I’ve had a desire for several years to make my 30 minute therapy sessions more routine oriented. I want students to know what to expect when they get to speech. I want them to start working as soon as they enter the room, while I frantically gather the rest of my materials. I want them to feel secure in knowing at least some of what we’ll be doing each session.
Why use routines?
- They take too much time to learn.
- My students change every 30 minutes.
- I don’t have time to enforce them.
- I’m too busy.
- My lesson plans vary so much throughout the day and week.
- I have 50-100 students.
- My students don’t understand.
Studies show that routines help!
- Reducing distractions
- Managing behavior
- Providing security
- Using time more efficiently
Great classroom teachers use routines for:
- Entering the classroom
- Getting materials
- Cleaning up
- Asking for help
- Beginning work
So how can the SLP or Special Educator use effective routines?
- Learning behavioral expectations
- Establishing target goal for the session
- Incorporating routine small talk/social communication
- Starting the session without instructions or prompts
- Cleaning up
- Getting homework/carry-over materials
This year, one goal is to incorporate warm-up routines into:
- Social skills groups (so I created Social Skills Group Lessons, which include a daily warm-up)
- Language and mixed groups (so I created “Photo of the Week” materials)
There are two ways to establish routines with these materials:
Option A: Use the photo and leveled posters (CCSS aligned for language skills K-5th, plus social and articulation posters) at the beginning of each small group session.
Either way, the students will have a routine that does not change from session to session. It gives the SLP or Special Educator time to gather materials or wrap up data, while the students do a familiar activity that is also working towards their goals!
Also make sure to check out “Story of the Week” as a follow-up for Photo of the week! Great for all levels and add story comprehension and retell to the routine!
Do you use any routines within your small group sessions? Which ones are the most effective?