It’s no secret that the school-based SLP is busy. SO busy. As a new grad, the school setting can be overwhelming and getting organized is step one to help make even the most hectic days go smoothly. It’s not always easy getting organized — so take a deep breath and check out my top three essentials for getting and staying organized.
Invest in a good planner
Whether you prefer a paper planner or keep everything digital, find something that works for you and use it! My planner is my lifeline: it’s how I keep track of due dates, IEP meetings, and even therapy plans. I prefer a paper planner with monthly and weekly views. I use the monthly view for a quick look (i.e., meetings), then break everything down by week. At the beginning of each month, I write down my IEP meeting dates and when the paperwork needs to go home, usually 5 days prior. In addition, I keep a running list of assessments.
I also use my planner to help with therapy planning (a topic I could talk about for days). I use themes in therapy so I take a little time at the beginning of each month to choose my themes. I write down the theme for each week so I can quickly gather my materials, which leads me to my next tip.
Organize your school-based SLP materials by theme
Organizing your materials by theme and/or skill makes them easy to access when you need them. Filing cabinets, milk crates, or clear storage bins all work great. I use hanging folders and lots of large Ziploc bags to separate my thematic materials by book companions, Teachers Pay Teachers materials, and sensory bins. It will take some time to build up your materials, but having a good storage system from the start makes it much easier from year to year to find what you need, when you need it.
Create binders with cute covers, of course
Binders are great for all the things you need on a daily basis. Since you’ll be looking at them every day, why not make them look nice with cute binder covers? Having everything in one place, makes it easier to grab those forms quickly for parents, teachers, and yourself. I keep binders for my data and attendance, visuals, parent and teacher resources, assessments, and specific skills (e.g., articulation worksheets).
Maybe you don’t have a lot of space or you’re all about saving the planet and eliminating paper waste. You can still keep all of this organized digitally: create folders on your computer for each “binder” so you’re not hunting for that “thing you know you have.”
Getting organized is crucial to helping reduce stress, increase productivity, and meet deadlines. There will be days where you can’t find your desk through the piles of papers and materials strewn across it, but if you’ve got an organization system in place, you’ll get the job done!
What organizational tips and tricks work for you? Comment below and share; everyone can use a little help getting organized.