Are you up for a challenge?

This post is brought to you by the word:

calisthenics [kal-uh s-then-iks] /ˌkæl əsˈθɛn ɪks/

1. (used with a plural verb) gymnastic exercises designed to develop physical health and vigor, usually performed with little or no special apparatus.
2. (used with a singular verb) the art, practice, or a session of such exercises.

So, tonight Jeremy asks :

fitness challenge

If you know me at all, you know I jumped right in and said yes! But then I was left wondering what to do. Mary helped hash it out with input from Jeremy and Caleb and we came up with phase 1 (so far) of our fitness challenge. I’ve done #plankaday (thanks so much – you guys rock) and I’ve done half of the 2011 pushup challenge (you ladies also rock) but this time we’re combining some stuff to make it more whole body-ish. Also, we’re looking to be leaner by ASHA in November 2013, so it’s called #ASHAFit13.

Here’s the deal

New Year’s Day is DAY 1 – do a 10 second plank. Then add 2 seconds to your plank every other day (odd days). How to do a plank. Can’t hold the plank for 10 full seconds? That’s OK, do 10 seconds however you have to with brief rests – you’ll work up to blending them in no time.

January 2 is DAY 2 – do 2 pushups (whatever kind you prefer). Then add 2 pushups every other day (even days). How to do a basic pushup. On knees (“girl pushup”) is optional and perfectly acceptable!

By April 21, 2013 you’ll be able to do a 2 minute plank and 100 pushups – go you!!  Then we maintain those (I honestly believe that 100 pushups and a 2 minute plank every 2 days is more than enough) and add lunges to the plank day and start to build those. But that will be phase 2 – we’ll work out those details later. One step at a time, right?

mfpWanna join us?

We’ve set up a (private) group called #ASHAFit13 on (love love love this site/app by the way) and you can check in daily there and/or on Twitter to report that you’ve done your plank or pushups. Additionally, if you don’t want to see food tracking and such, is a great way to log workouts and keep track of your numbers. I can’t set up a group there but feel free to track your planks/pushups/etc on and post that you’ve completed your workout to twitter (using #ASHAFit13 tag in your tweet) or on Facebook. That should cover everyone who wants to track or participate they way they prefer 🙂

We’ll keep you posted on how long or how many you should be at. Also, to keep it from getting boring, we’ll give you suggestions for ways to change up your pushups/planks/lunges.  If you need to slow down, no problem. If you’re reading this for the first time on March 1st and you join late, no problem. Just do what you can do, build on it incrementally, and see where it takes you. You can leave a comment here with your handle or tweet me, @mtmaryslp, @cmniece, or @azspeechguy with your handle and we’ll add you to the group.

So, are you ready to get healthier and feel good? Let’s do this!!


Exciting News I want to share

This post is brought to you by the word:

enterprise [en-ter-prahyz] /ˈɛn tərˌpraɪz/


1. a project undertaken or to be undertaken, especially one that is important or difficult or that requires boldness or energy.
2. a plan for such a project.

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who nominated me (@mtmaryslp, @atklingensmith@SLP_Echo, and @deantrout) and also who voted for me in the 2012 Edublog Awards – I cannot believe that I came in 3rd for Most Influential Post; it’s mind blowing. I was also very proud of so many of my #slpeeps friends who placed or won their categories in the Awards this year. SLPs made such a strong showing that the Edublog Awards team mentioned them and it was suggested that there be an SLP category next year.


I think this only proves how strong the community is that they rallied together and voted en masse, with no small thanks to people like @speechtechie for writing summarizing blog posts to help us know who in our community was shortlisted.

While placing top five in my category for the Edublog Awards is nice, that’s not really the exciting news I wanted to share.

You may have read Aubrey Klingensmith’s post about joining the team at Yapp Guru, a website launching in January 2012 that will help therapists and educators find the apps they need and also see what others like them have to say about it.

When Mai Ling Chan first told me about her vision for the website, I was thrilled for her to get it up and running ASAP because there is such a need for it. I was impressed by her ideas and passion, as well as her thoughts on making it a part of the community since I’m all for anything that contributes to and helps build the SLP community, both on and offline.

Uniting expert blogs and app reviews for language, learning and living

The weekend that Aubrey posted to her blog and revealed that she would be a partner in the venture as Director of Website Content Development, Mai Ling approached me to also participate in this venture with them (and others). I was blown away by the request! I took a full week to think about it and be sure it would be right for me, my family, and the company.

Given my passion for social media and my addiction to love of technology, and after a lot of careful reflection and consideration, I’m VERY excited to announce that I am now Director of Social Media and Branding for Yapp Guru!

You may or may not have noticed that when @YappGuru tweets (you follow us, right??) there is now usually ^M or ^T at the end of the tweet; I’m the T!  I’ll also be the primary person for all of the social media presence for Yapp Guru.

I’m really excited for what this website/company will be able to do for people using apps to help others! Even before I joined the team  (or knew I would be invited to join) I knew Yapp Guru was going to be one to watch – you should watch/participate too! We’re on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest so far and sharing content primarily on apps for rehab and learning. Please connect with me there!

An outpouring of support

As many of you know, and maybe some of you don’t, Maggie McGary has been the Online Community & Social Media Manager at ASHA since May 2008.  She is behind the @ASHAWeb and @ASHAConv handles and has been in charge of more or less their entire online presence (ASHASphere, LinkedIn groups, other member groups on the site, etc.) and has done a great job of keeping members and non-members abreast of all info SLP and AUD related in the online community.

Maggie is leaving ASHA to take on a new role with the FDA. It’s a tremendous opportunity for her and we’re all sad to see her go but want to wish her well in her next position.

Our community has become fantastic at supporting and showing our love and appreciation for each other. We’ve done it many times in the past. Let’s do a ‘sneak attack’ of appreciation and goodbye’s for Maggie before she leaves ASHA. Her last day is December 14th, but let’s start the outpouring December 5th.

If you would like to donate to a group farewell gift for Maggie, please email Heidi ( Heidi will be signing the card for the gift “Best Wishes and Love from the SLPeeps” followed by the names of the people who contribute – so if you aren’t on Twitter, you can still contribute and be acknowledged!  Also, Maggie’s ASHA email address is in case you want to send her a more personal (or longer) farewell.

UPDATE: I’m making this post public now because I feel that most of you have provided your support to Maggie and word is out pretty strongly. Thanks everyone for showing Maggie how much we love and appreciate her contributions to the online community of SLPs and Audiologists.

2012 Edublog Nominations

Well, I’ve been wanting to post this for several days but have been caught up in other things. I also thought nominations closed November 28th, which they actually close November 26th but I’m hoping they’ll take a one day late post. And even if they don’t, this is a good exercise in sharing resources! So here are my nominations for the 2012 Edublog Awards.

Best individual hashtag: Obviously I’m going to pick the #slpeeps tag, since it has been extraordinarily influential in my own life and the lives of many other professionals. It has unified a profession across the globe and across populations with whom that the profession (SLP) works.

Best New Blog: I would have to say that Mary Huston’s Speech Adventures is my favourite new blog. The Twitter community hassled her to have a blog for years and now that she has, it has been very enriching.

Best Group Blog: I like ASHAsphere for this category. They have many different contributors and post great information on a regular basis.

Best Individual Blog: I love Aubrey Klingensmith’s blog Speechie Apps. I have often read her reviews of apps and used this information to decide if I should try one or suggest it to others when I am (frequently) asked. She even does Android app reviews, which I don’t use but I know many who do and want this information.

Best Individual Tweeter: I like @pediastaff for this category this year. Not only have they been tweeting great content for multiple professions for years, they performed a giant undertaking in funding a Social Media Learning booth at the ASHA conference this year, in order to teach others about social media and how it ca help their professional growth. Many people helped out at the booth and behind the scenes but organizing it and having the idea to do it deserves major kudos.

There are so many other great people out there but these are the categories where I felt compelled to nominate this year and just some of the people contributing to my PLN right now.

And the winner is…

Well, I woke up early this morning so I went to a random number generator and drew a winner. There were 12 participants and a total of 21 entries (remember, I enter you every time you tweet). I suppose the law of averages works nicely when there’s a small sample size, cuz the winner is one of two who tweeted the most times *insert drumroll here*  @alour! Ashley tied for the most tweets/entries (5) with @dibsondebs so I shouldn’t be surprised, but I still was!

Congrats, Ashley – I’ll be in touch to get your address to mail you stuff and give you the code today. Thanks to everyone for participating. Here is a Chirpstory of the tweets during the contest.

To be on the up and up (as best I can) here is a picture of the number generator and the list of entrants in the order they tweeted with the tags #ashaless and #slpeeps (or I that noticed their tweets) through the week:

Edublog Award Nominations

This post is brought to you by the word: proffer   [prof-er] /ˈprɒfər/

Verb (used with an object)
1. to put before a person for acceptance; offer.

2. the act of proffering.
3. an offer or proposal.


The Edublog Awards were born in 2004 in an attempt to share the great learning and sharing happening in online or social media for education but were being blocked by employers/districts. I feel I need to back this process since, over the past 2 years, I have become a social media enthusiast and it absolutely falls in line with my beliefs about tools to help students and professionals share and learn together across nations, oceans, and disciplines. This is my first time nominating anyone for Edublog awards, but I feel I’ve been in the online community long enough now to finally have a good idea of what I really like and have learned from. There are many I wanted to also nominate, but had to make some difficult decisions. There’s always next year, right?

Best individual blog:, who won best new blog in 2010, has continued to share great content in regular blog posts throughout 2011. Sean‘s posts hold a wealth of knowledge that can be applied to teachers or SLPs alike and applies web and tech based resources to curriculum and language development in a creative way. I love how he merges curriculum and language development and helps us all to see the overlap.

Best twitter hashtag: I admit that I personally use this hahstag more than any other but I am overwhelmed by the amount of growth and the quality of sharing through the #slpeeps tag. I especially love that the #slpeeps tag is used by many who are not SLPs to connect with SLPs or share multidisciplinary information and collaborate.

Best unconference: Unplug’d was an ‘off the grid’ summit of Canadian educators who put a great deal of thought into their individual ideas and experiences, answering the question “Why ____ Matters”. They then spent a week in Algonquin park together to share those ideas and experiences. Together, these educators are publishing their collaborative work and are sharing it at conferences across Canada to effect change and growth in education.

Best student blog: I have loved Becoming Olivia SLP since the first post. This youtube/blog combo has melded to create a vlog that is fantastically produced and creatively written by first year UWO graduate student, Olivia Hazledon. As she vlogs her journey to becoming a SLP, her audience can learn more about getting into SLP grad school, what SLPs learn about and do in their profession, or relive their own grad school journey along with her. This is my favourite blog right now, hands down.

Best educational use of social network: I’m not a teacher, although I do a little teaching, but I thoroughly enjoyed lurking on the 31 Day Game both times that it ran this year. Ben Hazzard and Rodd Lucier organized and created a game/chat/blog to help teachers learn new teaching strategies through sharing them and voting on them in a sort of round robin of teaching strategies. At the end, the participants have fleshed out the supreme strategy but have also learned many other creative techniques  along the way. Brilliant.

Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast: Edceptional podcast/blog by Patrick Black, Deb Truskey and Anne Truger. I enjoy how it continues to be education-based and relevant but how they often cross pollinate teachers with other professionals working in education and promote a multi-disciplinary approach to education.

Best ed tech resource sharing blog: is a fantastic blog that allows a platform for SLPs, OTs, and other professionals to share reviews on apps and suggest how they are using these apps in therapy and assessment. Created and maintained by Jeremy Legaspi, Renena Joy, Deb Taylor Tomakaros, and Sean Sweeney,  it has a wealth of information and hits all the points that a professional needs to know to decide if they would find the app useful in their practice. It’s open to others to submit reviews which allows for many different view points as apps fight to become established tools in therapy and assessment.

Lifetime achievement: I’m probably not allowed to do this, but I want to nominate two people who are, I believe, inextricably linked. Rodd Lucier and Ben Hazzard have participated in a host of activities to help educators learn, share, and grow. In fact, together they have dreamed up and then put into action many ideas. I recognize that they rarely do these things all by themselves, the scope of their ideas require great time and effort from multiple people. I don’t want to exclude the many people who have also worked hard on projects with them but I see them as the creators of many great educational events. From TEDXOntarioEd, to the 31 Day Game, to Unplug’d (to name some of their collaborative accomplishments), these two have become a force to be reckoned with in the educational sector.

Please check out these great resources – I hope you’ll find some to add to your PLN! 🙂

SLPs Are Full of Awesome

This post is brought to you by the word:

awesome [aw-suhm]  /ˈɔsəm/


1.  inspiring awe: an awesome sight.
2.  showing or characterized by awe.
3.  Slang . very impressive: That new assessment tool is totally awesome.

There’s this book I’ve been meaning to read for about a year now.  I think this summer will be the time. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t.  It’s called The Book of Awesome, by Neil Pasricha. Here is a link to his inspirational TedxToronto talk (I just found out he’s Canadian too!) about why he started his blog,, and later wrote his book(s).

Lately work has been really difficult for the entire team I work with.  We’ve had an increase in referrals but no increase in staff plus this is the fourth year that the SLPs on the team have been only doing assessments and follow-up and not doing therapy anymore.  When you’re not doing therapy, it’s a lot harder to feel like you’re making a difference or to feel effective in your job.  It’s not that we AREN’T effective or not making a difference – of course we are. But we lose sight of that somewhere along the way in desperately trying to keep up and provide quality service to the students and teachers we support.

Recently I got the idea to start a Wall of Awesome  at work.  My intent is that we will post our triumphs, laughs, successes, and generally awesome moments throughout our year.  This way we can look at that wall throughout the year and (especially) at the end of the year and say “wow – look at all the awesome moments we shared and things that happened for our students, staff and their families”.  I think our department desperately needs that boost.

It then occurred to me that maybe our department isn’t alone in this difficult time when things seem overwhelming or difficult.  I think many of us are feeling this to varying degrees for various reasons throughout the world. We can all benefit from seeing awesome things that have happened around us in our profession.

So, I began an SLP Wall of Awesome.  It is my hope that you will contribute to this wall from time to time, when you have a success or awesome moment, and we can continue to build it as a global SLP community!!  We can feed off of each others’ successes and moments of fun when we are down and chances are it’ll remind of us something similar that happened in our careers recently as well.

I know you can think of something awesome.  Even the simple things (and usually the simple things) are full of awesome. If you still need some ideas, here are a few examples of things you might share:

  • Something a client, staff member or community member said to you or to someone else that made you smile
  • Great progress (or little bits of hard fought progress) your clients have made
  • A connection or breakthrough you made with a client, family member or surrounding support staff member
  • Something you learned that will change how you practice
  • Little things you love about your job or the people you work with

That list isn’t comprehensive, but maybe it’ll give you some ideas. You may also get a few ideas after reading some of Pasricha’s 1000 Awesome Things on his blog. Heck, why not go over there and read some anyhow – it’s a guaranteed pick-me-up!

So, please add some awesomeness to our Wall of Awesome today.