Remember when we were all learning how to use Facebook for the first time (then learning it again when it changed! Oh the confusion!). If you are a new themester SLP, it’s possible you’re feeling just as overwhelmed learning a new style of therapy with your caseload. What’s great about themed therapy is you can easily take a single theme and use it across a lot of different ages and goals. This will help you streamline your planning and take the overwhelming out of planning.
If you’re feeling like choosing a theme is like a buffet, there are so many choices that it makes it hard to pick just one, then this blog post will definitely help you narrow down choices.
What to Do When You are Lacking Inspiration for Your Next Theme
If you are struggling with what theme to do next, check out this blog post where I share 30 of my TOP fave themes for therapy. Plus, you can grab a FREE themed therapy idea guide for easy planning. It comes with an editable themed therapy planner to help you keep notes on what you did in therapy. Check it out HERE.
Three Tips For Using Themes Across Your Caseload
The first thing you will want to think about is picking a theme that is going to be interesting for your younger and your older students. When you pick a theme that’s interesting for multiple age groups, you will cut down on a ton of your planning time. When you use this strategy, you only have to pick one theme you want to do with your upper and lower elementary students.
For example, a camping theme and a plant life cycle theme will be relevant and interesting for your younger and older students. Check out how to adapt these themes here and here.
Tip #2 Use One Themed Therapy Activity to Target Many Goals
It can be easy to tell yourself that you need a different activity to specifically target each of your student’s goals. This is the #1 to increase your planning time. The beauty of themed therapy activities is you can pick one themed activity that is open-ended enough to target a ton of goals.
To do this, you prep one activity that can be adapted for the different skills you want to target depending on the students you are working with. With less individual activity prep, you can plan engaging lessons efficiently. Check out this penguin sensory bin or this windsock craft for example of how you prep one material or activity for a wide range of goals.
#3 Tip: Re-Use Materials Week After Week
Reuse, reuse, reuse! Don’t be afraid to use the same materials week after week. Switching up the materials slightly will make them feel novel to your student and will be very easy prep work for you. For example, when using themed vocabulary or verb cards such as the ones in the seasonal grammar and vocabulary sets, you can use magnetic wands to make it different.
In one session, you put different amounts of magnetic chips under the cards and the student who gets the most chips at the end wins. In the following session, add themed game cards (hint: check out the blog post for the free printables) to the task cards. Lay them out on the table and have students select. If they get a popsicle, for example, they get to keep it. But, if there is a sun behind their card, they lose a popsicle. Whoever has the most at the end wins.
How do you adapt materials so that you can reuse them? Share your best therapy tips in the comments.
Ready to Start Experiencing the Benefits of Themed Therapy?
If you are spending a painful amount of time planning for your caseload at school, after school, and at home, then I have great news for you! A Themed Therapy Planning How-To Course for the Busy SLP is now available until March 17th. You can earn clinical maintenance hours for your ASHA and state license while also becoming a rockstar at efficiently planning themed therapy for your Prek-5th grade caseload. Want to learn more about joining? Check out all the details HERE.