3 Quick Tips to Make Mixed Groups that Work!
Do you have qualms about how to make speech/language therapy work when you know you have mixed groups? Does figuring out student grouping get you stressed? Try these 3 quick tips to make mixed groups that work!
Try using these tips to make your SLP life easier!
1. Accept that you will have mixed groups!
While sometimes you may be fortunate enough to have compatible groups with the same goals, this will likely be rare in the schools. On the bright side, mixed groups do have some benefits!
Mixed groups can grow your skills as an SLP, encouraging you to learn to adapt activities in a variety of ways.In mixed groups, you can use your students’ strengths to help them interact with others.
Especially with students who have behavioral difficulties, your groups will be more successful when the students like to be with each other.
2. Think about how this year’s goals could pair up.
Picture the types of activities you like to use in your therapy sessions. Which speech and language goals are easy to elicit?
If you can elicit articulation goals with a particular activity/material set during one session and adapt the activity during the next session for language goals, you can work with a mixed group! Just modify how each child in the group is participating.
Some easy to do pairings include:
- Receptive and expressive versions of the same goal
- Vocabulary paired with sentence structure: Use the same vocabulary pictures and activities so some students will identify or label vocabulary while the others work on producing sentences or using correct syntax.
- WH Questions paired sentence structure: Use the same materials and have one set of students provide appropriate information while the others focus on using correct sentence structure.
When the activity is easy, have the first group of students ask the questions of the others!
Or play a Jeopardy version where the sentence goals students give an answer and the WH group has to think of a question.
- Inferences Paired with Narrative Goals: Literacy activities are great for language in general. Specifically, it is easy to ask some students about the story grammar/plot to get the details. Then follow up with having the others pull the information together to summarize or make an inference.
3. Make an organization for goal sets that work well together.
Try to fit all of the information you have just figured out on one sheet of paper to have as an easy reference while scheduling. Divide a page into sections, leaving enough room to pencil in student names for possible groups.
It is okay to place a name in more than one section! Sometimes it is easier to manage diverse goals when students have different partners on different days.
On the back, do the same thing for students who come individually or goals that you haven’t figured out how to pair up yet.
Keep this organization sheet in a page protector or other organizer and use it for getting out materials, planning activities, figuring out what you need to buy, and scheduling!
I have gotten up to 15+ schedule revisions in some years where it never settled down, needing this organization sheet all year long. What is the maximum number of schedule changes you’ve had in one year?