Planning Made Easier- Quick Tips for SLPs
Planning. Is that a problem for you? I know a lot of SLPs and SPED teachers who think that is one of the biggest job problems, right after all of the paperwork. In fact, most of them say they’d like to leave the school system as soon as they reach full retirement age and then work somewhere else. They don’t know what specific kind of job they want, but they all agree that it has to be one that does not require planning!
Of course, we can all plan for the week, but what can be done to make the process quicker and easier? My time spent planning has gotten easier over the years, so here are my tips in case they are helpful for you. If you are just starting out, you might as well face the fact that planning will take considerable time. However, there are ways that can make it quicker for next year!
Organize Your Caseload
First, I start with a master list of my students and goal areas that I made when determining groups at the beginning of the year. Click here if you want to see how I use it. While I do this on paper to keep a copy at home, a photo of it will work as well. I’m sure there must be some app out there that will do this, too. If so, please share!
I keep my thematic materials in page protectors in a binder. Label the binders by theme or skill with this freebie!
When I need to plan for the month ahead, I look in the binder as the first step, pulling out any materials I have already made that can be adapted for the current year’s students and goals. I also pull out a few open ended materials that are just plain fun.
Try hanging them up on a bulletin board so your students can see them, too! Often I will switch my planned activity around when a student requests one of these activities, as long as I can still accomplish the goal, since students learn better when they are invested.
One of the tips that really helps me is to jot down notes if I have figured out an especially creative or fun way to adapt a material to meet two wildly different goals. Do you have some groups that are like that? I have some where the kids actually have no goals in common! They just are available at the same time and can be at the same table together! These kind of groups make for some creative planning. Meeting 4-6 different goals in one hour a week with no overlaps gets you thinking about different ways to use the materials!
Search TpT the Quick Way!
Once I’ve pulled out the materials that I think will work for my current caseload and goals, I’m off to TpT to check out what freebies or paid products are available to fill in my other needs. Having this wonderful resource is amazing! Before TpT, I had to spend so many more hours planning and making materials. I didn’t have the money to buy commercially available materials, and they just needed to be modified tremendously, anyway!
It is very easy to refine your search on TpT, making it quick and easy! First, enter your skill or theme, in this case, Thanksgiving. Then choose your subject. If you click ‘specialty,’ you have the the choice of speech therapy. Then enter your price range. If you want to look at freebies first, go under the member sponsored ads and click on ‘sort by’ to get ‘most recently.’ This will let you start your search with the most recently posted freebies and work your way back in time, saving you from seeing sets that you may ave already downloaded. Quick and easy!
Two Fun Freebies!
I did exactly this in my search and came up with these two fun freebies to use this year!
Turkey Costume Bingo from Communication Blessings is a fun way to bridge from Halloween to Thanksgiving, as well as being a fun activity to complement many turkey books!
It is always great to have an open ended game around! This set from Gold Country SLP is fun and easy! It is also black and white, making photocopying easier!
If you like these ideas, be sure to download my FREE editable binder spine labels to make your life easier!