by digitally storing my speech referrals. Furthermore, I could access my speech referrals no matter what site I was at. If you didn’t know, when a Google Form is filled out, you can generate a Google Sheet of your referrals. With the Google Sheet, you can add additional columns to help you manage what steps you have taken with each referral. Head to this blog post to read more about the importance of speech referrals

      Click the pink button to grab your set of Google Forms for speech therapy to help you confidently manage your caseload.

      Progress Monitor with Google Forms for Speech Therapy Goals

      If you make a progress monitoring approach to assessing your student’s speech and language progress on goals, you can use Google Forms to keep track digitally.

      Once you fill out the Google Form, you can create a spreadsheet with the inputted information. The Google Sheet will list the dates and times you took data and individual responses.

      If you want ready-to-go Google Form progress monitoring tools for articulation and phonology, check out the Digital Speech Folder Resources. You can click the pictures below to check them out.

      Instead of doing your speech and language screeners with paper forms, use a Google Form to input responses. The beauty of Google Forms is that you can create a Google Sheet with the information to track and manage your speech screening results.

      Keep track of your data collection for your speech therapy caseload using Google Forms for speech therapy progress monitoring. Y

      Administer Speech and Language Screeners Digitally with Google Forms

      Instead of doing your speech and language screeners with paper forms, use a Google Form to input responses. The beauty of Google Forms is that you can create a Google Sheet with the information to track and manage your speech screening results.

      If you need an elementary speech and language screener with printable forms and Google Forms for easy response input, check out the screeners in my TPT store.

      You can print the screening stimulus items, but have the Google Form on your laptop or iPad to take data while administering.

      With the screener bundle, you get screeners for articulation and language. The language screener is broken down by Prek-2nd and 3rd-5th grades. Click the image to check out all the details about the screener. 

      Have Google Forms for speech therapy that can help you manage your caseload with confidence.

      Use Google Forms to Get Input About IEPs and the Speech Schedule

      Automate how you collect information about student IEPs and speech schedule requests with Google Forms. As we prepare for IEP meetings, we need teacher input for the present levels page. Instead of hunting them down with a printable form, send them a Google Form for the different areas you need their input. Having the information stored digitally allows it to access IEP information from any computer.

      Make sure to download your Google Form templates to have an IEP form ready for the school year!

      Improve Parent Communication with Google Forms

      We are super busy managing the 50+ students on our caseloads, so keeping in contact with parents can be difficult.

      At the start of the school year or even at the initial or annual IEP meeting, you can have parents fill out a Google Form questionnaire to share how to be contacted (i.e., email, text, phone) and information they would like for the home environment. For example, you can find out what toys they have at home, skills they would like strategies for, or how much homework to send.

      How do You Use Google Forms for Speech Therapy?

      Digital tools can help you when traveling between sites, and Google Forms has been one of those tools! Nothing is worse than wanting to follow up on a task and leaving the form at your other site.

      If you are new to using Google Forms and have questions, drop them below. And, if you love using Google Forms for speech therapy caseload management, let me know how you use them in the comments!

      6 SLP Supplies You Need for Organization

      6 SLP Supplies You Need for Organization

      Of course, we would love to have the time and money to organize our speech rooms into beautifully arranged Pinterest-worthy spaces. Between the meetings, large caseloads, documentation, assessments, and site duties, there is little time to plan therapy, much less spend time organizing your materials. So, today, I will share six SLP supplies you need for speech materials organization that will help you know WHERE your materials are when you need them.

      Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience. When you click a link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost.

      Speech Materials Organization for Printables

      Speech material organization is a whole lot easier with this supplies! Check out this blog post so you can get your speech therapy materials organized so you know where they are when you need them!

      1. Envelope Pouches for Binders

      If you use many printable materials for skill-based or themed-based therapy, these envelope pouches for binders have been a game-changer.

      You can keep full-page sheets, task cards, and visual supports in one spot. So, you can keep everything in one binder instead of having places for different printables. That’s how I organize my themed therapy units by grade level (these units are part of the Themed Therapy SLP membership.)

      2. Zipper Pouches

      For your sensory bins, games, or themed units that use a combination of printables and props, zipper pouches are an excellent solution for keeping everything together.

      You can store them in a larger bin and grab the individual materials when you need them. To learn more about how you can create a sensory bin storage system, check out this blog post.

      Speech material organization is a whole lot easier with this supplies! Check out this blog post so you can get your speech therapy materials organized so you know where they are when you need them!

      Organization Supply for Mini Figurines and Task Cards

      #3 Photo Boxes

      Stocking up on mini figurines or mini trinkets is a material that keeps students engaged and is great for all sorts of hands-on activities. The only problem is that they can get tricky to store as you collect more sets. Photo boxes are helpful with keeping similar mini figurines together in one container but separated, so you can find the items you need when planning therapy.

      Some of my favorite mini figurines are TOOBS and Wild Republic! If you want mini trinkets that are sound-specific, check out Dinky Doodads. I wrote a blog post for how you can use them in mixed groups HERE.

      Speech material organization is a whole lot easier with this supplies! Check out this blog post so you can get your speech therapy materials organized so you know where they are when you need them!

      Scrapbook or latch boxes for Themed Speech Materials Organization

      #4 Scrapbook or latch boxes

      When I started planning more co-teaching lessons, I realized I had a lot of loose materials with no set place to put them. I wanted an easy-to-organize system that didn’t take forever to keep materials together. So, I started putting everything in scrapbook boxes or latch boxes because I could toss everything in and do therapy!

      You can store my themed push-in units in these types of containers. I can keep 3-4 themed units in one scrapbook box with the file envelopes from Dollar Tree.

      You can store books, worksheets, visuals, task cards, and smaller items. For more organizational ideas, check out this blog post.

      Speech material organization is a whole lot easier with this supplies! Check out this blog post so you can get your speech therapy materials organized so you know where they are when you need them!

      Digital Tool That Helps You Keep Your Materials Organized

      Speech material organization is a whole lot easier with this supplies! Check out this blog post so you can get your speech therapy materials organized so you know where they are when you need them!

       #5 Google Drive Folders

      One of the best ways to keep all your favorite YouTube videos, books, PDFs, digital websites, or apps is by linking them to a Google Slide lesson plan cheat sheet.

      You can upload all your PDFs to a Google Drive folder and link them to your Google Slide. Similarly, you can link videos and websites so that everything is in front of you when you need to plan therapy. You can use this method for teletherapy or in-person. Check out this blog post for more information on a digital organization system.

      The themed therapy lesson plan templates are part of the Themed Therapy SLP membership designed for speech-language pathologists serving Prek-5th grade students.

      Use this Low-Cost Supply to Keep Your Materials Together for Therapy

      #6 Storage File Crate and hanging files

      Raise your hand if you forget what materials you have on hand if you don’t see them in front of you. Instead of grabbing random things off the shelf, take 20-30 minutes at the beginning of the month to select your books, print worksheets, and therapy tools. You can use a storage file crate from Walmart with hanging files to separate your materials by type, age level, or skills targeted. Because I plan by themes, I grab the materials I want to use for two to four weeks and stick them in the crate. I have options for switching out materials at the moment if a group isn’t feeling my current therapy plan.

      What supplies do you recommend for speech therapy organization? I always love hearing about new tools and materials that can help me know where my therapy materials are located! Share in the comments if you have SLP supplies that have been a game-changer for therapy. Get more tips for your themed therapy material organization so you know where your stuff is when you need it!

      Digital Speech Therapy Organization for Themes

      Digital Speech Therapy Organization for Themes

      When it comes to digital speech therapy organization most SLPs struggle with how to keep track of their speech therapy materials. It’s hard to organize materials digitally if technology isn’t your strong suit too!

      If you find yourself having 100 internet browser tabs open with all your activities learning how to digitally organize your materials will help curb that! 

      Today, I wanted to share some tips on how you can streamline your digital speech therapy organization for keeping track of your theme-based materials. For more info about organizing themed printable materials, check out this POST. I also share LOTS of ideas in this FREE Themed Therapy SLP Facebook group. Come join the group and stay inspired by implementing themed therapy.

      How to Create Folders in Google Drive

      When organizing your themed materials, you want to create folders for your themes. You can create folders on your computer or a cloud storage solution such as Dropbox or Google Drive. I have found that Google Drive is the easiest to use because I can access it from any computer.

      My biggest tip for creating folders is putting a number before labeling the folder so that your most important folders are the first to show up in your Google Drive.

      I typically make one general folder for themes and then make sub-folders for all the types of themes I have speech therapy materials for students. You can check out the YouTube video below to see how to add a folder in your Google Drive.

      Digital speech therapy organization for your themed therapy materials has never been easier with this tutorial!

      Use Google Slides to Link Your PDFs and Websites

      Digital speech therapy organization for your themed therapy materials has never been easier with this tutorial!

      With a Google Slide themed template, you can link YouTube videos, books from GetEpic or YouTube, websites you use for the theme such as ABCYA.com, as well as linking your Boom Cards and other games from the internet.

      What’s even cooler is that you can link your PDFs from your Google Drive folders to your themed Google Slides lesson plan cheat sheet.

      Whether you do teletherapy or like to use a mix of digital and printable activities, you will easily be able to find what you need for therapy. 

      My biggest tip for organizing your themes is to do it as you are implementing the theme. All the websites and activities are fresh in your mind and you can slowly add videos and PDFs that you like to use. It may feel cumbersome to link all the things, but the following school year you will have an organized themed unit of materials to use with the majority of your caseload.

      Digital speech therapy organization for themes made easy!

      Need a FREE Themed Google Slide Planner?

      You can watch the YouTube video above to get all the techy tips for adding PDFs, websites, and YouTube videos to the themed therapy Google Slides planner. If you want this free version, type in your email HERE or signup in the box. You will be asked to make a ‘copy’ of the Google Slide template and it will automatically be added to your Google Drive. That is your master copy. Rename it to something that is easy for you to search for in your Google Drive.

      If you want more Google apps techy tips, I have a LOT of videos to help you navigate technology (you can do it!)

      For more premade Google Slide speech and language templates, here are some that I use to create customized materials for my caseload.

      Planning by themes has helped me cover more goals with my caseload. It can help you streamline planning and students can benefit from a themed-based approach. To learn more about themes, I have several podcast episodes and blog posts with themed ideas. Check it out HERE.

      Get Your Free Digital Themed Planner

      Subscribe to get your materials organized!!

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        Articulation Organization Containers That Store LOTS of Items

        Articulation Organization Containers That Store LOTS of Items

        When it comes to treating students with speech sound disorders, I like to have all my tools in one spot. Having an on-the-go container with my articulation materials together allows me to easily grab what I need during a small group or when I am working with a student in a hallway for quick articulation.

        I find with articulation organization that having everything in one spot saves me time with putting materials away, transporting materials to classrooms or schools and cuts down my lesson planning time. Today, I wanted to show you how you can make an articulation organization storage container to keep all your speech therapy materials together for the school year.

        Where to Find Articulation Organization Storage Bins

        When it comes to organizing a lot of random materials that need to stay together, I found that using storage bins that have latches on the tops are really helpful. You don’t want to be carrying materials and drop the container with the lid popping off. 

        So, I have found that the 6.2 quart Latchmate storage boxes by Recollections from Michael’s or the 14.5 quart Latchmate storage boxes were the best.

        If you need a storage box that can keep your small visuals and reinforcer materials, then the smaller box works well! For SLPs that want to be able to keep some folders, visuals, reinforcers and task card type materials, then the larger 14.5 quart box would be a good investment.

        The smaller box would probably store better, but the larger container would help you have materials for multiple sounds to grab when you needed it for speech sessions.

        Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.

        Articulation Organization Container Tip!

        Articulation organization storage that can help you run quick articulation groups with ease!

        The main reason that the Recollections storage bins are my favorite are because of the trays that fit perfectly in the container!

        This allows you to keep mini items such as mini erasers, wind-up toys, and magnetic chips (Amazon Affiliate links are included) organized in their own compartment. The only drawback is that it does take up space in the bin, so you have to lay items flat on the bottom in order to fit tasks cards and tools for speech sound disorder therapy.

        Favorite Items to Store for Getting High Trials

        As clinicians, we know that with many speech sound disorders, students need to get high trials to help achieve mastery of the sound and carryover into conversation. Whether you are using a minimal pairs approach, cycles, traditional, etc. you want your students to practice a LOT in a session.

        In order to help make that process a little more motivating and productive, having tools to use for those high trials is key to therapy success. So, I like to have a variety of materials available to switch out if the child isn’t like something that I picked for the day.

        Here are some items I love to have in my storage bins for high trials in speech therapy (Amazon Affiliate Links):

        Pop Sensory Fidget Toy

        Dice

        Digital counter

        Magnetic chips

        Dry erase markers to use with my Articulation Flipbooks

        DIY Abacus

        Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.
        Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.

        For more ideas on how to get high trials, you can check out this blog post HERE. I even have scored with getting high trials using paper plates!

        Materials You Can Store in Your Articulation Storage Container

        Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.

        With the larger storage box, you can store your iPad and task card type materials. Having visual sentence strips for students working at the phrase level is great to have on hand. You can use these ones in my store that come as printable and digital options.

        You can store speech sound cue cards from Bjorem Speech. With the larger 14.5 quart container, you can even store a slant stand to have a mirror and dry erase board on the go. They also have these cool double-sided clips that you can show minimal pair cards or sound cues. Here are some other cool ways you can use these clips!

        I found an 8-inch abacus that fits in the larger storage container and is great for getting those high trials quickly. Having tools like this pair really well with my No Print and Printable Articulation Flipbooks.

        It’s also nice to be able to store some reinforcer type materials such as ball poppers or mini puppets.

        Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.

        Keep Your Speech Sound Materials in the Large Bin

        When you have a lot of students working on the same articulation sound or phonological process, you can make speech folders for those sounds and store them in the larger bin.

        I found that this helps me with planning therapy for several sessions because I can grab the stimulus items, homework sheets, visual reminders, or self awareness rating visuals all together. You can read more about setting these up HERE.

        What would you store in your articulation organization storage bin? I would love to know what tools and materials you have found helpful for your students. Let me know if you have any questions about setting up your articulation system in the comments.

        Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.
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