I’m teaming up with my friends, the Frenzied SLPs, to talk about materials and motivation for the toughest crowd I know – MIDDLE SCHOOLERS!
I worked in a K-8 school for 12 years, and I work with 5th graders on a daily basis so I sort of know a thing or two about this hot topic. I blogged about it almost 2 years ago so please forgive any overlap 🙂
When doing therapy with middle schoolers, it’s all about making skills fun without insulting their intelligence or their pride (aka using baby stuff!)
LET’S TALK MATERIALS
Time and time again I get requests for products older students- upper elementary, middle and high school. Well, I try really hard not to make my blog into an advertisement for my products, but I wanted to let you know what kinds of things I use with my older students. They happen to be perfect for middle schoolers!
I think it’s really important to find out what your middle schoolers love AND USE IT! Right now I’m pretty sure they all love their cell phones and text messaging, and I use that as much as possible in therapy. Want students to be interested and invested? Speak their language! Cater to their interests. Cross over to their world.Here’s a few of my products that do just that while addressing lots of language skills (and even carryover of articulation and fluency skills)
When we do have to get down to the nitty gritty and READ, I like to use short, high-interest passages. Short but fun passages keep frustrations down, motivation up and allow us to get lots of reading done in our short therapy sessions.
When I couldn’t find the types of passages I wanted, I started writing my own. I have many reading and responding packets in my TPT Store. A couple of them that have really fun reading are Easter Around the World packet and Mardi Gras Reading & Responding packet.
They contain 22 short non-fiction passages with strategic questions to require recalling information, comparing/contrasting, reading for details, sequencing, context clues, inferencing, predicting, main idea, and the list could go on forever.
Oh, and the packets have a few lagniappe activities as well (for grammar, writing or just plain fun). Lagniappe is just another word for bonus / extra here in Cajun country, y’all.When November arrives, I’ll be using a non-fiction packet about the history of Thanksgiving (just the weird parts of history that middle schoolers tend to like) and funky facts about turkeys and football. It actually keeps my students motivated to read; I’ve used it in inclusion for many years.
If you really want to delve into literacy with your students, try a novel!! For the past 2 years, I have read My Louisiana Sky with my oldest students and they’ve really been into it. You can even let them help choose the novel.
WANNA TALK MOTIVATION?
This year I bought these little owl scratch off reward tickets from Oriental Trading…
They’re so easy to use! You just write the name of the prize on the scratch off card and hand them out as rewards. Students scratch them with so much enthusiasm that you’d swear they were actual lottery tickets. Some of my rewards include “pick the game,” hot fries, skittles, “special request,” hot cheetos, “listen to music in speech,” an extra day of speech or a soft drink.My students are NUTS for them! Now these owl ones are a little juvenile, but I saw that Amazon has a ton of scratch labels that you can just adhere to cardstock. I think these more sophisticated versions below would be very motivating for middle schoolers.
Check out all of the tips about middle school materials and motivators from my fellow bloggers by clinking on the links below. We’d love if it YOU would link up, too, and share your words of wisdom.
For all of you working with this tough crowd, may the odds be ever in your favor!