You already know, I’m a theme therapy loving SLP and I love to stretch a therapy plan across my entire caseload… it’s really not hard to do with just a handful of resources. I often try to cover three big areas when collecting my materials: articulation, hands on, and books. Why those? Because I can use a book for any goal, hands on activities will engage my busiest students, and I always need a targeted articulation activity because let’s face it, they make up the majority of my caseload. Today I’m going to show you how I use these three things to plan a week of therapy for an ocean theme! A lot of people save this subject for the end of the school year or the summer, but really it’s one that you can use year round.
Books are an integral part of my therapy sessions. Most of my students are at risk for having difficulty with reading skills, so it’s important that I’m able to incorporate literacy into their speech and language therapy. When selecting books, I try to have one or two, but because ocean is such a fun topic, I actually have four to share with you!
- 300 Fantastic Facts is a series of non-fiction books and my students love this one! It includes lots of interesting information, plus great pictures. I like to use them with my older students (2nd-5th) to work on compare/contrast, describing, and asking/answering questions.
- Swimmy by Leo Lionni is one of my favorite stories. It’s great for K-5th because of all the beautiful pictures and themes of problem solving and friendship. I especially like to work on narratives, sequencing, vocabulary, and adjectives with this story. I even have a free download for you to also work on retell, you can grab that HERE.
- There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell by Lucille Colandro is an oldie but goodie. The kids still get a big kick out of her and I love to use these books with my preschoolers. They are so good to work on vocabulary, rhyming, sequencing, and ‘why’ questions. We also like to ‘feed’ the old lady each of the story pieces!
- Baby Beluga by Raffi is part book, part song! I know you’ve heard of it before and most of the kids have too, so it’s fun to sing and we all know how music and singing can be great for speech and language development.
Hands On Learning
I always have interactive activities when planning for therapy, this can be SO many things: puzzles, sensory bins, crafts, toys, bubbles, slime, etc. Why do I think this is important? It’s not just because I can’t stand sitting all the time myself, but it increases engagement and that means increased learning. I swear, my kids will do anything to play with these types of things, so it also makes for a great end of session reward to reinforce behavior. For this theme, I went with a sensory bin and a felt toy!
For the sensory bin, I used water beads and plastic ocean animals. The water beads were a bit intimidating to me… I had to hop on my IG stories and ask you guys for HELP. I’m glad I did because I ended up with the perfect amount for a small storage bin. We had fun follow up discussions about animal facts, made comparisons among the animals, and practiced the vocabulary we had learned.
This felt mermaid was probably my best purchase this school year! It is pretty large and comes with vecro ocean animals. I use this with my preschoolers A LOT, many of the animals have early speech targets and it’s great for vocabulary, color words, and requesting.
There is nothing I love better than a resource that I can use for specific articulation practice but also use for language goals. This resource is just that, making it perfect for your mixed groups!
Speech in the Sea includes 10 animals for each of the following sounds: /r, s, l, k & g, sh, ch & j, f/ and /s, r, l/ blends that can be cut out and pasted onto a sea scene or just read about. My students really loved doing this activity and we learned a lot!
I hope that helps to show you that planning theme based therapy does not have to be overwhelming or hard…. I actually find that it makes planning much easier for me. In case you need it, here’s a free printable that you can use to plan your own theme therapy with the materials you have!
Thanks for visiting today! I’d love to hear from you, so let me know what your go-to materials for an ocean theme are in the comments.
Until next time,
Keep changing the world, one word at a time!