As some of you may know, I am expecting my first baby (It's a BOY!) and will be taking some time off from work and blogging before and after his arrival. During that time, there will be several guest bloggers/SLPs that will be featured on my blog. I am so excited to share all of the amazing, informative posts they have come up with. I can not thank them all enough for taking the time to write these posts! Just another one of the many reasons I love being part of the SLP world. I hope you all enjoy reading everything over the next several weeks. Please feel free to leave comments and post questions.
The next guest post is written by Use Your Words! Enjoy!
There’s a big push in many school districts to do more push-in speech therapy than our traditional pull-out speech therapy. The issue is that push-in can mean different things to different people, and not a lot of people understand what to do when they push in to a classroom. There are pros and cons to every aspect of therapy, but push-in therapy does offer some great benefits. Some pros to push-in speech therapy include easier generalization/carryover to the “real world”, teaching teachers and paraprofessionals (or other administration) how to work on speech therapy goals when the SLP is not present, modeling proper speech and language skills in a student’s natural environment, and more collaboration between professionals (advanceweb.com). While all of these pros sound great, one part that many SLPs struggle with is how to push in to a classroom.
Push-in is done differently in each grade, and I happen to be most familiar with the preschool/Kindergarten age. I typically push-in two days a week. On one day I will do a class lesson for about 20-30 minutes using some of the activities I will describe below. On the other day I will push-in and follow the child’s lead, play with the toys the child wants to play with, and try to expand his/her language or target some specific goals. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it gets easier after some practice.
Here are some activities that I do in the classroom with my little students.
1. I use the book that the classroom is reading that month and create/use activities from the book to expand their language. Many of my preschool classrooms read the same book every day for one month, and I am able to take that book, expand it, and have them do some great language activities to accompany the book. Some activities include following directions, acting out the story (with or without props), and having the students name objects according to a specific concept: colors, shapes, etc.
Example: This month my preschoolers are reading Goodnight Moon. I will use this book during my class lesson to target language goals. I typically re-read the book even if they had already read it that day (repetition is good). I may ask some WH-questions during the reading of the book. I may also ask the students one at a time to name everything on that page that is green (or red, or a circle, or an animal, etc.). This is a good time to target some informal articulation since you can ask the specific student to name something that starts with whatever sound they are working on. I may also get little props and have some of the students act out the story. Then I may instruct them to follow specific directions (I usually work prepositions in here, too).
2. I love to use the game Zingo during free choice time. I will have two or three students work with me at one time and play the game with me. This is great for teaching turn taking, expanding sentences, naming objects/animals, and answering WH-questions.
3. Velcro ball and mittens (I got this idea from Pinterest, but I cannot find the original pin now). I buy a bunch of little kid ($1) mittens during the winter months. I put some Velcro pieces on a whiffle. I have everyone sit in a circle with three pictures turned over in front of them. I gently toss or roll (depending on each child’s physical abilities) the ball and they have to “catch” the ball with their mittens (the Velcro sticks to the gloves). When they catch the ball, they turn a picture over, name the picture, and either describe it or answer questions about it. Once their turn is over, I have them toss/roll the ball back to me (or to a friend).
4. Pronoun Dolls – A beginner’s version of this activity: I have pictures of a boy and girl paper doll with a magnetic backing. I place these pictures on the white board in the room. The student, when his/her name is called, picks an object out of a tissue box/bag/hat and names it. Then the student has to decide if the object goes with the boy or girl. The student then sticks the object next to/under the boy or girl and has to say the correct sentence “He/She has a _____”. A more advanced version of this is to have the (dressed) paper dolls on the board and have magnets of clothing that each paper doll is wearing. Then the student has to say “He/She is wearing a _______”. You could also do this with pictures of the paper dolls holding items forcing the student to use the correct he/she verb instead of choosing which verb to say.
5. Old Lady Books – The SLP before me used to do this when she pushed-in to the preschool classrooms, so I have decided to do it this year as well. Read one of the Old Lady Who Swallowed A ________ books with the class and create an Old Lady page for each student (a picture of the old lady with a big circle for her belly – see picture below). At the top of the page it says, “There was an old lady who swallowed a ____________.” At the bottom of the page it says, “I don’t know why she swallowed that ______________.” I have little squares of each item that the old lady has swallowed and I allow each student to select a square from a paper bag/hat/tissue box. Once the student has selected a square, the student then has to match that picture to find another of the same (I usually just carry a bunch around and have them try to find the match). Then the student has to glue the two squares on the blank lines and draw/color a picture of that item in the circle (the old lady’s belly). I have each student say their page (with help) and then I bind the pages together and create a book. I leave the books in the classroom for the students to practice on their own!
6. EET – Using the Expanding Expressions Tool is wonderful in the classroom. There are so many things you can do with it, and the book that accompanies the EET is full of worksheets and ideas! I love using this with my students.
7. Emotions Ping Pong – I draw emotions on ping pong balls, instruct the student to identify the emotion on the ping pong ball, and then shoot it to make a “basket” (I use a large tissue box with the hole cut wider or even a cardboard box/bucket). No, I am not having them try to get the Ping-Pong balls into red Solo cups! This isn’t practice for the future. J You could even put pictures on the ping pong balls or write words if your students can read. This is a lot of fun, but just know that you will have Ping-Pong balls flying all over the place!
8. Finally, my last favorite activity is to bring in pictures (or if you can do real-time objects that’s even better) for categorization. I like to team up with the PT on this activity. I will have the student pick an object/picture out of a hat and then hop/crawl/crab walk/etc. to the correct category area and place the object/picture in the right spot. For example, I would place a group of animals to the left, clothes to the right, and food in the middle. I would have the student select an object out of a hat (say it’s an animal), and then that student has to do the activity the PT says to do and place the animal in the animal category. It’s a lot of fun and gets in some good language practice!
I hope these ideas are helpful to you as you push-in to the classroom. I want to hear from others! What do you do when you push-in to classrooms? Do you have any advice for those just starting out doing push-in services?
Breanna is an author from the blog Use Your Words. UYW is a collaborative blog written by two elementary school SLPs. The blog covers a variety of speech and language topics including monthly homework ideas, tips for working with preschool and elementary-aged students, and various speech and language activities available for free and for sale. Find out more by visiting their Facebook, Twitter, and blog page!