Organizing Website Links to Teletherapy Activities for Easy Planning and Prep
Unfortunately for me, there wasn't a single question about SLP organization when I took the Praxis in Speech-Language Pathology. But in my first speech therapy job (a pediatric clinic), I still found pride in my color-coded files and labeled bins. Then I became a part of the teletherapy world, and bid farewell to these (and other) systems that previously kept me organized.
It took me some time to find my Type A self as teletherapist but eventually, I discovered ways to get and stay organized. This included...
Setting up my teletherapy home office to be functional and comfortable
Finding a process for making lesson plans and taking data throughout speech therapy sessions
Creating routines for IEP case management (I was new to case management in general, so this was one of my bigger learning curves!)
Organizing digital files (PDFs, PowerPoints, etc.) in a way I could easily find them
All this was great, but one pain point took a bit more time to conquer...
All. The. LINKS!
Going from a paper-based medical record system at at the clinic to a school-based teletherapy position was a bit of a shock to the system in more ways than one. Among other things, learning to navigate all the websites I used on a daily basis had my head spinning.
It took some trial and error (and more time than I care to admit), but I finally learned how to save loads of time (and clicks) by organizing links to sites like IEP systems, frequently used Google Drive files, session notes, and Medicaid billing. And nothing compared to the bazillion links to therapy activities that I used via screen-share.
Using Bookmarks to Organize Teletherapy Website Links
Initially, when it came to saving links that I wanted to use again, I was a one-trick pony. I used browser bookmarks to save frequently-used links... and I still do!
Creating bookmarks (in the Chrome browser) for all systems and therapy materials I use is obviously a teletherapist game-changer and time-saver. Quick links to sites like ABCya, ToyTheater, and PBS Kids are essential for quick transitions in therapy.
Sorting activity links into folders really took things to the next level! For example, I have a folder with links to sites that I use for online books, such as Epic and ReadWorks.
A few tips for using browser bookmarks:
Learn how to hide and unhide your bookmarks... quickly! This comes in handy for ensuring students aren't distracted by them.
When creating a bookmark, re-name it to make sense for you. If it has a recognizable favicon (a fancy name for the logo or symbol that appears in the bookmark), you may choose to not use any actual text, since you can just click on the icon.
Use subfolders to further categorize your bookmarks, just like you'd do with computer files.
As I got more teletherapy years under my belt and discovered so many new website activities, the bookmark system got a little out of control. I didn't want to have to pare it down, since I never knew when I'd need one of the websites and I didn't want to lose a single link. That's when I added another system to the mix...
Using Spreadsheets to Organize Teletherapy Website Links
Nothing says "on top of it" like a spreadsheet, am I right? As I developed a love for themed therapy, my collection of links grew exponentially. I needed a more systematic view of all my activity options– something to easily store links to multiple activities on sites like PBSKids.com, for example.
I found that a Google Sheet helps me organize links to very specific activities. As a spreadsheet, I can keep activities for the same theme in sequential rows. I can also use columns to organize those activities by type (videos, games, articles, etc.).
If you'd like, grab your own copies of my link organizers for Google Sheets and edit them to be exactly what you want. Here's a video that shows exactly what they look like!
Of course, you can also create spreadsheets in other programs such as Excel, AirTable, and Numbers. Similarly, many teletherapists use Google Docs to organize their links by theme (or student or goal) in a word processor/page format.
Using a Virtual Speech Therapy Room to Organize Activity Links
In my opinion, this organization system is definitely the most cute and fun... and it's designed for students as much as the SLP! A virtual classroom is a digital representation of your speech therapy room, including the activities that you'll be using in sessions!
Using a presentation program (like Google Slides or PowerPoint), you create clickable links that take you directly to any web-based activities you want! You can change up those links whenever you want to, but consider duplicating the room first so you can use it again next year.
Using Folders to Organize Boom Card Decks
If you're like me, Boom Cards are your most-used teletherapy activities. Since these decks are hosted on the Boom Learning website, each deck in your library has its own unique URL.
As mentioned in the video above, you can add clickable links (to your created or purchased decks) to a spreadsheet or other lesson-planning document for quick access before or during a session. As long as you're signed in to your own account when you click on it, you'll go directly to the deck.
If you happen to have hundreds of decks in your library (guilty 🙋♀️), consider utilizing folders within your Boom Library to find decks quickly. Within each folder, you can search for a deck by name, sort the decks, or filter the contents by various categories.
Using Desktop Shortcuts to Organize Website Links
This last one is... organization GOALS. It was recently shared with me by Leah Dalbey, a fellow teletherapist on Instagram. Get this– You can create shortcuts to specific websites and house them in your File Explorer (where you keep your other files) 🤯
This teletherapy planning hack really speaks to me because it allows you to keep all your website links and files (PDFs, PowerPoints, etc.) in one pretty little desktop folder. This way, you can house all your activities together for a particular theme (I love a good theme in teletherapy) or goal.
Here, watch how I create website shortcuts in Chrome and move them to my file explorer. So
Has all this techy talk made you rethink links for teletherapy? Spending a little time upfront (or here and there when you have a chance) will be well worth your while in the long run. Creating a system that works for you will pay off by decreasing planning and prep time every day from here on out!
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