by thedabblingspeechie | Aug 13, 2022 | Caseload Management, organizational tips
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
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.
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.
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!
by thedabblingspeechie | Mar 5, 2022 | Caseload Management, Themed Speech Therapy
Remember when we were all learning how to use Facebook for the first time (then learning it again when it changed! Oh the confusion!). If you are a new themester SLP, it’s possible you’re feeling just as overwhelmed learning a new style of therapy with your caseload. What’s great about themed therapy is you can easily take a single theme and use it across a lot of different ages and goals. This will help you streamline your planning and take the overwhelming out of planning.
If you’re feeling like choosing a theme is like a buffet, there are so many choices that it makes it hard to pick just one, then this blog post will definitely help you narrow down choices.
What to Do When You are Lacking Inspiration for Your Next Theme
If you are struggling with what theme to do next, check out this blog post where I share 30 of my TOP fave themes for therapy. Plus, you can grab a FREE themed therapy idea guide for easy planning. It comes with an editable themed therapy planner to help you keep notes on what you did in therapy. Check it out HERE.
Three Tips For Using Themes Across Your Caseload
The first thing you will want to think about is picking a theme that is going to be interesting for your younger and your older students. When you pick a theme that’s interesting for multiple age groups, you will cut down on a ton of your planning time. When you use this strategy, you only have to pick one theme you want to do with your upper and lower elementary students.
For example, a camping theme and a plant life cycle theme will be relevant and interesting for your younger and older students. Check out how to adapt these themes here and here.
Tip #2 Use One Themed Therapy Activity to Target Many Goals
It can be easy to tell yourself that you need a different activity to specifically target each of your student’s goals. This is the #1 to increase your planning time. The beauty of themed therapy activities is you can pick one themed activity that is open-ended enough to target a ton of goals.
To do this, you prep one activity that can be adapted for the different skills you want to target depending on the students you are working with. With less individual activity prep, you can plan engaging lessons efficiently. Check out this penguin sensory bin or this windsock craft for example of how you prep one material or activity for a wide range of goals.
#3 Tip: Re-Use Materials Week After Week
Reuse, reuse, reuse! Don’t be afraid to use the same materials week after week. Switching up the materials slightly will make them feel novel to your student and will be very easy prep work for you. For example, when using themed vocabulary or verb cards such as the ones in the seasonal grammar and vocabulary sets, you can use magnetic wands to make it different.
In one session, you put different amounts of magnetic chips under the cards and the student who gets the most chips at the end wins. In the following session, add themed game cards (hint: check out the blog post for the free printables) to the task cards. Lay them out on the table and have students select. If they get a popsicle, for example, they get to keep it. But, if there is a sun behind their card, they lose a popsicle. Whoever has the most at the end wins.
How do you adapt materials so that you can reuse them? Share your best therapy tips in the comments.
Ready to Start Experiencing the Benefits of Themed Therapy?
If you are spending a painful amount of time planning for your caseload at school, after school, and at home, then I have great news for you! A Themed Therapy Planning How-To Course for the Busy SLP is now available until March 17th. You can earn clinical maintenance hours for your ASHA and state license while also becoming a rockstar at efficiently planning themed therapy for your Prek-5th grade caseload. Want to learn more about joining? Check out all the details HERE.
by thedabblingspeechie | Jul 17, 2021 | Caseload Management, Middle School Therapy, Themed Speech Therapy, Therapy Materials, Therapy Plans, Uncategorized
When I first began as an SLP, I started with a large caseload that fluctuated between 72-83 students. There was no time in my day to plan for those individual students. So, my brain immediately went to using theme-based lessons that I could adapt for all of my grade levels. Using theme-based lessons that are easily adapted helped me reduce my planning time (and brain power) by hours! I am heading into my 15th year as an SLP, and using themes continues to be a super helpful strategy! I want to share with you 4 tips for picking a great theme for your caseload!
Tip #1 : Pick A Theme That Is Motivating
The #1 tip I have for selecting a theme is to make sure it’s something that is high interest and highly motivating for your students. This is a much easier task for my younger students than it is for my older elementary or middle school students. I can usually capture my younger students’ interest for any theme by simply incorporating dinosaurs, legos, or something shiny! My older students are not so easily entertained (as I’m sure many of you understand). Another SLP shared with me a little while ago that she likes to poll her older students about what they are interested in at the beginning of her school year. Her students’ answers help drive her lesson planning and theme selection. This is something that can easily be incorporated into your therapy plans for your first week back.
Why is this my #1 tip? The more we can build our students’ interest in the lessons and themes we are using, the more buy-in we’ll see, which we know leads to more progress.
Tip #2: Keep Your Students’ Environment In Mind
When picking a theme, think about what is going to be relevant to your student. What is something your students can relate to or experience in their day-to-day lives? I like to pick themes about the seasons, the environment around my student, on-going classroom topics, etc.
Selecting themes that are personally relevant to my students helps build that connection between therapy and real life (can’t forget about that generalization!). A great theme for this summer would be the Summer Olympics, especially for those of you doing ESY.
Tip #3: Pick A Theme That Inspires You Too
The themes you pick should also be inspiring and exciting for you too! Of course, my students’ interests will always trump mine (#therapistlife). However, if you can find themes that are as interesting and motivating to you as they are to your students, then you’re going to kill that session! Your excitement will shine through and therapy will be really fun for you and your student.
For example, I love selecting camping themes because I love going camping and hiking and it’s also a theme that my students love. This makes our camping themed therapy sessions really, genuinely, fun!
Tip #4: Pick A Theme You Can Adapt Across Grades
Picking a theme that you can adapt across multiple grade levels is they key to save yourself planning time. For example, an apple theme is great for younger elementary students, older elementary students, and middle schoolers. This theme can also be adapted for my older student with higher needs or benefit from a very supported classroom. I found that many of my students with this profile had language skills similar to some of my elementary student. I was able to take the same concepts and adapt them with age-appropriate photos and materials that are respectful to those students. Here are some sample activity ideas using an apples theme across different age groups:
If you’re having a hard time picking the right themes for your students, check out my free Themed Therapy Planning Guide. It has over 100 seasonal and non-seasonal therapy theme ideas for you to choose from! This planning guide also comes with an editable lesson plan template you can use to help plan your themed therapy sessions. If you’re still having a tough time finding the right theme for your students, I would also recommend collaborating with other teachers. See what themes are being incorporated in your students’ classrooms that can also be incorporated and worked on in speech therapy!
Join The Themed Therapy SLP Membership!
If you’re loving themed therapy planning that can be adapted across grade level to save you hours of planning time, check out the Themed Therapy SLP Membership. With this membership you will receive new themed materials to use with your students every month! To kick-off this challenge, I will be hosting a 5-day theme organizational challenge on Facebook. Join now for a sneak peak into the membership, great organizational tips from other themester SLP’s, and fun giveaways! Click on the photos below to learn more.
This blog post is based on my recent Facebook live called, “What Makes a Great Theme for Your Caseload“. Make sure to check it out!
by thedabblingspeechie | Jul 10, 2021 | organizational tips, Themed Speech Therapy, Therapy Materials, Uncategorized
Raise your hand if you start the year strong with organization, and by the end of September, you find yourself scouring through laundry piles of resources and worksheets. I know I can’t be the only one out there! I decided to get serious about how to organize my speech therapy materials by themes. Here are some ways you can organize themed therapy materials, so you don’t have to constantly find yourself thinking, “I swear I put that articulation packet in this folder…..”
How to Organize Speech Therapy Materials When You Are Using Them
One thing I invested in is these file storage crates. They are so easy to find and such a game-changer. You can find these file storage crates at Staples, Target, Walmart, or Amazon. You want to make sure the crate will fit the hanging file folders legal and letter-sized folders. I used the legal size so it is wider and can fit books and wider folders better. Some will fit the As you can see in the picture, I label each file folder with my themes. When I’m looking for a particular themed activity, I’ll know exactly where to look in the crate which saves me a ton of time. This is especially helpful for organizing themed therapy materials for my whole classroom or push-in activities. When I first started organizing with crates, I quickly realized the file folders were essential! Without them, my materials turned into another pile, but this time they were in a crate instead of my desk!
Speech Material Organization with Zipper Pouches
Suppose you love having all your themed materials together but don’t have time to organize them every day perfectly. In that case, you need to learn how to organize speech therapy materials functionally so you can quickly clean up after a long day!
Using file pouches from Dollar Tree or zipper pouches on Amazon (affiliate link included.) Like the crates, they are super easy to find and an excellent organizational investment. These zip pouches are perfect for those themed activities that require a lot of components. For example, crafts, core word squares, books, and sentence strips. It’s super easy to keep all of the themed components in one place with these pouches. You can grab them and transport the speech therapy materials easily around campus.
A quick tip: I recommend purchasing more durable, plastic ones if you are interested in buying these pouches. This helps keep your materials from bending or creasing, and they don’t “flop” as much for easier storage.
Organize Your Story Themed Materials in a Scrapbook Box
Scrapbook boxes are a great tool to organize themed materials and lesson plans. These boxes are wide and deep enough to store your theme-related books and companion activities.
The best place to find these scrapbook boxes is at Michaels.
I love these scrapbook boxes because I can use them to store the books I want, the activities, any pouches I have for my loose cards and materials, craft examples I want to use, and all of my visual supports. They are so easy to label, grab, use, and reorganize at the end of my day. I’ve cut down so much time on my planning and organizing once I started using these scrapbook boxes.
Check out my video on Facebook or Instagram to see what my scrapbook box and pouch organizational systems look like using an ocean theme!
Use Binders to Organize Your Speech Materials for Themes
In binders, you can store your theme’s word lists, lesson plan notes, speech therapy worksheets, visual supports, and flashcards!
One of my MOST favorite office supply finds is the binder envelope pouches because you can put flashcards and task cards in the pouch and easily store them in your themed binder.
Because we serve different ages and skill levels, keeping a graphic organizer with task cards in the same place is excellent. For all the binder office supplies, head to my Amazon storefront.
You can use the Avery tab dividers to organize materials by skill, such as articulation, receptive language, vocabulary, etc. Or, you can put activities in the binder by grade level and type, such as prek-1st, 2nd-3rd, open-ended games, and visual supports.
Use Zipper Pouches and Bins to Keep Sensory Bins Neat
One thing I love to incorporate into my therapy is themed sensory bins. However, these sensory bins and the loose materials I put in them can get super messy and time-consuming to organize. Using zipper pouches and a storage bin has helped keep my sensory bin materials neat. First, I store the loose cards or small toys in smaller zipper pouches. Then, I store the “sensory” materials in their zipper pouch. You can then place the sensory bin filler, smaller items, and materials all in one larger zipper pouch. Then, when it’s time for you to assemble your sensory bin, you can grab the zipper pouch and all the contents are together. Check out this blog post for more details.
More Tips for SLP Organization
Looking for more ways to get your office or your materials organized? Take a look at my 7 Tips for Organization.
If you’re an SLP that has an articulation/phonology-heavy caseload, then you’ll want to take a peek at my previous blog post where I talk about setting up articulation folders to help with organization.
Digital organization solutions for SLPs doing teletherapy or wanting to keep their PDFs and digital materials in one spot can check out this post HERE.
I love seeing how other SLP’s get organized and what works best for them. Let me know in the comments your favorite way to stay organized throughout your school year!
by thedabblingspeechie | Jul 30, 2019 | articulation, Caseload Management, organizational tips
Recently, I polled the SLPs that follow me on Instagram to see how many of us make individual student folders for our caseloads. It was a pretty even 50/50 split of speech pathologists that do make individual folders and those that don’t.
I personally do not make individual speech folders for each child on my caseload. I use a giant therapy binder that has tabs for each child on my caseload. If I cover two schools, then I store a therapy binder at each school.
Setting Up Articulation Speech Folders
For each student, I store their therapy logs, a communication log, their IEP-at-a-glance, and specialized data sheets as needed. Typically, I just flip back and forth between students to keep everything documented.
However, I always have certain students that I service in a quick artic model, or I want to have some specialized visuals organized for my artic students to use when running mixed groups. In these circumstances, I will make an articulation speech folder for the individual student or the particular sound/phonological process. Today, I am going to share how you can set up your own articulation speech folders to help you streamline your therapy planning process.
Why I Make Articulation Speech Folders
Let’s face it. We have limited time for planning therapy. And sometimes we are doing our quick artic in the hallways or targeting articulation goals with mixed groups. It is hard for me to keep visuals, homework sheets, flash cards, etc. organized for my articulation students. Having all of the tools I may need in one speech folder helps me to be prepared for therapy. Planning therapy is less stressful because I can grab the folder knowing that everything I need is ready to use.
Or, if I have 3-4 students working on a certain phonological process, I can make one folder for that process and have all the speech materials I need to remediate that process. The only other thing I may need to grab is a toy, a game, or a manipulative to use with all the tools in the speech folder.
Materials to Make Articulation Speech Folders
To make your speech folder, you do need some organizational materials to make it work. I am going to show you what I do, but feel free to adapt for your caseload. Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience.
What other office supplies have you found helpful to include in your student’s speech folders? Share in the comments!
What to Include in Your Articulation Speech Folder
When setting up your articulation speech folder, you want to have an idea of where the child is performing with learning his/her sound. If the child is at the syllable level, then you can include materials and visuals for that level, as well as add in materials for the word and phrase level.
Grab these FREE Articulation Syllable Practice Sheets in my TPT store.
This allows you to have extra materials ready in the event that the student progresses quicker than you expected. You will be ready to adapt the therapy session easily without racking your brain on what to do next.
Here are some helpful things to include in your speech folder:
-Therapy logs (I use the logs from The Speech Bubble SLP or SLP Toolkit)
-Specialized Articulation or Phonology Data Sheets to track progress. Here is my FREE Articulation Data Sheet template. If you need more specialized sheets, you can grab them HERE.
– Visual Supports to help with articulation production or to increase self-awareness. You can add speech sound cue cards from Bjorem Speech in the envelope file pouch.
-Data graphs or self-awareness visuals can be helpful to incorporate into a session. Grab some FREE articulation carryover visuals by clicking the button below.
– Word lists or materials to use for quick drill practice, like these free flash card lists for older developing sounds or my Articulation Flipbooks. Sometimes I will print up pages from my Any Craft Companion Pack and store in the speech folder.
Homework forms that help track if the student is practicing at home. I use these ones from Kiwi Speech (FREE printable). For your students that you are creating home programs, you can have homework sheets in this folder ahead of time, so you can easily plan and track homework assignments. This is a free homework sheet once students get to the carryover level in my STORE.
These FREE Articulation Homework Word List Strips by Simply Speech can be in your students folder. You can customize the word lists based on your students performance during the session and send home.
Other Helpful Forms to Include in Your Speech Folders
If you like to have an individual folder for each student, here are some forms that will help you keep things organized for each student:
FREE SLP Attendance Form by Natalie Synders
Communication Log (FREE) in Sublime Speech’s Starter Kit to document interactions with the child’s parent or teacher
Please share any other forms, visuals, or tools you would add to your articulation speech folders in the comments! You can also tag me on instagram @thedabblingspeechie with your articulation speech folder setup.
Blog Posts To Help You Plan Articulation Therapy
As busy SLPs, it is easy to struggle with ideas on how to increase repetitions or keep your students motivated with articulation practice. Here are some blog posts with ideas to make your articulation therapy productive and fun: