Are you wondering what would be a great way to welcome your new students to your speech room this year? Your speech therapy first day activities can range from sharing some information about their new speech language pathologist (you!), to decorating their new speech folder, to collecting baseline data.
Beginning of the Year
Whether I had students working on their language skills, social skills, or comprehension questions I always started the first day of school (or in our case first day of speech therapy) in a fun way.
As speech-language pathologists, we don’t get to spend as much time with our students as their general education teachers do so it’s important that we spend some time during that first week building up a rapport with our students.
First Day of Speech Therapy Activities
In this blog post below I’ve outlined some of my favorite things to do during the first speech therapy sessions of the new year.
1. School Theme
A great place for speech therapists to get started is with my Virtual All About Me Worksheet. This is a great freebie for any speech group working on getting to know one another.
In addition, if you’re a new teacher for a student this year there is also a worksheet for you to share about yourself and/or a family member so your students can get to know you as well.
I’ve found that worksheets like this help put everyone at ease as we get to know one another.
Bonus! It also works for both your in-person and virtual students as it is an interactive fillable worksheet.
Not sure about how to fill in the worksheet? I have a quick video tutorial showing you how! Simply watch the video and get started.
2. Speech Sounds
A perfect way to incorporate your student’s target sound would be to play a fun game, such as take a set of articulation cards you already have or simply print some out and hide them around your speech therapy room.
Then have your students go on a scavenger hunt for their new words making their articulation therapy more fun!
Or if you’re like me and don’t want to spend hours cutting out the words then simply find an object you have in your therapy room, such as legos or a simple manipulative and hide that object around the room instead and tell your student to find that object. Then once they find that object they can simply practice a word from their word lists.
This is a fun way to get my students moving around the therapy room and feeling more comfortable.
I’ve even done it where they then get to go and hide the item for me to find. Then once I find the item they then practice a word from their articulation list. My students always found this to be a fun and silly activity to see their speech therapist looking around the room for the items they got to hide.
3. Ice Breakers
Here is a great activity for an ice breaker to get to know your students and have some fun all at the same time.
Back to School Free Printables by Jennifer Findley – It includes 12 fun and interactive pages. There is a page to ask the teacher questions to learn more about them, what you think you know about your teacher, the game two truths and a fib, games to get to know the teacher, prompts for classroom goals, class rules, a sheet to go over your own discipline policy, as well as the homework policy and finally, the class schedule.
These worksheets are definitely a super fun ice breaker to try with your students and a really great way for your class to get to know each other and you!
4. Lesson Plans
Wishing you had a ton of different activities at your fingertips for the back to school season?
Then you will definitely want to check out my blog post with over 245 Back-to-School-Themed Ideas.
The ideas are all sorted by skills so there is a section for articulation, reinforcement, social skills, language skills, etc. It also comes in an easy-to-use google sheet that you’ll want to be sure and download.
5. Older Students
If you’re in need of back-to-school activities for middle school or high schoolers then you’ve come to the right place.
The first place I like to start with my older students is by answering the following question, “Why am I here?”
I think it is important for students in this age range to be able to tell me their IEP goals and what they are working towards. If you’re like me, I was often told at both the middle school and high school levels, “I don’t need to come here anymore”, or “Who are you?”, or my personal favorite “I’m all good now”. These are just a few of the reasons I think discussing the reasons behind coming to speech are so important.
The best way I’ve found to work on this skill is to have my students fill out my Student IEP Goal Review Form to know the answer to their own question, “Why am I here?” Once they know the answer to this question it is easier to have their buy-in toward working on their goals.
6. Younger Students
If you have younger kids on your caseload then these back-to-school speech therapy activities might just be the great ideas you need.
This Back to School Speech and Language Scavenger Hunt by Itty Bitty Speech is one of those fun activities! This simple game has little to no prep and is useful in practicing seasonal vocabulary!
7. Language Goals
Do you have a language therapy group that you’d love to work on their language goals with during that first week back to school?
Then check out this beginning of the school year language activities to help get you started.
Back to School Cut and Glue Language Activities by Keeping Speech Simple is a no prep, print and go! In this activity, students are engaged with hands-on activities while practicing their language skills. Students practice following directions as they color, cut, and glue school-themed vocabulary on a related school scene or picture.
8. Visual Schedules
Using visual schedules can be a good idea to help inform your students about what to expect either in your therapy session or during their school day.
It can help reduce a child’s feeling of anxiety if they know what to expect next.
Back to School Editable Schedules by Don’t Eat The Glue – Use these PowerPoint editable schedules to either make a therapy schedule for your sessions or you can create the schedule along with your students. When I do the schedule with my students I typically can give them some choices along the way and that helps increase their excitement in the therapy schedule.
If you first make the edits in PowerPoint you can then print and laminate the pages with a blank schedule and then each day you could create a new therapy schedule with your students.
9. Social Group
Do you have a social skills group this year? Here is a fun ice breaker bingo game to play together to get to know one another.
Free Conversation Bingo Game: Back to School, Icebreaker, Social Skills, Speech by Spiffy Speech – Enjoy a fun bingo conversation game as a great way to get to know each other on your first day of speech.
10. Interactive Book
You can really get a student talking and gather some great information about them when they create an interactive book about themselves and their family.
This can be a great activity to break the ice and get to know a new student on your caseload. The Free Back to School All About Me Book by Raise the Bar Reading is a great interactive book for your students! Students can write about themselves, or use provided templates. Students can draw a portrait of themselves, and outline their goals and hobbies.
11. Early Intervention
If you’re in need of early intervention activity ideas here is one you and your students might enjoy.
FREE First Day Portraits (& Last Day too!) by Primary Delight is a perfect, first day of school activity as you start early intervention. Students can be creative and draw their portraits on these simply designed and printable pages. You can even repeat the drawing at the end of the year to see growth!
12. Favorite Resources
There are so many different resources and ideas to shift through as you start a new year. These Back To School Speech Therapy No Prep Open-Ended Language Articulation by Speech Therapy Plans are a valuable resource! Planning your Back to School-themed lesson plans will be made easier with this recourse since you can use them in a more open-ended reinforcer to work on anything you want!
13. Great Game
Games are a great way to get to know your students, help them feel comfortable, and burn some energy during the first few weeks of school! Flip It! A Back to School Themed Following Directions Game Freebie by Speechy Musings is a really fun activity to check out!
14. Great Story
Stories are a great way to engage little learners and help teach appropriate concepts to them! Going back to school stories can help students transition and understand expectations. Going Back to School Story by Autism Little Learners is a favorite of mine to use at the beginning of the year!
15. Bulletin Board
Another idea would be to create a fun bulletin board and show it to your students as a first-day activity.
Or I’ve also done it where I’ve had my students help to create my bulletin board during our first session together. My students always loved helping to create the artwork for my bulletin board.
16. Free Download
With a budget and so many big ideas, free downloads are always useful. I’ve created a Completely Free Speech Therapy Planner with 61+ pages that is also digitally interactive which will hopefully be a great way to get organized (for free!) in the midst of all the First Day of School prep!
17. Group Therapy
Do you have an articulation group or language group? This FREE Back to School Articulation Print and Go for Later Developing Sounds by A Gift of Speech is an articulation activity that is great for group work! Each page has 9 target sounds for students to search for, practice, and color!
18. Fun Activities
Fun activities that get students smiling and playing are a favorite around here! Back to School Jokes for Speech Therapy by Sparklle SLP is a funny and engaging activity to do with your older elementary students! Jokes are a great way to target speech therapy goals, and this free bundle includes 4 pages of fun, back-to-school-themed jokes!
SEE ALSO: 432+ Free Measurable IEP Goal Bank
19. School Time: Therapy Reminder Cards
Another activity I’ve done in the past for our first session together is to create our speech therapy reminder cards that they can then place somewhere in their classroom to help remind them of their speech therapy session time.
SLP Workload Forms Freebie Speech Time Reminder Cards and Therapy Schedule by Sparklle SLP – I love that this reminder card includes a clock with hands that you draw on the card itself so your students can see visually what time their therapy session is at.
In the past, I’ve also let my students add some color to their cards or add stickers to make them their own.
20. Simon Says
This is a great activity to work on action words when it comes to following classroom directions.
For example, you could practice the following classroom rules while playing Simon Says:
- “Simon says, sit in your chair.”
- “Stand on one foot.”
- “Simon says, push your chair in.”
- “Leave your pencil on the table.”
- “Simon says put your pencil in the used bin.”
Here are some free speech therapy room rules freebies:
Freebie! Speech Room Rules Speech Therapy Phonology Artic Apraxia by Monae’s Speech House – This speech room rules sheet includes simple language along with visual cues.
Speech Therapy Room Rules by Christy Heil – Although this one doesn’t include visuals I love that the topics of sharing your materials, trying your best, and asking questions are included in the speech therapy room rules.
21. Boom Cards
Boom cards are so fun and engaging, especially for younger students! We found this FREE SAMPLE VERSION Back to School Vocabulary – What’s in my Bag? – Boom Cards by Boom Hey A is especially engaging and good for the first week of school. Students are prompted to identify school supplies and explain their functions.
22. Conversation Starters
Conversation Starters is a common practice, and this deck of starter cards is back-to-school themed! FREE Speech Therapy Conversation Starter Cards by The Elementary SLP – Kelly Workman is a useful set of cards! There are 30 cards with 3 prompts on each card for a total of 90 opportunities to start a conversation! This can also be a dice deck to make practicing engaging and fun!
23. Variety of Activities
Sometimes it is just convenient to have a bundle of different activities to use with students during the first few days back to school. Back to School Speech Therapy Activities by Speech Me Maybe is a great bundle of activities! Included are board games, card games, dice games, and “Why Do I Come to Speech” – a no prep goal review activity!
24. Simple Activity
Simple speech activities are always a good resource to have a hand. I searched for a great and simple speech activity and found this FREEBIE NO PRINT Back to School Speech Therapy Describing with REAL Photos by Stacy Richey SLP to be a great one! There is no printing and no prepping in this activity that has students practicing describing with real photos! Included is a resource companion that provides word lists so that you can utilize this activity to target a range of speech goals!
25. Speech Therapy Homework
If you’re like me and want to send home practice worksheets or have parents who would like to practice at home but simply just don’t have the time to put everything together each week for every single student then you won’t want to miss my Speech Therapy Homework Bundle.
I even give away the entire month of September so you and your students can see if you like it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions I receive when it comes to my favorite back-to-school resources.
1. What Resources Do You Have for the Rest of the Year?
Are you in need of resources all year long? Then you’ll want to check out my Seasonal Resource Page which has ideas all year long!
Also, be sure to check out my Year Long Speech Therapy Bundle for an in-depth product that you can use all year long.
2. What Resources Do You Have for the End of the Year?
I’m glad you asked! I have a complete list of End of the Year Speech Therapy Activities.
3. What Are Your Favorite School Supplies?
Favorite Kids Supplies
Here is where I get my boys’ school supplies or my bigger prize box items. In the past, I’ve given my students the option to earn 20 stickers instead of 10 if they want a bigger prize from my prize box!
Favorite Simple Therapy Supplies
1. Dry Erase Dice
These dry erase dice can be used in so many ways!
I’ve used them for articulation where I write my students’ sounds on them, or for story comprehension I will write wh-questions about the story we just read and then have them answer the questions, or write a word and have my student identify a synonym or antonym of the word they roll.
The ideas are simply endless with these which makes them so much fun!
Small Write-On/Wipe-Off Dice, Set of 4
2. Simple Manipulatives
These manipulatives are also another fun one for therapy! I’ve used them to cover up your articulation words after you say each one, or you can earn a cube for each wh-question you answer, etc.
Then after I get about 10 – 20 practice opportunities I let my students use their cubes to build something. Then we typically will do another set of 10-20 opportunities of the skill that they are working on and then they have an additional 10 – 20 cubes to build with.
In the past, my students loved to use their earned cubes to build something fun!
MathLink ® Cubes, Set of 100
In Conclusion: Speech Therapy First Day Activities
After reviewing these 25 ideas for your speech therapy first day activities I hope you’ve found at least one idea that has got you excited for your first session back with your students.
Want Even More Speech Therapy First Day Activities?
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