As children and educational professional begin to get used to the new school year, it is a great time to look at the big picture for the upcoming academic year. By now, any children that you worked with over the summer have been reassessed so you can begin to think about other items. Check in with families that are new to you. Share information about yourself, including ways to contact you, and include items that their children will be working on this academic year.
Refresh Interest Inventories
Kids and their interests change quickly and without warning. The best way to actively engage them is to make sure you take time to get to know the children that you work with each day. Ask them about their summer. Inquire about their favorite books, movies, video games, and other interests. Take a little time to fill out an interest inventory sheet for everyone. Make them fun for older students to complete and even encourage drawings from younger students where you can fill in words. This process will not only give you items to talk about, but provide valuable information that you can use when lesson planning for the months ahead. If you are short on time to create your own, look on Pinterest for items that you can print for free or purchase at a reasonable price.
Plan Themes for the Year
Getting everything in order for the next year will make the year go more smoothly. Think about themes that you would like to cover each month with your children. Be sure use information from home and the interest inventories that you complete to get started. Think about all of the children and whether they do best with crafting, word games, role playing, songs, games, tech tools, or something else to encourage language skill development. Each of those and other possibilities will keep things fresh and actively engage children. If you are working in a larger school, coordinate items with the classroom teacher, especially with older students that may have specific curriculum requirements that you can tap into.
Below are a few ideas that would be flexible for multiple areas in speech and language work and along different age levels:
- September – Getting back into the swing of things and completing interest inventories and plans for the year ahead. Nice time to use word games to encourage conversation skills and confidence building in reluctant speakers.
- October – autumn, apples, leaves, changing trees
- November – Thanksgiving, being thankful, families
- December – Winter, snow, gingerbread people, sledding, holidays
- January – New Years, cold days, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- February – Valentine’s Day, President’s Day,
- March – St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, kites,
- April – Easter/Passover, Earth Day,
- May – Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day
- June – Flag Day, Father’s Day, end of the school year
As always, individualize communication with families. Not all will be as comfortable with English, so see if a translation may assist them. The more you help them, the better the relationship and carry over with skills will be with the children when they are home.