4 Tips to Make the MOST of your Group Interactions

So much goes on in mixed group sessions that sometimes it can feel like a juggling act, especially for new SLPs. The activity, the materials, the behavior, modeling and eliciting the skills, taking data, and watching the clock to get it all completed! How do we get it done?

Part of what helps me out is the organization I set up at the beginning of the year, which provides a firm foundation. Don’t worry if you are already into the school year as the ideas will still help you out! Check out this post.

Once you have a master sheet of the goals you need to address during the year, think about how they can be worked on together to form your groups. While homogenous groups sound great, it is rare to have them, in my experience, and over time I have come to believe that students benefit from interactions with peers at different levels. It takes a bit of brainstorming to figure out specific activities and goal combinations at first, but soon it will be easier to do!

Pair earlier and later skills to provide models
For example, figuring out what happens when (predicting) is an early cause-effect type of skill that students need to make the connection and answer ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. When you ask your first student, “What happened when I …?” you are providing a model for the student who will be asked ‘Why?” or “How?’ next.

SLP: What did I do?
Student 1: You moved it.
SLP: What happened when I moved the wand?
Student 2: You made a bubble.
SLP: Yes! I moved the wand and made a bubble. Student 3, how did I get the bubble to come out?
Student 3: You moved it.

Using group interactions to make your job easier! Looks-Like-Language
Pair goals that work together to form a complete skill

With older students, you can elicit information in turns the same way. Take the example of remembering story details combined with sequencing and telling the main idea. After a short story or video clip, the first student could use story elements to remember different details. The second student could tell the important story attempts in sequence, while the third could sum it all up with the main idea. This way, the students are interacting and providing some of the information needed, freeing you up to take data.

Pair articulation needs with language needs
Students who have good language skills but need to work on carryover of their articulation goals can make great partners for students with language problems. The variety of activities you are using, especially books, for language needs can provide many chances for the artic student to use their speech sounds.

Make a set of the WH question words that your language student needs to answer and let your artic student ask a question that has one of the target sound words in it as well. Sometimes students respond well to the creative questions their peers ask! Once the students have started interacting with each other, they are both practicing their skills in a more naturalistic way, which is great for carryover.

Pair receptive needs with expressive needs
Students can be involved together in an activity when one needs to provide pieces of information that demonstrate comprehension while the other one needs to pull all of the information together to express it. Some examples of these pairings could be:
answering questions-> telling information in a grammatically correct sentence
remembering details-> summarizing information
naming items in a category-> choosing the correct category
describing an object -> making an inference

The basic idea behind of all these tips are to have some of the students supply a piece of the information that will provide models or help out the next student, limiting the amount of separate directions and models you have to provide. Using this strategy gets students interacting and using their skills in a more natural way while freeing up a little of your concentration to take data and manage the activity.

When it works, it can be awesome! Good luck!

3 Easy Tips for Spicing Up Your Games with Mixed Groups

Games! Yes, SLPs love to play games with their students, but there is a good reason for this. Students who come to speech/language therapy walk in the door with a very mixed set of skill strengths and weaknesses, learning problems and strengths, as well as IEP goals, all of which need to be remediated in a minimal amount of time each week.

3 easy game tips for speech/language therapy
There is no curriculum to be taught that ties the group together, unlike their classroom, so a variety of activities are needed that lets each student be part of a group and get enough practice to learn at their own rate. Games, crafts and other activities fit the bill perfectly.

Beyond the planning needs of the SLP is the need to have the students use their newly attained speech and language skills in as natural an environment as possible.  

When students are able to use their skills in a structured activity with lots of feedback, the SLP checks to see if they can continue to use the skill when they aren’t focusing specifically on their speech and language. 

If they maintain it during a fun activity, chances are the teacher and parents may see the skill being used as well.

How to do this? For a new SLP, this often feels like juggling practice. It helps at first to have a group data sheet so you aren’t juggling paperwork while modeling and eliciting speech/language skills, as well as monitoring behaviors in the group.  

If you haven’t found a group data sheet that works well for you, check out this blog post. There’s a freebie download as well as links to other free data sheets on TpT. If you'd like some ideas for monitoring the bigger picture, check out this blog post.

3 easy game tips for speech/language therapy
Board games aren’t the only way to bring a group together and address all of these variables. Kids love games of all types! Some of my most successful games have been ones that I have put together from varied household items and junk that was lying around.


Plastic egg cartons make great open-ended tic-tac-toe tossing games! Pick up some themed erasers, puffballs, or any type of lightweight item to throw. After each response, students get to toss one in, trying to get three in a row!


Go to a yard sale to find some inexpensive building toys. Pictured is a monster set I found. Students get another piece to add on after each correct response. This motivates and keeps little hands busy while waiting for a turn!

Tossing Games!

Packing peanuts are fun to toss because they are surprisingly unpredictable yet won’t hurt anyone. I combined them with a toy hoop and a box to contain the game. Kids love it!

Look around your house and see what you can turn into a game! What is your favorite 'junk' to use?

Fun and Simple Holiday Games to Make Therapy So Easy!

Life can be complicated, but therapy doesn’t always have to be that way! As a matter of fact, it is just when your life is getting complicated that you really need those quick and easy therapy ideas! Last year, I posted some ideas for decorating a tree as a quick, fun therapy activity. If you missed that post, check it out here!

Quick and easy holiday therapy ideas from Looks Like Language!
Here’s another way to use simple shapes for open-ended holiday fun. Cut out shapes in different colors, like I did in the picture, but use as many different holiday items as you have available. 

Mix and match holidays and add core vocabulary items, too. I always combined holiday items (for fun!) with teaching toy labels and associated vocabulary, taking data on that rather than the fun stuff I added in. 

Kids have their minds on presents and toys this month, so the topic is self-motivating and great for home carryover!

To play, the students can request the color item that they like. If you need to elicit longer utterances, try adding the same shapes in different sizes.  

Or, instead of placing them in a pile, lay them out like a memory game and have your students request the orange ornament that is below the blue dreidel!  Tape pictures of their target words on the back and have them say it correctly to keep the shape or put pictures of holiday activities on the back to elicit grammatical structures.

Besides simplicity, one of the things that I like best about these activities is that it lets you incorporate seasonal vocabulary with your students, yet not make it the main focus of your therapy session. Teachers, moms, and dads will be using those seasonal words with them, too, so don’t lose track of the special skills we have to offer and what we can work on that the students aren’t getting help with anywhere else!

The versatility of these open-ended games makes it easy to use from year to year as well. So, last year you worked on beginning sounds and this year you have a lot of final consonant deletions? No problem! Just pull off the pictures from last year and tape a new picture on!

Quick and easy holiday therapy ideas from Looks Like Language!
Having a super busy year? Are you looking for a versatile game where someone else did the work for you? I’ve got that covered, too! Check this freebie out!

Easy peasy activities that provide perfectly fun, adaptable ideas for this time of year!


Quick, Easy and FREE Thanksgiving Play Tips!

One of my favorite categories to use along with the Thanksgiving theme is (you guessed it!) FOOD. What a natural go-together! The basic Thanksgiving vocabulary, such as Pilgrim, Indian, log cabin, teepee, etc. can be incorporated into play based on daily routines, while actually building your little ones’ communication skills for food names, eating and drinking!

Free and easy Thanksgiving play- Looks-Like-Language!
Watch out for craft store sales to get great little props. The Pilgrims and Indians in my photo are wooden pieces that I think were meant for scrapbooking or decorating frames! Of course, raiding your children’s toys (if you are brave) or checking garage sales are other ways to get great finds. Best of all, the log cabin and teepee will cost you next to nothing! Did you figure out how they are made?

You need some internet images, an empty tissue box, and an empty toilet paper roll! For real! Oh, you need scissors, glue, and a paper clip, too. (If you want to make them really pretty and do it as a  craftivity for your students to take home, you might want to paint the tissue box and toilet paper roll brown first. I totally skipped this step!)

For the log cabin, I cut out around the opening for the tissues, leaving about a half inch of the box left to provide a sturdy frame. Glue the log cabin photo onto one side of the box and cut out the tissue box and the photo around the door frame. Bend it back so it can open and close. Add extra construction paper logs around the other sides if you’d like more detail.

For the teepee, cut along the length of the toilet paper roll to open it. Pull one set of ends together in a way to get the other ends opening up in a teepee shape. Glue or tape the skinny ends together and secure with a paper clip. Glue the teepee photo onto the toilet paper roll, aligning the openings, and cut the toilet paper roll opening to match your photo.

Voila! Instant Thanksgiving theme!

If you don’t have play figures, cut out Pilgrim and Indian finger puppets, and small pictures of the foods or target words you need to elicit and you are ready to go! Then, they can talk about who is hungry or thirsty, what food each person wants, how are they going to get it (catch the turkey, grow the pumpkin, shuck the corn) and where it goes (in the teepee or in the log cabin.) For even more fun, have your students make food from playdoh.

There’s no worries about messing up the play houses since they are so easy and inexpensive to do! But, if they do survive the play, you can store all of the picture cards, finger puppets and other play items in the tissue box until next year!

My Journey to the World of an SLP

How did you decide to become an SLP? I’m joining with The Frenzied SLPs to tell you our stories of what led us to this path in life. I’m sure that there are as many different stories as there are SLPs!

The journey to be an SLP- A Frenzied SLP Link-up- Looks-Like-Language
My interest in speech therapy started at a very young age. I was in elementary school when I had a young cousin who was unintelligible to everyone in my extended family, except for my aunt and I! It got me thinking that maybe I had a special skill.

Time passed, and I remained interested in working with children. I ran a small summer camp for local kids with a friend, babysat and volunteered my time with disabled children while in middle/high school. However, I entered my undergraduate years planning to become a reading specialist, combining my love of books and children. 

Then I realized that there was no undergraduate major for reading, at the same time that I was highly recommended to take an introductory course on speech and language development. I was fascinated with all of the information that I learned that semester, and my major was decided!

Being an overachiever, I took quite a few education classes and double majored in psychology, as well.  When it came time for a Master’s degree, I decided to continue with speech/language pathology. I’m very glad that I did! I must say that, in my long career, at times I have felt swamped with too much to do and overwhelmed with paper work, but I have never been bored!

Each student I have worked with has had me learning as much as I was remediating! Every child is unique, learning in a different way and bringing their individual strengths and weaknesses to the learning curve. From infants to high school and regular education to special needs, I’ve had the privilege to touch many lives for the better!

What is your story? Please share in the comments!

Building Thanksgiving Sentences FREE Activity-4

Build Thanksgiving sentences with pictured words! Free from Looks-Like-Language
If your school is like mine, you have a few days to get through before Thanksgiving! Why these short weeks before a holiday sometimes seem the longest is beyond me!

To say Happy Thanksgiving to my loyal followers, I'm getting this last section of my Thanksgiving out to you ahead of time. I really hope it makes your planning a little easier this week.

Download it here, and have a wonderful holiday!

Building Thanksgiving Sentences FREE Activity- 3

Build Thanksgiving sentences with pictured words! Free from Looks-Like-Language
I just love using visuals! They really help any students with processing or learning problems, they support at risk learners, and pictures just make it more fun for kids! I do tend to forget how much more easily most students will write than mine will, but don't be concerned. Your students who learn at a faster rate will have fun with the pictures and then can go write their own sentences after!

Building Thanksgiving Sentences has picture supports at two levels- supporting comprehension using color coded WH questions and noun-verb-noun sorting for higher level students. Fun for everyone!

This week you get the action/ verb pictures for making sentences. Download it here!

Planning Made Easier- Quick Tips for SLPs

Planning.. Is that a problem for you? I know a lot of SLPs and SPED teachers who think that is one of the biggest job problems, right after all of the paperwork. In fact, most of them say they'd like to leave the school system as soon as they reach full retirement age and then work somewhere else. They don't know what specific kind of job they want, but they all agree that it has to be one that does not require planning!

Making Planning Easier- Tips for SLPs from Looks-Like-Language
Of course, we can all plan for the week, but what can be done to make the process quicker and easier? My time spent planning has gotten easier over the years, so here are my tips in case they are helpful for you. If you are just starting out, you might as well face the fact that planning will take considerable time. However, there are ways that can make it quicker for next year!

Organize Your Caseload

First, I start with a master list of my students and goal areas that I made when determining groups at the beginning of the year. Click here if you want to see how I use it. While I do this on paper to keep a copy at home, a photo of it will work as well. I'm sure there must be some app out there that will do this, too. If so, please share!

Organize Materials

I keep my thematic materials in page protectors in a binder. Label the binders by theme or skill with this freebie!

Making Planning Easier- Tips for SLPs from Looks-Like-Language
When I need to plan for the month ahead, I look in the binder as the first step, pulling out any materials I have already made that can be adapted for the current year's students and goals. I also pull out a few open ended materials that are just plain fun. 

Try hanging them up on a bulletin board so your students can see them, too! Often I will switch my planned activity around when a student requests one of these activities, as long as I can still accomplish the goal, since students learn better when they are invested.

Keep Notes

One of the tips that really helps me is to jot down notes if I have figured out an especially creative or fun way to adapt a material to meet two wildly different goals. Do you have some groups that are like that? I have some where the kids actually have no goals in common! They just are available at the same time and can be at the same table together! These kind of groups make for some creative planning. Meeting 4-6 different goals in one hour a week with no overlaps gets you thinking about different ways to use the materials!

Making Planning Easier- Tips for SLPs from Looks-Like-Language

Search TpT the Quick Way!

Once I've pulled out the materials that I think will work for my current caseload and goals, I'm off to TpT to check out what freebies or paid products are available to fill in my other needs. Having this wonderful resource is amazing! Before TpT, I had to spend so many more hours planning and making materials. I didn't have the money to buy commercially available materials, and they just needed to be modified tremendously, anyway!  

It is very easy to refine your search on TpT, making it quick and easy! First, enter your skill or theme, in this case, Thanksgiving. Then choose your subject. If you click 'specialty,' you have the the choice of speech therapy.  Then enter your price range. If you want to look at freebies first, go under the member sponsored ads and click on 'sort by' to get 'most recently.'  This will let you start your search with the most recently posted freebies and work your way back in time, saving you from seeing sets that you may ave already downloaded. Quick and easy!

Two Fun Freebies!

I did exactly this in my search and came up with these two fun freebies to use this year!

Turkey Costume Bingo from Communication Blessings is a fun way to bridge from Halloween to Thanksgiving, as well as being a fun activity to complement many turkey books! 

It is always great to have an open ended game around! This set from Gold Country SLP is fun and easy! It is also black and white, making photocopying easier!

If you like these ideas, be sure to download my FREE editable binder spine labels to make your life easier!

The Halloween Challenge Continues! Play and Learn

Turning trash to Halloween treasure- that is part of what this Halloween speech/language therapy challenge is all about!  If you have missed any of this series, start here. Be sure to catch the freebie in this challenge!


One set of Target Dollar Finds.
One set of old materials.
One experienced SLP.

That would be me! I'm Linda, the very busy SLP from Looks-Like-Language.  Don't ask me why, but I have a hard time throwing out containers. Especially re-usable containers. I've also noticed that I come up with therapy ideas when under pressure. It can be the every half hour pressure of our work lives, when students walk in the door and you know that your plan won't fly without some modifications, or, as in this case, when I have the pressure of this challenge! 

The Halloween Challenge Loot! Looks Like Language
I used two of my Target finds in today's challenge. The skull erasers don't erase well at all, but they are really fun to toss! The spiky little balls are another fun find. 

The old part of the challenge? I had a empty wipes container to recycle, but when I looked at the wiggly opening, it said 'monster' to me! 

Then, I needed something to address my students' language goals, so I chose Halloween Costume Bingo, an inference game I made a while ago and recently updated. Tossing an eraser on your answer to cover it always makes the learning a little more fun, whether you are using the riddles, the word cards, the inference set or a combination of the three to meet your groups' varied needs!

My students have a lot of problems with literal questions still, often due to a lack of experience and a limited knowledge base, making inference questions even harder. But, being able to make inferences is a really necessary skill for both school work and for daily life social situations.  

So, how to get kids who are literal (SO literal) up to the level of being able to make inferences? My solution has been to start with a basic theme, Halloween in this case, build the knowledge base and transfer the skill from literal to nonliteral by using pictures to help make the connections.
Ideas for learning to infer- The Halloween therapy challenge-Looks-Like-Language

Riddles, with picture cues, are a good way to begin helping students learn to give details and then make inferences. If they have a limited selection of pictured choices, they can learn to listen and connect the clues to one of the items in the pictures. 

The bingo costume game boards are in this photo, but if that provides too many choices for your students, just cut one of the boards apart and make lotto strips instead.

Once students recognize details about the costumes, it is time to move on to expressive skills. I believe that if our students aren't capable of recalling information to tell about an item, they certainly aren't going to be able to call it to mind and then use the details to make an inference from them.

Enter my monster game, thanks to the wipes container. 

Hungry Monster:

Toss one of the skulls and see which word card it lands on.  It is the student's job to tell 3 things about that costume/item to keep the skull. If not, the hungry monster eats it. Take the card away after a student has given information about it. When all of the cards are gone, see who has the most skulls at the end!

Save the day:

Make a prediction: Will you be able to save the day and get the spider balls back into the haunted house? Or will the monster eat them all? Roll one of the spider balls and see which card it lands on. Again, tell 3 details about the item to toss the ball back into the haunted house. If you can't think of 3 things, the monster will gobble it up!

Kids love to play games and make believe. If they seem like they are a little too old, they often still enjoy the challenge and being able to toss some balls around. Play makes life a little more fun! Varying the game and the cards being used builds skills and keeps you from getting the comment, "But we already did this!" quite as much.

Find the things you need to use this idea here:

The haunted house clip art is free from Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.

The fuzzy monster graphic is free from Amazing Classroom.com.
The Halloween Costume Bingo Game can be found at my store.

Have fun playing and learning!

Work Collaboratively with More Success and Less Stress!

4 Tips for SLPs- Making it work! And one time it didn't! Looks-Like-Language with The Frenzied SLPs
Working with our students can sometimes be easier, in a way, than working with our colleagues! I'm joining up with The Frenzied SLPs to give some hints we picked up over the years for working in collegial relationships.

Collaborating with teachers can cover a range of experiences. I find it usually helps if you are able to choose which teachers to work with initially and when to be present in the classroom, so that you have some feeling of ease about how to address the IEP goals before walking in the door. 

For example, in elementary school I was comfortable with addressing all of the linguistic concepts needed for math word problems in the classroom, but I don't feel that way about joining a middle school algebra class!

Even when you have a working relationship of mutual respect with a teacher, it takes some time to develop a co-teaching style that you both are comfortable with. Since this journey is different with every teacher you will work with, I'll just give a few points to consider.

Collaborate with more success and less stress! Look Like Language

1. Try to have a short discussion with the teacher to find out when she will be most comfortable having you in. For example, she might feel less stress having you in at the end of the week when her content has been covered and she is doing activities to review and pull it all together. 

Alternatively, she may love to have you in at the beginning of the week when she is introducing vocabulary and basic concepts.  It all depends on her teaching styles, your comfort level with the subject area, and the needs of the student.

2. Be prepared to do more observation than intervention in the very beginning. Watch the teacher's teaching style, figure out how you can address your goals during that time period without causing a major disruption in her routines, and be sure to find out her comfort level with throwing out comments! 

Some teachers don't mind having you join in and speak, while others are very uncomfortable having their flow be disturbed, preferring that you be more involved at a specific point during the time. Coming up with visual supports and other strategies for the student to use, with minimal discussion, can be helpful in this situation.

3. Realize that, especially in the beginning, you won't necessarily feel that the same amount of personal intervention with your student has taken place. Your first priority is to build a relationship with the teacher and observe how the student's language needs are impacting his ability to do well in the classroom. 

Once you have established these goals, the interventions you put in place will be more likely to be supported and used by the classroom staff even when you aren't in the room, making up for the slower start.

4. Be flexible! Working with your coworkers demands the same skill set you use to adapt the work and the flow of the therapy session for each of your students. You have to fit yourself into the spot where they are and try to move forward together.

Do you like all of the ways you have to work collaboratively with others? What is your least favorite? Mine, quite honestly, was having student interns. I just didn't know what to do with myself while watching therapy all day long!

The Halloween Therapy Idea Challenge is ON!

If you saw my post earlier this month, you know the challenge is on!
One experienced SLP- that would be me!
One old material- this Halloween box I purchased at Starbucks a few years ago and never used. (Yes, I do tend to keep certain things way too long!)
One new item from my recent finds at Target- that would be the number clings.

Now, for how many ways to use it!

Halloween Therapy Challenge- Looks-Like-Language
1. Articulation in Words
Roll a die and say a word with the target sound that many times correctly to be able to open one of the boxes with the same number that was rolled. Take the cling and throw it at the room window, trying to get that number to stick in the "hoop." The hoop can be any area you define on your window.

2. Articulation in Sentences
Roll a die, then say that number of sentences using the target sound correctly to be able to take out the number cling and throw it at the window. This time, try to get the cling into the spot so that the numbers will be in correct order on the window.

3. Vocabulary
Place the target vocabulary words on slips of paper, putting one in each box. Take the next number that is still on the sheet and open up the box corresponding to that number. Give that number of details about the vocabulary word that was in the box, such as definitions, a sentence, synonyms, antonyms, part of speech, and things associated with it. If you can give the correct number of pieces of information, throw the number at our section of the window. If it falls off, it goes back on the sheet for someone else to use.

4. Inferences
Place the number cling inside the boxes, but don't worry about matching the numbers. Use the inference cards from Halloween Costume Guessing Game, Halloween Inference game, or use your own inferences. The first student to make the correct inference about what is being described gets to open the box with the matching item and take out the number cling.  Count that many students around the group to see who has the next turn.

5. Answering WH Questions
Place the number clings in a box with the matching number. The students roll the die to find out how many questions need to be answered. You ask that number of varied WH questions, on a Halloween theme (of course!) and the student gets to open the box if all of the answers were correct. If not, the next student takes a turn. The number clings wait on the table in front of the students who earned them until all of the boxes have been opened. After ready, set, go, it is a race to see who is the first student who can get all of their numbers to cling to the window first.

6. Grammar
Write varied target grammatical forms on slips of paper, putting them in the boxes. Multiples in each box are okay. The student walks to the window and takes off a number cling, then comes back to the able and opens a box with the same number. The student has to used all of the words that were in the box, along with the name of the Halloween item that is pictured on the front of the box,  in a sentence or a short story. The box stays in front of the student if all of the grammatical forms were used correctly. If not, the papers and the box go back into the haunted house, the cling goes back on the wall, and the next student takes a turn. Students try to get the most boxes in front of them to win the game.

7. Narratives
Place the number clings inside a box with a matching number. Students roll a die and choose which of the two matching Halloween characters will star in the story. If a story with your minimum number of the basic story grammar parts is told, the student opens the box, takes out the number cling and throws it at the window. Their score is the number of story parts plus the number rolled. See who has the greatest score after each student has had a turn.

8. Following spatial directions
Place the number clings randomly in the boxes (one in each box.) Give the student directions to find the pictured Halloween item that is in the cover of the box. If the students followed your directions and named the correct item, they get the number cling inside the box to throw at the window.

9. Following directions with linguistic concepts
Place a target linguistic concept in each of the boxes. Roll the die to see which box to open and take out. If the students follow your verbal direction for that concept correctly, they can throw the matching number cling at the window. If it falls off, you keep it. When all of the boxes are done, see if the students score on the window beats your score.

10. Asking WH questions 
Roll the die to see which Halloween item is to be used. The student has to ask a question whose answer will be that Halloween item, varying the question word each time. If they can ask the same number of  questions as the number they rolled, they get that number cling. Total the numbers at the end. The student whose sum is the greatest wins.

WHEW! Please don't ask me to keep going!

You may be asking, "But what if I don't have that sweet Halloween box?" Well, you could cut openings in the top of a shoebox. You could get small containers from the dollar store and use them in place of the box I have.

Freebie- Take the Halloween Therapy Idea Challenge- Looks-Like-Language
Or, you could use the cute freebie (yes, the one I so considerately made for my loyal readers out of the kindness of my heart!) and just substitute doors or windows wherever it says boxes and under where it says in.  You are on your own for the clings, although magnetic pictures (like the kind you get in the Story Grammar Toolkit) work great for tossing at a magnetic board!

I sure hope this post got your creative juices flowing and thinking about how you can use materials you have on hand for therapy! 

Win the Challenge! Halloween Speech/Language Therapy Ideas

We all know that kids love games, toys and fun! They also talk and interact more when they are having fun, and isn't that what speech/language therapy is all about?  

Halloween speech/language therapy idea challenge at Looks-Like-Language
Planning for October took me to the Target dollar bins to add a little variety to my speech/language therapy toolbox, um, toy collection for Halloween and I'm excited to share my finds with you!

I actually went to find the eraser set, but I couldn't locate them at first. That got me looking at the other Halloween goodies and thinking about what I could do with them, when suddenly I found erasers! By that time, I kind of liked all of the stuff, so, of course, I bought the whole caboodle.

On my way home, this got me thinking about how my therapy planning has changed over the years. In the beginning, I started with my available prepared materials and activities, lining up quite a few to do each week. Over-planning was a necessity, just to be sure that I didn't run out of enough activities to fill therapy time.

As time went on, I collected more and more materials, worked with  a wider variety of goals, ages and handicapping conditions, and got a bit better at planning on the fly. So, while I started with materials and spent time figuring out how to elicit goals/targets with what I had available, eventually I switched to having a core set of activities available and figuring out which ones I wanted to use with specific students. I also brainstormed for groups, trying to figure out how to make an activity that was really made for one speech/language target able to be used to meet the other students' goals.

Halloween speech/language therapy idea challenge at Looks-Like-Language
All of these planning methods helped develop my skills as a therapist, and honestly, planning became easier over time.  

So this is my challenge to you, wherever you are in your journey as a speech/language pathologist. Pull out all of your 'fun stuff' for Halloween. Think about all of the various ways you have used these materials in therapy and the goals of your students this year. How many ways and goals can you come up with for using them?

I'm going to be doing this challenge this month and sharing my ideas with you! While I have some more 'fun stuff' around, I'm going to try to incorporate these new 'finds' into my therapy this month, combining them with what I already own, of course! How many different ideas can I come up with for each combination, do you suppose? Is your list longer than mine? Join in the challenge!

The game is afoot!
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