Middle School Materials and Motivators (linky party)

Oh middle school...working with middle school students is unlike working with any other age range. How do you find materials for the kids? How do you keep the kids motivated? How do you keep the kids from suddenly being too embarrassed to come to speech/language therapy? Those are some tough questions! Luckily, the Frenzied SLPs have you covered with this fun “Middle School Materials and Motivators” linky party! I'm linking up over at Twin Speech's blog
Let me give you a peek into my MIDDLE SCHOOL therapy and how I’ve combated some of these issues. 

How do we find great materials for middle schoolers?
The first thing I want to show you is my newest MIDDLE SCHOOL product! I am so excited to share this with you! I spent well over 40 hours working on this to help my kiddos and we are loving it! Over my years in this field and after talking to tons of teachers about how my students are performing in the classroom, I have become a firm believer that vocabulary is a huge factor in their classroom and comprehension difficulties. Here’s the problem though...I can’t teach my kids every vocabulary word they will ever need to know! Neither can you! But...I can teach them strategies to help them figure out what unknown words mean. One of the main strategies I teach kids is to USE CONTEXT CLUES!!!!! Here’s how we’re working on context clues...
This packet contains important Tier 2 Vocabulary Words for 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade!!! There are almost 200 total Tier 2 Vocabulary words included!!! WOW!
We start by using our context clues to define made up words! I want to know that they really understand how to use the clues and that they aren’t correctly defining the word because they happen to know what it means already. 

I have included Level 1 cards (with multiple choice answers), Level 2A cards (same words and sentences as level 1 without multiple choice options), and Level 2B cards (same words with different sentence context and no multiple choice options).
Level 1
Level 2A
Since I have large groups of kids, I make them each a packet based on their needs. If they need multiple choice answers to assist with defining the Tier 2 word, I give them Level 1 cards. If they don’t need the multiple choice answers and will be able to determine the meaning without extra support they receive Level 2A. I read the sentences to the group and the students are responsible for highlighting the important clues. If we need to use a graphic organizer we pull those out too. After they highlight the clues they either circle the letter they believe to be the correct answer or they write the answer on the card. We go around and talk about whether the answers are correct and or incorrect and discuss the clues used to determine the the meaning. 
If I need to address skills with one student, I let the others work on a “Context Clue Center”. They have a mini dictionary (pages with each word and definition) that they can use to check each others answers while they are completing their packets. 
Level 2B
When we are ready to practice our vocabulary in other contexts, we use the Level 2B cards. The words are the same but the sentences are different. 

Once my kiddos understand how to use context clues, I start to see more progress in the classroom. They start trying to figure out what the unknown words mean which leads to better comprehension of the material being presented to them. 

How do we keep middle schoolers motivated?
This year my theme with for the middle schoolers is employment!
We started the year with a conversation. During the conversation we discussed responsibility and taking responsibility for your actions. I told them for the rest of the year speech was their job. They would be responsibility for showing up to “work” on time. They would be responsible for completing all of their work in a timely manner. They would be responsible for completing and returning all paperwork or homework. They would be responsible for their actions on the way to and from speech. They would be responsible for their actions in the speech/language sessions. Finally, they would be responsible for learning, doing their best and making progress. We also discussed that I will be responsible for making sure they are provided the information and strategies they need. I will be responsible for planning our work tasks. Since this is now their job they will earn a daily “wage”. Their wage will be dependent on their ability to fulfill their responsibilities. Their “wage” is in actuality me making tally marks. I don’t do the whole treasure box after each session thing, however, they will be allowed to cash in their wages at various times to earn some type of reward. The reward may be school supplies, it may be a special activity, or anything else decide I make up!

That all sounds crazy right?!?! Do you know every single kid shows up to speech on their own every single session!!!! Do you know every single kid works hard and completes all of the tasks I give to them!!! Do you know every single kid returns their paperwork and homework!!! 

To make sure the kiddos (they’re too old to be kiddos right) students didn’t forget when their “appointment” was, I made them “appointment cards” that were discreet but able to be used as a reminder! 

I made a list for all of the teachers telling them the students who receive speech/language services, the day of services and the time of the services. 

I hope this has helped you out in your journey into middle school! Now head back over to the linky party (click here) and grab some other great tips, materials, and motivators from some other amazing SLPs! 

See you soon!

Talk Like A Pirate Day Linky Party!!!

Ahoy, matey! Did you know September 19th is “Talk Like A Pirate Day”? Many SLPs will be using pirate themed therapy materials all week in preparation for this oh so special day!!! My sweet friend Tracy, from Gold Country SLP, is throwing a pirate themed linky party to make sure you are set with all the best pirate themed products from TPT!

If you know me at all, you know I love incorporating a good book into therapy! And this “holiday” is just one more reason for me to buy children’s books! I absolutely love the book “How I Became A Pirate” by Melinda Long and David Shannon!!!! Check out this book companion I created to use as a supplemental material with this book! (You will need to purchase the book separately!) 

***Note: When you purchase this book companion you receive both a color version and a black/white version!!!
(Click on any of the images to be directed to the product in my TPT store.)

Look at all of the skills addressed in this book companion! There’s something for just about everyone on your caseload and you can easily adapt many of the skills based on age and ability levels!
This book is full of both tier 1 and tier 2 vocabulary! 
Working on object functions? There are 2 different levels included. This book companion also includes cards to assist with “wh” comprehension and yes/no questions. 
Working on prepositions? No problem...let’s see where those pirates are hanging out! 
Talk about these simple pictures to address pronouns in sentences. 
Working on plural nouns or past tense verbs? No problem!  Do your older kids need vocabulary practice? How about some synonyms and antonyms related to the story?
How many of our kids need work on describing? Taking those descriptions and using that information to compare and contrast is tough for our kiddos!
Have an artic kid instead of a language kid? No worries! I have included target cards (including images) for /r/ in all positions and blends, with a game board for reinforcement. 
Smartly, me lass...run, don’t walk to The Speech Owl’s TPT store and grab this Book Companion!!!

Here are some other pirate materials you might want to check out!
1)This Sheep on a Ship Book Companion from Speech Sanity looks so cute! I don't know this book, but love learning about new books for therapy!!!
2) This Pig Kahuna Pirates Book Companion from Old School Speech look fantastic also!!! Another book I don't know, but can't wait to check out!

Click here to voyage back to Gold Country SLP’s blog to see all of the other links!