Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thank Goodness for.....5 strategies to keep my secondary students engaged!

I have found that over time I have become quite good at reading my students and finding what makes them tick. I like being able to have them enjoy speech when it isn't the "cool" thing to do in junior high.

1. The most important part that I have found is to find a way to keep them motivated. This can be hard with secondary students. I use my Speech and Student Information Packet to see what their interests are early on in the year. In this packet, I also try to see what THEY want to work on or what THEY feel they need from my their speech therapy sessions. This allows them to start establishing some accountability for their speech sessions. This is a biggie for me. I need them to invest themselves into what I am trying to do for them otherwise at this age, it just isn't going to do much good.

2. I don't go get my students the minute they don't show up to speech. I feel this gives them some independence. They are in charge of coming to speech on time, reminding their teacher and keeping up with homework when given. I am trying to help organize them and prepare them for real life. Yes I believe it starts in junior high. I also feel this gives them the freedom to choose whether staying in class or coming to speech is going to benefit them more. All they have to do is come to me and tell me "Mrs. Minor I have a study session for our test tomorrow I am going to stay in class". That will always be ok with me. If I feel like it is becoming an excuse, I follow up with the teacher. For the most part, my students respect that I let them choose about what is important to them and I feel they invest in my sessions when they do come because they are CHOOSING to be there.

3.  I incorporate technology into my sessions as much as possible with my secondary students. This is their future and any times this is what they utilize for fun, in class and what they will use in their work place. So why not start having them becoming familiar with the iPad and/or computer in therapy too. I have many interactive items this year in my TPT store. You can also read about how I incorporate my iPad into my speech sessions with this item. I gave a presentation to the SLP's in my district using this presentation. It is also available in my store to be purchased as a professional development presentation for your district.

4. I also keep my secondary students engaged by incorporating games into my session. You can read some of my previous posts on games to see how I use games in my speech room in a very different way then they are supposed to be used.

5.  Give the students choices. I am ALL about choices in my speech. You can choose to come or choose not to come on your own. If you don't come on your own after 1 session, i will come get you out of class. Students DO NOT like to be taken out of class at my junior high, so many of them CHOOSE to come on their own. I use this to keep them honest in my speech room. I'll say "hey you chose to come today you are going to work". I give them two choices of activities/tasks that we can do that day. Sometimes we have time for both, other times we don't. When they have the power to choose, they are more invested.

These are some tips for those that ask how I handle junior high students all the time. I love this population of students and I find that if you give them respect they will respect you. I really like how this population of students is starting to gain personalities and independence and I like to enhance that in my speech room as much as possible!!


  1. Great post, Amy! I really like the part about giving them more independence and letting them come to speech on their own.
    Allison's Speech Peeps