Motivation, humor, and ideas that every speech-language pathologist who works with children will love!
Sometimes, I hear my older students talking in the hallways between classes. They often speak about how an upcoming test is making them feel nervous, anxious, or just plain scared. Tests and quizzes are necessary evils, but I try to do my part to show my students that tests are not as bad as they think they are. Heck, some tests can even be enjoyable! To prove this point, I like to sometimes shoot them a surprise test when they come to speech therapy, but not just any test. This receptive language test is one that I created that truly demonstrates the importance of paying attention to instructions in a nice, lighthearted manner. I call it the Following Instructions in Speech Therapy Test.
Yes, I know that the name is not all that exciting . . .
But let me tell you, this test is everything but boring. It’s loads and loads of fun to give and take!
How much fun is it, you ask?
Well, it’s just so much fun that everyone in the speech therapy room usually laughs his or her head off! (Please note: I’m not responsible for any medical bills you might have to pay because excessive laughter caused your noggin to fall off.)
Wanna learn more about my test? (Of course you do!)
First, you have to go HERE to download it. Then, print it out, give it to your students, and say something along the lines of, “Today, each of you will be taking a surprise test in speech therapy. It’s a test that helps me see just how good you are at following instructions. There will be no talking for the next 5 minutes and I’m not able to answer any questions. Just please read and complete the test. Once the time is up, we will all talk about the test together. Now, let’s begin.”
During the 5-minute countdown, I usually start to hear them clapping, barking, and pretending to sneeze. This obviously means that they have failed the test because, as number 14 clearly states, all of those questions were to be ignored, but yet, they still did them.
Why is that?!
Simple. It’s because they didn’t read the instructions carefully (if at all!). They saw the format of the test and automatically started going from one question to the next. It’s a mindless routine where most students rush to get done first, but I want my students to be better than that. I want to get them sharp. I want them to be aware of my tricks because if they can start to spot my tricks, chances are they will start to become more observant while completing their other school assignments, too. This is just one example of how this specific test sets the stage for future successes in learning!
It also sets the stage for insightful dialogue.
After my students realize that they didn’t follow the instructions on the test correctly, we begin to talk about other scenarios where not paying attention to instructions could get them into a bit of a pickle. Some situations that have been mentioned before are not paying attention to written instructions while doing a science experiment or not paying attention to instructions when learning how to drive a car for the first time.
In addition . . .
We often get into a rather eye-opening conversation as to WHY tests make us feel so nervous, anxious, or scared. The back-and-forth discussion between everyone usually results in some “ah-ha moments” where the students realize, “Well, I guess the only tests I’m really scared of are the ones that I don’t study for.”
We, as educators, can nag our students to “remember to study!” or “remember to read all the instructions!” until our faces turn blue, but it isn’t until they actually realize it, for themselves, that our suggestions actually start to stick. I believe this silly, little test can begin to help start the “sticking process” because I have seen it, happen in my own speech therapy room.
In closing . . .
This receptive language test totally shines light onto the subject of using your careful looking eyes to take in any and all information that pertains to the task at hand. Once you do that, the surprise test doesn’t really seem all that scary. So, do you think you could somehow incorporate my Following Instructions in Speech Therapy Test into an upcoming session? Do you think your older speech therapy students would fall for this trap? As always, I would love to hear from you. Please let me know how speech therapy idea goes over with your kiddos.