Do your students love talking about monsters? I know mine do! And there are so many books and activities you can use to cover lots of speech and language goals. Here are a couple of blog posts with ideas to use in your therapy sessions.
If you have been following my blog or social media accounts, you know I love sensory bins! They are the best way to engage your students. Today, I want to show you how to make this monster sensory bin using really affordable materials. This googly-eyed sensory bin is really fun to use during the Halloween season or any time of the year!
Grab your favorite monster themed book and use this bin as an extension activity! Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience. For more sensory bin ideas, I have a whole page filled with ideas to give you inspiration for therapy!
Materials for Making the Monster Sensory Bin
Here are the materials you need to make your speech sensory bin:
This sensory bin can work on functional communication. You can target “want”, “more”, “all done”, “my turn”, “wait”, “help” and “where” using this bin. Do you need a CORE board for some of your students? Head to this blog post to get a free one.
Your students can learn the concepts of in/out using this bin. If your students are working on verbs, you can target “pick”, “find”, and “look” while playing with this sensory bin.
Students can work on language concepts while using this bin. Write different conjunctions on the eyeballs. When a student picks up an eyeball, he/she has to create a sentence with the conjunction. You can do the same thing with prefixes or suffixes. What other goals could you target in your sessions? Let me know in the comments.
Articulation Practice Using This Monster Sensory Bin
Want your students to increase their repetitions with their articulation sound or phonological process? Write numbers on the eyeballs using a sharpie. Then, have your students hunt for an eyeball. Whatever number is on the eyeball is how many repetitions they have to say. You can also use this as a generic mixed group game. The student with the most points at the end wins!
Are you struggling to get more repetitions with your articulation/phonology students? This blog post will keep your students motivated and working hard each session.
These ping pong balls are bouncy. So, the other way you can use this bin is to put all the eyeballs in a bucket or basket. The student has to say his/her sound so many trials before trying to bounce the eyeball into the sensory bin. Consider it a kid friendly game of monster pong!
Mixed Group Sensory Bin Reinforcer
Play a minute to win it challenge with your students once they complete their work for the session. Set the timer for one minute. Have your students use the scoopers to see how many eyeballs they can get out of the bin in a minute. The student who can get those most eyeballs out in a minute wins.
How Will You Use This Sensory Bin in Therapy?
Are you going to make this bin for your students? I love storing my sensory bin fillers in gallon sized plastic bags. This way, I can have 1-2 bins and interchange the fillers for new themes. For more storage ideas, head to this blog post. If you need to change up your therapy plans, this sensory bin will definitely get your kids engaged in the session. Make sure to tag me on social media with your bin and therapy ideas @thedabblingspeechie
There has been a big shift in school districts wanting Speech Pathologists to adopt push-in speech therapy services for their caseloads. It is very easy to tell SLPs to use this model, but without guidance, this process feels overwhelming. And as SLPs in the trenches, we know that when implementing a new model or approach, many conflicts can arise that impact delivering collaborative services well.
Concerns SLPs Have With Implementing Push-In Service Delivery Models
SLPs raise several questions about implementing push-in speech therapy services. Personally, I know since implementing different collaborative service delivery models, conflicts and roadblocks come up. Even though I am in my 12th year as an SLP, I still find issues with doing push-in therapy. It is an on-going learning process.
Here are some questions I have asked about push-in therapy:
How will I have time to fit in all the collaborative services into my schedule?
How will I take and keep data on these students?
Where and when will collaboration and planning happen during my work day?
More Questions SLPs Are Asking About Push-In Service Delivery Model
What do I do if a teacher doesn’t want me in his/her classroom? What if the teacher is difficult to work with?
How do I know this model is going to be effective for my student? And how do I communicate this recommendation to parents and staff?
Why is this deliver model more effective than doing pull-out therapy?
How do I structure lessons to target all my students goals?
These are very valid questions SLPs should be asking when considering a collaborative service delivery model. As busy SLPs it is difficult to know when collaborative services are appropriate, and how to manage those services. Furthermore, having the support for ways to plan effective lessons/classroom supports is time-consuming and complex. Trying a new service deliver model takes time. And it also means that you have to be willing to try new approaches and be flexible with the ups and downs with the process. One way that you can feel more confident about trying a push-in approach is getting some guidance with how to set up your push-in therapy session. Today, I will answer “How do I structure my push-in therapy session?”
Roadblocks I Have Faced Implementing Push-In Speech Therapy
I have been implementing push-in therapy sessions starting in my 4th year as a school-based SLP. Over the years, I have found the most success with implementing a push-in speech therapy model with my Special Day Classrooms. There has been a big desire to provide push-in support in the general education teacher, but one of the big roadblocks I faced was time. A lot of times, I needed to see 3-4 kids at a certain time and they all were placed in different classrooms. I physically could not push into the classroom for each child because of time. One group is 30 minutes long. If I went to individual classrooms, I would be spending one to two hours servicing that group. With the size of my caseload, my schedule was not able to accommodate a full collaborative model. For many general education students, I used a pull-out speech therapy model with a coaching/collaborative approach.
We Must Remember What IEP Stands For When Considering Service Models
It is also a good reminder that the Individual Education Plan is just that, individual. We must consider least restrictive environment, areas of need and how a student will learn best base don the present levels of performance. So, I am not in support of school districts telling SLPs that a full inclusion model is appropriate for every student.
How I Use C0-Teaching In My Special Day Classrooms
Today, I am going to share about how I do a co-teaching or team teaching model with my Special Day Classrooms. When I use this model, I know which students I am providing this support as their services. Some students that have services with me will participate in the push-in lesson, but I may schedule to see them at an alternative time because the areas of need/goals may need to be addressed with a different model. For example, if I have a student with persisting phonological processes, I will try to cover their goals during the push-in lesson as I can, but I may have them on my speech schedule to provide service for that goal in a pull-out group therapy session. Does that make sense?
Tips For Co-Teaching Model in my K-2 Special Day Classrooms for Mild-Moderate Delayed
I go into the classroom for a 50-60 minute block of time. Before starting this co-teaching model, I have set up expectations with the teacher with the support I need during that time. Even though planning out the lessons is more work for me, I found that it has helped teachers with looking forward to having me in the classroom. Typically, I will collaborate with the teacher via conversation or email about the themes and activities I want to plan. My level of co-teaching depends on the teacher. Some teachers like to participate during the whole class lesson and others need me to take the lead on running the entire lesson. Prior to implementing this support model, I share how the session time is structured and the level of support I am wanting to have with the teacher and aides.
What I Do Prior To Starting My Push-In Therapy
During this time, I also ask the teacher about how he/she structures her class and want to make sure I am following his/her classroom procedures. The classroom teacher can help take the lead on behavior management as well as pairing students at the appropriate levels. I am very upfront with my vision for the push-in and how I usually run the lessons. Before starting services, I try to make sure I answer any questions the teacher may have as well as giving them reasons why I chose the co-teaching model.
Here are some talking points that I share:
I get to learn from you and the staff on behavior management techniques. There is also an opportunity to learn about the curriculum you are using with students.
By doing services in the classroom, it helps minimize transitions and provides language instruction in a familiar, natural setting.
All students in the classroom can benefit from the language/social language instruction.
I can model techniques for the teacher and staff on how to facilitate more language/communication skills during the school day.
Helps With Collaboration With How To Support The Classroom Environment
It increases opportunities for the teacher and speech pathologist to collaborate about language supports.
I am able to plan lessons around the classroom curriculum or help with finding opportunities for students to practice language throughout the instructional day.
This model allows me more time to provide support with making visuals or modeling techniques to engineer the classroom for more language and communication (if you say this, then you need to make sure you do it to build trust in the teacher.)
How To Set Up Your Push-in Speech Therapy Session
You can set up a 30 minute whole class lesson or do a 50-60 lesson. Typically, I have found the most success in providing language enriched instruction when doing a 50-60 minute lesson. The longer session works best when you have teacher buy-in to help support running stations with you. The classroom teacher helps with managing behaviors and the flow of the lesson. The speech pathologist can teach the whole lesson as a group in front of the class. The second half of the lesson, break the kids up into small stations that last for 10 minutes each. The instructional aides, SLP and teacher help run a station. Students can rotate to the new language activity every 10 minutes. Or at each table, there is a different activity. If transition is difficult, then scaffold one activity to cover all students’ abilities.
Here is how I set up a push-in speech therapy session for a 50-60 minute period:
Welcome and introduce the activities planned. Review behavior expectations. This portion is implemented as a whole class at their desks or on the carpet. I utilize the instructional aides/teachers to support with behaviors and students focusing.
I read the chosen book to the class. I make it interactive by asking questions, using hand movements for verbs or have students predict what might happen next. You do not have to read a book during this whole class instruction. You can plan a lesson around a theme using songs, anchor charts and answering questions like a circle time routine.
Planning Movement Breaks & Whole Class Instruction After The Book
Then, I implement a movement break or a quick activity to keep the students focus.
At that time, I either do a Google Slide presentation with short videos, pictures to answer questions or working on “I see _______.” If I don’t do a Google Slide presentation, I have come up with a quick language activity to work on basic concepts, answering simple questions or describing an item by attributes. This portion of the push-in can be 20-30 minutes depending on attention spans and content planned.
Then, I explain each of the stations, who will run the station and which students will go to each station. The first month, you may have a heavy emphasis on transitions and behaviors around transitions. I use a lot of behavior visuals to explain what the child needs to do and how I will signal when it is time to move to the next station. My behavior visuals to teach routines and expectations has helped me support the class during this time. If you want to read more about behavior management, click on this post HERE.
Small Group Work Stations With Other Staff Allow Additional Meaningful Practice
Each station has an activity to do that is aligned with the common core standards and targets a language skill or a students goal. Typically, I give the aides and teachers the activities that are easier to implement, so if I don’t have time to give a lot of feedback and direction, they know what to do. I provide cheat sheet instructions or try to make the lesson straight forward, so the aides and teacher feel confident.
At my station, I may use the same activity with all the students or I may vary the activity instruction to give that focused time on specific goals. I try to make my lessons at stations aligned with many of the students goals, so they get multiple opportunities to practice. Station activity time can take 10-15 minutes. I usually make sure to allow 1-2 minutes for transitioning students to the next station. If you have a class that struggles with transitioning, you can just move the activities to the next table and eliminate having students moving from table to table. Also, if you find that you want aides/teachers at the three stations, you can do one activity at a time while you float and model skills across the different tables.
Planning Push-In Lessons
Planning push-in lessons can be time consuming and overwhelming. It can be difficult to come up with lessons that are easily adaptable for different language levels and skills. In my next blog post, I will be providing information on how to plan a push-in lesson as well as showing you a sample lesson plan. If you need language lesson plan guides with activities already thought out for your next push-in lesson, I have lesson plan guides for different themes that will help you feel more confident about going into the classroom. You can check those out HERE. If you have questions or tips for how you do push-in therapy, please share in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Raise your hand if you run mixed groups! If you are a school-based SLP, mixed groups are inevitable. They can be tricky and overwhelming. As SLPs, we have to manage behavior, plan an engaging lesson, and teach multiple goals at the same time. Don’t worry. I have you covered. I’ll share with you some great ideas and even give you the Amazon [affiliate] links to conveniently purchase anything you need to make your mixed groups an overwhelming success.
You Aren’t The Only SLP Struggling With Mixed Groups
It takes a lot of failed activity attempts to make mixed groups work. So, if you think you are the only SLP struggling to succeed in this setting, you are not alone.
Structuring Your Mixed Groups Around Games
One way you can tackle mixed groups is by grabbing a generic game like Candyland, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel or Pop The Pig. (Affiliate link.) Then, grab the task cards, stimulus items, word lists, etc. for each of your students. While you are playing the game, every student is able to practice their goal during the game.
This approach probably sounds familiar, right? This is my definite go-to when I have everyone working on a drill type of activity. It works well.
Today, I am going to share some fresh, open-ended, speech therapy games for mixed groups in therapy. In addition to these fun activities, I will also share some mixed group games that have language already embedded, so you can target language naturally during the game.
Open-Ended Speech Therapy Games For Mixed Groups
This DIY popsicle stick game is cheap to make and can be used with any mixed group. Write different numbers on each of the Popsicle sticks; include some Zap 1, Zap a friend and Zap all in the mix. Put them all in a can and have students pick a Popsicle stick after each turn. The student with the most points at the end wins. If you need a rule cheat sheet, you can download this one HERE. Need more ways to get higher articulation repetitions with your articulation sound students? I have lots of ideas including how to use this Zap It game HERE.
You can call this game whatever you want! Basically, it is a point-based game using magnetic chips and wand (Amazon affiliate link). I always tell the kids that at the end, everyone gets to use my “magic” wand to pick up all the chips. You just need a die/dice and magnetic chips. Kids roll the die and then pick up the same number of chips as the roll on the die. You can change it up a bit by adding bonus rules for rolling a 6–steal 2 chips from a player–or roll a 1 and you lose a chip.
Easy Low-Prep Games For Mixed Groups
I like speech therapy games for mixed groups that are easy to prep and can be used across several grade levels.
Race to 100 is a great reinforcer game that works with any goal! For your articulation students, it is a great way to get 100 trials. Everyone in the group can play the “game” and when it is their turn, they can practice their target skill. Check out my blog post on the game HERE
Kiwi Speech has some open-ended mystery tile games that can be played with any speech or language target, which means this game is great for mixed groups! Students take their turn: saying a word with their sound in it, defining a vocabulary word, identifying if a behavior is expected/unexpected – anything! Then, they reach into a box and pull out a tile. They match the picture on their tile to a picture on the board. If they already have the picture – they put it back and their turn is over. The first person to fill up their board will reveal the mystery phrase and wins the game!
Vocabulary Games That Can Be Used For Mixed Groups
This game is great for working on building vocabulary, beginning inferencing and describing nouns by attributes. You can use this with articulation students by picking mystery words that have their sounds. After the students guess the noun, ask students wh-questions about the noun, or make them use in a sentence. Students working on social skills have to work on keeping their body and brain in the group. Read more about this game HERE.
Students can work on describing nouns in this minute-to-win-it game. This vocabulary game is organized by articulation sounds, so you can use it in your mixed groups. This is a great game to play when you want to see how your students do with their articulation or language during an unstructured activity. This is a game that will make your session more FUN and still be working on your students goals. Check out the game HERE.
More Language Games That Can Be Used For Mixed Groups
Create dice games that you can use with mixed groups. This game idea is from SLP Natalie Snyders. Write down six attributes and number them 1 through 6. Pick items or pictures that match your articulation students sound. The kids can roll the die and whatever number the student lands on, that is the type of attribute they need to share about the item. To read about more dice games, you can check out Natalie’s post HERE.
Play “Where’s the Treasure?” with this DIY bottle cap game. Take old bottle caps and put velcro on the tops. Put articulation or language pictures on top. Hide a penny or a treasure item under one of the caps. Whoever finds the treasure wins! You can read more about how to make this game HERE.
Boom Cards Category Picture Activity from Looks Like Language is free and can be a game used in mixed groups. All the cards have /r/ stimulus words, so you can target /r/, while teaching categorizing, answering wh-questions, use in a grammatically correct sentence and negation.
This next game is a twist on my mystery word game. I found it from Hallie at Speech Time Fun. You just need a paper bag (any bag or container will do) and items around your speech room. You can work on story telling, describing nouns by attributes, following directions with basic concepts, basic inferencing, and using the items in grammatically correct sentences (fluency students can practice their strategies). Pro tip: Pick items that have your students speech sounds to place in the bag. Now you have a carryover activity! Check out more details on how to use in your speech room HERE.
Share Your Mixed Group Games
What mixed group games have you created for your speech room? If you have a game you created specifically to rock those mixed group sessions, email me pics and directions at email@example.com. I would love to feature your game on my blog!
Finding resources that can be used to target a lot of speech goals is super helpful for the busy SLP. Using Simon’s Cat videos in speech therapy can help with planning a mixed group lesson.
What Are Simon’s Cat Videos?
Simon’s Cat are a series of comic strip animated short videos that you can find on YouTube. The videos are primarily without words, and are in black and white. You can watch these videos on your iphone, ipad, laptop or computer to target so many different skills! If you are worried about ads and unwanted images popping up during your lesson, I recommend watching Simon’s Cat videos with safetube. Safetube is free and allows parents and educators to watch videos without the ads. If you don’t have internet at your school site, there is now a Simon’s Cat comic book!! You can get it on amazon HERE. This is an amazon affiliate link.
Why I Love Simon’s Cat Videos For Speech Therapy
These videos are free. Less money to spend on Therapy materials.
There are a ton of videos. Seasonal themed and generic, so I can use them in speech therapy all year long.
Simon’s Cat videos can be adapted across a variety of ages. I have used them with 1st-8th grade. I am pretty sure they would be accepted among the high school ages too.
I like watching them. If I enjoy the resource, therapy always seems to be more exciting because I am excited to talk about the videos.
Simon’s Cat Videos can be used with mixed groups. Sometimes planning for each student in my mixed groups can be hard because I have to find separate activities and then manage the group to stay on task. By having one resource to cover everyone’s goals, on task behavior is higher.
The setting in the video is usually a Simon’s house and the characters are a man and a cat. I know that many of the videos my students have been exposed to the vocabulary, so I don’t have to spend a ton of time around scheme and background knowledge. Some of my students haven’t been certain places, so picking therapy materials that take that into consideration is helpful.
These videos are short! They are only 2-3 minutes in length, so you can get through them in a 30 minute session.
How To Simon’s Cat Videos In Speech Therapy
There are a lot of ways to use Simon’s Cat videos in speech therapy. I will either use the videos the entire session or we will do some work on individual goals for 15 minutes and then do a video as a group lesson for the next 10-15 minutes.
Articulation Speech Therapy Ideas
During the video, you can have the students write down or tell you words they saw or heard with their speech sound. After the video, they can say each word five times or use in a sentence. You can also write a cheat sheet of target words from the video.
The SLP can have the student answer comprehension questions from the video with their target speech sounds.
Summarize the video using the target words from the video with their best speech sounds.
Language Speech Therapy Ideas
Work on narrative comprehension and oral narration using these videos. Jot down some comprehension questions from the video prior to the students arriving to use to discuss the video. Have students work on story telling by adding on details to what would happen next if the video didn’t end. If you need some graphic organizers to help with this, grab this free set from KiwiSpeech HERE or Speech Time Fun’s summarizing graphic organizer HERE.
Teach and show vocabulary with these videos. The SLP can pick target vocabulary words to teach from the video. During the speech therapy session, target antonyms, synonyms, word associations, attributes and adjectives to describe items in the video.
Discuss the main idea of the video and work on making a new video title for the video.
Teach specific grammar concepts such as third person singular, pronouns, plurals, verb tense, and noun-verb agreement.
Social Skills Speech Therapy Ideas
What are they thinking about? Work on teaching that our eyes give people clues about what they are thinking about. Have your students identify what the character’s are thinking based on where their eyes are looking.
identifying emotions and non-verbal body language. Have your students explain how the characters are feeling and what clues they noticed such as eyes widening, smiling face, or body hunched over.
Perspective taking- work on students explaining what people could be feeling or thinking in the video.
Social inferences & predictions is a way for use to figure out what someone may do next, so we can figure out what to say or do in a social situation.
Conversation – have your students watch the video and then have them discuss what they liked/didn’t like about the video.
Thinking/Talking bubble – because these videos are wordless they are perfect for working on what people are thinking and what could be in their talking bubble. Make your own speech and thinking bubble on a dry erase board, or grab a dry erase think bubble from the dollar store or on amazon HERE. (amazon affiliate link provided).
Humor – these videos are very funny and are perfect to discuss why they are funny!
How would you use Simon’s Cat videos in speech therapy? I would love to hear your therapy ideas.
During the spring and summer seasons, making a FUNctional craft in speech therapy that can be used outside is a great way to keep your students engaged. Windsock craft for kids is just the craft for the busy SLP.
Windsock Craft For Kids
Once you have all the materials for the windsock craft, prep for this craft is pretty easy! Some of my groups I just made the craft during the session. For my groups with younger ages, I prepped parts of the craft, so we could get enough practice in during the session. I have used this craft with LOTS of different ages and all of them loved it, especially my kinder-second grade students.
Materials You Need To Make A Windsock Craft For Kids
Take the construction paper and attach together with tape, glue or a stapler (I used a stapler), so that it looks like a cylinder. You can have your students glue their speech or language stimulus cards to the paper first before attaching.
If you have paint daubers, students can put dots all over their construction paper every time they say their speech sound or language target. Then, after they are finished, they can put the craft together.
Punch holes at the top of the construction paper. Tie yarn or string in the holes. Cut the party streamers into strips. Then, have the students attach the party streamers with tape or glue (I went with tape, it was the less messy option).
Your windsock is complete and ready to use in speech therapy!
Ways To Adapt The Windsock Craft For Speech & Language
Just making the windsock craft is filled with LOTS of language opportunities. For example, your students working on initiation can make requests for the different craft parts. Students have to follow directions with basic concepts such as on, in, around. Furthermore, after student’s finish their windsock craft, you can have them explain the sequencing steps they took to create the craft. You can listen to articulation, grammar and work on adding adjectives while they are explaining the steps for making the craft.
Have students decorate their white paper with paint daubers. Every time they say their speech sound or language target, they can add a dot to their paper.
Students can glue their speech sounds or language targets onto the construction paper. After they finish the craft, they can practice their goals using the pictures on the windsock. I use my Any Craft Companion Pack to adapt this ONE craft for my whole caseload.
Take the windsock outside to teach vocabulary words. I taught my kids the following words as we explored using our windsock: high, low, around, twirl, flutter, fast, slow, and windy.
Have your students show different preposition words using your windsock such as near, far, under, above, below, around, on, in, and between.
Teach turn taking, waiting and thinking about others by only bringing out one windsock to play with. Students have to request a turn using their peer’s name, and wait their turn. You can have students do an action that another student requests the student do to work on thinking about other people.
Here is a video tutorial about how to make a windsock and a fun way to make a “fish” themed windsock. This version is really pretty!
Adapting The Windsock Craft For Your Older Students
Your older students can write a narrative about spring or summer on the white construction paper. You can give them a challenge by providing a list of themed vocabulary words or adjectives to use in their story.
Have your students write sentences on the construction paper. Your students working on grammar can write more complex sentences while your articulation students can write sentences with their target words (perfect mixed group activity right there).
Students can watch this youtube video about how a windsock works. They can share the main idea and details from the video. Pick target vocabulary to discuss from this video and then go test out a windsock outside!
Need More Craft Ideas For Speech Therapy
For those SLPs working during summer, here is a blog post I wrote last year on different summer themed crafts you can do in speech therapy. If you love doing crafts in speech therapy, then check out all of the craftivities I have in my TPT store. You can use one craft with your whole caseload!