What exactly is the “A” word? August, of course (what were you thinking?!). I know, I know, it isn’t even officially summer yet and here I am blabbering on about August!! Take your fingers out of your ears and stop yelling “lalalala!”. Summer is no small luxury; it’s a time of restoration after a crazy year of IEPs, meetings, paperwork, etc. that help SLPs keep our collective sanity. However, August (or September for my friends up North) doesn’t have to be a bad word!
I used to dread it too, but then I had a shift in perspective. If I spend a little time (very little) prepping over the summer months, then I can roll into my room with a few cute, color coded file folders and a plan. That way, when a new IEP magically appears on my desk after I have finished my schedule, no problem. I have learned the hard way to always start my paper schedule in pencil and when I transition to my computer, add the date on any revisions to keep me sane! A last-minute, pre-planning advocate meeting on my one free day to set up my physical space? No tears, just go with the flow. I try to have a rough idea of what I want on the bulletin board before I leave in May, and since I packed my room up, I have a clean slate to start with. My theme this year is minimalism…anything pre-2000 is gone (kidding…kind of).
A general idea of themes, if you work in younger grades, works well to plan out the year and themes lend themselves to all kinds of therapy areas. For older students, getting a feel for the common core in literature and language arts will go a long way in supporting your students. Don’t forget science and social studies, and heck even the language of math can be incorporated into therapy! My friend Meredith over at Peachie Speechie and Speech Blogs has complied an amazing list of SLP blogs HERE , jam packed with great therapy ideas to align with themes and the core ! If you start thinking of these goals and themes this summer, you can plan what you need for a back to school sale on TPT !
Take a little time to organize games and replace missing pieces. Buy a bunch of plastic sleeves to protect your TPT fabulous finds and store them in labeled binders (by theme, season, type of therapy, alphabetically, whatever makes sense to YOU). Get rid of the unnecessary clutter; if it’s out of date, toss it. Don’t use it anymore? Donate it to a new SLP (they will be thrilled). Organize a speechie share and swap for materials and games. Looking for new(er) games? Check out thrift stores as you can find gently used or even brand new games (Cariboo anyone?).
So breathe, enjoy the summer ahead and stick your toes in the sand somewhere warm. August will be here soon enough! What’s your best summer tip to set you up for success in the next school year?