Near the end of the last school year, I had a stroke of genius! …well, it has yet to be tested but it’s ingenious in my humble opinion 😉
I work at two junior high schools and I am very aware of how my 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students differ from younger elementary students and how I have to make sure my approach to working with them matches their mentality and needs at the same time.
My students would greatly benefit from having access to the graphic organizers and visual reminders that they use in my room in their general education classrooms. However, I’m not in very many classrooms during the day and each of my students has between 4 and 8 different teachers every day. We don’t always get to coordinate with each other consistently.
For younger kids, a homework folder or “Speech Folder” may do the trick. You could put all of your correspondences to parents and teachers in one folder that the student takes both home and to class.
However, while younger students will happily carry a “Speech Folder” to and fro, this is not the case for older kids. Many of them barely bring the supplies they need for their daily classes. Having them remember to bring a specific folder for their speech/language sessions each week not only seems unlikely due their general lack of organizational skills, there’s the added factor of the stigma associated with going to speech/language sessions.
Who wants to be seen with that giant flag of difference?
Not any junior high kids that I know.
So, what could a junior high boy or girl carry with them every day, everywhere, all the time, inconspicuously?
I purchased 48 inexpensive wallets from Oriental Trading Company (around $1 per wallet). Then I set about creating credit card sized versions of all of my most frequently used graphic organizers and verbal/visual reminders. As the students are introduced to each one, I will have them add the credit card sized version to their wallets and encourage them to use these resources as often as they can outside of my room (possibly with prizes and other incentives for doing so).
The cards should help students with memory issues because they can carry their visual aids with them in a convenient manner and don’t have to hold on to all of them mentally; the teachers and parents can have access to the same visuals that I use, allowing them to reinforce strategies that the students worked on in therapy; and I get to remind students to use their strategies simply by reciting the tagline to my favorite Capital One commercials – “What’s in YOUR wallet?” 😉
…Oh, and I even made a mini-card that includes the type of communication skills we will address and their session times!