Sunday, September 18, 2016

From Those to Whom Much has Been Given

My Teachers Pay Teachers Store is sort of a snoozer, in large part because it is my red-headed stepchild. Doyle Speech Works, the store has 52 products, some of them lovely little gems, but they are not big sellers. I am not a big materials creator nor am I a stellar marketer. I create things I think my students will enjoy and if the mood hits me, dot my copyright I's and cross my copyright T's and upload them. I don't earn a substantial income from my halfhearted endeavors. I marvel at those who have made Teachers Pay Teachers a successful business, however I choose to spend my time doing other things. This spring I reevaluated my commitment to TpT and decided to un-clutter my life and eliminate thoughts, things and activities that add an element of stress, so I stopped creating altogether.

Fast forward to the weekend of September 10, 2016, when Mother Teresa was canonized. Here is a woman, who amid swirling controversy and negative publicity, devoted herself to helping others. Here is a woman who despite experiencing what is called the "dark night of the soul," (a feeling of spiritual emptiness) still sought God. I am humbled by her selflessness and the selflessness of countless others who give of their time, treasure, and talent.

I used to be one of those people. When my children were younger, I spent a considerable amount of time and energy in volunteerism. I taught faith formation, helped raise money for and build a playground, began a women's retreat (now going on its 16th year), raised money for Bibles for middle school students, and did walks and runs for everything pushing my little ones in a double stroller as I did them.  As my children got older they volunteered on their own and I did less. My volunteerism of late has been paltry. I donate money to causes, but I DO very little.

As I reflected on the life of this diminutive nun with a Texas-sized heart, this verse from Luke echoed in my mind: "From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required" (12:48). That means me. I have so much to be grateful for, so much. I need to dig back into my heart and find that altruistic nature I once nurtured.

To begin, I have decided to donate any monies earned in my Teachers Pay Teachers store through December 31, 2016. If I don't earn much I will supplement the amount, so as to provide a donation that is helpful. My goal is to help 3 different charities, one per month. I have selected the Captain Douglas DiCenzo Camp Fund, the Jim Kelly Memorial Fund for the PRHS Music and Theater Department, and CADY. The Camp Fund provides children, who would otherwise be unable to attend, an opportunity to go to summer camp. Jim Kelly is a recent graduate of our high school and a dear friend to my children and many others. Sadly, Jim is no longer with us, but his music and theater legacy will live on with this memorial fund and I will do what ever I can to sustain it. CADY is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting alcohol and drug-free youth in our community and beyond.

I have to spend more time discerning where to give my time and talent. I have some thoughts and will fill you in when I have made a decision. I would like to enlist my husband to work with me as we move forward in our lives. It will be nice to work together.

You never know this might motivate me to create more materials! Meanwhile, take a gander at my store. If there is something that piques your interest, buy it! I hope it makes you happy to know all proceeds will go to to those who need it. Praise God, I don't!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Progress Monitoring-Baselines and Beyond: A Frenzied SLP Linky

Labor Day brings the unofficial close to the summer season and with it an end to the lazy, hazy days of relaxation. Don't dismay, though, because with the return to schedules and school come the Frenzied SLP posts chock full of ideas, materials, and suggestions for the busy SLP. Thank you Sparklle SLP, Lisette Edgar, and Kelly Woodford-Hungaski for coordinating our first frenzied linky!

To start things off, we thought we would share how we do progress monitoring, establishing baselines and more. I understand there are a plethora of products available for progress monitoring, however, I have streamlined my process. I purchased MANY products for monitoring progress and what I found was that, while, they were fantastic products, they weren't aligned with the goals I had established for my students. I created a couple of my own progress monitoring tools, but still, I didn't feel I was capturing the information I needed (You can access my elementary and middle school progress monitoring tools for free). Additionally, trying to find the extra time to administer the progress monitoring tool added needless stress to an already stressful day.

I take detailed data for every session. I write an anecdotal and document percentage accuracy for every objective. What I realized was my documentation was, in fact, all I needed for progress monitoring that specifically targets my students goals and objectives. When it is time for an annual review or progress reports I collate all the data for a specific time span and find the median percentage accuracy.  Using the median rather than mean eliminates the outliers. I also have a baseline if I need to continue addressing a certain area. This streamlined approach has saved me considerable time and, I believe, paints the most accurate picture of a student's progress as it relates to their individual goals.

Sample data collection sheet
You can access my data collection sheet here. Everyone does things differently, however, I have found that keeping accurate and current data is the best method for me to assess progress without having to pull out an additional tool or schedule time for dedicated progress monitoring. 

How do you monitor progress? The Frenzied SLPs are eager to hear your thoughts and/or check out your methods. Link up with us!!