Saturday, August 31, 2013

Make Your Pacing Boards Today!

Everyone should have a set of pacing boards! I was reminded of my pacing boards when I read Guest Post: Pacing Boards at Activity Tailor this summer. The post, a must-read, by Jennifer at NW Speech Therapy, has some wonderful tips for using pacing boards. AND, she has a link to her FREE printable pacing boards at her TpT store

I was first introduced to the term "Pacing Board" in 1994 when reading Communication Skills in Children with Down Syndrome by Libby Kumin.  I had  occasionally used blocks or other objects to demonstrate syllabication. Libby Kumin suggested using pacing boards as visuals to increase phrase length from one to two words. 

My four pacing boards were laminated rectangles cut from file folders containing two, three, four, or five black construction paper squares. They hung on a ring in my therapy room for more than 20 years and were usually used for syllabication, to demonstrate phonological processes, and to visualize the number of words in phrases or sentences. 

My Bird Words Activity has a pacing board on both pages.
Over the years, I did get creative and make boards to match themes or topics (i.e., a pumpkin pacing board in the fall and snowballs in the winter). However, my basic pacing boards were always ready to use!

Find more pacing boards at these links:

Pace-Out-Your-Speech at Early Intervention Speech Therapy has more great suggestions for using pacing boards. Check out her PacingBoard Follow-up with Pictures.

Download the PacingBoard Ladybug Speech Freebie from SLPrunner.

Pacing board ideas and a cute video clip, Keeping Pace, are found at lunchbuddiesplus


Kumin, Libby. Communication skills in children with Down syndrome: a guide for parents. Rockville, MD: Woodbine House, 1994. Print.


© 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday's Treasure Box: We All Go Traveling By

An early childhood teacher introduced me to the book We All Go Traveling By by Sheena Roberts and Siobhan Belland. If you are thinking about a school bus theme in September, using this book would be a great way to introduce all kinds of vocabulary. In addition to the book - visit the site where you can see the FREE and complete animated version. The book can be purchased at the Barefoot Books and can be found used at Amazon. I checked WorldCat and found it available in some libraries. 

AND, has beautiful, free, storybook patterns to use with this book!


© 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Create an Organized Desktop

Last spring, my computer desktops (both home and work) were covered with icons. I had tried organizing by putting selected items in certain areas, but that never lasted very long. A Pretty Organized Desktop at iheart organizing inspired me to research other organized desktops. 

After finding great ideas and suggestions at JenniferKeegin Dot Com and The Ney Life, I created the following desktop wallpapers; the first for my work computer and the second for my home computer.

Some organized desktop wallpapers that I found were made with Microsoft Paint and others with expensive photo software. However, knowing that I just needed a photo to personalize my display, I chose to work with something that I knew - Microsoft PowerPoint. Here are some of the wallpapers that I created using Microsoft's backgrounds on a PowerPoint slide. You can download these ready to use wallpapers and wallpapers that can be personalized by clicking here OR scroll down to see how to make your own.

Choose a color for your background
and add shapes with no fill. 

This was easily made by using shapes and text boxes. 

These apple themed backgrounds were free, along
with many other backgrounds, at - just add category labels.

Use favorite photos.

To create your own organized desktop using Microsoft PowerPoint
  • add a background to a PowerPoint slide - make sure that you are using the landscape orientation
  • Note that if this is going on a large screen (not a laptop), in PowerPoint, go to the Design tab and go to Page Setup. Under Slides sized for choose Ledger Paper.
  • choose category labels 
  • select the font, font size, and font color
  • save the PowerPoint as a JPEG File Interchange Format

On your computer*
  •  go to Control Panel
  • under Appearance and Personalization choose Change Desktop Background 
  • find your saved background picture
  • select Stretch under Picture Position
  • save your changes and start organizing your desktop!

 * These instructions were written for those using a computer with Windows 7. On computers running other versions of Windows or on Apple computers, follow the instructions for personalizing your computer's wallpaper. 

If you are using two monitors or a have added a second monitor to your laptop, the new desktop screen will show exactly the same on both monitors (Unless you have Windows 8).

I didn't want to see a second set of labels so covered the second set with the Sticky Notes found on Microsoft Windows 7.  I love having my "To Do list," blog ideas, and other important things to remember on my desktop!

This system has kept my desktops organized for almost four months. However, I do have one important warning. Items on your desktop can be easily lost if your computer crashes. As with all files, make sure that you back-up frequently!


© 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday's Treasure Box - My Website

One of the tasks I accomplished this summer was to update my website, Using Computer Activities to Enhance Language Learning. It was originally created, in 2004, for a parent workshop to show parents the many free available resources on the Internet. I have kept it up to date as it has been nice to have a resource for early childhood teachers, other SLPs, and parents. 

Topics are arranged by theme and season. Activities are ideal for touch screens and whiteboards. Find sites to address articulation practice, switch access, and many other activities. 



© 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Arranging Your Speech Therapy Space

If you are working in a school, you are or will be soon getting your speech therapy space together. For much of my career, I shared rooms with other SLPs or special education teachers. My space varied from large enough to extremely tiny. Every August, a few days were devoted to cleaning and setting up my space. 

As more of my therapy time was spent in classrooms. organizing my therapy space became more about function and less about decor.

My absolutely essential items include

  • Clear storage tubs to store toys and other hands-on items by theme - at least one for each month. A must if you work with many preschoolers!

  • A large basket or container to store the current monthly thematic materials. 

  • Binders or small boxes containing articulation pictures, books, small manipulatives, etc. One for each phoneme and also some for phonological processes.  This really helped when I was traveling between schools.

  • One four drawer filing cabinet with drawers labeled fall, winter, spring, and summer. Use this for file folder games, books, and lesson ideas. 

  • Containers to keep materials together for some of my high maintenance small group and individual sessions. I love the "book boxes" and other storage ideas at Kindergarten . . . Kindergarten

  • Visual display boards

  • A rolling cart to transport anything and everything.

  • A grab and go place for my visual supports.


There are tons of ideas to be found on other speech blogs.  Here are just a few:

My 2012 postBack to School, has therapy room ideas from some great bloggers as well as other beginning of the school year necessities.

Check out 5 Organizing Essentials for Your Speech Room at Busy Bee Speech.

If you are moving from room to room, you will like My Therapy Cart found at The Speech Place.

If this were my year for moving back into a school, I would definitely begin the year with a speech lab similar to the one described at The Dynamic Duo - Adventures in Speech and Special Ed. AND, as part of my lab, I would be using the Speech Sound Wall Pockets found at Speech Room News

Find FREE organizing labels for your room at Speech Freebees

Read Tips for Organizing Small Classroom Spaces and Therapy Rooms at The Dynamic Duo - Adventures in Speech and Special Ed. 

Take speech room tours at The Gift of Gab and Carrie's Speech Corner


© 2013