How to Get A Break – Adapt a Thanksgiving Freebie

Adapting for mixed groups is easier than you think!

Adapting for mixed groups is easier than you think! And when home life gets really busy, it is important that you know how to give yourself a work break. Download this fun Thanksgiving freebie and read on to get some tips to make Thanksgiving speech/language therapy fun and on target!

And a freebie!

working and adapting with mixed groups

The easiest way to catch yourself a break around any holiday is to find a really useful free activity. By useful, I mean that it is adaptable to let you address many IEP goals. This way you can use it with all of your groups.

Steps for Adapting a Freebie:

  1. Choose a themed story or picture book to use with each group to match their comprehension level.
  2. Brainstorm different ways to use each story (text or pictures) to elicit your students’ current goals.
  3. Change how you introduce and carry out the activity for each session.
  4. Make the followup incorporate something that stretches the skills you just worked on.

Choose a story you can use to elicit a variety of goals.

This can sound like a lot of work, but it gets easier with practice! First, you don’t have to buy all of the books. School or public libraries are a great place to start. Or read this blog post for free online ideas for stories. Then, be sure to check out the growing blog collection of stories that can be used for social skills goals.

If you are on Instagram, find lots of SLP recommended books using the hashtag #booksharetuesday. Finally, if you love a book enough to purchase it, sign up for the Scholastic book club to get great selections. I’m not affiliated at all. I just found that it is a great way to help with comprehension of books that your students may already be reading, or books that preschool teachers may be planning on using. And, you get to accumulate your own points

Brainstorm how to adapt it for mixed groups.

About brainstorming. If you think it is a waste of time, rethink.

  • It is useful for improving your skills for how to vary an activity, as well.
  • It helps you become familiar with the book’s plot, helping you when you have an unexpected make-up group.
  • Thinking about how to elicit varied goals ahead of time gives your sessions a specific goal for each student that session.
  • It can expand your toolbox for how to incorporate literacy in your sessions.

Read about how to use post-its to help you out when you are just beginning. Or get additional ideas for how to use books in speech therapy!

Change how you introduce the activity for each group.

Changing how you introduce an activity can make a big impact on your students’ enthusiasm. Did you realize that you were going to have to be an actor when you became a speech therapist? I certainly didn’t, but I learned a lot along the way! If you set students up to enjoy themselves, by being excited and stressing the part of the session that they will enjoy the most, students are more likely to be engaged throughout the session.

Students with language problems, learning disabilities, and autism have a hard time drawing a connection between ideas. So they need your help. Try viewing a speech therapy session as having the same structure as a book that you have to narrate. Make those connections for them!

You have your introduction, which needs to draw them in and build enthusiasm for the climax. Which, of course, is the activity that they will love the most. Your story is the setting, which explains the theme while allowing you to elicit their targets. The free activity is the conclusion that lets them explain what they have learned.

Activities to generalize the skills in mixed groups.

And, of course, you need to have an enrichment activity, which is why I started making Boom card decks to reinforce the skills that have been worked on. If you are looking for free online ideas for activities to reinforce skills, check this out.

Craft activities are an SLP favorite. But, just like reading a book, it works better if you plan ahead. Kids (and SLPs) have fun doing both of these activities. However, successful learning occurs when you are focused on each of your students’ goals. So, choose that fun turkey craft! Then put in the planning that lets you go into each session with the ability to elicit different, specific target goals in each session.

But, what if I have mixed groups? The key to making the same fun, free download or activity work in mixed groups is to use your students’ strengths and weaknesses to get them interacting with each other. Students are placed in groups because they are capable of learning that way (least restrictive environment.) It is a great opportunity to get them interacting with each other, though!

Get the free download!

Just sign up for the Thanksgiving Turkey Activity to get your free download and let’s go through the steps together. Obviously, I don’t know the needs of your specific caseload, but maybe one of these ideas will help you out!

turkey free download
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Brainstorm how to adapt for mixed groups

When you think about it, using the same activity all day is really the same as planning to use it in one very mixed group!

WH QUESTIONS:

First, write a question word in each feather. Then students answer the question to tell details about how their family celebrates Thanksgiving. If students need to ask questions, let them think of their own to ask. Even better, then have them ask a peer in the group!

SENTENCE STRUCTURE/SYNTAX:

When your students have answered the questions, they can retell all of the information in complete sentences. tSee if they can tell you what their grammar goals are before you give directions!

NARRATIVES:

After answering questions, the student tells a narrative in future tense to predict what will happen this Thanksgiving.

Or try this variation! The first student starts a Thanksgiving story with a sentence and then spins the spinner to see what to color. If they spin a part they already colored, they wait for their next turn. Continue until the story is complete. It is better to end a complete story and start a new one than it is to have a run-on nonsense discourse. An extra benefit is that you will find out who actually understands story structure!

COMPARE/CONTRAST:

After Thanksgiving, look at the sheet again. Let the students identify what was the same/different about this Thanksgiving compare to their predictions. Then they can re-tell the personal narrative using past tense verbs. This activity can be made even more fun by doing it in comic format!

WORD ASSOCIATIONS/RETRIEVAL:

Write a number in each feather. It is okay to use low numbers and repeat them, since students will have to name that number of associated items for the one you say. they get to color in the feather If they can state that many items. It is a good idea to time either how long they have to finish or how long the pause is because time is a crucial measurement for word retrieval growth.

SOCIAL SKILLS- PERSPECTIVE TAKING:

Use the questions from the last page of the download during the spinner activity, but change them all to “Do you?” question types to find out the preferences of your students with autism or social skills difficulties. Then have them fill out the worksheets to give the preferences of family members. Do they realize that other people have different likes and dislikes than they do?

See, adapting an activity for mixed groups (or for all of your groups) is easier than you think!

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I’m Linda, an SLP who loves helping you build effective communication skills for your students using strategies and visuals. Pictures are time consuming, so let me make your life easier!

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