During my first days as a CF working in an elementary school, I was given the advice to tackle a plan for the first day, first week, and first month of therapy. As opposed to something new and different for each group/student/goal, just focus on the key elements of what needs to be accomplished during each of those time periods. I honestly forget who told it to me, but it was excellent advice for every year of working in a school since!
First day = building rapport
The first order of business for all students on your caseload will be to build rapport. My favorite way to do this is to learn about them, their interests, and what they may or may not like about coming to speech. I also see it as a time to educate them about why they come to speech. We discuss their goals, where they were with their communication goals last year, and what it may take to “graduate” from speech (if that’s on the horizon or a goal of theirs!).
I designed this activity to do just that and more! It’s a no prep, print and go activity booklet that includes 21 half-sheet pages with prompts to get students discussing themselves, as well as their communication goals and skills. There is space for writing and drawing, making it applicable for a variety of ages and abilities. There are also pages with space for SLPs to write to teachers and caregivers, letting them know the child’s speech time, their contact information, and more. Complete as many or as few as you like with each student, then staple them together to make a booklet. It’s the perfect take-home activity to show parents!
First week = baseline data
I use an articulation and language screener to collect baseline data on my students, as well as screen those incoming kindergarteners (or anyone new to school/district that you also probably have to screen!). It comes in printable black and white as well as color; has 3 sections; comes with data sheets; and includes digital Boom deck format, too! It is the #1 best seller in my TpT store – check it out here!
I also use an informal assessment that includes a resource for analyzing language samples plus one for pragmatic skills. The language sample checklist includes all morphemes, listed in developmental order, plus functions of language, MLU calculations, and more. The pragmatics assessment is a likert scale the can be given to parents and staff (print or digitally) to see what pragmatic skills are present. Those skills are also listed in developmental order. Both assessments are included in one convenient download. Find it here!
First month = therapy
When planning therapy, especially at the beginning of the year craziness, I like to use one activity for as many groups as possible. Books are my favorite way to do that! These are my four favorite books to use during back to school season! They’re great for vocabulary, sequencing, wh- questions, and more!
I have book companions for each of the above pictured books in my TpT store. My favorite part about using a book companion like these is that you can make one book work for every student on your caseload and you will literally have coordinating materials for WEEKS! Work smarter, not harder!
The “Time for School, Little Blue Truck” companion covers vocabulary, verbs, wh- questions, yes/no questions, basic concepts, antonyms, sequencing, and more. There’s no-prep and play-based options, as well as TONS of visuals to support all of your students’ needs.
“Turkey Goes to School” is a follow-up to “Turkey Trouble”. If you’re familiar with that book, you know that Turkey dresses up in many costumes. I love adding each “costume” to my book companion to add a fun element of play to sequencing activities. This works great as a group activity! I’ve also included no-prep and color activities for synonyms, functions, categories, craft to send home, yes/no questions, nouns, verbs, wh- questions, plurals, comparing/contrasting, and more!
“If You Take a Mouse to School” is part of one of my favorites series. In the companion I’ve covered questions, rhyming, phonological awareness, basic concepts, plurals, comparing/contrasting, categories, prepositions, and more!
“The Kissing Hand” is the sweetest book. It’s perfect for the kids on your caseload (or in your own home!) who are nervous about beginning school. My companion targets comparing/contrasting, prepositions, concepts, phonemic awareness, rhyming, categories, tier 3 vocabulary, and more!
Click the picture to find all of these books in one place.
I’d love to hear your plans for your first few weeks back in school! Leave me a comment – or tag me in a pic on IG/FB if you use one of these resources!