I am really excited about this post. I have spent the last year or so working on this program and I finally get to share it. This is a program that can be used as homework for all of your speech and language kids. I love it because it is streamlined and simple, but also can be individualized to fit every child’s needs. There are 36 color by number pictures. This should give you one picture a week for the entire school year (September through May). The pictures match the calendar (i.e. holidays, seasons, etc,). Basically, you send home one picture a week with seven specifically chosen targets for each child. The child will practice one target a day using one color a day. Each target has anywhere between 200-250 productions. The child will verbally practice the target each time they color in the square. I usually just have the child “dot” the square with a marker (rather than color the whole square perfectly) – so that the productions can be made as fast as possible. And then they can go back later and make the coloring perfect if they want to. By the end of the week the child will have uncovered a hidden picture.
As a therapist in the school district, sending home speech homework was always stressful. It took so much time to individually plan out homework for each kid and then most of the time they didn’t follow through with it anyway. The reason this program is so simple is because you can literally print out a copy for every single one of the kids on your caseload (maybe excluding kids in severe units). They will all follow the same homework program, but it will be individualized to their specific needs.
The best way to use the program is to print out a copy of the “picture of the week” for each student every Monday morning. During each student’s session that week, choose seven specific targets and write them on their sheet. I usually help each of my students complete 1-2 of their targets during our session, and then I send them home to complete the other 5-6 targets for homework. So in other words – this program can be used to help fill each of your therapy sessions, as well as to provide your students with weekly homework. I always make sure to choose targets that are at each student’s level of success (you don’t want them practicing things wrong at home). So, you can choose to have them work on sounds in isolation, syllables, words, phrases, or sentences for your artic kiddos. And for your language kiddos you can target specific vocabulary words, irregular plurals, past tense verbs, different sentence structures, question sentences, – basically whatever the child needs to work on – the possibilities are endless.
I then use my reward route to enforce the completion of homework. If the student returns the completed picture to speech they get to roll the dice and advance through the reward route. I often find it difficult to get children to return their homework. But this program is great because I allow them to tell me what the picture was (if they forgot to bring the completed sheet), and if they could tell me what picture they uncovered – I would let them roll the dice.
I think this program solves a lot of problems with sending home speech homework. It is super low maintenance, easy to follow through with, appropriate for your whole caseload, individualized to each child, and internally motivating to students (I have seen my students work super hard because they want to figure out what the picture is).
Another perk is that the program helps with the generalization of speech and language skills. I have found that because the children are coloring simultaneously while verbally practicing their speech or language targets – their brains are learning how to focus on good speech and language while focusing on other things at the same time. How many of your students can say a perfect /s/ when they are focusing only on the sound, and as soon as they walk into the hallway you hear their /s/ production go out the window? That is because they have only learned how to say the sound when their entire focus is on producing the sound correctly. They have not learned how to say the sound while thinking about other things as well. This program teaches that skill in a simple manner which allows the child to concentrate on two things at once and be successful at both.
Good luck, and I hope you love it as much as I do.