Back to School Baseline Data

Hey everyone. I know that many school based speech-language pathologists have already returned to work and many will start back soon. Tomorrow will be the beginning of my 4th week back at work and 3rd week for students. After the initial excitement and sleepiness of going back to school and work has worn of, speech-language pathologists need to make sure that they take baseline data on their students’ IEP objectives. For many kids there will be some variability in their scores from the end of the school year to their beginning of the school year data. However, with a quick re-teaching of the skill they are back to where they were previously. 

Some of you may be thinking, so what really is baseline data? This is the data, percentages, or measurable information that you collect to informally assess specific skills outlined in a child’s IEP objectives. ASHA’s Evidence Based Practice Glossary states that baseline is “a benchmark, measurement, or calculation used as a basis for comparison.” 

Many SLPs consider the first data point gathered on a skill an accurate measure for baseline while I have heard others say that they consider 3 data points as baseline data. I have created several quick informal assessment and/or progress monitoring tools that will make it easy for you to gather this data. Just click here to access these digital downloads to help simplify your SLP life.  

I have assessment tools for oral story retell, basic concepts, vocabulary (Tier I semantic processing- object function, similarities, differences, etc), associations, wh questions, irregular plurals, irregular past tense verbs, speech fluency, speech intelligibility, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meaning words, and English/Language Arts Tier III curriculum vocabulary.  I have personally used these tools frequently in my speech language sessions with students on my caseload. 

I suggest making several copies of the forms that you need to record baseline data and keep them in a binder. I typically select the forms that I need for each student and place them in my daily student therapy files. Using informal assessments/progress monitoring forms have truly improved my ability to quantify the skills of my speech-language students. This also helps as I record progress check data throughout the school year.  

I hope you have a great school year! Make sure you subscribe to 
my blog: Building Successful Lives by entering your email in the right hand column above. This way you will get my blog articles sent directly to your inbox. I look forward to you reading what I have to share 🙂

Tamara Anderson

August Children’s Literature Reviews

I love using children’s books in my speech-language therapy sessions with my students. I enjoy reading aloud to my students and popping in that oh so lovely CD to play an audio book for different group sessions. Either way it is a win win situation because students are typically engaged in the story and there are so many speech language objectives that can be addressed. 

Last week, I used the audio CD that read aloud the book, Teacher’s Pets, by Dayle Ann Dodds. I was lucky to have multiple copies of the book so that my students could follow along with the read aloud. The audio teaches them to listen for a chime to turn the page. 

This is a delightful book about Miss Fry and her elementary school aged students. In their class, each Monday is sharing day. One Monday, Winston has the creative suggestion for his classmates to share their pets. Your students will love turning the pages to find out the pet each character in the book brings to school. This is a great way to discuss sequencing of story events.

The first Monday, Winston brought in his pet rooster. The next Monday, Patrick brought his pet tarantula. Then the class got to see Roger’s cricket, Alia’s goat, Amanda’s dog, Jerry’s snake, Megan’s cat, Mitchell’s mice, and so on. 

Last week I used this book with my speech-language students with co-occurring autism, moderate intellectual disability, and learning disabilities. They all smiled as they listened and eagerly turned the page with each chime! After listening to the story, they verbally answered literal “wh” questions about the characters, setting, and events in the story. One of my students in my intellectually disability group  especially struggles with initiating oral expression. For her, I wrote out the questions and showed her a visual choice of 3-4 answer choices. After that, she did a fair job with indicating her responses with visual prompts from the story as needed. 

The previous week, I read aloud, Charlies Goes to School, by Ree Drummond. 

I love this story because the pictures are so vibrant as well as realistic and it is told from the perspective of Charlie, the ranch dog as he explores the ranch for the day. This is a great time to remind students about the meaning of the word fiction as the main character engages in activities that dogs don’t do in real life, such as teach school to animal friends.  Charlie invites the reader to explore what life on the ranch is for his human and animal family. 

He introduces us to the other characters: daddy, cowboy Josh, mama, the kids, Suzie the dog, Kitty Kitty, ranch horses, cows, and Walter the dog. He tells us that his human family goes to school at home and gets inspired to teach his animal family reading, math, and history. Well you can just imagine how well turns out for the animals! They have difficulty focusing, want to play, and Walter the dog even falls asleep.  

Since I read Charlie goes to School aloud to my students, I modeled “think alouds” along the way by making additional comments and asking questions to check for story comprehension. 

I definitely recommend these awesome books for use during speech-language therapy lessons or reading class. 

I also recommend a rubric to measure students’ abilities to orally retell fiction stories. The SLP or teacher records a score of 5 to 0 in each performance element category: characters, setting, problem or rising action, solution or falling action/conclusion. To calculate a score, just add up the points in each category. To calculate a story retelling percentage of accuracy divide the score by 20, that is the total possible points. I recommend audio recording your student’s story retell for easier scoring using the rubric. 

This product was revised last week and it is available in my TPT store here:

Thanks for visiting the blog today! 🙂

Tamara Anderson

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

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