Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Get out!" by Sublime Speech!!

This awesome guest post is from Danielle over at Sublime Speech....

Get Out!”

Of the speech room that is…
There are days during each week that I feel like I’ve been doing therapy in my speech cave while others enjoy seeing the sunshine or snow falling through their glorious windows.  Yes, I’m jealous and that’s okay with me.  But how often do you take advantage of your ENTIRE environment.  Whether in a school, clinic, private practice, or otherwise there are so many wonderful opportunities for language, speech, fluency, etc. all around us!  Here are a few ideas:
Get Outside:

Some of our favorite things to do outside are the same things we do in my room.  But, when it’s a beautiful day out… why not move  your office outside?  Sometimes we just take our activity and find a nice place outside to complete it.  It also spawns new conversations that we don’t typically have.  Other times we go on word walks or vocab voyages.  These are simply as they sound… we walk around outside and name things we see.  This is a good opportunity to work on providing definitions, flexible word use, attributes, naming, etc.  You’d be surprised how much you can target on a simple walk.  You can also go on a speech sound hunt where you walk and identify objects, animals, people, etc. with the targeted speech sound in them.  Adding movement and a new environment to your sessions can increase their abilities to carry over tasks into those environments as well!

Get in the Hallways:

How much time do you waste going to get kids?  And how much extra time do they miss coming to you each day?  Some of my groups fall after natural breaks in my day like lunch or RtI groups.  Oftentimes I will go get the students and do an activity in the hallway.  This gives them about 5 extra minutes in their classrooms.  Don’t think that’s a lot?  Well, just by seeing them once a week in the hallway and giving them those 5 minutes back in their classrooms, they are spending about 180 more minutes in their classroom each year… which is 3 HOURS!  Wow!  We usually keep these hallway sessions to our quieter activities… it’s simply not the place for a game of “Blurt!” but works well for artic practice, card practice, and quiet games.

Get others involved:

Have you ever dared your principal to do one of Erik X. Raj’s “I Dare You” articulation app dares?  Have you ever had your QR Code hunt land a student at the nurse’s office?  How about having your students practice their sounds to others they see in the hallway or at lunch?  Did you know that they will be GIDDY to practice their skills when it involves other adults in your building?  Did you know that you aren’t the coolest person anymore?  Sure, they like you… but they LOVE the rest of your staff too.  Why not get some carry-over going with their skills by chatting with the art teacher during her lunch duty?  And here’s the best part… the staff LOVE it! It’s something different for them too!  My staff doesn’t run when they see me with my kiddos coming for them, they actually linger to see if we are going to ask them to do something fun!  So get out there and get others involved!

Get moving:

I’m sure I could quote some awesome study here about movement and learning but you’ve heard it before.  Engaging other parts of the brain while learning new skills has been shown to help that skill “stick”.  One way we use this theory in speech is to get out to the more open areas of our building and MOVE!  We use a vocabulary beach ball with my older students.  It’s as simple as it sounds… a beach ball with curricular vocabulary on it.  You toss to another student and whatever their designated finger is touching is the word they give you a definition for.  We’ve also done articulation hops.  This is as easy as spreading artic cards around an open space.  Students hop to the cards (preferably landing next to them to avoid slipping!) and say the word however many times you decided.  We add rules such as not being able to hop to another word that a student is on… or even more challenging, not hopping to a word that has already been said by anybody!  We also like those Velcro paddles with the small tennis ball type thing that you toss back and forth.  This can be used for many things but we use it the most for attributes and flexible word use.  The clinician gives a word and each student names an attribute and tosses to the other student.  If they can’t think of an attribute, the other student gets a point.  For flexible word use, I will name a word and each student will name a synonym, antonym, or homonym depending on what we are targeting. 

Get Creative:

The amount of DIY craftivities out there is incredible.  Adding some creativity to the mundane speech and language activities can really motivate students.  We also use games that allow creativity, such as Oodles of Doodles, Win/Lose/Draw, etc.  Some students are very creative, even if they struggle with speech, language, fluency, etc.  Tapping into that creativity can allow them to work on skills and be successful at the same time.

So, you think speech therapy can only exist within that tiny closet of a room you have been given?  NO WAY!  Get outside, get moving and get in the hallways.  Get others involved and get creative.  Just GET OUT!

Danielle Reed {Sublime Speech}
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