Do you love planners as much as I do? I created a special SLP summer planner just to help you make sure your summer doesn’t slip away.
And the best part…it’s FREE!
WE made it through another year! Now for a well-deserved summer break. If you’re like me you start the summer with very well-intended plans of projects, revamps and things-to-do. Sometimes the transition from flat out running and wrangling kids all day to summer relaxation can be a little tricky. SLP Summer Planner to the rescue.
So you take a few days to adjust. You make some vacation plans and you sleep in. Binge watch Netflix and before you know it, summer’s over. If you’re happy with that then great.
But… what if you start the summer knowing how you want to feel at the end of it? What if we a take little time to reflect on the past year and celebrate our successes? Let’s make time for what we really want to do with these precious months and use the SLP Summer Planner to make it happen.
What can you do to take care of yourself and refill the well? Who do you want to spend your time with? Figure out if you really want to do projects. If yes, pick ones that will make you feel good. Maybe you just want to sit under a tree and get lost in a book.
Give yourself what you need. The work you do is so very important. You really do make a difference. Because you “SLP”-ed Like a Boss all year, you deserve to be the boss of your summer.
I hope you use this SLP Summer Planner with a sense of play and intention. Then when summer comes to an end (which it always does) you can use the final sheets to transition into the coming school year.
Wishing you an incredible summer,
Beautiful Speech Life
P.S. Watch for the SLP Like a Boss School Planner coming soon.
Today I’m welcoming my colleagues (and friends) Sarah and Lisa from SLP Toolkit, to share with you how they quickly and efficiently gather data for a transfer student. You know…the one that shows up with an IEP that expires in three days. It’s happened to all of us right?
Just for a little background info, SLP Toolkit is a web based software program that was created by two speech language pathologists. Lisa Kathman and Sarah Bevier. I’ll provide some links at the end of this post so you can learn more. Let’s jump right in and see what they suggest.
The transfer student is the bane of every school-based SLP’s existence. The student pops onto your caseload, often with an IEP that is expired or soon to expire, with about 12 goals that you have no idea how the previous SLP even measured.
So what if that is the case? The IEP is due immediately and you don’t know the student. The school year is in full swing and you are way beyond the start of the year “getting to know you” activities. How do you get the data you need to write a new IEP for a student you just met?
Well, if you have SLP Toolkit in your arsenal, there’s no need to panic! First, you add the student to your caseload and open up a Present Level Assessment (PLA). As a new student, giving all components of the PLA will provide you with a really comprehensive communication profile. These assessments contain both descriptive language (e.g. language sample, narrative or expository retell) and specific skill based (e.g. vocabulary, answering questions, grammar, problem solving) measures. The software scores everything for you, noting areas of strength and need, as well as provides an auto-summary of results that can be copy and pasted into the present levels section of the student’s IEP.
With a comprehensive present levels section, the rest of the IEP writes itself since your goals and service time are driven by this information. You can probe areas of weakness further using criterion referenced tests in the ‘Progress Monitoring’ section of SLP Toolkit. Criterion referenced tests measure the student’s performance against a fixed set of predetermined criteria. You will use this information as baseline scores on your IEP goals and then re-test at each grading period using the same measures. To ensure you are writing measurable goals that unfamiliar readers can understand, the SMART goal drop downs in the ‘Goals’ section of SLP Toolkit makes writing an objective, measurable goal a breeze. If any of the students needs can be met through accommodations versus goals (or if these are needed in addition to specialized instruction), you can browse a wide variety of options in the ‘Teacher Strategies/Accommodations’ section of SLP Toolkit.
Once your goals are created inside of SLP Toolkit, you can hit the “print” button to access pre-populated data sheets (one less thing to create for this new student!)
Transfer students only cause panic if you don’t know what to do with them. With SLP Toolkit on your side, you have a step by step guide to ensure you can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment plan for any new student on your caseload.
Lisa & Sarah, SLP Toolkit
One of the most used tools in my bag of tricks! SLP Toolkit has saved me HOURS of work. Now I can easily assess present levels and give accurate, helpful progress reports. And the goal bank to die for. I know and trust this awesome resource so much that I’ve teamed up with SLP Toolkit to provide you this code.Use my code BSL16 and you’ll receive:
$19 to apply to either one free month or towards an annual membership. Just click on the pink rectangle to learn more and sign up. Remember the code is BSL16 for your special discount.
This link is an affiliate link, which means, if you choose to purchase through this link, I’ll earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.. Please understand that I have experience with this company and I recommend it because it’s helpful and useful, not because of the small commission I make if you decide to purchase.
Last Spring at this time, I was REALLY frantically busy. So…I didn’t do my Medicaid billing until May. That’s three months worth; it took me two solid days of desk work, gave me sore neck and had me singing the blues! I would much rather have been spending time with my students. I knew there had to be a better way.
Do you have to do Medicaid billing?
Do you dread doing it and save it till the end of the month? Or even worse save it till the end of two months?
In my district we do Medicaid billing. So that means in addition to gathering data, we need to submit that information through a third party billing company. It can be tedious and feel redundant but that’s how the school funds part of our services.
What I’ve done in the past (after my 3 month nightmare) is at the end of the month, panic, gather my notes and data and then spend a full day billing.
A whole day…no! Not gonna happen anymore.
So in January I tried a little experiment. Instead of saving up my Medicaid billing, I decided to bill immediately after a group when possible. If I have several back-to-back sessions, then bill at the end of the day.
I kept track of the time spent billing, which averages out to about 30 minutes a day. I made sure I scheduled that time for the rest of the month.
I noticed that once I got into the habit of billing daily, it was pretty doable.
I loved myself on that last working day of January. All I had to do was hit the “confirm all” button.
As a result, I have done this for February and March. Never gonna look back.
There is truth and value in “a stitch in time saves nine” and even in “how do you eat an elephant?” (one bite at a time, okay but I still think that’s gross).
One other thing I did that has been a huge time-saver/blues reducer is I spent some time really getting to know the system. I learned several shortcuts about the calendar feature and the group notes feature. I also identified exactly what information was needed by Medicaid in our state. Combined, these shaved off several more minutes daily.
I know it’s frustrating to juggle so many demands. But by planning ahead to bill daily and taking time to fully learn your billing company’s system, you’ll be amazed at how much more manageable this chore can be.
Keep coming back to read about my continuous search to help you find ways to streamline and save time, so that you can stress less and spend time doing what really brings you fulfillment.
Did you like this post? If you did please sign up below to be on the email list so you’ll be the first to know about more time saving tips and fun, engaging therapy materials.
For more time saving ideas read these posts:
SLP Time Hack: SLP Toolkit, Dream or Reality
SLP Time Hack: SLP Toolkit How to Stop Dreading Progress Reports
SLP Time Hack: Work Life Balance 7 Strategies
Keep doing what you do, you are making the world a better place,
Last week in” SLP Time Hacks: Streamlining Progress Reports Dream or Reality?”, I talked about SLP Toolkit, a web based software program that was created by two speech language pathologists. Lisa Kathman and Sarah Bevier. In case you missed it, click here
You can use SLP Toolkit to screen, baseline test, progress monitor, and write goals for students. Last week I tested it out specifically for progress monitoring. I have to tell you, I love it!
First I set up my caseload, which was really easy and didn’t take too long at all. Just input student’s name, IEP date, evaluation date, case manager, teacher and grade. A really helpful feature is the ability to sort by any of the fields. For example, I like to write my progress reports by grade level. I can just click on Grade and oila! my caseload is organized by grade level. This makes my list-building organized SLP heart very happy.
The progress monitoring feature has a speech sound production area which includes articulation (with all sounds) and a phonological process area. Other areas include subheadings of cognitive, social language, expressive receptive language, fluency, and voice/resonance.
Within each of these areas there is an extensive list to choose from. For example, I have a student that has a goal to compare and contrast grade level vocabulary. Here’s what I did:
Click expressive/receptive language
Click Compare and Contrast
Click Level 2
A screen comes up with a list of 10 word pairs, I ask student to tell me one way the words are alike and one that they are different.
I click thumbs up or flag.
When finished I click “record data” (which resets for the next time)
I am taken back to the progress monitoring screen where the score is shown.
The screen is user-friendly with a sidebar for the menu and features are easy to click.
Although I haven’t used the social language feature yet, it looks really interesting and there are many rubrics. What I like is that the rubrics are “clickable”. You click on the area that fits the student’s current level of competence and the score is placed in the bar at the bottom of the screen. Also the correct description is included with the score ready to be copied and pasted into your progress report.
The progress monitoring tool is leveled (which is awesome). The stimulus items chosen for each of the different levels were selected considering a combination of research, academic standards, grade band Tier 2 vocabulary, and developmental milestones. So important to me to know that all of these items were taken into consideration. The levels are: Level 0-preschool, Level 1-kindergarten, Level 2-grades one and two, Level 3-grades three through five, Level 4-grades six through eight and Level five-grades nine through 12.
I’m not going to walk you through this step-by-step because SLP Toolkit has several tutorials that do a great job of that. I’ll put a link at the end of this post for you.
I do want to highlight what I like most about using SLP Toolkit for my progress reports.
1. It’s really easy. No shuffling papers and digging for data sheets. Everything I need is on my computer screen. (And it syncs across devices, so I can use my iPad too).
2. It’s user-friendly and easy to navigate.
3. I’m using new materials that the student isn’t used to, so I can see if the skill is carrying over across different materials and situations.
4. I like that I can click on the student’s name, see the goals at a glance, select the progress monitoring tool I want and then go. It’s very time efficient. Depending on the number of goals a student has, the whole process is quick. I’d say 15-20 minutes per student.
5. As I said earlier, I am really happy with the fact that it is leveled and that the leveling is based on research and standards.
6. It’s affordable. $19 a month (or $180 annually) to not only keep myself organized and efficiently monitor progress but to write goals, keep a goal bank and baseline test is a bargain.
7. When it is time to do the next round of progress reports, I will be able to compare them side by side with the progress monitoring I just completed to view progress across time. I love that feature.
The whole process was so smooth and stress free for me compared to my old way of doing things. I really am kind of looking forward to doing my progress reports next time, so I can compare them to the ones I just did. I’m also looking forward to having a goal bank at my fingertips and to using the present level assessments.
to you is to check it out. Click on this link
where you can get a free trial for up to five students. Do a little test drive, look at all the awesome features. I really think you will be as impressed as I am.
Disclaimer: I did receive a no-cost six month subscription of SLP Toolkit, so I could review it and give feedback. All of the opinions expressed are strictly my own.
Did you like this post? If you did please let me know in the comments below. Make sure to join my email list for more posts like this and for a monthly free therapy product.
No more dreading progress reports!
P.S. Here is a link to the progress monitoring tutorial
Progress. Reports. Two words that strike the heart of every school SLP with dread and trepidation. They’re tedious and many times we feel like we don’t have enough information to give a clear picture of each student’s communication skills. We end up shuffling post-its and digging for data sheets. No wonder we procrastinate doing them.
Have you ever asked yourself why doesn’t someone create an accurate, effective way to report progress?
Guess what? Somebody has.
Sarah Bevier MS, CCC-SLP and Lisa Kathman MS, CCC-SLP are two school-based SLPs that had a great idea and did something about it. They are passionate about streamlining SLP workloads so we can spend our time where it counts – with our students.The result is SLP Toolkit,
a web-based software program that might just be exactly what you and I have been looking for.
When Sarah and Lisa invited me to test SLP toolkit with a six-month subscription, I have to admit I was thrilled. When I realized we live in the same city, I knew we had to meet in person. We agreed on a time and place for lunch. Even though it was kind of like a blind date, we immediately recognized each other from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Sarah and Lisa are both lovely. So easy to talk to, they are extremely knowledgeable, professional and forward thinking. Last Saturday, sitting on a sunny patio, over salads and bruschetta we talked about how SLP Toolkit came to be.
Let’s back up to three years ago, Lisa and Sarah, both Arizona State University (ASU ) graduates, were working in the Mesa Public Schools program. They bonded over EET, (The Expanding Expression Tool) talking about how well it was packaged and how it fills a need. While meeting on weekends in Sarah’s craft room to create therapy products, talk soon turned to progress monitoring tools. The original idea was based on collecting data efficiently and accurately. Sarah says it grew from all the things they wished they had when they were starting their school SLP careers.
Lisa tells how they spent the next three years tirelessly researching vocabulary selection and standards as well as careful consideration of developmental milestones. The resulting SLP Toolkit is a comprehensive, leveled progress monitoring tool covering the areas of cognition, speech sound production, expressive/receptive language, voice/resonance, fluency and social language.
Fast forward to January 15, 2016… SLP Toolkit is launched. I asked Sarah and Lisa how they felt on the big day, here is their collective reply..
“Excited, anxious, overwhelmed, relieved, amazed, afraid, elated and proud. We had poured everything into this…and it has been an emotional journey. Prior to starting we had printed out several quotes to remind us to never to let doubt get in our way. Our favorite was ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done’, yet we were still shocked that we had actually done it. It’s a terrifying experience but we genuinely believe in SLP Toolkit and the positive impact it can have for SLPs. We would do it all over again.”
“What would you say to a new or seasoned SLP who’s thinking about getting SLP Toolkit?” I asked. “You’re welcome” Sarah humorously replied with a laugh. “We did all this work for you. Go on there, explore, use it. There’s no limit to the free trial. You have access to all the tools for up to five students to get a good picture of how it works.”
Lisa added “It’s about less paper, less anxiety…we created this for you, we are just sharing it.”
Are you intrigued? I know I am.
The amount of research, knowledge and love that have gone into the creation of SLP Toolkit is impressive. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Lisa and Sarah; I love our SLP community.
So here’s what’s next…
Click on this link to see for yourself what SLP Toolkit
is all about. This is where you can get your free trial for up to five students, kind of like driving a car before you buy it. . A full subscription is $19 a month or $180 annually.
The SLP Toolkit blog
is also full of information and video tutorials, so go look into that as well.You’re going to be excited when you see what it can do. So far, I have created my caseload and used the goal bank, (which is so user-friendly). But I’ll talk more about that next week.
In the second part of this series, I’ll report back to you all about my experience using SLP Toolkit to do this quarter’s progress reports. I’ll also be posting little videos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
so make sure to follow me by clicking on the links.
Did you like this post? Make sure to join my email list for more posts like this and for a monthly free therapy product.
Can’t wait to report back to you!
P.S. (Disclaimer: While Lisa and Sarah gave me a six month subscription at no cost, all of the opinions here are strictly my own).
Life as an SLP is all about time, it’s one precious commodity! I’m always looking for ways to streamline my schedule so this week I asked some of my smart SLP friends for their expert advice. Here’s what they said:
Mia Reed McDaniel
Hmmmmm Time is my enemy. I’m always struggling to stay on schedule and use my time wisely. The biggest time eater for me is people stopping by my room to visit. As much as I love my co-workers, I had to resort to putting up a “Do Not Disturb – testing” sign
from time to time just so I can make the best use of my time. Also, I keep TWO to-do lists, “To-Do NOW” and “To-Do LATER”
which helps me prioritize and focus on what I need to do FIRST. Putting Words in Your Mouth
Looks Like Language
I am always late in therapy- too involved- but not in real life! What saves me is organization! Life tip- get lunch ready and clothes out the night before.
Work tip- use page protectors to keep similar worksheet originals in one spot
and store the page protector sheets in a binder labeled with the skill. Looks Like Language
I have my speech schedule tucked in the front of my data/therapy binder. For a while, I used to use a timer to help me know when that last 5 minutes hit, so I could wrap up therapy.
If we didn’t finish our lesson, then I would collect all the papers, crafts, etc. and store in my file folder for next session. The Dabbling Speechie
Prepare in advance. When I was in the schools I was in 5 different schools each week, which meant multiple schools each day and never enough drive and park time in-between (especially in the snow). I always tried to prep in advance (on a weekend)
so that I had everything I needed for each group, all organized and together by group and stowed in the back of my van and ready to grab and run. My van was my office, so I had to keep it organized or life was a mess. I color coded the groups
and could quickly see and grab. I also always kept a pile of good language games
in the van, too, so that in a pinch I could always grab a game quickly if I needed to. But, like everyone who runs between schools I always was late and running – never enough time in the schedule.Kidz Learn Language
My biggest plus for getting to work on time is that I live 1/2 mile from school! Other than that, prepping the night before helps
. I have a small fridge in my room, and I bring meals/ sides for the week
an store in there, so I am not fixing my lunch each morning. I usually eat a yogurt for breakfast first thing at work while I am checking e-mails…. Multi- tasking! Speech Sprouts
I have a couple: on Sunday night check your work email
. It’s a pain but that way you can come to work in Monday and know you have “inbox zero.” My administration likes to send emails on Sunday and I don’t like coming in on Monday knowing there are emails I need to get through. Also, buying a black fleece jacket with the school district’s logo on it has been a lifesaver
. There’s a “company store” on the school district’s website. I leave the fleece at work and I can throw it on if I encounter variable temperatures throughout the building and still look professional. I also leave a plain pair of black leather shoes at work under my desk during the winter
so that when I wear my boots to work, I can quickly change out of boots and I don’t have to lug nice shoes along with everything else I carry to work! Phew! Speech is Beautiful
I can second a lot of what has already been said. I prep my lunch the night before (and as much of breakfast as I can–coffee is always set so it’s ready when I arrive in the kitchen) and my clothes. I almost always prep all of my sessions for the week on the weekend.
I also use Dropbox
frequently. This means if I have a few moments (if a session is cancelled, for example), I can work on progress notes or a blog post or something more productive than checking social media! I run late all the time. I will set the timer on my phone to make sure I wrap things up in time
. My students and I have to walk back and forth to my “house” for speech–great on nice weather days, a huge pain when it’s raining–but I often underestimate how much time little legs need for travelling. I’m always saying, “let’s use fast feet” 😉 Activity Tailor
Tracy Willock Morgan
I have been concentrating on finishing what I start. It is very easy to get into the pattern of starting, stopping, re-starting, etc. Having to re-start something multiple times is a total time thief.
Please don’t hate me, but I am one of “those” who is always on time. IDK-I think I’m just wired that way. Gold Country SLP
I pre make lunches and pack my materials/files bag the night before. To get my husband to stay on time, I set his clock ahead by 10 minutes (he still doesn’t know!)
Such great ideas! I would have to say my biggest timesaver at work is Evernote. I have it on my laptop at home and at school and it is synced to my iPhone and my iPad. It’s my giant digital file cabinet. I keep present levels and evaluation reports in a “notebook”. Evernote is organized by notebooks and notes. For getting to work, I have lunches ready (I’d say in 4 out of 5 opportunities as measured by therapist data…haha) and I have my outfits for the week lined up in the closet.
My biggest tip is to find a little bit of time just for you everyday, even if it’s in the small hours of the morning before everyone else is awake. I try to stick to that because it really keeps me grounded and positive.
I hope you can use some of these tips to make your days run more smoothly. I know I will. Be sure to click on the blog names to be taken straight to more SLP blogger tips and insight. Such a great community!
Did you like this post? If you did sign up for my email list to be the first to know about new products, freebies and sales. Also follow me on TpT to receive exclusive monthly freebies only available to TPT followers.