Jenna Rayburn is a Speech Language Pathologist (an SLP) and an intrepid traveler. You’ll find her helping kids with social skills and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), or completing evaluations, doing RtIs, completing reports and much, much more. But when you don’t find her there, you might find her soothing crocks down on The Bayou (the above picture is of Jenna in New Orleans).

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1.  You’re a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). Tell us what a typical day looks like for you.

A typical day is crazy! SLPs who work in the schools focus on the articulation, language, and fluency portion of our scope of practice (we can also do swallowing, voice, and more). I work in 3 different buildings within my school district including an elementary school, middle school, and a Catholic school. My caseload ranges from gifted students working on social skills to non-verbal students learning to use an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device on their iPad. Direct instruction usually looks like small group or one-on-one treatment for goals that I have written into a child’s IEP.

Scheduling is an SLPs Nightmare: Jenna Rayburn
Scheduling is an SLPs Nightmare

Social skills are my favorite things to target and if you walk by my speech room you’re likely to hear me playing a game like Pop Up Pirate. Don’t assume all I do is play games all day; we’re working on initiation, turn taking, impulsivity, greetings, reciprocal conversations, accepting feedback, taking perspective of others, and more! All those underlying skills that make a student able to participate successfully in a regular classroom or make a friend at lunch.

During the school day, you’ll also find me doing RtI (Response to Intervention), completing evaluations, writing reports, attending evaluation meetings, working as a member of the Intervention Assistance Team (IAT) in the building, billing Medicaid, writing IEPs, holding IEP meetings, and consulting with classroom teachers. It’s a busy job, especially when you’re in 3 buildings with multiple sets of staff and students. I love the chance to do so much small group and one-on-one work! I wouldn’t know what to do with a class of 25 at a time!

2.  Can classroom teachers use your resources? What advantages do you think SLP-created resources offer to classroom teachers?

Working With AAC Devices: Jenna Rayburn
Working With AAC Devices

Yes! While I’m hiding out with your students in the speech office, I’m working on curriculum-based items, too! Many of the goals that we work on in speech are just learning targets they never acquired while the rest of their classmates did. I’m spending time every week working on irregular plurals while you only have the chance to target them explicitly for a few weeks. That means my shop is full of goodies you can use for centers/stations, RtI groups, or intervention groups. SLPs develop their resources with the expectation that their students will need extra practice (i.e., 100 multisyllabic words instead of 10), with extra support (i.e., picture choices for reading comprehension) and visuals (i.e., posters explaining concepts included). Vocabulary development is another area SLPs spend a lot of their time dreaming up materials for! Don’t even get me started on the social skills products. I bet you have some friends in your class who could use those. Take a peek!

3.  What are some of your favorite resources that you’ve created?

  • One of my most loved products incorporates technology! Technology seems to even the playing field for many of my students. They may not be able to understand categories or follow multi-step directions, but they can use technology at or above a level of their peers. Speech Tube is a product I created to engage even the most reluctant students. I use it with elementary and middle school student to target language goals. We play a popular YouTube clip by scanning a QR code. Then we watch “Charlie Bit My Finger” or one of the other recent YouTube hits. The students complete tasks for grammar, language, vocabulary, inferencing, comprehension, articulation, and social goals all related to the video clip.

    From Paper to TpT: Jenna Rayburn
    From Paper to TpT
  • Another favorite is my Perspective Taking Packet. It uses real photos to help students work on taking another person’s perspective and develop skills to react in situations appropriately. My students are often struggling with making social inferences and these concrete examples in structured practice are working beautifully!
  • My favorite free resource is my Whack-A-Sound /S/ product. This product is a sample of an entire series and it’s perfect for phonological awareness, ESL, and articulation!

4.  Where do you find ideas for new products?

My IT Guy Working on My Website - My Brother Garrett: Jenna Rayburn
My IT Guy Working on My Website – My Brother Garrett

I have more ideas than I have time to make! I create materials based on the needs of my caseload.  While a teacher is working on one state standard for an entire class, I have individual goals for each of my students. They each have very unique needs and therefore SLPs need to create a lot of things individualized for each student. They need extra support and concepts broken down into smaller parts. That means I am usually drawing figures or visual supports all day while doing instruction. When something works for one of my students, I move that to the computer and make a digital version. The next day I will test it out again and if it’s successful I move it to my blog Speech Room News to share the idea and then to TpT to share with others who might benefit from it. I love to collaborate with other professionals to get other ideas as well.

5.  What are your favorite things to do with your free time?

Colorado with My Mom Becky and Brother Garrett: Jenna Rayburn
Colorado with My Mom Becky and Brother Garrett

I love to snuggle up with a good book! Preferably while seated on a beach, far away from snowy Ohio. If I can’t be at the beach, I love to travel out west to visit my brother in Colorado. Thank goodness for working a school schedule so I can take trips and for TpT so I can splurge on airfare! When I’m back in Columbus, I love catching happy hour with friends.

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Great stuff! We loved getting to know Jenna a bit more. Do take a gander at all of our 5 Questions posts and meet the Teacher-Authors behind the TpT stores.