One of the things that we all focus on when heading back to school is the logistics. With a mountain of to-dos, what do we tackle first?
First step of every year is to get organized. I make my own planner, which you can find here, and I set that beauty up first thing. I print the pages I need and then bind them with a comb binder. Some of the pages I keep in this planner and some I keep in a binder. In my planner, I keep my calendars, to do lists, paperwork trackers, and notes. I always write out the IEP and re-evaluation due dates first… this keeps me on top of what’s coming. In my binder, I keep my lesson plans, various logs, meeting notes, and anything else that I might need to survive.
The next thing I do is consider my classroom. I am so fortunate to have a big, beautiful space with lots of storage and a window. I have not always been so lucky, so small closet SLPs, I feel you! Decorating your classroom is different for everyone. Some people go full on theme and get super creative with their set up. Some people do nothing. I am one of those in-betweeners. All of these options are ok! The only thing I feel strongly about is that we need to be cognizant of our students’ needs when decorating, rather than our own.
My bulletin boards are always more for function than just decoration, like this vocabulary board. Here is where I displayed weekly/monthly vocabulary from my Thematic Bulletin Board resource.
Once I start my therapy schedule, I do a lot of routine and relationship building activities. This is so that my students know the expectations when they come to my room. We review goals, get their folders set up, and have conversations about classroom rules. It’s not a super structured therapy lesson, but it’s so important to build that rapport so that your kids know what’s happening every time they come to your speech room.
Then, of course, baseline data. I need to know where we are! I continue to use SLP Toolkit as my go to data collector and it makes my life so much easier. I do this with each student one on one to get a good picture of where they are with their speech and language.
But what do the other students do while I’m having those mini meetings? That’s where these no prep activities come in. I print off what I need for each student before they come to their session, that way everybody has something to do while they are waiting for their turn with me.
Once I get all their data together and know what everyone needs, we hit the ground running . I often utilize this theme therapy calendar to plan what I’m doing for therapy each week. I find it super useful to plan therapy with themes because there is so much material available that I get bogged down without a focus. A theme provides this for me. Not to mention it engages my students and I can make curricular connections!
Did I miss anything? What else do you do to prep for the new year? Happy back to school, friends!