The best lesson plans don’t work if you do not have a student’s cooperation. Something that I have found is that by allowing the student some control of a situation you are able to not only garner their attention and focus but the efforts they put into the activity. There are a variety of ways that you can do this.
When I am working with younger or more significantly impacted students I create choice boards. The base of the boards are always the same but prior to offering it to the student, I choose which choices to make available for the day.
One example of this is this song choice board. I put the choices on the board that I am fine with the child making. This allows me to introduce a new song, have seasonal songs as part of the choices, or to insure a particular child’s participation because their favorite song is included.
This is the song choice board video.Song Choice Board
For my other students, I will have a specific beginning and end to the therapy session but I might give them three choices of activities that we do. I will have all three choices prepped and the choices will be based on their speech and language goals. Again, I don’t care which choice they make. It is fun to watch them high-fiving each other or rejoicing because they were able to do their choice of activities. If there is ever a conflict with the choices we put the 2nd place choice on the calendar to do the following session. Knowing what choices that the group tends to make I can then try to modify some of the lessons to use the structure that they prefer. So for example, if the students get really excited about Boom Cards I can make more Boom Cards that match their goals, if they love escape rooms I can create more escape room activities that both teach and test the students.
My elementary school students love Gonoodle as a reward. I make personalized Gonoodles so that I can use the concepts we are learning in the game-like format. This has the students really concentrating on the content to be able to compete in the game.
My middle schoolers love Kahoot so I bought a subscription and can create ones that specifically geared toward their goals. Since this was a consistent choice I have the students help me create ones for another group to complete.
I have a middle schooler that has an individual session and the intensity of this personal interaction sometimes is overwhelming. I will put the choices for the therapy session into his Google classroom so that even prior to entering the therapy area he knows the expectation and may have already made his selection. I will put the requirements for each of the choices with the caveat that if the work goal is met he is able to have the last five minutes of therapy as a personal choice that is not on the choice board. This has allowed me to modify the assignments to make what I might want him to choose as having less intensive work requirement while a popular choice might have more work involved. This has worked very well