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?

Learn how to make a speech therapy theme calendar to start the school year with a plan!

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 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!

      Learn how to make a speech therapy theme calendar for the start of the school year!
      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

      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.

      Tips for Setting Up 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.
      SLP Hack for Sensory Bin Material Storage

      SLP Hack for Sensory Bin Material Storage

      Have you ever had visual supports and cheat sheets that you like to access for your sensory bins in your speech therapy sessions? But, you aren’t sure where to store them so you can access them easily? You are lucky because I have the ultimate SLP hack for sensory bin material storage to share with you today!

      Top Tip for Staying Organized With Your Speech Therapy Materials

      This SLP hack will help you keep all your visual supports and play therapy cheat sheets together in the sensory bin!

      One way you can stay efficient with keeping your materials organized is by having them together in one spot! With just some Velcro dots and page protectors (Amazon affiliate links included for your convenience), you can keep your visual supports and cheat sheets in the bin.

      If you need some more sensory bin organizational tips, check out this blog post. I use a similar method of organizing for my speech sound disorders by having a container where I store all my tools, data sheets, visuals, and materials so I can grab anything I need at the moment. Check out how to make your speech sound container on this blog post.

      SLP Hack for Sensory Bin Material Storage

      When running mixed groups or seeing students back to back, it’s nice to reference your cheat sheets during the session. But, if you aren’t careful, all your speech therapy materials can become scattered all over your room. Most times, we school-based SLPs don’t have tons of time to put visuals and sensory bin materials back neatly in their storage container or binder. So, when using a sensory bin, you want everything you need to be easily put back in the bin.

      Once you slide your cheat sheet into a page protector, add Velcro dots to the lid of the container and the page protector. Then, stick the cheat sheet to the Velcro. Now, you can grab the visuals quickly during a session!

      You can see this in action on Instagram

      Need These Sensory Bin Visual Rules and Cheat Sheets?

      Back when I started using sensory bins, I quickly realized that some of my students needed me to help them understand the expectations for how to interact with the bin activity. That’s why I have a visual poster to help remind students what to do! We want to keep germs away while using the bin, and this has been so helpful for my students. Since I used the visual support so often, I needed to have it handy at the drop of a hat! That’s why this SLP hack to put it on the top of the container’s lid has helped me have the tools I need now.

      If you need this visual and the printables for a flower sensory bin, I want to invite you to attend a LIVE webinar to learn “How to Use Sensory Bins to Cover Speech and Language Goals.” Click the picture below to sign up! You get access to the webinar replay for two weeks.

      Sign Up For the Sensory Bin Webinar and Get LOTS of Tips for Using Sensory Bins

      Tickets are $9 and include:

      -1 hour CMH units (Clinical Maintenance Hours)

      -Ultimate Sensory Bin Guide – step-by-step instructions and recommendations to help you find the right bin, fillers, and materials to make your sensory bin with a visual rules poster, storage ideas, and printables to make bins

      -$15 worth of sensory bin materials

      -A fun learning environment that will answer all your questions about using sensory bins in speech therapy.

      What Sensory Bin Hacks Do You Use?

      This SLP hack will help you keep your visual supports and play therapy cheat sheets together in the sensory bin!

      Do you have an SLP hack for keeping your sensory bin materials together? Or, just tips for keeping students engaged while using a sensory bin? Let me know your hack or information in the comments!

      If you need some more sensory bin ideas, here are a few of my faves:

      I Spy Sensory Bin (Great for mixed groups)

      Ocean Sensory Bin

      Penguin Sensory Bin

      Snow Sensory Bin with Plow Trucks

      How To Store Sensory Bins For the Year

      How To Store Sensory Bins For the Year

      You are probably reading this blog post because you LOVE using sensory bins so much that now you are running out of room to store them.

      When I first started using sensory bins, I would shove the materials into a gallon-sized bag and toss them into a big container. The only problem was that when I wanted to use a particular sensory bin the following year, it took me twenty minutes to find it!

      Does this sound familiar? Hopefully, after reading this blog post, you will have a system for organizing your sensory bins for the school year. Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post. 

      Biggest Space-Saver Tip for Storing Sensory Bins

      Check out these tips for how to store sensory bins for the school year, so that you know where your speech therapy materials are located when you need them. Streamline your sensory bin organization today!

      Most of us have small therapy rooms; it’s an unfortunate reality. So, our therapy rooms can get pretty cluttered with stuff if we aren’t managing our organization of speech therapy materials.

      To save space and money, invest in no more than three sensory bin containers. You can get a smaller pencil box, a shallow Sterilite bin, and then a quart-sized bin to hold your sensory bin materials.

      Then, you can keep the sensory bins you aren’t using in larger containers and store them in your room or your garage. When working two days a week at two different schools, I kept my additional sensory bins in my garage and brought the one container between sites.

      Materials Needed to Create Your Sensory Bin Organization System

      Using zipper pouches is an excellent investment to keep the filler and material items together in one spot. You can get different sizes for storage. Depending on the number of things in your sensory bin, you may want more oversized bags sized 16 by 12 inches or 15 by 11 inches. You can then purchase smaller-sized zipper pouches to store mini items and printables for the bin.

      Having labels to put on the pouches will also help you identify the materials you want to use.

      Then, you can sort your sensory bin bags into categories for when you typically use them throughout the school year. When you label your larger containers by times of the year, you will know which bin to go to look for items.

      Check out these tips for how to store sensory bins for the school year, so that you know where your speech therapy materials are located when you need them. Streamline your sensory bin organization today!

      Check out how to organize the zipper pouches

      Check out these tips for how to store sensory bins for the school year, so that you know where your speech therapy materials are located when you need them. Streamline your sensory bin organization today!

      My organizational style likes everything in one spot if I can help it. So, when organizing my apple tree sensory bin, I stored the toilet paper rolls and fake apples in the larger pouch (16 by 12 inches) and then kept the filler Pom Pom balls in the slightly smaller folder (15 by 11 inches.) I put those in the smaller zipper pouch for the apple-themed verb and vocabulary printables. Then, I tossed them all into the bigger zipper pouch.

      Suppose you are interested in getting themed sensory bin materials. In that case, you can check out companions in my TPT store or have themed sensory bin guides with the Themed Therapy SLP Membership (doors open in summer 2022, so get on the waitlist now.)

      Sensory Bin Sticker Labels

      Having a label on the zipper pouch is super helpful when you want to identify sensory bin sets in your larger bins. You can create labels for your different containers and print them out on a full-page Avery shipping label. Cut them out and stick them on the zipper pouch.

      After adding all your materials to your zipper pouch with the label intact, you plop it into the more oversized organization container! Your sensory bin is now appropriately stored for the season, lol.

      When you need the materials for a sensory bin, you grab them out of the tote and dump them in your main sensory bin container.

      Sensory Bins Your Students Will LOVE

      When it comes to making sensory bins, you definitely can use items from around your speech room. But if you are looking for themed sensory bins that have cheat sheets, visual supports, and printables ready to go, check out these sensory bin resources in my TPT store

      What sensory bin organization tips do you have to share?

      If you have any tremendous sensory bin organization tips, please share them! One of my favorite ways to use sensory bins is with a themed book. You can read the story and then pair a sensory bin that reinforces the concepts from the books in a hands-on way for your students.

      For more sensory bin ideas on how you can make your bins, check out this blog post HERE

      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


      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.