Planning for my First Week of Speech/Language Services

Oooooh I so have mixed feelings when it comes to the beginning of the school year.  I love summer and I am always sad to see it go (although I sure do get excited with the idea of Fall festivities).  However, I enjoy the refreshing feeling of the start of a new year.  The beginning of the year feels fresh and full of possibility personally and professionally.

I started blogging in 2013 because I love browsing the amazing ideas from other SLPs and thought “hey…I can share my ideas, too”.  Soooo I thought I’d share with you my planning for the first week of services with my speech/language clients.

This year, I am working with students ranging from kindergarten through high school (although, as other SLPs are so familiar with, my caseload is fluid at this point) with goals addressing articulation, language, and pragmatic language.  Such a range of students and range of goals/needs requires creative planning and I am so looking forward to it.

Let’s start with talking about the beginning of the year.


I plan my first session (possibly first two sessions) with the main goal of the students getting to know me, me getting to know the students, and the students familiarizing themselves with the other students and my speech space.  Taking the time at the beginning of the year to allow for everyone to get to know each other absolutely pays for itself as the year progresses.  I am connected with my students, they trust me, they look forward to coming to see me (and I look forward to seeing them 🙂 ), I know how they work, and I have a better idea as to how to work with them to address their areas of need.  Here are some of the activities I will do in my speech/language sessions to start this school year….

Goal Card Activity:

I don’t lead with this.  I usually lead with one of the fun games or documents listed below, but one of the BEST activities I have done with my students is to complete a Goal Card.  (I will attach a picture of this after I have students complete them this week).  As a group, we review goals.  I do this so each student knows what he/she is working on and so that the students know what their friends are working on to help keep them accountable.  As we review the goals, students complete a Goal Card.  I give each student a large index card (or cut a piece of paper in half) and either have them write out keywords for their goal or I write it.  Then they can decorate it however they want.  I always say to decorate it in a way that might help you remember you goal.  At the beginning of each therapy session, I take out their goal cards so that we can remind ourselves what we are working on…


Jenga (amazon link)

  • I have Jenga blocks that I wrote conversation starters on…questions and statements that get students talking.
  • Check out my post on Conversation Jenga (<–click here)


Headbanz (amazon link)

  • I love this game.  I do not play it the way it is intended.  My students take turns picking a card (the guesser).  The other students take turners using their language and best speech sounds to describe (give a clue) the picture on the card.  After each student gives a clue, the guesser can guess.  If the person guessing needs more clues, he/she needs to ask for more clues (not only working on language skills, but also working on pragmatic language skillsScreen Shot 2017-08-12 at 10.36.46 PM.png

Printable Materials:

Getting to Know You packet by Jenna Rayburn on Teachers Pay Teachers

  • This document has scaffolded activities for students to complete in order to share information about themselves.  I’m excited for this given my wide range of ages of students.

My First Week In Speech by Nicole Allison on Teachers Pay Teachers

  • This document has GREAT resources.  I plan to use the “Speech Expectations” as a base…while adding in some of my own expectations.  Setting solid and high expectations at the beginning of the year and being consistent with those expectations helps speech/language groups to run smoothly throughout the year…even when “playing games” (and we all know that by “playing games” I mean the students believe they are playing games, but really we are administering our best interventions at this time…brilliant!)

What Did You Do Over the Summer? by Teach Speech 365 on Teachers Pay Teachers

  • This resource is FREE and fantastic for our students with limited language or who communicate better with visual supports.


What do you do your first week of therapy sessions?


The Mitten and Story Resources

Getting back into a groover following a holiday and break from work can feel jarring.  In anticipation, I wanted to have solid therapy plans in place for my groups because I always feel better and more prepared when I am all planned out (even if nothing during our sessions goes according to plan 🙂 ).

Over the holiday break, my son received the book “The Mitten” by Jan Brett from family members.  HE LOVED IT!  He requested it, we read it over and over.  The SLP in me observed the language-rich opportunities for labeling, inferencing, cause and effect, story retell, and sequencing.  LIGHTBULB…this will be my book for the first week back at work.


Armed with an awesome book, I took to the internet to browse resources of amazing SLPs and educators…lucky me…jackpot!  I wanted to find an activity with visuals that would allow for working on goals ranging from articulation of beginning and ending sounds of words, expanding sentences, labeling to answering wh questions, retelling the story, and sequencing.

There are amazing resources out there, but the one that fit for me is from Home School Creations.  Home School Creations has a variety of FREE materials on The Mitten including a preschool packet, kindergarten packet, vocabulary, and math work.  I chose the preschool packet because I really wanted pictures of the animals and a mitten.  I also wanted the ability to add to this activity in the following weeks if my students really connected with it (and they did).


My students laughed out loud and gasped during the book!  They then eagerly answered sequencing questions and proudly shared their mittens with the parents at the end of our sessions.

Big hit…thank you Jan Brett for The Mitten and Home School Creations for the visual supports.



Conversation Jenga

If you have played Jenga, chances are, YOU LOVE JENGA!  Everyone loves Jenga!  Especially children…they love anything you can build and then knock over, right?!

With my elementary school students, we play Jenga, but of course with a speechie twist.  🙂

How to make and play: On a regular Jenga set, I wrote conversation starters on each of the blocks.  As a student picks a block, he/she reads the conversation starter out loud, and then speaks on the topic.  The other students in the group listen to their peer and then ask one related question.  Another way to play is to have the student who picks the block present the conversation starter to a peer.  This is a great game to practice conversing socially, listening, asking questions, and turn-taking.

Stumped with conversation starters?!  Let me give you a little jumpstart:
1.  Tell me about your favorite animal.
2.  Tell me about your favorite meal.
3.  Tell me about something that makes you happy.
4.  Tell me about your family.
5.  Tell me about your last birthday.
6.  Tell me about your day at school.
7.  Tell me about your favorite sport.

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