Drilling can be fun! + FREEBIES
Updated: Aug 28
Every year I get a ton of transfer students with speech therapy IEPs for articulation. As I am reading their plans and checking progress notes, I always wonder what kind of materials and activities the previous SLPs used. I started asking my students this year to give me examples of what they did in their old school to work on their speech sounds. I LOVE it when they say "her room was fun like yours" or "we played a lot of fun games while working on speech." I don't like hearing "she made me practice with flashcards every time" or "it was boring." I am definitely not judging any SLP, as we all have our own methods ,but I want students to enjoy coming to therapy while getting the most out of it. When my sister was little she received speech therapy and it was mainly flashcard drilling and she HATED it. I know there is a time and place for drilling, but I found ways in my room to make this type of activity more engaging and fun (even during 5 minutes articulation bursts). I wanted to share ways I have incorporated games, toys, or even common objects for just this purpose. I have found that if you give the student some type of relatable task during articulation drills, they will be more willing to put in the work.
First I will share 3 easy tips for articulation practice.
1. Get a dollar store mini basketball hoop and hang it on your door. The student will practice a target word 5X and then they will get to shoot. You can make it fun by keeping track of points scored if you are in a group (my students love a good competition). After 20 shots they will have practiced 100 trials! It is very easy to get even more than 100 trials this way during a 30 minute session (there is little down time in-between turns). The students will be on their feet and having fun.
2. FREE 100 trial challenges. One of my first downloads on TPT was one of Peachie Speechie's 100 trials articulation challenges. She has these in a TON of themes and they are a great way to get a lot of trials in while coloring or dotting. Use any articulation card or app (for the stimulus) and the student will color or dot in each trial on the worksheet. She also has some that go with snacks (candy/goldfish/cereal). How cool is that? You can also use mini erasers with these pages too! You can download them for FREE by clicking on the image.
3. Articulation Lava floor! I use round seat markers as stepping stones and I place them around my room. You could use colored paper tapped to the ground if you don't have seat markers. I tell my students that the floor is lava and they have to stay on the stepping stones to be safe! Every time they hop to a stone they have to practice an articulation word 5-10 times (the therapist will determine the number of trials per stepping stone). I have a large room, so I have placed up to 20 stones! I played this game as a kid at home (except we hopped all over the furniture and got in trouble!). I use the app Articulate it by Smarty Ears during this activity so I don't have to worry about holding a bunch of cards for mixed sound groups.
Now I want to share some of my creations! I am constantly thinking of new and exciting ways to work on articulation. Click on any of the images to find them on Teachers Pay Teachers. Keep reading because I have a free sample for my readers at the end of this post.
Thumbprint Crafts: Kids love to make thumbprints over their articulation words as they practice saying them! Make sure to keep wet wipes near by. These make fabulous artwork to display in your room or in the hall. I have several free templates available of some of these activities.
Paper Clippin' Articulation: This is perfect for short articulation drill bursts (I have had many people tell me it is perfect for 5 minute articulation). Everyone has paperclips laying around right?
Toy Companions: These are toy mats that go along with everyday toys that many therapists already have in their speech room. It makes practicing articulation fun for the students as they play with the toys. Read more about Toy Companions in this blog post (click here). I have a few free samples available (click the image to go to TPT).
Game Companions: Dust of your old board games and use my mats to practice articulation during the game. Structured...easy... and fun! Read more about game companions in this blog post (click here).
Play Dough Companions: I have a series where students squish flies at a picnic, on a spider web, and on a pond! Students really love to practice articulation while squishing flies ewwww!!!!
Color By Symbol Coloring Pages: These are great for when you need something that is print and go! The student will practice their target work on the page and then color the the part of the hidden image that correlates. I started making these in December 2016 and can't stop making them (I need them for every season/holiday/theme).
Articulation Cut & Paste Crafts: Super easy crafts that allow for a lot of trials (practice as you color, practice as you cut, practice as you paste) while keeping students busy between turns (perfect for groups). I have 24 different themes and they are available in bundles.
Thanks for reading and I hope your next articulation session is fun and engaging!
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