When it comes to speech therapy planning, you probably fall into one of two camps. One, you are spending hours coming up with therapy ideas and trying to keep up with meticulous planning each week. Two, you’re like, “what planning?” and just wing it each day.
Well, friend, there is actually a middle ground. What if I told you that you could have your entire year planned out ahead of time? How amazing would that feel?
You’re probably thinking, “No way, Lauren. That would be so overwhelming and things change ALL the time.” I promise it’s not that bad.
We’re not planning every minute of every day. BUT if you get a general idea of what your speech therapy planning will look like for the year, it makes it much easier to grab things and go.
Ready to learn my simple system? Let’s do this.
Grab a good planner or calendar
It can be digital or printable, fancy or minimal. Just make sure you have a planner with a good calendar or weekly planning sheets.
I personally love using my SLP printable planner, then transferring a lot of it to Google calendar.
Outline your year
Start with what you know. Write down anything you know in advance on your calendar. Here are a few things I start with:
- School events – important days for school, vacations, testing, parent conferences, etc.
- Paperwork – IEP due dates (and dates to open the IEPs), progress report due dates, Medicaid billing dates, etc.
- Data collection – Do you have specific times when you progress monitor? I take some data every session, but I set aside specific times a year where I focus on data: beginning of year baselines, progress report times, and end of year data.
- Personal goals – Track any CEUs, professional development, or professional growth. Set goals for yourself this year and add them to your calendar.
Plan your therapy
Ok, so it’s pretty easy getting all the things we know down on the calendar. But what about our actual therapy plans?
I got you, boo. The simplest way to get a handle on what the heck we’ll do this year is to use themes. Themes are so helpful in planning because they give us a general framework of ideas we can pull from.
Plan by the month, then by the week. Maybe you want to do one theme for 3 weeks. Maybe you want to do 2 themes in one week. The choice is yours. Just having that general idea of what you’ll do each week takes a huge weight off.
Go through each week of your school year and jot down what theme you’ll be doing for that week on your calendar.
Think about what books or resources you’ll use for each theme and start jotting down ideas. You don’t have to have your entire unit planned for each theme at the beginning of the year.
But if you take the time to list a few resources or ideas for each theme, you won’t be starting from scratch when that week rolls around. For more ideas on planning themed units, check out this post.
Pinterest is another great place to find themed ideas for speech therapy planning. Follow me for some fun seasonal ideas.
- Use resources you already have. When you are planning your themes, think about what you have already. What themes can you make out of those resources? For example, do you have tons of plastic animals and books with animal characters? Make an animal theme.
- It’s ok to change plans. Just because we’re planning for the year doesn’t mean we are tied to those plans. If you want to make one theme last for 2 weeks, go for it. If you want to add Martin Luther King activities to your winter week, do it. So, don’t stress and agonize over your plans.
- Set reminders in your phone now. While you’re putting things in your calendar, go ahead and set those reminders in your phone. You can even set alerts for things like:
- Taking a trip to the library to grab books for a theme
- Seasonal activities or bulletin boards you want to try
- Push-in topics or ideas
Grab a free checklist!
Need a little more structure and guidance to your planning? Download my FREE Editable Yearly Planning Checklist. You’ll even get a glimpse of my plans for this year to get your idea juices flowing! Hit the button below for your copy. 🙂