Motivation, humor, and ideas that every school-based
speech-language pathologist will love!
If you ask me, random acts of kindness are some of the best acts around. I am always encouraging my speech therapy students to do caring and "out of the blue" things for others for no reason other than the fact that it's nice to make people smile. If there is one thing that I have learned throughout my time on this wonderful planet, it's that there is no such thing as too many smiles.
Laugh tickets cause smiles!
One way that I enjoy promoting random acts of kindness in my speech therapy room is to have my students create laugh tickets. Don't know what laugh tickets are? Well, laugh tickets are similar to a parking ticket in the sense that it is placed on top of a vehicle's windshield, but laugh tickets have a positive twist to them.
Have you ever received a real parking ticket?
If you have, you would certainty agree that getting one often triggers a variety of some of the worst feelings imaginable. The goal of a parking ticket is to inform you of the bad news that you owe money to the town or city where the parking violation occurred. Bleh! But here's the thing, the goal of laugh tickets are refreshingly different. Laugh tickets are made to share a silly joke with an unsuspecting car owner in hopes of causing a genuine smile and a hearty laugh.
Are you ready for laugh ticket fun?
Have your speech student take a piece of paper and fold it in a manner that resembles a parking ticket. Then, write on the front of the "ticket" that it is a laugh ticket. Click HERE for an example.
Pick a joke!
Open up the "ticket" and write your favorite joke inside of it. Click HERE for an example. Don't know a joke? Simply jump on the Internet with your student and find one by typing "funny kid jokes" in the search bar of your favorite search engine!
Talk about the joke!
Once a joke has been written down inside of the laugh ticket, take the opportunity to ask your speech student to describe what the joke means. For example, if the joke read, "Why did the banana go to the doctor?" and the punch line was, "Because it was not peeling well," you would want the child to explain that "peeling well" is a play on words with "feeling well," so on and so forth. By actively practicing the ability to verbally express the ins and outs of a joke, the child is taking steps towards being a more effective communicator.
Find a car!
Get permission from your building principal to walk outside to the teacher parking lot. Have your student pick his/her favorite car. Place the laugh ticket on the windshield and walk back into the school. Click HERE for an example.
Talk about the emotions!
Have a discussion with your student about the emotions that they believe the person will feel once he/she sees the laugh ticket.
In closing . . .
I believe that random acts of kindness are a powerful catalyst for happiness and little things like laugh tickets can easily bring happiness to our friends, neighbors, and communities. Even the smallest gestures can make a difference in someone's life. So please, give this speech therapy idea a try and as always, let me know how it goes. I look forward to hearing from you!
Every speech-language pathologist has a story to tell, and this one is mine. As a school-aged child, I despised the fact that it was almost always mandatory for me to remain seated as I learned in elementary school. In retrospect, I felt like an animal locked in a cage, and now, years later, I see the same frustration in the eyes of my speech students. They usually don't want to stay in their seats during speech therapy, and why should I force them to?
I want students to get up and move around!
My mind is curious, my spirit is adventurous, and my body is everything but still. I am an educator that believes in the power of using our arms and our legs during all learning instances, especially during speech therapy. Children, by nature, are active learners and this is the reason I have spent the last two years writing a slew of hilarious child-friendly dares. As a practicing speech-language pathologist, I consistently ask my students to do child-friendly dares during speech therapy and they can't get enough of 'em!
Download my FREE child-friendly dares packet, today!
This PDF packet consists of over 30 flashcards that can easily be printed out, laminated, and used with all of the students on your speech therapy caseload. Some of my favorite include:
- I dare you to pretend like you're a ninja.
- I dare you to pretend like you're a dinosaur.
- I dare you to pretend like you're a ghost.
- I dare you to pretend like you're a guitar player in a band.
Click HERE to download the PDF packet. These child-friendly dares are guaranteed to help unlock your students' imagination while they continue to work on their given goals and objectives.
What about articulation-specific child-friendly dares?
Now THAT sounds like a fantastic idea, right? What if I told you that there was a way to show child-friendly dares to your students that are categorized by the target sound they are working on? You would probably clap your hands and cheer, right? Well, today is your lucky day because I have been working hard over for almost a year to create just that.
Introducing I Dare You Articulation.
I Dare You Articulation is an app for the iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, and iPod touch that allows, encourages, and celebrates getting up and moving around during speech therapy while practicing proper pronunciation. The sounds included are as followed: S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH.
- Working on initial /R/ sounds? How about this sentence? I dare you to pretend like you're wearing red roller skates. Show off some really cool moves.
- Working on medial /L/ sounds? How about this sentence? I dare you to pretend like you're a smiling shark about to attack a sailboat.
- Working on final /CH/ sounds? How about this sentence? I dare you to pretend like you're eating a rotten peach for lunch.
- Working on /S/ blends? How about this sentence? I dare you to pretend like you're a scary vampire with scary vampire teeth.
With just the tap of a finger, children and clinicians can uncover 600 (yes, 600!) child-friendly sound specific dares that are perfect for the speech therapy setting. In addition, I Dare You Articulation has an exciting narrative audio component to it that allows you to hear the words spoken. If you are a fan of my Multiple Choice Articulation app, you will adore I Dare You Articulation!
Smooth and clean, just the way it should be!
I Dare You Articulation has a child-friendly interface that is simple, intuitive, and as always, there are NO in-app purchases or external links.
You should download I Dare You Articulation right now. Click HERE.
Regardless of when, where or how these child-friendly dares are used within the speech therapy session, one thing is certain, children (as well as clinicians) will have a blast giving I Dare You Articulation a try . . . and in the process, your students will continue to practice the correct pronunciation of their sounds at the spontaneous conversation level. Let your imagination run wild and have fun with this therapy material!
"What two colors do you love, Mr. Raj?" inquired a curious first grader on my speech therapy caseload. "I want to draw you a picture of a dinosaur, but I want to make sure you love the colors."
"I'm a fan of red and blue," I happily responded to the little Pablo Picasso.
Have you ever received a work of art from a speech therapy kiddo?
Chances are, you have. In fact, I am willing to bet that over time, you have been given dozens and dozens (if not hundreds and hundreds) of drawings that were created by your students.
What do you do with those works of art?
You might hang them up in your speech therapy room for a certain amount of time for everyone to admire. Then, after a few weeks or so, the work of art might transition to another place. That place might be a folder that holds numerous pieces or art, or that place might even be . . . the trash.
I am about to share with you one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made. Remember that first grader who drew me the red and blue dinosaur? Well, during my lunch break a few years back while he was a student of mine, I decided to do some spring cleaning to organize my overflowing filing cabinet. While I was clearing away papers, I came across a bunch of dinosaur pictures that the first grader drew me earlier in the school year. I saved my favorite one, and then proceeded to gently put the others in the trash right next to my desk. No big deal, right?
As luck would have it, that student was on my schedule right after my lunch break. He entered my speech therapy room with the same enthusiastic smile, but just like that, his smile turned to a frown and tears starting pouring out of his eyes. I immediately knew why he was crying. He saw that his old dinosaur drawings were lying inside of the trash, in broad daylight.
My heart sank.
"Why would you throw out the pictures I made for you?" he genuinely asked me.
I quickly ran to the trash, grabbed the dinosaur drawings and told him that it was a blunder on my part. I explained to him that I was spring cleaning and I accidentally threw his dinosaur papers out. I put the works of art right into my book bag and thanked him for helping me to realize my error.
He taught me a very important lesson that afternoon.
I have since learned that a child's art is so much more than drawings on a piece of paper. It is an expression of who they are; the pictures they choose to use express their thoughts, feelings, dreams and imagination. So please do me a favor, never throw things like that out in your speech therapy room. Never ever. If you feel the need to recycle something that a student has made for you, you MUST promise me that you take it home with you and do it there. The likelihood that your student might see his/her art in the trash is high, and we, as kind and caring speech-language pathologists, should never expose them to something like what I did. I made a mistake, but I am delighted to announce that I have learned from my mistake and I will never let it happen again.
As a dedicated speech-language pathologist, I am always evaluating and reevaluating the goals and objectives that each one of my students have. I do this to ensure that all educational lessons are appropriate for that specific learner. Once a simple objective is met, I crank it up a notch to make it even more challenging. I continue this gradual increase until eventually, the goal is achieved and we move on to yet another goal. Goals and objectives keep me focused and organized. They are always there within the students' files, written in black and white, clear as day.
But I believe that there is such a thing as unwritten goals and objectives.
To me, unwritten goals and objectives are arguably some of the most important things that we could work on with our students. They are the goals and objectives that live inside of my mind that emphasize the importance of being a kind and caring person. For example, the student will demonstrate being a kind and caring person by holding the door for others as we walk to and from the speech room together. Or, the student will demonstrate being a kind and caring person by giving a compliment to another student within the speech therapy room.
Always work on the written goals and objectives, but try to create and work on unwritten ones, too.
Not long ago, I purposely dropped an open box of crayons all over the floor during speech therapy. I wanted to see how how this particular student would react. Would he stand up to help me clean up the mess? Or would he simply sit there and watch me as I picked up the crayons?
Well, the 1st grader just sat there.
And I was not offended or insulted. I just took that as an opportunity to create an unwritten goal and objective in my mind that focused on building that specific student's kind and caring skills. So I proceeded to say, "Gee, I sure wish I had a kind and caring friend that could help me pick up all these crayons."
Like clockwork, he got up and started helping me.
A few days later, as he and I were walking down the crowded hallway, I purposely dropped a packet of papers on the ground. It was another test to see what his reaction would be like. Well, this time the moment I started to bend down to pick them up, he also bent down to help. Together, we both picked up the papers. I thanked him and he smiled.
I have the ability to inspire students, not only academically, but also personally.
Obviously, I don't know this for sure, but I'd like to think that I quietly planted a kind and caring seed in that student's mind when I first dropped the crayons on the floor. Then, when that student saw me drop the papers on the floor and he felt that urge to help me, I'd like to think that the seed sprouted ever so slightly and he became a more kind and caring person because of it. Ya see, not only am I able to grow his communication abilities from the written goals and objectives, I am also able to help him grow personally through my unwritten goals and objectives that help him learn and understand the power of being a kind and caring individual.
Now it is YOUR turn!
I encourage you to think up some unwritten goals and objectives for your students. What little tests can you give them to see how strong their kind and caring skills are? How do you think you could you help nurture their kind and caring abilities?
Oh, and I almost forget about your FREE DOWNLOAD!
I made you a beautiful poster that will help you remember to create unwritten goals and objectives for your kiddos. Click HERE to download it. Enjoy, my friends!