My “Communication Coach” Sports-Themed Office

Check out my sports-themed office. The idea behind it is that SLPs are communication COACHES. We can’t do the work for you, but we can show you how to get better results, teach you some strategies that others are using to gain an advantage, and motivate you to continue to improve.


See still shots with descriptions below:

View from doorway

That big blue box on the floor is actually a mailbox center. This is where I put papers that the students are still working on or sheets for them to work on in the future. I also keep my CEUs and watch list here.

Next to that is a bookshelf full of binders with my most frequently used materials. On top of the bookshelf sits a mini score board (from that I can use to quickly award points to the group with a flip of the number (rather than having yet another thing to write down) and two model mouths – one is the Mouthy Mouth puppet from Super Duper, Inc. The other is a model head from ebay that I can split apart sagitally to show students where there articulators are housed.

On the bulletin board behind there are the Speech Room Rules, which includes our points system. Students earn points for knowing their goals, stating why their important, reporting on using their goals in a class or at home, etc. They earn the most points for homework and I give out bonus points for any other positive behavior I’d like to see again. Occasionally, we also have double points and triple points day.


Data Cart

This data cart is actually situated right behind my chair now, but this is a clear photo of it. The top includes my data sheets (which are broken download into 3 columns for ease of data collection for three different goals/students). They are color-coded by day and organized by period. You can get your free copy here:

The bottom includes my most frequently used materials that I want to be able to pull out with ease (such as one page reading passages from Remedia publications and my articulation practice sheets).

To learn more about my data cart, please click here:



Games & Communication Descriptions

At the top are posters from www.therasimplicity.comexplain the meaning of the main types of communication impairments.

When I work with elementary school students, I print off black and white versions of these and have the students color them as I explain what they will be working on for the year. Then they take them home so that parents will have an idea of their areas of need too.

Beneath the posters is a timeline of American history. As we read passages, we add markers to the timeline to represent when the story takes place. This helps students to conceptualize the time period within the greater context of American history. We also add dates that are important to their own lives.
Click here to learn more about the timeline:

To supplement their temporal understanding, one of our projects during the year is to make collages of each of decade from 1900 to present. We start out with pictures of each all mixed together and sort them into the appropriate time period to help give them a clearer idea of what it looked like “back then.”



Tools & Strategies Wall

The “Tools and Strategies Wall” includes some of my most frequently used visuals. They are velcroed to the wall for easy access. Beneath them is a poster of the parts of speech that we can add sample words to. This helps students understand new vocabulary.

To learn more about the “Tools and Strategies Wall,” please click here:





I have my “Coach” hat sitting on top of the file cabinet. When I put it on or wear a “Coach” shirt, that means students can earn double points that day!

Above that, there is a basketball hoop-styled trash bin (from Bed, Bath & Beyond) with small basketball-inspired stress balls. Students can try to make baskets as a reinforcer after turns with their goals.

There’s Michael Jordan’s silhouette right beside it as he leaps from the “Tools and Strategies Wall,” reinforcing the idea that our tools and strategies are designed to give us an extra boost.



Soccer Goal Points Chart

This soccer inspired incentive chart is a basic green chart from Lakeshore Learning decorated with printouts from the internet and some hand drawn grass at the bottom.




TV and Folders

I’m truly lucky to have a flat screen TV in my office. It needs to be repaired, but when it was working I used it to show play online games with the students or show speech & language PowerPoint presentations like these:

Beneath the TV is a prize box (mainly high-quality school supplies and some full sized-candy bars. Students only get to visit the box 3 times per year (at the end of the first 3 marking periods; for our final quarter celebration, we have a pizza party).

Next to the red prize box are some file folder activities I borrowed from the special education teacher next door.

Next to that are students’ individual folders (organized by period). They include independnet work activities …they’re not used very often, but they’re nice to have so students can work on something if I to give individualized attention to a groupmate for a moment.



Doorway & Stars

A decorative football soars over the crowd at the “Field of Communications.” (see what I did there ).

The stars on the back of the door say:

State the speech/language goal you are working on and why it’s important.

Try your best during speech & language.

Ask questions to gain a better understanding.

Return homework during your next session.






Our school’s mascot is the hawk, so I found one I liked online and used it as the inspiration for this hand-drawn version I did a few years ago.



We are in the Field of Communications

Touchdown! This goal post, score board, and crowd back drop are from







Speech/Language Wallets (of Resources)

Near the end of the last school year, I had a stroke of genius!  …well, it has yet to be tested but it’s ingenious in my humble opinion 😉

I work at two junior high schools and I am very aware of how my 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students differ from younger elementary students and how I have to make sure my approach to working with them matches their mentality and needs at the same time.

Continue reading

Tools & Strategies Wall

In my office at the junior high, I have a “Tools and Strategies” wall with several of my most-frequently-used visuals velcroed to the wall.

Here’s what I use:
My “Tools & Strategies” wall

~ Top row ~

1) 1 visual to show how the hierarchy of correcting an /r/at all of the different levels (isolation, syllable, word, etc.) for thevarious forms of /r/ (vocalic and consonantal, i.e., ear, are, or, pr, kr, tr,etc. – based on “The Entire World of R” screener).


2) An Expanding Expression Toolkit (EET) strand and visual


3) A visual I created in boardmaker to help students withdefining words.  Like EET, itstarts with the category (in green). Underneath that, are questions to help students define the word,including: “What does it look like,” “What does it sound like,” “What does ittaste like,” etc.  In the center,there’s a picture of a star with the question “What makes it special” (in otherwords, how is it different from other similar things).


4) This is a fish graphic organizer from  It is designed to help studentsremember the 6 WH- questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how).  I added boardmaker pictures of thesewords to the ends of the fish bones 😉



5) This is a word finding visual from Diane German forPro-Ed.  It has 5 steps to helpstudents store the word for later retrieval, including syllable dividing,similar sounding or cue words, and rehearsing.  Here’s a picture someone posted of the form:


~ Bottom Row ~

6) This is my articulation hierarchy form that could be usedfor any sound.  When my students reach80% accuracy on one level in the articulation hierarchy (for 1-3 sessions), Ihave them check off that level and I write the date they achieved it in thatcell.  This really helps mystudents see the light at the end of the tunnel and understand that my goal isto help them graduate from speech therapy.  I even have had students walk up to this visual on the wallto show other students what level they are working at!  It has really helped them remember todo home-practice at the appropriate level.  They now understand that just having a conversation with momis not practicing if you are only supposed to be at the phrase level.  With this visual, my students are verymotivated to reach the conversation and carryover levels that ultimately leadto graduation 😉

(I use this one for /r/ variations as well. The one shown innumber one with all of the /r/ sounds on it just serves as a visual aid to showparents and students how much work we need to do.)


7) This is a list of vocabulary strategies, like visualization,repetition, and context clues.


8) This is a “definition builder” to help kids define a wordusing a complete sentence.  Itincludes blanks and what kind of information they should put in eachblank.  It is now color coded tocorrespond to the EET.


9) This adorable visual from is a hamburger graphic organizer forwriting.  It is a reminder that the“meat” of the paragraph needs to be sandwiched between a topic sentence and aconclusion.


10) This detail tree helps students understand that the mainidea is the root of the passage. Other details in the passage branch off from the main idea. This one is also from 😉


11) This last visual shows the equation forinferences/predictions:

Background knowledge + Clues = A Good Guess





Tools and Strategies WallTools and Strategies Wall

1) R Hierarchy Visual1) R Hierarchy Visual

3) Boardmaker Definitions Visual3) Boardmaker Definitions Visual

4) WH Fishbone Graphic Organizer4) WH Fishbone Graphic Organizer

8) Definition Builder

8) Definition Builder

9) Hamburger Graphic Organizer

9) Hamburger Graphic Organizer

10) Main Idea & Details Tree

10) Main Idea & Details Tree