Are you a Speech Language Pathologist looking to provide more in-class therapy?
One idea is to provide whole-group, in-class mini-lessons. The SLP leads 30 minute lessons for 4-6 weeks, modeling strategies that are used during Tx sessions. The goal is to create a shared language of instruction from general education to special education and to facilitate generalization of strategies for students.
How it works
1. Teachers determine what skills their students need based on data from a whole-class Response to Intervention language screening, such as from the Kindergarten Language Benchmark Assessment.
2. The teacher then chooses a mini-lesson from a “menu” and signs up for a time-slot with the SLP. The SLP should offer the teacher times when students in the class/grade already participate in therapy sessions. The mini-lessons temporarily replace individualized speech/language therapy 1x per week. Students from other classrooms can also be pulled into the “mini-lesson” room to receive their IEP minutes for the day.
3. The SLP brings all the needed materials to the lesson.Teachers stay and participate.
While this results in short-term loss of individualized therapy minutes, research supports changing the context to facilitate carryover.
Children with language and learning problems will have difficulty acquiring broad-based rules and modifying these rules once acquired, and they also will be more vulnerable to performance demands on speech production and comprehension (Kamhi, 1988).
At the same time, changing the instructional contexts also enhances learning because the information becomes linked with a greater range of contextual cues and encoded in more than one way (R. Bjork, 2011). To enhance long-term learning and transfer to novel contexts, the conditions of instruction and practice should be varied.
Here are some strategies that we then teach in-class.
1. Following Directions Repair Strategies
During these mini-lessons, teach the students repair strategies for when they need help in class. There is a free resource for this available at Smart Speech Therapy, LLC.
Each week, focus on a different repair strategy by role-playing situations. Discuss what the words mean and when they are needed. For example, when do students need to “Be Specific” and say “ I need help with my work” and when do they need to “Ask” saying “Please repeat this: word, sentence, question again?”
At the end of the mini-lessons, leave a poster with all the strategies in the general education room and/or have students make their own visuals for their desks.
2. Vocabulary Building
Introduce strategies from the Expanding Expressions Toolkit(EET) during these mini-lessons.
Ask teachers for vocabulary/concepts that they are currently covering in class. Each week, focus on a different area of the EET strategy. SLPs can also expand this to include writing about the vocabulary/concepts.
At the end of the mini-lessons, leave teachers with an EET poster, worksheets, and possibly even EETs for every student (purchased from EET or student self-made with beads).
Show and Tell to Build Expressive Language
Help teachers make "show & tell" a language-enriching daily activity. To do this, make big colored boards for the teachers using Boardmaker pics for each Expanding Expressions Toolkit Area. For example "green-group" has pictures of "superhero, doll, transportation, book, computer, star (other)" and a blue board (blue-do) has Boardmaker pics like "fly, roll, read, cry, etc." The pictures on the board can be used as a guide for the less verbal children. Put velcro on the backs of the pictures, so that children with no oral language can pull pictures off the board to communicate
Each week, introduce one new board to the class. Have students bring toys (and/or bring your toys) and practice describing the toys using each board. You can also have students practice sorting a big pile of toys into groups. Another idea is to have students practice describing orally and then write about the toys.
Leave the boards so teachers can use them in class. By the end of the year, some children will have a 3-4 minute descriptions of their toys!
Introduce the Mindwings Story Grammar Marker during these mini-lessons. Each week, focus on part of the organization system. For example, the first week may include teaching characters and setting. Read several short stories and have students practice describing just these two parts. The next week might focus exclusively on the “story triangle” that includes the kick off, character feeling, and plan of action. Another week might cover the sequence of the story.
The Mindwings website also has many good resources and ideas of how to incorporate specific books with their tools.
At the end of the mini-lessons, leave teachers with worksheets, smart boards, and possibly story markers (purchased or student-made bookmarks/beads) to continue using.
More Push-In Therapy Ideas Here:
Bjork, R. (2011). On the symbiosis of remembering, forgetting, and learning. In Benjamin, A. S. (Ed.), Successful remembering and successful forgetting: A festschrift in honor of Robert A. Bjork (pp. 1–22). London, England: Psychology Press.
Kamhi, A. (1988). A reconceptualization of generalization and generalization problems. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 19, 304–414.