In this video I share 5 tips on how to use the classroom curriculum to reduce speech therapy planning time, improve relationships with teachers, and increase how fast your students move through their goals. Watch above or here is a quick recap.
1. Get buy-in from teachers
How important is it to us that we choose what we work on in therapy? I am not talking about the specific goals but the content. Does it really matter if we are working on /s/ words out of a random book or /s/ words that are about animals or some other academic topic?
If we contact teachers and focus on their curriculum topics then the child has a way to:
- Practice what you teach him
- Show off or interact with peers
- Practice their words on homework with parents
If we choose the topic that the teacher is working on, then she or he feels that:
- Their work is important
- That we understand what is going on in the classroom
- And therefore, they are more willing to apply what we want to what they are doing.
Here is an example, Let’s say that Pre-K and Kindergarten are working on Growing Things. We can follow these themes for articulation, phonology, following directions, or whatever goals your students have!
2. Get buy-in from parents
Our days are hectic enough and trying to reach out to all parents continually is unfeasible. Yet, no one has a greater interest in seeing children succeed than their parents. For each topic we make speech therapy materials for, we can easily make a cookie-cutter “Hi Parents” letter. It looks like this,
Hi parents, This week we are talking about growing things. Ask your child to name the vegetables and talk about where they grow.
Hi parents, This week we are talking about foods. Ask your child to share what he knows about the food that you have in your house
Hi Parents, This week we are talking about weather. Take turns rolling the weather die or ask your child about what the day is like.
The parents are going through their homework anyways. This way they stay informed and engaged.
3. Organize your materials by THEME not by sound
As a speech therapist, I am sure that this chart makes sense to you. But what if you showed this to someone who was not an SLP? Just what does a spy have to do with a whale, and why is coffee here?
Our brain does not organize things like speech therapists do. I am not suggesting you buy anything new, just reorganize all your terrific materials based on classroom theme or the natural environment they would be used in.
Here is an articulation example. We listed all the words related to Growing things and divided them by sound.
4. Lean on your colleagues
Chances are you work with SLPs ranging from 24 years old to 60. Chances are you also have staffing or in-service days that are used to focus on development.
Use these days, times, and colleagues that you already have, and create a place, electronic or virtual, where everyone can add materials related to the most common academic theme.
As an example of the folders you can create, here are the most common themes for young children.
The tech-savvy staff members can set up online folders for each of these topics that the experienced SLPs can place their oodles of resources in.
5: Lean on your teachers
Is this your car? If so, know that you don’t have to do this anymore!
Every week, teachers have materials, pages, and storybooks from the library already set out and planned. Borrow from them to reduce speech therapy planning time and the children will flourish when they can practice their communication using the same familiar book or object back in class
6: Bonus! Easily find out what teachers are working on
How do you know what to work on?
- Have teachers email you at the beginning of the week. You can email the same week and they can just respond in the subject line. Shapes and colors, Abraham Lincoln, etc.
- Ask as you pick up your students or when you are in the teacher lounge.
- Get CCed on the submissions of lesson plans each week.