The use of centers is not a new idea and it is completely easy to incorporate into your speech schedule! Using a centers approach is an easy way for students to successfully practice their speech and language skills while staying motivated and practicing additional skill sets (your Occupational Therapist will love you)! The centers model also allows you a chance to collect data from each student and an opportunity to make the most of every minute! You may have heard mention of using this model especially when working with articulation students but you do not have to limit yourself to just students working on articulation skills. This model can also be used with students working on goals for apraxia, fluency, language, and phonology too! That is why this model is incredibly helpful when working with large caseloads, mixed groups, and/or students that have a lot of service delivery time.
How to Set Up Speech and Language Stations:
1. KEEP YOUR GROUP TO SIX STUDENTS OR LESS
With six students or less you are guaranteed at least 5 minutes with each individual student to review their work, collect data, or progress monitor.
2. LIMIT YOURSELF TO ONLY USING 4 STATIONS AT A TIME
You do not want to spread the students out to much. I like to have two kids working at two stations, one student at another station, and one working with me. For example, I might have two students at the Discovery Station, two students at the Vocal Station, one student at the Kinesthetic Station, and one student with me so that I can collect data. If I am working with a smaller group, I will reduce the number of stations and have the students at the stations for a little longer.
3. PREDETERMINE HOW LONG STUDENTS ARE AT A STATION BEFORE ROTATING
I use a timer and teach the students that when the timer goes off they are to move to the next station. When I am working with a larger group of five or six students, I set the timer for 5 minute intervals. However, if I am working with three or four students, I set the timer for 7-10 minute intervals.
4. USE YOUR IMAGINATION and SPECIAL SKILL SET
Think outside the box when creating different activities to use at each station and remember sometimes an activity could fit in more than one station. Practically any task you create for articulation can be tweaked for students working on other areas of need. For example, if you pair a list of articulation words with vocal station cards, students working on language skills can use those same articulation words but using them in grammatically correct sentences, providing a definition or a description for the word, or stating a function, category, antonym, or synonym for that word. Students working fluency, can work on using those same articulation words to practice using fluency shaping techniques at their level (word, phrase, sentence) or you can add a little recorder so they can record themselves using the word in a sentence and then listening back to determine if they were correct in stating if their speech is bumpy or smooth.
Check out this blog post if you are interested in learning the 10 Best Speech and Language Stations and an exclusive freebie including Station Posters, Vocal Station Cards, Kinesthetic Station Cards, and more!