Are you looking for fresh new ideas to keep you inspired and your students engaged and not knowing what is going to happen when they come into your speech room?
When you want to keep your students on their toes but don’t want to spend hours planning and prepping, you need Mystery Bags! I can prep a mystery bag in 5 minutes with simple things I have laying around my house or classroom. All you need is a simple bag like the brown paper ones you can get at the dollar store or even just a random bag you have laying around and some paper.
So let’s say I am working on simple inferencing. In the bag, I might have some simple clues that they will have to guess where I went or who I saw. So for this example below I just wrote some clues on little pieces of paper. The pieces said lifeguard, seashells, ocean, and sand. Then the students have to tell me where I went and how they knew it. I could say, you know that I went to the beach because of the sand. Yes, a lifeguard is also at a pool, but there is no sand at the pool. I try to model for my students how to say why they know what they know so they can learn how to do the dialogue on their own. So this is the first way I like to use mystery bags!
The next idea for mystery bags is to work on categories! I like to place items in a bag or just write the names of the items on little pieces of paper and have them be things like banana, apple, and orange. Then as I pull them out of the bag one by one I ask my students how they go together. So you could have multiple bags prepped with different items in each that go together in some way. You could even give them a graphic organizer or a sheet to record how their answers go together and you can see who can correctly categorize the most bags! My students love a little competition!
Another idea is to throw sentences in the bag. We are going to read the sentences and decide how they all go together or read them and find the main idea. So in this example, we have the player scored a goal, the player went towards the ball, the player kicked the ball, the ball went into the goal. You can take these sentences and have student A work on sequencing as they rearrange them and put them in order. Meanwhile, you can have student B work on finding the main idea of the four sentences. Student C could work on summarizing the sentences. The list goes on and on and that is why this activity is also perfect for mixed groups!
The last idea I have for you today is to put cards in the bag that say things like, made of wood, yellow, used to write, and then ask your students what item is being described. So here you can work on inferencing and some basic guessing skills and drawing conclusions and also describing. The best part about this is that you can have the students write their own clues, put them in bags, and have the other students try to guess what item is being described. You could even have a visual aid of the EET for everyone to follow along with items like what does it look like, what group does it belong in, what do you use it for, ect. Everyone can follow this same strategy but also work on word retrieval on their own.
The nice thing about this activity is that it can be done in person or virtually! So regardless of how you are teaching this school year, this can be a great activity for you to use. I hope you found this helpful and this is something you can use tomorrow with items you have at home or in your therapy room to work on a variety of goals. My goal is to help you plan with ease and confidence and keep your students engaged so that they are motivated to work on those tricky goals!
If you want to learn more, you can check out the video below!