Speech therapists are BUSY. We have caseloads with 55 children or MORE, do assessments, bill medi-cal, write reports, collaborate with teachers, create visual supports for students, hold IEP meetings, plan therapy and work with groups all day. Organizing speech materials seems to be the last thing on our list of priorities. In order to get everything else completed, we put organizing speech materials on the back burner.
I loved this quote from Christina Scalise (found it thanks to google. I have no idea who she is lol) “Organization isn’t about perfection. It’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time & money & improving your overall quality of life.”
Figuring out easy organizational systems for your materials will help with easier planning for therapy, make your room look orderly and will make cleaning up easier. This means you will feel less overwhelm and will have some extra time to focus on the BIG task items. Amazon affiliate links are provided for your convenience.
Organizing Speech Materials- Give yourself a clutter paper place
Total confession- One way that I keep things clutter free is I have a “clutter paper place”. When it is a busy month, I know that I can stack all those papers that I am not sure if I want to throw them away in one place and deal with them when I have time. This helps me to keep my desk clear when I don’t always have time to sort through everything.
Organizing Speech Materials- Use Your Wall Space
The secret to organizing speech materials is all about finding a functional place. I am more of a type B+ SLP. This basically means that I do strive to be organized, but also accept the organized chaos that happens in my speech room during the busy times of the year.
Hang your materials on your wall with thumb tacks and binder rings. Got task cards or my interactive articulation flipbooks? Attach your materials with binder rings and you can hang all over your room! If you want more ideas for FUNctional decor & organization, check out my post about it HERE.
Have a supplies basket in reach of your speech table. I fill my basket with all the supplies I may need on the fly for lessons, so I keep behavior visuals, timers, dry erase markers, etc. in my basket, so I am never without my supplies. I clean it up after each group and access it as necessary. Dollar store has some great bins!
Use those file folder boxes to organize your seasonal and skill based materials. I like to use this box to organize all of my craft templates for the year.
I love finding containers like this poly zip file that can keep all my similar things in one spot in different pouches. That way I can shove it all in there and can store it easily. This storage container has all of my AAC Low Tech Communication Tools and it keeps all the small visuals in one place.
Hang frequently used visuals or resources on magnetic hooks. The sides of your metal cabinets work perfectly! When I can see my materials that I use often, it is easier for me to remember to use them lol. These are my visual sentence starters that I use with all of my speech and language groups. I have a metal cabinet right near my therapy table, so I can grab these whenever I need them for a student!
I put all of my TPT resources in plastic bags or zip pouches. Then I store them in larger bins when I am not using them. So, every couple of months, I will look through my big bins and put the seasonal or skilled resources that I need for the upcoming months in my file folder crate that I keep near my therapy table. I use binder clips and washi tape to label the different files.
All of my themed resources that I either create or buy on TPT are placed all in one plastic container. I try to even fit the themed books that I like to use with the theme, so I can grab it and use everything in it. This way materials don’t get misplaced and I know in a pitch, I can grab that container and it will have enough materials to cover me for those days when I don’t have time to plan.
Have a quick organizational tip to share?
If you have a fabulous SLP hack or tip to make the #speechlife a little easier, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to feature more “quick tips” from school based SLPs on the blog.
Why is it that whenever progress report time comes around, I completely dig my heels in the dirt. I am the queen procrastinator doing this drawn out task. Let me will tell you why. Progress reporting periods seem to come right when I have 4 pending assessments and 5 IEP’s to write. I have hidden places in my speech room dedicated to shoving piles of paperwork that I know I need, but don’t want to lose. Right around progress report time, my tolerance for the “piles” has hit its max and I go in cleaning frenzy mode. Thus, neglecting my progress reporting adventure. Not to mention that you have 60-80 on your caseload, so the idea of writing progress on 80 students makes you want to apply for a job at Starbuck’s.
Please tell me I am not the only SLP that has thought about a career change to be a barista mid-year.
This year let’s all finish progress reports like an SLP rockstar! Growth mindset, right folks!?
Every year progress reports stress me out! This year I am determined to manage the stress better. There are some external factors that I believe make this case management task a little more manageable. First of all, my caseload is at 48 this year. I know, gasp, right!?
Over half my career, I have had a caseload of 65-83! So, cutting out 15-25 progress reports was a blessing!
How To Finish Progress Reports Like A Rock Star
Here are some tips that will help YOU complete progress reports in a timely manner:
Treat Yo Self
Budget some money and/or time to reward yourself for completing these ghastly things! Starbuck’s, manicure, happy hour with friends, a hike, date night, etc. Keep that reward on a post it note right next to your desk as you are cranking these fun things out. We all need motivation to complete undesirable tasks and progress monitoring is definitely one of them.
Try to take data during your sessions
I try to take data on goals during therapy when I can. Rubrics are a great tool to collect data on those kids that you couldn’t take discrete trial data during the session. I love The Speech Bubble’s Rubrics! SLP’s can play a generic game like Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, Go Fish, or Candyland, during a session. Grab stimulus items for each student’s goals in your group and have a progress monitoring game day! Before each turn, a student has to complete a question/stimulus item, so you can take data on each student. I have some of Natalie Synder’s progress monitoring tools that are great to use during the session. I also will do a “craft” day with students and use my craftivity sets to progress monitor. While each student is working on their craft, I will pull them aside to progress monitor their goals. The stimulus items on the crafts are also a way that I can “assess” their skills. So, if a students has the craft template with “categories”, I will have the student name three items in that category.
Block Out Time For Progress Monitoring
Block out time for progress monitoring. Batch a large chunk of time to grab students for progress monitoring. If you only have 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there to do this task, you will NEVER get it done. SLP’s can block off a day or a large portion of time to progress monitor your students.
Use Tools That Will Help You Get The Job Done
This year, I am using SLPToolKit to help me assess progress on my student’s goals! SLPtoolkit is an online progress monitoring caseload management tool. You can read all about it HERE! Some of my student’s have four to five goals, so this has been great to assess their growth. Everything is digital, but I can then print out a copy if I want to bring to an IEP or send home with parents!
Start Progress Monitoring Early
If you are not careful, progress reports will creep up on you! You need to get started three weeks before they are due. Some things you can start doing is printing out labels for addresses (if you have to mail them out), write out a cover letter for your progress notes, review goals, and find materials to help measure goals. Map out on your calendar when you will progress monitor students such as “Monday 8-10″ progress students with last names A-E.”
In order to remember all the steps to getting these progress reports completed, you need a checklist! I scribbled out a checklist with a column for “student”, “progress monitor”, “write in IEP”, “print progress report”, and “give to teacher/mail”. This helped me not to forget a step! Often times, I will forget where I left off in the progress monitoring adventure. Then, when I returned to finish the task, it leaves a higher chance that I will forget a few students. This has helped me to stay focused and make less errors. Click Here to get my progress monitoring checklist
You can click the yellow button if you want a copy of my checklist! I made a prettier version for you and I will now use this nice copy in the future.
Hide & Lock Your Door
Seriously. You need to stop talking to all your colleagues during lunch, before and after school. This is game time. You only have a certain amount of hours in the day and these bad boys need to be completed. So, lock your door and leave a note that says “This SLP is knee deep in progress reports, come back next week”. When you are doing your progress reports, don’t LOOK at your emails until your blocked time is finished. Reading emails will only side track you even further. Trust me!
These are my tips for how to finish progress reports like a rock star! What are you tips and tricks…..psst…this means all you OCD, super organized, have a place for everything SLP’s need to comment below (love you type A’s).
Are you starting your Clinical Fellowship Year and feeling overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of an SLP? Do you feel like you are always scrambling to find time to take accurate data of your students? Wishing you had progress monitoring resources in one spot for easy access? Today, I want to show you how to use SLPToolkit to manage your caseload.
All The Details About How I Started With SLPtoolkit
SLPToolkit gave me a year’s membership subscription (I was soooooo excited with the offer) in March to try out with my caseload. At that time, I was able to use this tool with part of my caseload and LOVED it! I am really looking forward to diving in with this tool at the start of the school year when, let’s face it, that’s when I am most gung-ho about being organized and efficient!
What is SLPtoolkit?
SLPToolkit is a digital application that you can use to improve SLP’s efficiency with completing progress reports. You can try it out for FREE with five of your students to see if you like using it. The monthly and yearly subscription options allows you to have unlimited access to your whole caseload as well as an amazing scheduling tool! For those SLPs that want to go digital with caseload management, this is the tool for you! (Psst…if you scroll down to the end of the post, there is a coupon code for a FREE month of unlimited use or $19 off the yearly subscription).
How To Use SLPtoolkit
SLPToolkit uses criterion referenced tests and rubrics to use when progress monitoring students growth. This way if you use the same criterion referenced tests 4 times a year on a student, you will see accurate growth or decline when using the same stimulus items.
How SLPtoolkit Can Be Used For Your Students
For each student, there are different categories you can click. You can access the student’s goals that you written by clicking on the goals icon. I was easily able to write a goal and copy/paste it into the IEP. If the school is doing response to intervention with a student, you can easily find teacher strategies/accommodations to print out and hand to the teacher to try with the student. This could also work for a student with an IEP. You can copy and paste strategies to be used in the classroom and document in the IEP, your reports or to give as helpful reminders for the teacher.
Do you ever get a student that transfers in 3 weeks before their IEP meeting? You have NO information about how he/she is doing with their speech or language goals and have NO idea what types of goals you should write? SLPToolkit has present levels of performance assessments that you can administer and then print the results! You can also access this application on your IPAD, so the child can see the stimulus items on the IPAD, while you take data on their performance on your computer.
No more digging through your book shelves and cabinets for assessment tools because they have all the progress monitoring tools right there for you to use! There are categories to chose from such as receptive/expressive language, social language, etc. When you click on one of those option, it will have subcategories for different skills such as semantics, concepts, grammar etc. There are also different levels, so you can see if the student has the skill, but struggles when the stimulus items increase in difficulty. I love the easy to print feature! You can bring this data to an IEP meeting to really help with advocating for your student’s needs.
They have a ton of pre-made goals already in the system, but you can house all your OWN goals in there as well under each student.
Here is a video tutorial on how to import your caseload into SLP ToolKit. My district uses SEIS, so I can easily import my current caseload.
You have to manually add some other details such as teacher and grade, but once you have updated it, you can easily print and adjust throughout the school year!
HERE is a tutorial for how to use the AMAZING scheduler. It is pretty darn cool and easy to use (it is my favorite feature). What I love about the scheduling tool is that I can easily go in and update as I get new students and then print it out right then and there! SLPtoolkit is in the process of updating the scheduler tool, so that you can also schedule in additional duties that you need to complete. I love to block out time for specific tasks and often need it written in my schedule or else I struggle to get it done. I love to block out time for assessments, medi-cal billing, calling parents, progress monitoring, organizing materials, etc.
Considering SLPToolkit? Here are some reasons this speech therapy resource may be for you!
This online tool is great for SLP’s that own a laptop or IPAD. It can totally be used with a desktop computer, but it might be difficult to progress monitor if you were doing it during the group session. So, if you own a desktop, this is a great way to progress monitor with the student pulling a chair up next to you.
This tool is also great for people who like things digital. The system is very user friendly for all levels of techy people. I know that most of my IEP writing happens on the online IEP database, so I can easily use SLPToolkit with the IEP database. You can definitely have a paper trail after using by printing the progress forms right on the spot!
You enjoy having consistent data to document progress. I will always have paper therapy logs with information about how my students are doing in therapy, but it is nice to have more consistent data using the criterion referenced tests and rubrics for showing progress in IEP’s.
You want to reduce paperwork stress and the amount of time it takes to monitor your students progress over the year.
Your district gives you a spending budget every year. This is a resource that I believe many school districts should invest in for their SLP’s. If more SLP’s used this tool, we would have better written IEP’s, more accurate data for students and happy SLP’s because the paperwork load would be a little lighter. It’s a win-win. I know when I first started out, I didn’t want to spend another DIME on resources because I had no money, but now as I am further into my career, you have to weigh out do you want more money in your pocket or more stress. I vote less money in my pocket and less stress in my life. Work with your school districts to get this tool for you to use. Using this resource will help districts sustain SLP’s and keep families satisfied with the support their students are getting.
You like having a goal database in one spot that can be easily customized for each student.
You need different levels of criterion referenced tests and rubrics for your students. SLPToolkit provides different levels of difficulty, so you can use the assessments across grade levels. They have them aligned by levels of difficulty and by grade level.
Love this already and want it for the start of the school year? SLPToolkit is giving all my followers 1 month full access for free or 19.00 off the annual. Just CLICK HERE and enter the coupon code: dabbling19 to get this sweet deal!
What do you think of SLPToolkit?? I would love to know your thoughts, questions and insights.