This week we played a REALLY fun word game that targeted LOTS of describing skills. I even found a way to adapt it for some of my articulation students. Word games for kids are the best way to get engagement with vocabulary building. When you say “game”, the kids feel like they are having fun and not realizing how much thinking they are doing! This word game also incorporates inferencing and critical thinking skills.
Word Games For Kids- Mystery Word
I used picture cards from my HedBanz Game (amazon affiliate link) to help my younger students think of a noun for the mystery word. There are also these really cool Learning Resources Basic Vocabulary Photo Cards (amazon affiliate link included for your convenience) that would be awesome to use as well! For my older students, we just brainstormed without pictures.
I made a detective game board to keep track of each player’s points. You can assign one of the students to be the “points keeper”. These Reusable Dry Erase Pockets are amazing because I only have to print one game sheet to use over and over.
How to play the game
To play this word game, the clinician and/or one of the students in the groups is in charge of choosing a mystery word. Pick a word and write it down where the students cannot see it.
Then, give clue #1 to the group. So if we picked “donut”. Clue #1 would be “dessert group”. Each student can take a guess of the mystery word item. Praise the students who make a “smart guess” for guessing a word that is in the correct category. Quiz the students if a guess such as “pizza” would be a smart guess and why it would or would not be a smart guess. Give clue #2 such as “You eat it. You can deep fry it. You can put frosting on it.” Allow for students to make a guess. If a student’s smart guess is correct, then they would earn 4 points. Continue giving clues until someone in the group guesses correctly.
The person with the most points at the end of the session wins! Have the student describe the noun in complete sentences after the mystery word has been revealed! This is a great game to pair with the Expanding Expression Tool.
I adapted this game for my students working on /s/ by having them say the carrier phrase “I guess the item is……….” to work on final /s/. With my /r/ students, I only picked words that contained /r/!
Over the years, I have seen the benefit of using sentence starter strips in speech therapy with my language impaired students. A lot of my students with language delays need visual supports to help them build longer utterances. Using sentence starter strips in speech therapy provides a visual framework for organizing their thoughts. Many of my speech students receptively know what they want to say, but struggle with expressively communicating those ideas in a clear and concise way.
Using Sentence Starter Strips In Speech Therapy
Many of my speech students receptively know what they want to say, but struggle with expressively communicating those ideas in a clear and concise way. For our students with language impairments processing language can be very daunting and overwhelming. We as SLP’s can lighten that language load by incorporating visual sentence strips in therapy.
Why I love using sentence starter strips in speech
Sentence starter strips are easy to make and don’t require a ton of prep. This is an amazing thing for the busy SLP! I love that I can prep this in under 10 minutes for my therapy groups and can use it over and over again for my groups. When I use bright colored paper or sentence strips that have visual picture supports, my students become more engaged in the activity. You can adapt the sentence starter strips for your lesson, so you can easily write a sentence starter that relates to the topic you are discussing. The other reason I love sentence starter strips is that I can align them with the speaking and listening standards. Our students are now required to express their opinion, ask questions, and share the reasons behind their thoughts. When I observe general education classrooms, I see A LOT of sentence starters around the room. This is a scaffolding technique that a lot of teachers use to help student’s become more efficient writers. When we target this with oral language, we are building the language piece that writing involves. There is also research that shows students who are English Learners benefit from the use of sentence frames or sentence starters.
How I use sentence starter strips in speech therapy
In the photo above, I created a sentence with some blank spots where I want the student to fill in the answer. For example, if I had a picture of the word grasshopper, I would have 1-3 sentence strips. The student could say “A grasshopper belongs in the insect category. A grasshopper can be used for eating other bugs. It has antennae, legs, eyes and a body and can be found in nature.”
Use What You Have In Your Speech Room
I grab a deck of Artic Photo Cards Fun Decks From Super Duper or artic/language cards from my TPT resources to use with the sentence starter strips. This is a perfect way to target both articulation and language goals if you have mixed groups! Sentence starter strips are also great for teaching prepositional phrases and conjunctions. One of the easiest places to find stimulus items for teaching prepositional phrases and conjunctions is google images! If I have time, I usually will search google images for pictures that I want and cut and paste them into a powerpoint. Then, I use those images along with my sentence strips as a therapy lesson. I love having sentence strips for inferencing, predicting, explaining opinion and discussing the main idea.
Storing Sentence Starter Strips
When you find yourself scribbling the same sentence frames on scratch paper during your speech sessions, it usually means that it might be good to have a permanent set of sentence frames that you can grab n’ go for your sessions. This is what I kept running into, so instead of writing sentence frames on my post it notes, I decided to use some multi-colored sentence strips I found in my speech room. One skill I work on a lot is describing nouns by attributes. I usually start with 1-3 attributes depending on the student’s skills. You can find these sentence strips on on amazon and you get 75 in the pack (amazon affiliate link). Let’s talk storage! I like to use Pocket Charts to storage my sentence strips and to use during instruction. I just found these Classroom Sentence Strip Storage Box on Amazon that could also be helpful for storage! I recommend getting different colored sentence strips to visually show different skills or use different colored markers.
How do you use sentence starter strips in speech therapy?
Every SLP needs resources on how to implement effective grammar intervention because half our caseloads have goals in this area!
Much of my career as a speech therapist has been working with students that have goals targeting grammar. I have seen that many children with deficits with grammar, often times, have language deficits in other areas such as vocabulary, oral comprehension and story narration.
Today, I wanted to share about some articles I have found that talk about strategies for implementing effective grammar intervention.
Information about Implementing Effective Grammar Intervention
What I found when reading these different articles is there is not a “must use this technique always” when targeting grammar. There is however, some really good guidelines that researchers have found to be helpful when you, the clinician are creating a treatment plan.
Fey, M.E., Long, S.H., Finestack, L.H. (2003). Ten principles of grammatical intervention for children with specific language impairments. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12: 3-15
Some of the principles shared in the article are as follows:
The function of improving a child’s expressive grammar is so that they can have better language to effectively communicate whether orally or in written form. Thus, we should be targeting skills that will help improve their communication (a tip for writing/choosing goals) or help them to make progress with common core standards and academic activities.
A clinician may get more “bang for their buck” if they target grammar by broad grammar patterns verses “isolated” grammar targets.
“When grammar is targeted, it should be treated in ways that lead to improvements in other domains, such as storytelling, comprehension and expression of expository text, and reading comprehension.”
Grammar Intervention Research Article
A randomized clinical trial looked at two grammar treatment procedures of recasting and a cuing hierarchy in 31 five year olds to see which treatment would yield better results.
Here is what they found:
First off, the very fancy term “recasting” is simply the clinician implicitly responding to a child’s response with the correct grammar and sometimes emphasizing the correct word like, “I really love cookiessssss too.” This technique helps keep the flow of conversation going without having to stop and correct the child. (you’re welcome for learning a big fancy speech therapy word…now go sprinkle that into your IEP meetings to impress some folk
In the study, when a child in the recast group made a grammar error, the SLP would do a “recast” and move on with the lesson, using recasting every time there was an error.
With the cueing group, when the child made an error, the SLP went through a hierarchy of scaffolding techniques to work on having the child correctly produce the grammar structure.
The overall study found that the cueing group made more growth then the recasting group.
So, children with speech and language impairments appear to be responding to implicit grammar intervention that provides cueing and allowing the child to say the sentence again to correct his/her error.
The Effectiveness of Two Grammar Treatment Procedures for Children With SLI: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2015, Vol. 46, 312-324. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0041 Karen M. Smith-Lock, Suze Leitão, Polly Prior, and Lyndsey Nickels
Practical Strategies For Grammar Intervention
Now, time for the practical tips for implementing these findings! I typically will do 0ne-two structured therapy sessions filled with cueing and explicitly teaching the grammar components that I want to target. It will include visuals sentence strips, visuals of the rules, worksheets, lots of modeling, and having the student trying to correctly use the grammar rule.
Then, my next two sessions are filled with activities that the child may be asked to do in the classroom. Basically, working on generalizing or applying the skill into a more complex task. Often times, I will use books, story telling, answering wh-questions, describing nouns by attributes, play activities (i.e. play dough, cars, tea party, etc.) or describing picture scenes to work on grammar. During this time, I am modeling, expanding, and “recasting” (it feels good word dropping fancy terms here). I feel like these sessions allow me to also let them hear correct grammar modeled to them, which seems important to the process.
My Parts of Speech Sentence Flips are a great tool to use as a warm up to build mastery of LOTS of different grammar. These sentence flips have a lot of opportunities for clinicians to cue the student with the correct grammar.
My Parts of Speech Flashcard books are a great tool to use as a quick warm up as well or send home as homework. Once assembled, students can create grammatically correct sentences with visual supports.
Sentence Frame Graphic Organizer (FREE) is a great tool to use with any book, youtube video or a picture. It provides color coded columns to sort different parts of speech. This is a great tool to start building more complex sentences and beginning to introduce written language.
My Student Language Helpers are visual supports that you can make with two file folders glued or stapled together. You can then glue all the different parts of speech to the helper. The student can use this in the speech room or even in the classroom to help when writing sentences!
My seasonal themed vocabulary and grammar resource allows me to used seasonal vocabulary to practice grammar concepts as well as work on other skills such as wh-questions, compare/contrast and describing by attributes. These activities and visuals pair well with all of my seasonal books that I like to bring into the therapy room.
What resources for implementing effective grammar intervention do you use? What techniques and research have you found for this intervention? I would love to add more tools to my tool belt! Comment below or email me at email@example.com
My son is now a reader! We have been working on independent reading and reading out loud throughout the summer. Check out my FREE independent reading incentives bookmarks for your own kids. I wanted to make him some reading comprehension task cards that also worked on vocabulary and writing. Then, I thought “What if I could make some reading comprehension task cards that I can also use with my speech students next year?”Perfect! Now, I just needed a non-fiction topic…….
My son loves learning about bugs…..My speech students LOVE bugs, so that’s how this set began its creation! This upcoming year, I will be back at the elementary site, but I think these listenting and reading comprehension task cards could be used with upper elementary/middle school for students working at a younger grade level.
Great non-fiction passages to work on reading fluency and comprehension with a bug theme.
The activities in this set are perfect for independent work, can be used as a whole group lesson or as a literacy/language center. What I love the most about these cards is that there are QR codes that link to REAL LIFE photos of the bugs!! Pretty cool, huh!?
There are 12 non-fiction passages including 12 task cards with comprehension questions to answer about the passage. I laminated mine, so that the students can use with a dry erase marker and I can use them over and over again. Plus, I included hands on worksheet booklets to incorporate more learning after reading the passages. Skills included: comparing/contrasting, vocabulary, adjectives, drawing/writing task and a writing page.
Included in this set are some fun magnifying cards with QR codes to links to youtube videos that have more information about the bugs the students read about. What kid doesn’t love using that QR code app?
For all my fabulous followers, I made you a FREE BONUS LESSON to try out! This lesson is not in my larger set, so make sure to get both! It includes a non-fiction task card passage about honeybees, comprehension task card and a facts worksheet, so students can write down key details from the passage.
I am giving away 3 copies of this to some of my followers! Leave a comment below with a number between 1-100. I will be doing a live raffle on perioscope on SUNDAY, July 19 at 6pm PST. Meet me there to see if your number is drawn!!
Summer is just around the corner and it is a great theme to use in therapy! Having summer speech therapy activities to send home as homework are perfect for those summer months. If you are working this summer, then grab some summer speech therapy activities on TPT!!
I started using my summer themed resources this week and plan to use them till the end of May. Check out my round up of free and paid TPT products that I have found to help plan therapy. I have links categorized by target area, so you can easily find the items you need!
Summer Speech Therapy Activities
Planning speech therapy lessons is a whole a lot easier when you pick a theme! If I want to do a BBQ theme, then I try to find resources that will cover goals for my whole caseload. These summer speech therapy activities are listed by target area, so you can quickly find items in the areas you need for your summer theme.
Today, I am going to share one of my MOST favorite apps out there! It’s called the News O Matic App. News O Matic App is basically an interactive newspaper that is kid friendly and filled with articles about current events. This app has SAVED me tons of time in terms of prep work. Not to mention, my middle schoolers love using the News O Matic App. We are covering lots of great language using this app. The News O Matic App creators write 5 articles a day and there are videos, pictures, selected vocabulary with definitions from the article and lots more!
Youtube Video On News-O-Matic
Here is a youtube video to see what the app looks like and what is featured each day. You can also go on Press4kids to get more information and ask questions about this app and how to use it with your students and/or classroom.
What is News-O-Matic
Quoted from this article News-O-Matic “features five daily stories, each reviewed by an on-staff psychologist to ensure safety, covering national and international news, sports, arts, science and more. The app is designed to encourage students to engage with the stories through drawings, writing, voting for their favorite articles and asking interview questions of politicians, athletes and others.”
Once you are registered with your app, the new-o-matics folks email you weekly with a guide for the articles for the week. They include comprehension questions with choices and graphic organizers to work on different concepts. This week it is working on finding details from the text.
There are daily games that can be played, an area where students can draw picture from one of the articles and they can also write in to New-o-matic with an opinion or share why they like the app!
Why I love News-O-Matic
It is updated every day with new articles and content, so I have new therapy materials every day.
This app has a wide variety of topics that appeal to all my students interests. It gives the student’s a choice for which article they want to read.
This app already has vocabulary highlighted from the text with definitions, so you don’t have to prep finding word definitions in the article.
I am emailed weekly with a teacher’s guide including comprehension questions I could ask the students.
This app is colorful, uses real photos and contains videos on many of the articles, so your lesson can be easily adapted and scaffolded for your visual learners.
This app has the capability of the student reading to themselves or you can have the text read out loud if reading fluency is an issue.
There are 5 articles on one day, so my student’s have a choice for what they want to learn about. The students are more motivated to learn about things that interest them.
The articles can be used to target articulation, speech fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, summarizing,etc.
You can adjust the reading level to fit your student’s needs, which is pretty cool.
There is a drawing section in which the student can draw a picture. This is a great way for students to work on visualizing. They can draw a picture to help them remember the new vocabulary words they learned, the main idea of the article or what the article made them feel/think.
The use of non-fiction text is very much common core aligned, so this would match up with lots of your goals (wh-question, main idea, summarizing, cause/effect).
I learn stuff too!! I get to stay up-to-date right along side my students and learn about things that I might not have caught in a “grown up” article.
Considerations before buying News-O-Matic
You need internet connection, so if you do not have access to wifi in your room, then you will have trouble gaining access to this app.
This is a free app to access some of the articles, but you have to pay the subscription fee to get ALL the features of the app. You also have to buy the app every year to get all the features.
The articles are reviewed by a psychologist before they are put on the app, but some of the topics or news stories could be sensitive to your students based on their cultural beliefs. Always a good idea to preview the articles before discussing in a group or class if possible.
I am still learning more about this app and how I can incorporate it in the therapy. This is one of my go-to materials for therapy when I have mixed language groups or if my students are really not thrilled with my lesson. All in all, this is definitely a MUST HAVE for any SLP, especially those that have high caseloads, travel to multiple sites or work with upper elementary/middle school/high school level students.