I love doing thematic units with my speech therapy groups. Because you can create activities to last several sessions, it makes planning sooooo much easier. Traditionally, SLPs like to do thematic units based around things like holidays, seasons, snowmen, or some other cute something-or-another. But lately I have been doing a different kind of theme. Instead of basing it off of an object, I have been teaching sequencing with my thematic units!
Here is the method to my madness.
First, you have to think “why do we target sequences?” Honestly, there are many reasons. But here are some of my faves:
- Sequences are the foundational skill for telling stories, giving directions, and giving information.
- They are a prerequisite to being able to retell (aka sequence) a story.
- Targeting sequences improves vocabulary, specifically verb-related vocabulary.
- Sequencing helps our students organize language in their brain.
- They are a great way to start eliciting longer word utterances.
- A good sequence can easily be modified into a hands-on activity!
That is why we work on sequencing skills. Now, each sequence comes with its own set of vocabulary that also needs to be taught. So, by working on a sequence you are inherently teaching new vocabulary. Most of our students needs to improve vocabulary so this is a natural way to work on it. Win-win.
The beauty of teaching sequencing and thematic units together, is that you get the benefits of BOTH sequences and themes.
When we work on a theme, we like to read books, play games, and do fun activities all surrounding the theme. We use these things to reinforce many different kinds of skills such as answering questions, location words, or articulation. If you pick the right sequence-theme, you can continue to do all these things.
Here is how I have been creating my sequence-themes.
- I pick a sequence. Choose sequences that are 3-4 steps in length and can be easily turned into a play-based activity.
- I think of all the different ways I want to teach the theme. For me, I like to use toys, sequencing pictures, books, YouTube videos, and songs.
- We practice the sequence-theme and do thematic based activities for several sessions. Usually until the student is able to master sequence.
Here are some of my favorite themes to use while teaching sequencing!
- Toys: Melissa and Doug Pizza Party Set (or you can make a pizza with brown, red, and yellow construction paper!)
- Book: Pizza Day! by Melissa Iwai
- YouTube Video: “Let’s Make a Pizza” by Caitie’s Classroom, “Pizza Party” by Super Simple Songs
- Toys: Melissa and Doug Birthday Cake (or you can make a cake with candles and play dough!)
- Books: Little Sister’s Birthday, Clifford’s Birthday Party, Spot’s Birthday Party
- YouTube Video: “Pat A Cake” by Caitie’s Classoom, “Blowing Out Candles”
Going to the Grocery Store
- Toys: Grocery cart and food, Cash register
- Books: Just Shopping With Mom, Maisy Goes Shopping, At the Super Market
- YouTube Video: Super Market Shopping (Little Baby Bum)
Washing the Dog
- Toys: Dirty Dogs Bath Toy, Melissa and Doug Dog Groomer Set
- Books: Splish, Splash Spot!, Bath Time for Biscuit, Oh No! Pee Pee!
- YouTube Video: How to Bathe Your Puppy
Washing a Baby
- Toys: Bathtub Baby Doll
- Books: Maisy Takes a Bath, The Pigeon Needs a Bath!
- YouTube Video: “The Bath Song”, by Super Simple Songs, “Bath Song” by Cocomelon
- Toys: Dentist Play Kit, ThinkMax Toy Dentist kit
- Books: Daniel Goes to the Dentist, Just Going to the Dentist, Brush, Brush, Brush, Brush Your Teeth Please
- YouTube Video: Brush Teeth Song (Blippi) Brush Your Teeth (Super Simple Songs), Brush Your Teeth (Sesame Street)
- Toys: Melissa and Doug Felt Sandwich
- Books: Peanut Butter and Jelly: A Play Rhyme, Peanut Butter and Cupcake
- YouTube Video: How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly
- Toys: Melissa and Doug Dry Dish Set
- Books: Maisy Makes Gingerbread
- YouTube Video: I Can Learn to Wash Dishes
- Toys: Empty soap bottle and rag
- Books: Germs Are Not For Sharing, A Germ’s Journey
- YouTube Video: Wash Your Hands song (Hooray Kids Songs), Wash Your Hands (Jack Hartman)
Also, I have already created sequencing pictures for these activities. I would love to share them with you (for free!). You can snag them by clicking here.
If you enjoyed this post, I also think you will love reading about my favorite (free) preschool speech therapy activities to use with books.
What are your favorite speech therapy themes? Do you love using sequences? Or do you have some other genius tip to share? I’d love to hear about it!