f you are a speech pathologist working with younger students, you probably have playdough in your room already! Playdough is a staple in my speech therapy room. My students love materials that they can touch and feel. I think this is why slime, kinetic sand, and playdough are fan favorites amongst kids.
Today, I wanted to share 6 ways you can use playdough in speech therapy. There are a lot of ways you can adapt playdough to make therapy engaging. Plus, you can use playdough to build many language skills.
Where To Get Playdough For Your Speech Room
The easiest way to snag some playdough is on Amazon. I have this 24-can set (Amazon affiliate link) and love that I can re-use the cans if I decide to make homemade playdough. You can also get playdough from Lakeshore Learning that comes in bulk tubs. And if you have all the ingredients at home, you can make a LOT of playdough for an affordable price. I love adding in peppermint, lemon, or orange essential oils to make the playdough smell fun. There are so many easy playdough recipes that you can find on Pinterest. Here is one that I use often.
#1: Use Playdough in Speech Therapy For Behavior Management
Use playdough with a student’s “working for” chart. Each time the student exhibits a positive behavior, you can squish a playdough ball on the student’s “working for” chart. This will show when the student will earn his/her next reinforcer activity or item. This “working for” chart is part of my AAC Starter Kit.
I also like using playdough to help kids know when an activity will be over. It helps keep students engaged and working on the activity. Cover each item on the mat with playdough. When all the items are covered, the activity is completed.
You can also use a playdough mat reinforcer sheet with your whole group. As a group, the students can earn game time or free choice activity time.
You can roll out 10 balls of dough and have the students squish the dough for each articulation production. I love using my Visual Stimulus items with my sentence strips for my articulation students.
#2: Use Playdough in Speech Therapy To Work On Sequencing & Answering Wh-Questions
You can make playdough with your students! Kristine Lamb from Live Love Speech has amazing visual recipes that you can use to support functional communication, vocabulary, and sequencing steps.
#3: Use Playdough in Speech Therapy For Teaching CORE Vocabulary
Playdough is great for our students that need to build those different CORE vocabulary functions! You can work on so many different functions of communication.
If you need a CORE board with fringe vocabulary to work on playdough, this one is part of my AAC Starter Kit in my TPT store. It saves me so much time and I always have visuals for my students to communicate with me. Plus, I have noticed an increase in functional communication and functions beyond just “requesting” items using these boards with students. You can try the bubbles fringe and CORE board HERE.
CORE words to targetwith playdough:
Go/Stop for rolling, squishing, or pulling the playdough. You can also get some great initiation and joint attention if you wait for the student to ask for “Go/Stop.”
More/Want to request wanting more playdough. Don’t just hand over the whole can of playdough to the student. Give them a little playdough at a time. They can request “more” and “want” to get more playdough.
My Turn/Your Turn to work on sharing the playdough.
See/Look to talk about what the other person/student is creating. For example, you can model or have students use their words with their CORE board or device, “I see_____.” or “Look at my _____!”.
What other CORE vocabulary would you target? Share in the comments.
#4: Use Playdough in Speech Therapy To Teach Basic Concepts and Following Directions
You can work on teaching basic concepts using playdough. Make mini playdough balls and gather items around your room. Have students follow directions with the playdough balls and items. For example, “Put the playdough in the cup,” or, “Put the playdough behind the bucket.”
You can also use playdough mats or picture scenes to work on basic concepts such as above, below, between, in front, next to, etc.
#5: Use Playdough As A Visual Support
Make a snail or snake to help demonstrate slow speech for a student working on fluency strategies.
A bunny can be used to show how our speech can get bouncy.
For articulation, you can have students form the sound he/she is working on, to help them remember to use the correct sound. I loved this idea from Natalie Snyders for teaching the R.
Playdough can also help with phonological awareness activities for inserting or deleting sounds, counting syllables in words, or identifying beginning, middle, and ending sounds in words.
Roll out different colored playdough balls to help build longer sentences. You can use blue for nouns, green for verbs, red for adjectives, and orange for prepositional phrases. Get these FREE playdough mats by click the image below.
#6: Use Playdough To Work on Pretend Play and Conversation
There are so many fun playdough sets that children can use to pretend. For example, I have the Playdoh Pie Set (Amazon affiliate) that you can use to work on conversation. Students can take each other’s orders, practice serving the pie to each other, and pretend to pay for the pie at a restaurant.
Another fun pretend play activity is to make chocolate playdough that actually smells like real chocolate! Here is the recipe I used. You can have students create little chocolates to put in a candy box. They can decorate their chocolates with small beads or plastic trinkets. Or they can make hot chocolate for each other! Make sure you check to see if the recipe is editable, so that your kids don’t try and eat it.
How do You Use Playdough in Speech Therapy?
Playdough is a material that has helped me keep therapy engaging and functional. I have seen so many students make progress with all sorts of speech and language skills with incorporating playdough into my speech therapy sessions. So, I always want to know MORE ways I can use playdough. Please share your best therapy ideas or tips in the comments or email me at email@example.com. Of course, you can always share a pic on Instagram and tag me @thedabblingspeechie.
Today on the Real Talk SLP podcast, I wanted to talk about the ups and downs of finding relevant, engaging and practical professional development for the busy SLP.
As SLPs we are pulled very thin between conducting therapy, assessing, and all that fun paperwork.
In particular, school-based SLPs have to be knowledgeable about so many different areas because we treat a lot of disorders, and ages.
I decided to bring on my SLP blogger besties to have some real talk about professional development. Each one shares about the current struggles with finding good PD as well as recommending some resources that have helped them to feel confident about their clinical decisions.
Professional Development Resources for Busy SLPs
The Informed SLP is a resource we all have memberships and use regularly.
We all agreed that attending the ASHA Convention has lots of great presentations and so many options to chose from; however, it is expensive and difficult to take that time off of work. ASHA’s evidence maps can be a helpful place to start when looking for information on a certain topic.
I recommended any courses or presentations by Char Boshart who has a lot of courses on Speech Therapy PD. If you are interested in Speech Therapy PD (Use code: SLPROCKSTAR” to get $10 off either subscription).
I also just presented with Rehab Seminars and they had a lot of practical presenters that were very helpful including Barry M. Prizant, PhD, CCC-SLP and William Van Cleave, MA, Educational Consultant
We are all fans of FREE PD, right!? The SLP Summit is a free online webinar training that goes on twice a year during winter and summer. There are a ton of different topics and you can learn while sitting by the pool or your couch.
We also discuss how the four of us SLPs came up with the idea for the Speech Retreat. It is a one day Professional Development that is packed with practical therapy ideas you can use tomorrow. Plus, we wanted to celebrate SLPs, so we include swag bags and LOTS of raffle prizes. Check it out at Speech Retreat and sign up for the April 13th Speech Retreat in Raleigh, NC.
What is your favorite PD or conference you attended?
I would love to know what relevant PD you have attended to help spread the word to other SLPs. Share in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are wanting to plan effective speech therapy lessons, but are limited on time, then this blog post is for you. St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday coming up in March. You can use the St. Patrick’s Day speech therapy activities in this blog post to quickly find materials for your whole elementary caseload.
When I have a wide-range of ages and goals, themes help me to narrow my focus on planning. It helps take the overwhelm out of planning activities. Plus, I love seeing kids get engaged with my themes.
Today, I am sharing LOTs of speech and language activities to use for St. Patrick’s Day!
St. Patrick’s Day Books for Speech Therapy
Use some festive St. Patrick’s Day books in your therapy sessions. Work on vocabulary, grammar, wh-questions, story retell, and inferencing with these books.
Here are some of my fave books to use (amazon affiliate links provided):
After I read the themed book, I plan extension activities to cover grammar and vocabulary goals. We work on noun-verb agreement, basic concepts, answering wh-questions and describing vocabulary using my St. Patick’s Day grammar and vocabulary activities.
For my push-in lessons, I do a whole class read aloud with a quick circle time activity. Then, we break up into small group stations. I plan three different stations and have myself and teachers faciliate a station. At my station, I make sure to do targeted practice for my students goals.
The other two stations target language goals as well, but have cheat sheet guides for the teachers to help them implement the lesson. Catch the Leprechaun noun-functions and green items category sort are examples of language stations I would plan for two of the stations. Read more about structuring your push-in sessions in this blog post HERE.
Non-Fiction Passages for St. Patrick’s Day
Read Works is a free site that you can access St. Patrick’s Day articles. I use these articles with my older elementary students. I will be using this rainbow non-fiction passage. This site also includes vocabulary to target and wh-questions with answer choices. If I need progress monitoring data, I can collect data on listening comprehension in a quick second! You can also find articles on NewsELA.
St. Patrick’s Day Crafts for Speech Therapy
I am a big fan of using crafts when I have the time to prep them. They can be used to naturally target goals and can be sent home for additional practice. Additionally, many crafts can be adapted to use with mixed groups. Check out my windsock craft to see how I adapted to cover a lot of goals. I found this cute Shamrock man you can make in speech.
If you need some St. Patrick’s Day craft inspiration, this video has lots of fun, easy to prep ideas.
Rainbow Crafts for Speech Therapy
Make a rainbow craft that you can have students write or glue their speech or language targets on the different colors of the rainbow. It can be a great bulletin board display!
Or make this rainbow craft and work on following directions after you create it! You can target above, under, next to, in front and behind with this fun rainbow craft.
St. Patrick’s Day YouTube Videos for Speech Therapy
YouTube is your lesson planning friend! There are a lot of videos that discuss the history of St. Patrick’s Day.
Use EdPuzzle to create lesson plan questions with your videos. You plan the questions, and vocabulary you want to discuss with EdPuzzle, then show the video to your students. The video will automatically pause when it gets your question. Plan your lesson once and use over and over again!
St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bins
Since part of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday is about wearing green, why not talk about green items! I use this green sensory bin companion from my St. Patrick’s Day Language Lesson Plan Guides to work on describing nouns by attributes. You can also see how I made a green sensory bin using toys/items around my speech room HERE.
I also love making a “Find the gold” sensory bin. This is a reinforcer bin to use with your mixed groups. I put plastic gold coins that I found at the Dollar Tree in the bin and a construction paper rainbow. Then, students roll a die. Whatever number they roll, that is how many gold coins they get to collect. The student practices his/her target skill and then the next student takes a turn. The student with the most gold wins! At the end of the game, you can work on who has more/less/most gold for some additional language practice!
Social Skill Idea for St. Patrick’s Day
For our speech students working on thinking about others, you can go on a “Catch the Leprechaun” school hunt. Print up these free clue cards from Cupcake for a Teacher and place them around the school. The last clue can have a pot of gold or a chocolate treat for your students. As you walk around the school, students have to follow the group plan and keep their bodies in the group. Check out this post to see how you can do this with The Gingerbread Man.
St. Patrick’s Day Idioms
Use St. Patrick’s Day idioms to work on figurative language. You can focus on idioms that relate to getting rich, being lucky and looking green! Here are a list of idioms you can teach your students.
-To thank ones lucky stars
-To hit the jackpot
-To luck out
-Green with envy
-Give someone the green light
-Have a green thumb
-To feel green around the gills
What Activities Do You Plan for St. Patrick’s Day in Speech Therapy?
I would love to hear all the creative and engaging ways you plan therapy for St. Patrick’s day! Please share your best therapy ideas or tips in the comments or email me at email@example.com. Of course, you can always share a pic on Instagram and tag me @thedabblingspeechie. In my opinion, an SLP can never have to many therapy materials!
When it comes to planning therapy, SLPs want the lessons to be relevant to their students, aligned with best practices and engaging! That can be kind of tricky with our younger students.
Over the years, I discovered that sensory bins are an effective therapy material that covers a lot of goals and keeps hands busy. Today, I wanted to share all my winter sensory bin ideas you can use with your students.
Why Creating Winter Sensory Bins Can Help You With Therapy Planning
You can create winter sensory bins that go along with your favorite book like The Mitten or The Snowy Day. Or you can just create a bin using winter themed vocabulary.
Since winter can last till March and sometimes April, this is a great theme to pick for sensory bins. I am excited to share all my ideas because I think at least one will spark some inspiration for your caseload! If you are completely new to using sensory bins, head over to my sensory bin page to see what they are all about! To see some of the winter sensory bins I have used in previous years, head to this BLOG POST.
Winter Sensory Bin Fillers
A sensory bin filler are materials you put in the bin to fill it up. For winter, it is fun to have fillers that resemble snow. Here are some filler materials you can use (amazon affiliate links included):
What other winter themed fillers would you put in your bin?
Container Ideas For Sensory Bins
You can use any type of container. I recommend containers that have clasps on the lid. When I decided to use water beads for my penguin sensory bin, I wanted to put the beads in something disposable.
So, I used a disposable foil pan. After I used the water beads for the day, I put them in a sealed plastic bag, so I could re-use them for the whole week. Then, I just threw the beads and the container away.
Winter Sensory Bins Ideas
Work on identifying winter vocabulary by attributes. You can do this activity receptively or expressively with students. Print out winter vocabulary words and place in your bin. Then, have your students look for “something you can ride”. Students can then add more details about the word using category group, parts, location, texture, etc. You can also work on building MLU and grammar markers with this bin. If you need a winter vocabulary sensory bin, this one comes in my Winter PUSH-IN Language Lesson Plan Guides.
Students love when you can feed cards into a character! I made this feed the snowman sensory bin to work on learning about hot/cold food items. I also included other food items to work on different food categories. You can simultaneously work on past tense verbs and building MLU. This sensory bin is in my Snowman PUSH-IN Language Lesson Plan Guide.
Use winter vocabulary to make a sensory bin that works on superlative adjectives. You can work on big, bigger, and biggest. You can also describe the items and work on basic concepts. For example, you could say, “Put the green hat, behind the medium fire place.”
When I use a sensory bin, I like to make a cheat sheet of all the words and skills I can target. This helps me with navigating mixed groups much easier!! Print up kids doing different winter activities and place it in a winter snowy bin. Use your cheat sheet guide to target verbs, speech sounds, vocabulary, story retell, answering wh-questions and sequencing steps to do an activity such as sledding!
For your articulation students, make a snowball sensory bin! Your students can build their stash of snowballs each time they pick a snowball from the bin. If you have language students in your group, have them describe the item they chose, answer wh-questions, create a sentence with the vocabulary word or explain where and when you would use the item. Do you want these winter sensory bins for your caseload? All three of these bins are in my winter sensory bin companion that comes with lesson plans, a cheat sheet guide, printables for your bins and visual supports to help your students learn new skills. Everything is ready for you, so you can go into therapy ready to work on goals!
Do you have a sensory bin idea? I love seeing SLPs creations. The next time you make a sensory bin, snap a photo and tag me on instagram @thedabblingspeechie with the #slpsensorybin hashtag. Let’s inspire each other with new therapy material ideas! You can always email me a pic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this episode of the Real Talk SLP, Felice interviews Maureen Wilson from The Speech Bubble SLP. You can find her TeachersPayTeachers store at The Speech Bubble SLP and check out her blog for helpful therapy ideas and resources to help you be a confident SLP.
Maureen and Felice talk about the ups and downs SLPs face when working out in the field. Both Maureen and Felice are elementary school based clinicians. Both share real examples hard situations they deal with managing their caseloads.
During this episode, Maureen shares some ways that SLPs can chose to shift his or her mindset when these bumps in the road happen. We may not be able to change the current situation, but there are positive things we can do to maintain a healthy outlook about our jobs.
Some of the tips Maureen shares about how to find happiness in the job are how to be positive, embracing imperfection and how to set boundaries at work. Maureen also discusses that asking for help is a sign of strength as an SLP.
During the month of December, I like to keep things festive, yet simple. And I like to use the same theme/book with as many groups as I can. The Gingerbread Man is a theme I use every year with my younger students. We can work on story retelling, vocabulary and perspective taking skills. Check out these activities I did last year to work on improving perspective taking using gingerbread man cookies. I find that the holiday season opens up opportunities for teaching perspective-taking and thinking about others. Today, I wanted to share a Body in the Group lesson I did with my 3-5th Special Day Classroom students using a gingerbread man hunt.
What Is Body In The Group?
Body in the Group is a vocabulary term used from the Social Thinking Curriculum to explain how people demonstrate that they are part of a group conversation or social situation when they physically keep their body in a proximity of the group. When students work on group projects, or talk together on the playground, they show that they are thinking about group members by positioning their bodies nearby.
By teaching our students the concept of having their bodies in the group, we build their social awareness. They can better understand how to show others that they are thinking about them just by where they position their bodies.
What Is Brain In The Group?
Have you ever been in a place where your body is physically sitting in a group, but your brain is far, far away. Not sure why I just thought about my last department meeting? Hmmmmm……
We can teach our students the importance of having both their bodies and their brains in the group in order to show others that they are thinking about them. We show others that our brains are in the group by contributing relevant questions and comments that are on topic with what the speaker is talking about. This concept impacts our students in academic and social situations a LOT! If our students do not have their brains in the group, they miss a lot of information in the conversation. Typically, when my student’s brains aren’t in the group, they make off-topic comments. They will also talk only about their interests. When our brain is out of the group, this makes people feel like we aren’t listening to them. Which translates as rude behavior.
How You Can Work On Body In The Group On A Gingerbread Man Hunt
Has your school ever done a gingerbread man hunt during December? The teacher usually tells the students that there is a gingerbread man on the loose around the school. Students have to read the clues left by the gingerbread man to figure out where he went. It is a pretty fun activity that pairs well with the book!
I decided that I wanted to do this activity with my K-2 and 3-5 SDC classrooms. The teachers and staff helped with the activity. I printed up a FREE gingerbread man hunt and bought candy canes as the end of the hunt class surprise.
Before we went, I went over the hidden social rules that when we go somewhere as a group, we have to keep our bodies close by, so we stay as a group. We role played standing and walking as a group (no lines with with this activity).
Body in the Group Lesson Plan During The Gingerbread Man Hunt
As we looked for the clues and walked to the new locations to find the next clue, students had to practice staying in the group. You would be amazed how hard this was for some of my students. During the activity, I had to pause as we walked to remind students who had their body in the group and who didn’t. We talked about how others could be feeling when people walked away from the group. Some perspectives you could share with your students are as follows:
The teachers worry that you will leave the group.
When your body is out of the group, other students will be annoyed that the class has to stop the hunt until your body is back in the group.
Teachers and students will think you aren’t interested in doing the hunt if your body leaves the group.
Students who walk ahead of the group might make others feel like you aren’t thinking about them. You are only worried about getting to the next location and not waiting for friends.
Students may be thinking, “Where is he/she going?”
What other perspectives/skills can you teach your students during this activity?
Work With Older Students and Need Holiday Therapy Resources?
I know a lot of times SLPs working with middle school and high school students struggle with finding themed resources that appeal to their students. The gingerbread man hunt, for example, is a great idea for the younger crowd. I was thinking you could try this same activity, but go on a hunt for a stash of snowballs. Not sure how your students would like it, but I know my middle school students in the mod-severe classrooms would probably get into that type of hunt. With my older students, I use YouTube videos from the Elf movie and Simon’s cat holiday/winter videos. These video clips are great for working on vocabulary, summarizing, perspective taking and predicting! And they are free, low prep and funny (this is the SLP’s dream). Check out those blog posts for how I use them and to find links to some of the videos. Planning activities for your life skill classrooms? You can make sugar cookies with gingerbread cookie cutters to give to family or friends. Or, pick a gingerbread recipe and prepare the treat for school staff members.
What Holiday Activities Do You Use To Target Social Pragmatics And Body In The Group?
I would love to know what activities and lessons you plan using a winter or holiday theme to work on social pragmatic skills. Share in the comments or email me at email@example.com