Tag Archives : Educators

Communication Success Tips

Communication Success Tips

Hey everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful July so far! I am truly enjoying my summer. I try to do something productive and fun each day. That’s why I have 2 new resources to tell you about in my Building Successful Lives curriculum store.

I created Communication Success Tips (for children ages 12-36 month) so that speech-language pathologists, educators, and parents can use this guide to foster communication development in children’s everyday routines. I thought of this idea last Sunday afternoon as I was reflecting about the fact that my sweet little niece would be 18 months the next day. I couldn’t believe it! I am blessed that I am able to visit her regularly. It is such a joy to watch her as she grows and learns! As an SLP, I of course am all about those developmental milestones and thinking about all the things she can do now and what she needs to learn next.

Here’s a picture of her last Monday when she turned 18 months old!

Isn’t she adorable?! 🙂

You can access this COMPLIMENTARY digital download here.

My next resource guide in this series that I specially designed is Communication Success Tips for Colleagues.

 

My idea behind creating this was to remind SLPs and educators including myself of tips needed to build and maintain healthy relationships at work. I believe that effective communication skills are the foundation for healthy relationships. Colleagues are more productive when communication is clear and they feel valued by others.

I hope that you love this new resource guide as much as I do! You can access this COMPLIMENTARY digital download here.

Have an excellent week!

Tamara Anderson

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

Hey everyone. Today is a start of another week. For those of you that follow me on social media, you most likely saw last week’s motto: Change Your Mind, Change Your Life. One of my desires through this #buildingsuccessfullives blog and social media is to encourage others. I realize that EVERYONE can use some inspiration.  

I really do believe that if you deliberately change your perspective about life’s circumstances your life will change too! Most of the time, your outlook WILL drastically improve your day. Although your circumstances may not automatically change, you control your response. 

One of my passions is definitely building successful lives of children with special needs that I work with during the school year and equipping speech-language pathologists and educators with the tools to do the same. However, it’s much bigger than that. 

SAY WHAT? I desire for young adults to know that they too can build a successful, balanced, and fulfilled life for themselves. Yes, work is important. But what about your relationships with others, are they healthy? Do you think positively? Are you a glass half full person?

Stay tuned…more to come and remember. Change your mind, change your life! Use #inspireBSL and #inspireSLP to share your weekly inspirations on Instagram and Twitter. 

Make sure that you subscribe to this blog by entering your email on the right side of this page where it says “subscribe by email.”  That way you won’t miss an article! 

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Tamara Anderson

Honoring Lives Well Lived

Honoring Lives Well Lived

It has been one week since the senseless shooting and killing of 9 people at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AMC) church in Charleston, SC on June 17, 2015. The news was absolutely devastating to hear that someone did not value the lives of others and chose to murder them. 

Today, I make a deliberate choice to honor their lives. The 9 victims are: Susie Jackson- 87, Daniel Simmons Sr.- 74, Ethel Lance- 70, Myra Thompson- 59, Cynthia Hurd- 54, DePayne Middleton Doctor- 49, Sharonda Coleman Singleton-45, Clementa Pinckney- 41, Tywanza Sanders, 26.  

No, I didn’t know them personally, but my heart aches for their families and American society at large. I felt these feelings last Thursday when I heard the news and on Friday as well. With the passage of time, sadness gradually turns to action for me. 

Even in this scenario, when I never met any of these individuals, I desire to do something. I share their stories. I’m connected.

Therefore, I choose to honor the lives of the victims. I choose to play a part in helping to make a positive influence in telling their stories. 

One of those stories is that of Sharonda Coleman Singleton. She was a 45 year old mother of 3 children. She was an associate pastor, speech-language pathologist, track coach, sister, daughter, friend, and woman of God. 

I connect with her not only because I am saddened by the tragedy but also because I share somethings with her. I am a black woman who is also a woman of God, sister, daughter, friend, and speech-language pathologist. I’m not yet a mother, but I’m an aunt to my precious 18 month old niece and other friends’ kids in my village. 

I connect with her even more so because I learned last Thursday night that she previously worked as a speech-language pathologist in metro-Atlanta prior to moving to South Carolina in 2007. I read an online article today from People magazine that reported  how she left a voice message for a college friend 2 weeks prior to her death. In it she said, “No matter what happens, all shall be well.” She was truly of woman of great faith in God, no matter what.

Do you know what else?

I connect with her because I learned late last Thursday night that she not only worked in metro-Atlanta, but at my same school, in my same office. Her eldest child, who is now in college, attended the elementary school where I work prior to them moving to South Carolina. My co-workers remember Sharonda and her son, Christopher fondly.

When I found that out my heart sank even more, an eerie feeling came over me and I cried. It gave me the chills to know that a woman who loved working with special needs kids like I did, provided speech-language therapy in the same office I do now, and walked in the same elementary school halls, died at the hands of someone demonstrating hate.

I empathize greatly with the pain that Sharonda’s kids and loved ones feel in the aftermath of her horrific killing. 

But, guess what? Even though the occurrence of last week is still sad, I am now filled with comfort and peace knowing that Sharonda Coleman Singleton’s life was one of hard work, devotion, kindness, and service to others. For that reason, I honor her. May her legacy continue to live on so that others can be positively influenced by the life of service that she lived. May her children continue to grow into young adults with values that their mother, a fellow speech-language pathologist imparted in them. 

I also pray for comfort, strength, and peace for the other families. Myra Thompson was another servant of God, killed last Wednesday night. She devoted her life to church service and was the wife of a minister. I had dinner with her daughter a few weeks ago. Her daughter is a childhood friend of a friend of mine. I read an article from ABC news online in which her son said “What I’m going to miss most about my mom is her enthusiasm and her undeniable faith in the world to succeed.” 

I honor Myra Thompson today and pray that God wraps his arms around her family and strengths them each day. May they experience his peace.

I pray for the family of Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the pastor and U.S. Senator from South Carolina. I honor him today.

I pray for the family of Susie Jackson. I honor her today. 

I pray for the family of Daniel Simmons Sr. I honor him today.

I pray for the family of Ethel Lance. I honor her today. 

I pray for the family of Cynthia Hurd. I honor her today. 

I pray for the family of Reverend DePayne Middleton Doctor. I honor her today. 

I pray for the family of Tywanza Sanders. I honor him today. 

So, why do I write this on my speech-language pathology blog? Simple. God’s calling on my life is much bigger than serving in my role as a speech-language pathologist although I love my profession. 

I choose to be obedient to God’s instructions and direction in my life. So, I write. I tell this story. I write: Honoring Lives Well Lived. 

Tamara Anderson

Why There are Specific Times for Everything in Life

Why There are Specific Times for Everything in Life

We spend so much of our day multi-tasking or quickly moving from one task to another.  At the end of the day you either feel exhausted or accomplished when reflecting on all the tasks you completed in a day. When we are in work mode, we need to be productive and accomplish daily tasks. Trust me, I get it because I am definitely the list making queen! 

However, how often do you think about the fact that there are specific times for everything in life? You may have heard people say that there are different seasons in life. Regardless of the season, I know that we all need to achieve a WORK LIFE BALANCE! Ahhhh…It’s so refreshing just saying that. I am truly all about that. 

After eating my breakfast on the patio and completing my morning devotional today, I enjoyed laying back in my favorite chair. I looked around and could feel the peace of God surround me as I listened to the birds chirping and admired all the tropical plants in my midst. No, really I did! 🙂 I then ventured outside the patio area as I noticed my mother’s plant was now in full bloom. 

I looked at my watch and it was about 10:30 am. My thoughts quickly reminded me that my mother calls this plant 10 o’clock. That’s usually when its in full bloom and then the flower goes to “sleep” and closes it’s beauty by 4:00 pm. 

This flowering plant, scientifically known as Portulaca grandiflora, has a specific time to bloom each day and it opens its beauty for about 6 hours each day. You have to WAIT until the next day to catch another look at the natural beauty. 

LIFE’S REMINDER FROM NATURE

It reminds me of life because there is a specific time for so many things. We do not have to do it ALL in one day, one week, one month or even one year. There are five main reasons why I believe there are specific times for everything in life. 

1) God’s timing is perfect. Don’t rush God’s process.

2) You need time to rest. Master the art of relaxation.

3) You need time for relationships. Nurture friendships, family time,      and your marriage. 

4) You need time to work. Commit yourself to a life of service. 

5) You need time for fun. Do what you love. Go where you love.

Likewise, everyone has their own journey and purpose in life. Don’t compare what you have or do not have in life to others. Instead express GRATITUDE daily! Happiness is a deliberate choice and it’s contagious too!

If you feel like there is always so much to do in one day, just BREATHE! Remember, there are specific times for everything in life. You don’t have to do it ALL in one day contrary to what society, your boss, or even spouse may think. 

Instead, remember the 5 main reasons why there are specific times in life and you will be AMAZED at how fulfilled and productive you can be! 

Thanks for reading the blog today. Have a beautiful day! 🙂 

Tamara Anderson

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Building Successful Lives™- End of School Year Recap

Building Successful Lives™- End of School Year Recap

I’m now in my 2nd week of summer break from work as a school based speech-language pathologist in the metro Atlanta area. It was a great and busy school year!  

I am enjoying my time in Florida since the memorial day weekend. It is always so refreshing to spend time in my beautiful sunshine and home state of Florida. Here’s a picture of me at a new spot my family and I discovered named Ponce Inlet that is located a little south of Ormond Beach. 

As I reflect on the past school year, I am so grateful that I got to contribute to building successful lives in my students every day. It truly is rewarding to see their growth that is evident when I observe their communication skills and review my DATA! I think I am certainly the queen of progress monitoring as I have a form for just about everything I need! You can check some of those out here.

Each year, I look forward to attending 5th grade graduation for my students and this year was no different.  I wrote personalized letters for each child that recognized the gains they made in speech-language therapy and encouraged them to continue to succeed in MIDDLE school. I loved handing them out after the ceremony and snapping photos.  I felt like such a proud MAMA not just their SLP! Ha! I still can’t believe some of my kiddos are moving on from elementary.  I have worked with some of them for the past four years. 

When I chatted with parents, they shared their appreciation for me working with their child over the years. I know that I made a difference in enriching their child’s life from the conversations we had and their desire to snap keepsake photos! It makes me smile just thinking about it. 🙂

This year, I not only provided direct speech-language therapy for children with communication disorders, learning disabilities, Autism, intellectual disabilities, and behavioral challenges but also provided consultative/direct services to children in the Response to Intervention process. 

I enjoyed seeing the progress students made receiving listening comprehension and oral language interventions. I also liked collecting background information like a sleuth to determine whether kids needed a referral for special education evaluation, then assessing them and analyzing evaluation results to determine whether they would qualify for a speech-language impairment eligibility and subsequent therapy services. I had several tricky cases this year including determining whether there was a language difference due to English Language Learner needs or a true language disorder. 

I also served on the SLP leadership team for my district, facilitated local team meetings, and supervised 2 new hires for their Georgia state license. It was a great opportunity to contribute to the professional growth of these young women. 

When it was all said and done, it was a rewarding school year. The smiles of my students, the hugs,  and the multiple “I’ll miss you this summer” confirm that I was certainly building successful lives one day at a time this school year. 

I am glad for the summer break from my school SLP role, yet I am excited for all that is in store for Building Successful Lives Speech & Language Services. Stay connected by subscribing to the blog by email so that you receive blog articles directly into your email account. Have a great rest of the school year for those still at work this month. Keep up the great work for those working in pediatric private practice or early intervention as well! You can do it! 🙂

Tamara Anderson

Seven Keys for a Successful School Year {SLPs and Teachers}

Seven Keys for a Successful School Year {SLPs and Teachers}

*Stay Calm and Teach On!*
1.      
Build relationships with students, parents,
and staff.
2.      
Keep focused on the academic & social
successes of your students.
3.      
Communicate kindly with colleagues.
4.      
Keep calm and learn to juggle!
5.      
Coffee is your friend!
6.      
Flexibility is key.
7.    
It is okay to laugh out loud!

SLP Resources for Back to School

SLP Resources for Back to School

Many students will return to school this week in the Atlanta area and other school districts will begin the new school year soon. This is a great time to gather new speech language therapy resources for students on your caseload with communication disorders. 

Thanks to Jenna at Speech Room News for hosting a “linky party” for SLPs to share their instructional recommendations for items in the Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) online marketplace. 
From my TPT store, I recommend my back to school theme products that target vocabulary and grammar skills. They may be used as a pre-assessment to collect baseline or beginning of the year data. They may also be used during guided instruction after a SLP or teacher mini-lesson about synonyms, antonyms, irregular plural nouns, irregular past tense verbs, homophones, and homographs.
You may purchase these here:  
I learned about a new resource to gather pre-assessment data and monitor my students’ progress throughout the year. I plan on purchasing:
Natalie Synder’s Language Progress Monitoring Tool (Upper Level) for Speech Language Therapy. This will be a great supplement to my baseball themed vocabulary and grammar data collection tools that are also available in my TPT store. 
These resources will also be great:
Kristine Nannini’s Beginning of the Year Team Building Activities. This will allow my students an opportunity to get to know each other while practicing their language skills. 
Tech N Talk SLP’s On the Mark Quick Check- Idioms & Figurative Language.  This will allow me to assess my 5th grade language therapy students’ knowledge and retention of skills taught last year. 
Nicole Allison’s No Print Bundle Pack . I can download this on my I PAD and save in I Books to address my students’ receptive, expressive, and social language learning objectives. 
That’s what I will be adding to my SLP tool kit this year! TPT will have a 10 % off sale Monday, 8/4th and Tuesday 8/5th. I have marked my products down an additional 10 %, so you will receive a 20 % discount when you shop in my store. 

Have a great week! 

Tamara Anderson

On a Mission {Build Successful Lives}

On a Mission {Build Successful Lives}

Hey there! I just got back to Atlanta yesterday from an awesome weekend trip to Dallas, Texas! It was my first time visiting the state and was impressed with the beauty and diversity of the area. The people were quite friendly as well.  This was a great way to finish my summer break as I return to work full time tomorrow! 

—­­­­——–Please pause for a moment of silence————

Here is a picture of me in Uptown aka West Village. 

By the way the pizza at Union Bear is delicious! Everyone in Dallas loves this place. 

Here is a picture of my friend and I visiting the African American History Museum. 

This is a must see and has great history about the community of North Dallas.  

Today I plan on getting some last minute rest and go walking with a friend later so that I will feel revitalized for the 2014-2015 school year! Woah….I can’t believe it! 

While in Dallas yesterday, I visited my friend’s church and the pastor was talking about being on a mission daily to serve others in our community. I was sitting there thinking….hello…that is my personal and professional mantra!! In my life, my relationship with Jesus Christ/Yeshua is of # 1 importance, followed by my family, friends, career, etc. I truly believe that my belief in my savior, my guide, Jesus Christ/Yeshua enables me to do all that I do and provides me with my next steps. So to hear the pastor talk about that yesterday in church was another confirmation that God/Yahweh is amazing and personal! 

I encourage all of you to join BSL Speech & Language’s mission and build successful lives through service to others! I am committed to improving the communication and lives of children with special needs. Go on a mission in your community this year!!
Love, 
Tamara Anderson

Dallas Skyline

Driven by Innovation

Driven by Innovation

On Sunday, I went to one of my favorite places in Atlanta, The High Museum. In fact, I love it so much I have an annual membership that I purchased for a steal back in September! The museum’s latest major exhibition is Dream Cars that features unique and imaginative cars that were designed in the 1930s through the present by Ferrari, Buggatti, General Motors, and Porsche. These automakers designed cars that changed the industry by challenging what was possible both technologically and stylistically. 

Here are a few photos from my visit. 

This made me think about the field of speech-language pathology and education. What are these industries doing to challenge the notion of what is possible for students’ communication and academic successes? What are speech-language pathologists and educators doing to modify how they assess students and implement therapy sessions and instruction? In recent years, I think SLPs and educators have done and continue to do a TREMENDOUS amount of preparation to select evidence based materials, evaluate what children already know, teach, and evaluate again to see what children learned. 

Common Core Standards and differentiated instruction are terms that I hear frequently while working as a school based speech-language pathologist. There are many people on both the pros and cons side of the Common Core Standards discussion and I’ll spare you the debate here. However, I like the accountability piece that the common core standards creates for school districts that use these standards to guide instruction. 

In the same manner, I believe that differentiated instruction, in which a teacher modifies how they teach, what they teach, and how they assess children is an essential shift in the style from traditional teaching. I also think that it should be best practice for all educators to implement curriculum design based on Grant Wiggins’ notion of creating a solid assessment before instructing students so that you know clearly what and how you expect them to demonstrate mastery of specific learning standards. 

As far as technology goes, there has been a significant increase in the amount of technology that SLPs and educators use to select lessons that drive children’s learning while implementing new techniques that assist in delivering results. The use of interactive SMART boards, IPads, Mimio Boards, and computer based therapeutic/educational program are engaging for children and contribute to learning when implemented effectively.  Additionally, teachers and SLPs are able to collaborate with other professionals not only at their school, but also nationwide and globally through the use of online blogs, discussion boards, Twitter, Pinterest, and other forms of social media. Children and adolescents in today’s society are very technologically savvy and I have observed that they love creative and innovative lessons rather than the same old therapy and education styles from even 5 to 10 years ago. 

What are ways that you implement creativity and innovation in your speech language therapy sessions or classroom? I’d love to hear! 

Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Education Specialist
Writer

It Takes A Village!

It Takes A Village!

When I woke up this morning, I was so excited thinking about all that I wanted to share with you all today. There were so many things that flooded my mind. Do you know what stuck out the most? I kept saying it over and over. Do you know what it is? I am sure you guessed it by now. It Takes A Village! 

It really does especially when working with children, adolescents, and often adults with special needs. This is why I work primarily as a school based speech language pathologist so that I may have the pleasure of making an influence in the lives of children with communication and learning challenges. Developing effective communication skills is the foundation of a child’s learning and social interactions with  his or her family, friends, teachers, and people in the community. Many children naturally learn to communicate, but children with developmental delays and neurological impairments need direct intervention services from a speech language pathologist to gain these skills. 

The village is a community that builds successful lives. For  a child with special needs, it includes the child, parents, speech-language pathologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, pediatrician, psychologist, teacher, administrator, friends, family, and other community workers that interact with each other for a shared purpose of positively influencing the life of a child. 

I am glad that you are taking the time to read this blog today and I challenge you to join this community. Stay connected with this blog and you will receive valuable information about assisting children with communication disorders, learning disabilities, and students without learning challenges. Even if you don’t work directly with children, you most likely will read something that will be beneficial in caring for your own children or that you can share with a family member or friend. Remember, It Takes a Village! 

You don’t want to miss this opportunity to learn about educational/therapy resources for children and take part in something BIG! It Takes a Village to positively influence the life of a child starting with the day he or she is born and continuing as he or she begins elementary school, graduates from high school, decides on a college/career path, and enters the work force. 

Thanks for visiting today. See you next time. Stay connected! Just click on the social media circular buttons at the top of the blog or the links below.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BSLSpeechLanguage?ref=bookmarks
Bloglovin’:http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/6673025
Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=18301838&trk=spm_pic
Pinterest:http://www.pinterest.com/unctams/
TPT: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Tamara-Anderson
Email:  Subscribe by entering your email at the top right of the blog and receive new blog posts automatically. 

Have a wonderful day! 


Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Education Specialist
Writer