It can be easy to get overwhelmed with all of the various items taking place at the start of the new school year. Take a deep breath and use the fresh new start to think ahead and get organized. As you get to know new students or reacquainted with others, make outlines and plans for some important areas to focus on. While it may seem like more work now, it will assist in the months ahead.
Setting Themes for Each Month
Themes that will work well with different age levels and are flexible with multiple speech and language goals include:
- October – Halloween, falling leaves, Fall weather
- November – giving thanks, special people in families, Thanksgiving
- December – snow activities, winter weather, Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa, snowmen
- January – New Year, keeping warm, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- February – hearts, love, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day,
- March – rainbows, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring weather, kite flying
- April – rainy days, clouds, umbrellas, Easter/Passover, Earth Day
- May – May flowers, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day
- June – Flag Day, Father’s Day, end of the school year
Nothing for a school year is ever set in stone. You can change plans if you need to, but it helps to have a general idea of themes for the months ahead. Talk to parents at home and complete interest inventories (below) to assist with this process. Check in with classroom teachers to see if you should try to tie in with plans that they may have. Look at the needs of the children for the year. What helps them to be successful with speech and language goals? Are they more attentive with crafts, games, singing, technology use, role playing, or something else for skill development and practice?
Utilize Interest Inventories
Interests with children change from year to year. While Angry Birds may be popular at one point, something else could come along shortly after that. It is important to check in with students and ask them about their favorite things. If you actively engage them during speech and language sessions, you are more likely to see results. Ask about favorite books, movies, video games, places to visit, and other areas of interest. Work on interest inventory sheets with kids and allow them to draw and explore more to help you know about them. Create your own interest inventory for age groups you work with, or look on Pinterest for ideas or ones that you may purchase. Be sure to check in with families for their thoughts since they know their children. Not all multilingual families will be comfortable with English, so be sure to send home translations. Building relationships with them early in the year will help as time progresses.