Friday, August 16, 2019

How to Swap Crazy for Zen in Speech Therapy

Mixed groups can get a bit crazy sometimes in speech therapy

Zen coloring articulation activities for r, l, s and th sounds in mixed group speech therapy sessions that are calm and engaged. Elementary and middle school kids love coloring the beautiful patterns on these printables, and they are no-prep for you! #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #articulation #noprep
No-prep printables perfect for mixed articulation groups in speech therapy.

We've all had 'em if you are a school-based speech-language pathologist. The challenges are real, especially as groups grow larger. And they are, with so many school settings tossing crazy high caseloads at SLPs. (But that's another topic I could spend a day on. Grrr.)

 Does this sound familiar? You have three or four or...gulp!.. five or more kiddos head your way for a session of working on articulation with maybe one or two of the kids with language goals as well. These children are antsy after doing work for the better part of the day. Quietly. With no talking.

So now you're asking them to drill, then quietly wait as you take a turn with each of the other students in the group?


Yeah... not going to happen without a plan. Nope! So what do you do? I shared a bunch of great ideas in this post, Three Sure-Fire Secrets to Solving Mixed Group Madness.

I talked about three rules:
1. Reduce wait time and keep kids busy between turns.
2. Don't make kids wait as you shuffle a pile of prompts trying to find the right list for the next student.
3. Have a data-taking method that's quick and simple to.... you guessed it...reduce wait time.

Sensing a theme here? Wait time is your enemy.


You need an activity that keeps kids actively engaged, but won't eat up speech therapy time.

I love quick-play games, playdough, slime, and puzzles. Something to keep hands busy as others in the group take a turn practicing. Ordinary coloring sheets are fun for little ones, but my older students get bored with those.

 So how about kicking it up a notch for your older students in elementary or middle school? 

My second through fourth graders love coloring intricate patterns...even the boys.


Zen coloring articulation activities for s and th sounds in mixed group speech therapy sessions that are calm and engaged. Elementary and middle school kids love coloring the beautiful patterns on these printables, and they are no-prep for you! #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #articulation #noprep
No-prep Zen articulation activities for S and Th sounds

So when I saw these amazing Zen letters, I knew I had to create Zen articulation activities for you. There are three gorgeous patterns: paisley, flowers and hearts. I sprinkled all 3 in each pack, so kids would have a choice of patterns. Or choose a different one each session.

They are so fun to color, and kids absolutely love them.  A quiet, highly engaging, calm activity? Check!

  A few more reasons these work really well in mixed groups...

You need all your prompts handy and easy to find so there's no hunting and shuffling around for the right one.


Here's the challenge in speech therapy groups...You may have one student working on medial /l/ at the word level, another one on sentence-level vocalic r and a third on final voiced 'th' at the phrase level. Everybody's working on something different!

When you start digging for the right prompt, you run the risk of losing the kids as they wait... and that's when those off-task behaviors kick in. Reduce idle wait time! (Yep, that's my mantra for mixed groups.)

These no-prep pages make that super simple for you. Just pull a page with the right phoneme for each student's goals.

Stay organized with word, phrase and sentence level prompts all on each page.


Zen coloring articulation activity for vocalic R practice in speech therapy. These no-prep printables are perfect in mixed groups. Click to see more!  #speechsprouts #articulation #speechtherapy #noprep
Vocalic R Articulation Zen coloring

Super convenient, because you can address any level with a single page.

I like to have my sentence-level kiddos warm up on the word and phrase levels, before taking data on the sentence level prompts.

For kiddos that have mastered sentence level, there are also sound-loaded challenge pages with 4-5 target words per sentence.

Sound-loaded printable articulation activities for vocalic r sounds.  Swap the crazy in mixed group speech therapy sessions for calm and Zen. Elementary and middle school kids love coloring the beautiful patterns and they are no-prep for you! Click to check it out. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #articulation #noprep
Sound-loaded practice provides extra challenge.

Tip:  I find when you use coloring pages printed on an inkjet printer,  the black lines sometimes smear a bit when using markers. Pages off the office copier don't seem to as much. If you find they smear, just use colored pencils instead.

What about working on language goals with this activity?


Will that work? Absolutely. Here are a few ways to work in language practice when you have a mixed group with both articulation and language goals.
  1. Define the word. 
  2. What category?  (If it's a noun)
  3. Use the word in a sentence.
  4. Tell an adjective/ adverb to describe the word, and use it in a sentence. (Prompt: ran. Answer: ran quickly)
  5. Provide a synonym/antonym for the word.
  6. Does the word have any other meanings?

Have fun with this Zen coloring bundle! Articulation practice of r, l, s and th sounds that's perfect for mixed group speech therapy activities.. Elementary and middle school kids love coloring the fun patterns on these no-prep printables. Click to see more. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #articulation #noprep
No-Prep Zen Articulation Bundle

To make tackling those mixed groups easier, I bundled my Zen Articulation sets together for these phonemes:
  • L
  • L-Blends
  • S
  • S-Blends
  • Initial R
  • R-Blends
  • Vocalic R
  • Voiced Th and Voiceless Th coloring pages.


You might even find yourself coloring the beautiful patterns too. 


Can you resist? I couldn't. So grab the colored pencils. It's fun. And relaxing.

I hope you give it a try! You can check out the bundle HERE.  Have fun.

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