Data Collection

It’s sad to say, but one of my favorite parts of my jobs is organizing.  Folders, printed materials, labels, dividers, hole punches, highlighters… It all makes me giddy.  There was an empty filing cabinet in the conference room; It was the HUGE kind where the drawers go lengthwise.  I asked if I could have it and my wish was granted – it was like Christmas!  I covered it in damask print contact paper and couldn’t have been more excited.  Seriously.

Anyway, I will tell you how I utilize these 4 huge drawers.  The bottom 2 are filled with books/resources that I don’t need often.  They’re mostly workbooks whose pages I would photocopy for students, but rarely do so.  The top one is filled with my personal poly-files organized by area of speech/language (red=aRtic, blue=Basic concepts, green=GRammar, yellow=Language (misc), white=pragmatics).  See what I did there?  I did those from memory and chose that arrangement because it makes sense to me.  Dork, I know.

The second drawer is filled with my students’ folders.  It’s the drawer that is closest to eye/hand level and makes reading the names on the folders easy.  Each student has a folder.  It is a beautiful, sturdy folder with a divider in it, and a clasp at the top of each.  This is a very expensive version (my school was kind enough to buy me 75 of them!) but there are similar, cheaper options out there.

When you open the folder, the left side has the data collection sheet.  Each data sheet has a chart that I made in Word.  The top row has each of the student’s goals (in my own, shortened words).  The first column on the left has pre-filled spaces for date, minutes, group size, and group type (all mandated requirements for Medicaid purposes).  Then there is also a “comments” column on the far right.  Each day takes up one row.  I can usually get about 4 sessions worth of data on one sheet, more for some kids.  Download an editable version of the data sheet here.

I personally need all of a student’s goals written out so I can see them while I’m working.  Yes, I tend to know their goals, but this type of chart makes it easy to see what you’ve done recently and what you may have been neglecting.  Also, let’s say you are working on artic, but the student uses a pronoun correctly (also one of his/her goals).  You can easily put a “+” in that column.  That way, it doesn’t go unnoticed and you don’t waste time writing what it was that the student did.  If the student is absent that day, or I’m in a meeting, I just write a zero on the minutes line and write the “excuse” in the first box.  It takes 2 seconds and there’s no question of why therapy wasn’t held.

Data sheet with some percentages & attendance calendar

With the folder open like this, the page on the right is my attendance calendar.  Each day, Monday through Friday, has a space for a code.  The codes are listed at the top of the page, for easy reference for yourself or anyone else who may need it.  They include: “W” for weather closure, “G” for group, “SA” for student absent, “TU” for therapist unavailable, and more.  It consists of 3 pages: Oct-Dec, Jan-Mar, Apr-June.  (I didn’t start using that type of attendance until October, that’s why there is no September.)  Here is a copy for you to try.

When the middle page/divider is turned, you’ll find the student’s IEP on the left side.  I only print the pages that are relevant to me – usually the goals and the service hours.  I print them double sided; open to the top (as opposed to the side) so that when you lift it and it is in the clasp, you can still read it without turning the whole folder.  Or, you could do one sided printing if your printer doesn’t allow for this.

The last side is the right side, where I keep extra data sheets.  That way, when one fills up, I have plenty right there.  At the beginning of the year or an IEP period, I usually print about 20 sheets and use my handy two hole punch.  I put the new one right on top of the previous one and they all end up in chronological order.  When a calendar page fills up, I also put that on top of the used data sheets.  At the end of the year, I use one of those big paper clips to keep it all together and put it all in the student’s working file.  (Those are held in another drawer that is opened far less often.)

Student’s IEP, extra data sheets, and accuracy chart (loose)

Some of you may remember my post about students graphing their own accuracy.  I just keep this piece of paper loose between the IEP and the extra data sheets tabs.  That area isn’t opened all that often and it’s easy to pull out the accuracy chart so the student can color it.  I also stick worksheets in there too, if applicable.

During the therapy session, I take out each student’s folder.  I write the applicable code in the attendance calendar, then fold the whole folder over so that only the data sheet is visible.  I then stack them on top of each other in the order the students are sitting.

For about a year, I’ve used Super Duper’s Data Tracker app.  In the app, I do my + and – tracking.  Then, at the end of the session, I transfer the percentage to the data sheets.  However, before I used the app, I did my + and – writing right in the folders.  The app definitely makes it easier, but it’s not essential to this system.

A variation of this system is the one I used in my first clinical placement in grad school.  I have been using it from my first day as a CF and I truly love it.  It’s easy to refer to and very visual.  You know at a glance what you’ve targeted recently and what you haven’t. If you, or your district, can’t afford the folders I use, I know there are similar, cheaper, manila versions of them.

If you don’t shift to the whole system. I hope you can at least use one element of it to make your life a little easier!


A Twist on Twister

Today as I picked up my second grader for my first group of the day, he said to me, “My mind is asleep. And my muscles.” I’d been wanting to use the game “Twister” in therapy for a while – my mom even got it for me for Christmas because she knew I’d put a call out on Facebook for someone’s hand me down. I used the opportunity to get this little guy up and moving with some Twister, rather than the usual table work.

He and the 5th grade girl that he comes with both work on giving definitions. I made this visual for them, to know what to include when describing/defining items.

It’s been really helpful for both of them. (Download it here on my BoardmakerShare. There’s also some Valentine’s & St. Patrick’s day plurals Bingo boards that I made on there.) The 5th grader has it memorized, because I taped it (the small strip on the right) to her desk. The colors are arbitrary; I made them correspond with a lacing bead set that I have from Melissa and Doug.  The stringing of the beads makes for some added input/reinforcement when teaching the poster/skill.

Today, I laid out the Twister mat on the floor and grabbed a random Super Duper artic deck (/ch/).  We put one card on each circle on the Twister board.

Then, I spun the spinner and gave them a 2 step direction with a lot of qualifiers to pick up a card.  For example, “Use your right hand to pick up a card from a blue circle.”  FYI – I didn’t have them pick up cards with their feet.  If it landed on left/right foot, I just said hand.

The student had to give me the definition of the item on the card.  I had my describing poster on the table if they needed to refer to it.  Then, after they defined it, I gave them each a colored bear manipulative to mark their “spot”.  First one to get 4 in a row won.

Notice the bears on the spots.

I made a rule at the very beginning of the session not to step on the mat (since they had shoes on – yuck! I hate dirt.  And feet.)  They really had fun traversing the perimeter of the mat, especially when they had to reach to the middle for a blue or yellow space.

I plan to do some more Twister stuff with my kindergarten group tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

I also know that many people struggle to find things to do with the more severely language impaired populations.  I’ve written before about the co-teaching OT/Speech sensory lessons I have done with my intellectually disabled students (i.e. the hand print turkeys here).

The OT, Colleen, and I decided to make sensory snow globes today.  We used the “Pod” water bottles because they are easier to grip.

We were planning on using rice, but last night I got the bright idea to use sugar because it looks more like snow.  So this morning I grabbed my big bag of sugar and was on my way.  Before our group, Colleen came and got the sugar from me so she could prep for the lesson.  A couple minutes later I got an email: “Did you mean to bring flour?”  OOOPS!  Haha I burst out laughing because I was SO proud of myself for thinking ahead and setting it out ahead of time.  Oh well; we went with rice as originally planned.

Colleen also had a GREAT collection of “junk” (excuse the term) that we used as the “I Spy” goodies inside.  There was a variety of beads, plastic coils, pipe cleaners, etc.  We added some glitter and voila!  They came out SO cute!  The kids were enthralled by them, too!  We worked on following directions, like “scoop”, “pour”, “put in”, “put on”, etc. We also targeted colors and verbs (“shake”).  Colleen had a variety of cups, funnels, and containers for scooping.  It was great.  Here they are:

What re-purposed games have you used?  Or, how do you get your kids up and moving when table work just won’t cut it?  How do you work with your most serve students – those for whom flashcards just don’t cut it?


Winter Wishful Thinking – Giveaway!

Just like every other teacher (in most states) I pray for snow days.  However, as a former New Yorker now living in what I consider a “Southern” state (VA), I adore in the fact that I do not have to deal with 15 degree mornings, scraping the ice off my car before work (when I’m already running late), and tracking in dirty, brown slush everywhere I go.  It’s a very real inner struggle.  This week in therapy, I am mixing the best of both worlds!

The other SLP at my school found this awesome “instant snow” kit at Hallmark.  During the after Christmas sale, it was only $0.99!

This is what the packaging looked like.  It was originally $5.  I wouldn’t have paid that much, but it is definitely worth the dollar!
The powder (or “snow”) came in this tube, which was taped to the cardboard pictured above.  Please excuse the fruit bowl.  Use what you have…

This group is full of students from self-contained classrooms; their primary disorders include autism and intellectual disability.  My colleague and I share the group and we see them for a full hour.  We usually talk about our weekends and then do something fun and language rich for the rest of the session.  We started out seeing them for the usual half hour, but always had to end at a crucial and fun point in our weekend conversation so we upped it to a full hour session.  And I’m SO glad we did!  At the beginning of the session, we told them we were going to make something.  We gave them one clue that it was not something you eat and then had them guess.  One student guessed hot chocolate.  Another one, with poor initiation, guess we’d be making a Kleenex (there was a box of them next to her.).  This is why I love my job.

After we talked about our weekend, asking questions and formulating grammatically correct sentences, we gave the students a few more clues about what we were making.  We wrote each one on a post-it and laid them out on the table.

The clues were: “white”, “do not eat it”, “see it in winter” and “cold”.

They were able to synthesize all of this information and guess snow (one said “ice” – not bad).  Woo hoo!

Here are the students touching the powder while it was in my hand.  We described how it felt.  Most of them said, “warm”.  I think they were surprised that it wasn’t ice cold but honestly, they just felt the warmth of my hands. I guess the pretend aspect of this was a little too abstract.  It was a pretty coarse powder, so I shared that I thought it felt like sand.

To make the snow, all you have to do is mix it with water.  We had the students tell us step-by-step what to do:
Take off the cap; pour the powder in the bowl; go get water; pour the water in the bowl.

How cute is her blue nail polish?!

We gave each student a chance to dump a little of the powder in the bowl.  Then, while my colleague brought one of the students to go get water, I helped the rest of the group make predictions about where they were going to get the water; the water fountain or the bathroom.

We also talked about the “empty” tube we had.  We had a second package of “instant snow” so we contrasted the two tubes.  We also talked about what the word “instant” meant.

As we poured the water in, the powder grew to this awesome, fluffy consistency!  If you happen to do this with your own students, I’d suggest using REALLY cold water, only to give it more of an illusion of cold snow.

We talked about all of the things you can do in the snow – make snowballs, build snowmen, make a snow angel, etc. Then we passed the bowl around and let each student have a fun sensory experience touching the snow.

This student said, “Look!  I’m making a finger angel!”  So adorable!
attempting a snowball

As we recapped, we used regular and irregular past tense verbs to discuss how we made the snow.  They each used an adjective to describe the snow and how it felt.  We touched on SO many basic concepts, too.  They really LOVED this activity!  And for only 99 cents!  ❤

I’ve also recently added two new winter/Valentine’s themed products to my TPT store.  They are Valentine’s Wh- Questions & Valentine’s Listening and Describing.

The Wh-questions one is pretty self-explanatory.  It includes all 5 Wh- questions and How.  There are 8 of each question type, for a total of 48 questions in all.  Students collect their cards on their envelope.

Here’s a peak at a few of the cards:

The next is Valentine‘s Listening and Describing, which is very much like my Gingerbread Listening and Describing.  If you liked that pack, you’ll love this one!  And what kid doesn’t love a funny little monster now and then???  The pack targets conditional directions,exclusionary listening, listening for details, written descriptions, describing verbally, and negation.

In the first section, each student will get a monster.  They are all a little different and all pretty darn cute. There are two of each type of monster, just in a different color.  There are 10 different monsters in all!

 To play, give a conditional direction (or read one from the list of sample prompts).  Students must do what the direction says, according to their monster’s characteristics.  I’ve given a huge list of sample prompts, or you can come up with your own!  I also made all of the actions that the students need to take nonverbal (and mostly quiet) so that it is not disruptive and  you can tell if they did it correctly or not.  If they were all counting, saying their name, etc, it would make it a little hard!

After you’ve done the conditional directions part, students can write about their monsters.  They must give as specific a description as they can, since the monsters are all so similar.  I’ve included two different writing pages: a blank one and the one below.

Comes with an “answer key” so you can guide your students to the right answer.

I think it would be fun to read these aloud and have the rest of the students guess which monster is being described.  Or, hang them in the hall for everyone to guess!

Next is listening for details!  Students must use all the clues to decide which character you are describing.  The picture below will ideally be used as a mat (do not cut apart).  However, if your students need a smaller field or can handle a larger one, cutting it apart would work too!

Put this mat in the middle of the table for all to see or print one for each player.  If everyone has one, they can use a dry erase marker to eliminate the characters that you are not describing and use process of elimination to determine which you are talking about.  There are 4 mats, with 6 pictures each, for 24 total pictures.  Each picture comes with a unique list of clues for you to read.  All of them are organized according to numbers so there is no confusion.  Here’s just a sample.

I hope you enjoy these activities!  For a chance to win your choice of one of my Valentine’s packs, enter via the Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading! Now go to your nearest Hallmark store and raid their “instant snow” department! 😉

New Year review: The Kissing Hand

Happy New Year, pirates!  (2 weeks late.)  What a busy couple of weeks it’s been!  On my Facebook page, I posed the question “Who has used or uses a 3-1 model for service delivery?”  Many of  you weighed in and had overwhelmingly positive things to say.  I have the option of using it at my school; my principal said I could start it this year as long as the teachers are on board with the change.  So far, I’ve gotten many “go-aheads” so I will probably be implementing it starting 3rd quarter.  (I LOVE my colleagues and the freedom and trust my principal gives us!)  I’m VERY excited about it!  Have you used the 3-1 model?  How do you like it?  I’d love to hear more opinions or any tips that you can offer!

TeachersPayTeachers and Facebook have been overflowing with speech/language book companion packs.  I love this idea and have seen the great responses they get so I chose to make one for the book “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn.  I was able to grab a free download of the app version of this book; it’s adorable!  It’s a book that is used, I’m assuming, mainly at the beginning of the year.  I guess I got a large jump on it, though!

If you are not familiar, the book is about a little raccoon, Chester, who is scared to start school.  He doesn’t want to leave his mom, friends, toys, etc.  In order to make him more comfortable, his mom gives him a “kissing hand”.  She kisses his hand and tells him that whenever he needs, he can press it to his cheek and feel her love.  Chester loves the idea so much that after feeling the power of his kissing hand, he gives one to his mom for times when she misses him while he’s at school.  The book makes the point that Chester attends school at night.  I loved this as an opportunity to infer why the little raccoon is going to school at night, rather than during the day.  The theme of the book is probably slightly juvenile, so I liked this inference to make it appropriate for slightly older grades.

My companion pack has activities targeting Pre-K through 2nd grades.  Here’s a peak:

Story props to cut out and use for retelling and sequencing:

Visual aids for sequencing at two different levels: one has just numbers while the other has sentence starters.

Comprehension questions with two different levels of prompting: one with visuals and one without:

Story elements: use these mats with question prompt to discuss story elements.  You can also use the props here, to scaffold the task.

 As you can see, all of the above tasks are appropriate for either the younger students (Pre-K, Kinder) and the older ones (grades 1-2).  I also included some tasks specifically for Pre-K and Kindergarten:

Categories – sorting and expressive:


Phonemic awareness tasks – initial sound identification and rhyming:

Which does not belong?:

 Same and different – these can be cut apart (student points) or use as worksheets by printing, laminating, and giving students a dry erase marker:

Grammar activities targeting plurals (regular & irregular), verbs, and pronouns (subjective, objective, and possessive):
Can be used for receptive or expressive tasks.  For example “Show me ‘He is sitting on books.” in a field of all three with children sitting on books.  Or you can ask the students to give a full sentence about the students and their school-related actions.

For grades 1 and 2, I included some science vocabulary to do with animals, their habitats, and their life styles.  All are tier 2 vocabulary words.  There are tasks for synonyms, antonyms, and definitions (below).
The last task is one targeting comparing and contrasting.  Visuals are used.
This is my first attempt at a companion pack.  I tried to be as thorough as possible and include all of the things I thought you could use.  
***I did not include articulation because I thought those cards would appear to be “fluff”.  I believe artic cards can be made out of anything and I personally don’t like to waste my printer ink and lamination on these types of cards.  There is no overwhelming presence of one sound in the vocabulary in this book, so the pictures I would have had to choose would have been out of left field.  There are lots of CVC CVCVC words in here, though.
Please let me know what you think of this and what other books you might like to see a companion for!