Incorporating Curriculum! (without really doing so!)

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Carryover…curriculum…common core…those are 3 C's that can scare a lot of SLPs (and we have 3 C's next to our name!)  Keep reading to learn how I tackle this scary topic!

What challenges do I face in this area?

  • Mixed groups!  I have groups working on different goals, in different grades, or the classroom teachers are not working on the same topics at the same time!
  • Communication with teachers!  I try…I really do!  I send e-mails, I put memos in their mailboxes, I chat with them while waiting for the photocopy machine, I stop them in the hallways….doesn't seem to be enough!
  • I don't always feel like I am the best one to “teach” them the curriculum…hey…I admit…I'm an SLP but I don't know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING!  I cannot know it all about all of the topics discussed in the various grades and subjects.
  • Lack of resources.  I keep nagging my administration for copies of the curriculum maps and workbooks, but they keep forgetting to pass those along!
  • I don't want to seem like a resource room teacher or a tutor.  I don't want teachers just sending kids down with classwork and expecting me to “finish it with them.”  I have speech goals to address as well and I like to plan ahead and be able to target in my own way.  I don't mind them sending things down with them as long as they don't expect it fully finished when they come back.  I will go over the work with them in my own way!
OK..so that is a lot of challenges!  Now…how do I address them?  Well..I am still working on figuring out some of them but here is how I tackle some challenges:
  • Ask the kids!  I always ask them, “what are you working on in science? social studies?”
  • If I see classroom teachers photocopying vocabulary lists or reading comprehension passages on a social studies concept I know most are working on, I ask for a copy!
  • Look at what the classroom teachers are displaying!  Walk around, while you are walking to pick up speech students, look at what is the “do now” or the assignments on the board.  See what is assigned for homework.  See if they have a word wall.  This is a simple and “nosy” way of checking it out without having to even ask!
  • Have students bring their HW agendas or whatever they use to write down their homework.  You can just look at that!
  • Ask resource room teachers!  They tend to have a smaller case load and work more closely with classroom teachers and with curriculum.
  • Phone a friend!  OK so my students told me they are working on the scientific method but I cannot come up with a vocabulary list, but OH I have a friend that works in another school that teaches science…I'll ask her!
  • Try and attend professional development given to teachers.  In my district the SLPs are often separated and not there for the workshops given to the teachers.  I always have my group of coworkers to ask what I missed.  I also use these coworkers as my phone a friends as well!  They make me copies of reading passages, vocabulary lists, and more.
OK…so that is how I tackle a lot of my challenges.  But hey…I like teaching skills not curriculum so how do I deal?!
I work on skills!  That is OK!  Once students master skill, show them how to transfer it to curriculum type questions/scenarios.  For example, now you understand context clues, so when you come across these types of vocabulary words in science, if you cannot remember what they mean, read the clues around it to help you.
Take it to the next level!  Students are being asked higher and higher level questions.  They are not asked to just retrieve facts anymore.  Someone told me…stay away from the WH questions.  I laughed!  I said my speech students can barely answer those how can they answer higher level questions!  Once I feel my students can answer “Who flies a plane?” I take it up to the next level, “Who do you think would fly the ____ plane?”  Now we can boost it up further…”How can you compare __ and ___ that flew planes?
Help interpret questions!  Teach the vocabulary they will see in questions, no matter what the subject area!  Teach vocabulary like: support, evidence, compare, contrast, infer, summarize, describe, predict, explain, claim, excerpt, problem, solution, main idea, detail, topic, theme, and so much more!  By teaches these terms, you are automatically incorporating curriculum without really doing so!
Cheat sheets!  Learn the blooms level of questions and the depth of knowledge levels of questioning.  Learn which ones your teachers are using and how they are expected to use it.  Keep a cheat sheet with you if you need.  I always pre-write these different questions and write them on post-its for myself.  I always like to make sure I word them exactly as necessary.
This may not work for you…and that is OK.  You may rather the kids bring the work and you help them complete it.  You may rather design lessons that bring in classroom concepts…go you!  I wish I had more groups that had students working on the same things at the same times.  This is what works for me!  Feel free to comment below with ways you incorporating curriculum into your therapy rooms.  What challenges do you face?
Check out my Facebook Live video on this topic below: