Speech Therapy Homework Ideas for the Busy Teletherapist
As a Speech-Language Pathologist, you're no stranger to a mile-long to-do list. Between scheduling, planning, doing, and documenting teletherapy sessions and evaluations, SLPs are stretched pretty thin. It's no wonder that providing homework activities for students gets the occasional push to the back burner.
But at the same time, we know that involving parents in therapy, generalizing to other environments, and encouraging consistent practice throughout a student's week are all important to speech and language progress. So what are some realistic ideas to help you systematize the whole homework-sending process?
While teletherapy may sometimes feel like an additional barrier to sending regular homework to your students, I have found the opposite. Assigning homework digitally is actually way simpler than making a bunch of copies, trying to remember to hand them out to students, and hoping that by some miracle they make it home and out of backpacks during the intended week.
Read on for some ways to let technology work for you (and not against you) to provide quality homework for your speech therapy caseload this year.
Take and Send a Screenshot.
One of the simplest ways that I help students continue their practice at home is just by sending the remainder of an activity from that day's therapy that we didn't finish. At the end of a speech therapy session, I use the snipping tool on my computer to take a screenshot of the PDF activity that we worked on, and send it to the student.
The student can then complete the rest of the page by printing it or annotating it digitally (using a program such as Jamboard). And as a bonus, the student can use the screenshot to explain what we worked on in the session to a parent or caregiver.
Send a Boom Cards Deck.
Boom Learning makes life as a teletherapist easier in so many ways, and homework provision is definitely one of them! The platform has a few different options for allowing students to play decks on their own at home.
In fact, there have been several times when I was doing a Boom Card activity with a student during a teletherapy session and was asked, "Can I play this at home?" Why as a matter of fact, yes, yes you can. During the last minute or so of therapy, I just send the deck using one of the three easy methods! Done and done.
Share files using Google Drive.
For schools using Google accounts or Google Classroom, sharing files with your students is easy peasy. Speech Sound Books are my favorite Google Slides activity to share with students because they perfectly transition from a therapy activity to homework practice. Share the link once, and build the book with your student. All. Year. Long.
Not only can Speech Sound Books be used in and outside of therapy, but each student has their own digital book of word targets that are meaningful for them. This assignment is so motivating. I mean, who doesn't want to take a picture of their dog for homework?
One quick note about this. While it is much easier to share files in Google Drive with people with a Google Account, it is possible to share with those who don't!
Link from a Virtual Classroom.
If you're already using a virtual speech therapy room, add links to homework (in addition to therapy) activities. You can link to Boom Card decks (as mentioned above) or any Google Drive activity. Utilizing your virtual classroom is a great way to streamline your planning and keep things organized with a familiar process.
Let's not forget the classic method of sending information. No, not snail mail. While e-mail might be a little more old school (which is funny, since e-mail barely existed when I was a student), sending homework in the form of a PDF attachment is probably the method that I use most often!
If a good ol' fashioned worksheet is what you're after, you can do that too! I tend to send one month's worth of activities at a time, especially for older students working on carryover and utilizing speech, language, and fluency strategies.
For example, calendars are so handy to target articulation and fluency carryover, language, or pragmatic skills. For busy families, a calendar hanging on the fridge is a quick reminder to get in a few minutes of practice throughout the week.
For younger students, these weekly practice sheets are a great way for students to consistently practice articulation, language, and social language goals at home.
Assign an IXL Skill.
You miiiiight already know how I feel about the IXL website, especially when it comes to language therapy. The icing on the cake is that you can assign the skills to your students. Similar to Boom Cards, there are a few ways to assign specific skills on the IXL website, so you can pick what works best for you!
Finding a way to send homework virtually may seem like a complicated task for SLPs coming from an in-person setting. But in reality, a few clicks makes it wayyyy simpler than dealing with a printer, copier, and/or a (physical) homework folder. 😆
Whether sending home practice activities to teletherapy students is one of those things you are already pretty consistent with, trying to figure out, or somewhere in between, these are a few ways to establish a homework-sending routine to last throughout the school year.... or summer break!