Thursday, July 21, 2016

Eight Articulation Activities That Require NO MATERIALS and Incorporate Other Goals

As a traveling/itinerant SLP, lugging around tons of materials is not something that I am very fond of. There are plenty of times that I try to get creative and leave the materials behind. I also found that with crazy (and always unexpectedly changing) schedules, it is important to think outside the box and give the students the service time they deserve. Listed below are some of my favorite activities that require no planning, set up, OR MATERIALS! (These activities also come in handy when you finish up a few minutes early and want to fill the time with a MEANINGFUL and FUN activity.)

1. Scavenger Hunt - My students have always LOVED this (especially when we use fake glasses)! We walk around the school trying to find items or ideas that have the target sound. For example, if you're looking for /l/ sounds, you can say "locker", "lunch", "pencil", or "pool". My students liked to use the glasses from Jeepers Peepers to "help them see" more ideas :) For mixed groups, have students describe the item they found using well-constructed sentences or describe its location to another group member to find.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, describing, grammar, listening for details, spatial terms, and following directions.

2. Building Sentences - This is fun to do in groups and it also targets other expressive language goals quite nicely. One students starts by saying a word (usually a noun) that has the target sound. The game continues as each student adds to the sentence, only using words that contain the target sound. Depending on what sounds/levels/positions you're working on, you could let students use words that have the sound in any word position. For example, if the target sound was /s/, the students would take turns adding to a sentence like this - "Suzy, Suzy sits, Suzy sits silently, Suzy sits silently beside, Suzy sits silently beside stinky, Suzy sits silently beside stinky socks." The sentences usually end up being pretty silly but you'll get plenty of repetitions and goals covered!
Goals Targeted: Articulation, sentence construction, grammar, vocabulary, short term memory, social skills, turn-taking, critical thinking, problem solving, planning and organization.

3. Building Words - This one is very similar to the game mentioned above, except you're now building at the word level and really working together. To start you decide what position you want your sound to be in (initial is the easiest for this and final position isn't TOO hard). The first student will start by just saying a sound. Let's say we're doing /s/ again - Student one: "s", Student 2: "si", Student three: "sit" - the round could end there unless the next student can continue adding to the word. This requires the students to work together, improvise, and really use their brains. You can also target phonological awareness skills by not repeating any previous sounds. Each student would just say the sound they are contributing and they would all be required to piece those sounds together in their head in order to form/figure out the word. This would require them to both segment and blend mentally in order to complete the task.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, turn-taking, listening, problem solving, planning, organizing, segmenting, blending, word construction, and morphology.

4. Categories - This is a fun one that works on vocabulary as well. Pick a specific topic or category and have your students name as many things as they can that contain their target sound within that category . For example, if you're working on /l/ in all word positions, you could make the category "Characters (from movies, shows, books, etc.)" - Elsa, Elmo, Charlie Brown, Bumblebee...
Some other suggested categories: food/drinks, toys, school items, places, games (video/board/card), songs/musicians/singers/bands, people in general...there are lots of options that can be geared toward many age levels/interests!
Goals Targeted: Articulation, vocabulary/categorization

5. Simon Says - This is great if you're working on /s/ at the sentence level. Let the students take turns being Simon. Have them try to use as many /s/ words as possible. For example, "Simon says stick out your tongue. Simon says switch places, Simon says make silly faces, Simon says swing your arms from side to side." There are plenty of options and the students are likely to use common sounds such as R or S without even realizing it.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, following directions, listening for details, grammar, sentence construction, turn-taking, social language, and role-playing.

6. I Spy - This is another great game that you can use to get up and get moving. You can play this in the hall, on the playground, in your therapy room, walking around the school, in the cafeteria, anywhere really. Have the student try to find items that contain their target sound and then describe it to you or the group until someone guesses it.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, describing, sentence construction, grammar, listening, critical thinking, and social language.

7. Acting Out Actions - This is kind of like charades. Have the students think of an action that contains their target word that they can act out. The other students will practice saying the target sounds as they guess what the action is. For example, if the target sound is /r/, the students might want to act out running, rowing, racing, rocking, exercising, surfing, marching, pouring, etc. The other students will know what sound the word has to have so they can only guess actions that contain their target sound.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, critical thinking, attention to details, short term memory, turn-taking, and social language.

8. Make your own version of "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot" - If you're working on "SH" - you can play "Shoes, Ocean, Fish, Shoot" and establish rules. Shoes beat fish, loses to ocean. Ocean beats shoe, loses to fish. Fish beats ocean, loses to shoes. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it but once the rules are learned, you can play this again and again if you have an extra minute or two at the end of a session. Try to also have the students explain their logic behind the rules. For example, the ocean cannot beat the fish because fish live in oceans. This will get the students thinking creatively and help create a more concrete understanding of the rules.
Goals Targeted: Articulation, critical thinking, short term memory, problem solving, planning, social language, and abstract thinking,

What are some of your favorite activities that use little or no materials? Comment below and share your creative ideas :)

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