As much as I would LOVE to tell you that I have each and every therapy session thoroughly planned and thought out weeks in advance, that would simply not be the truth. While I make sure that each therapy session is tailored to the students' needs and goals, I don't always have some new and brilliant plan way ahead of time.
In graduate school, I worked with a Pre-K student who had a significant language impairment, characterized primarily by extremely delayed vocabulary. My graduate clinician supervisor suggested I work with "themes" to expose him to language and vocabulary. She gave me a list of themes to start with, including animals, food, bugs, transportation, etc. Since I was just starting out, I had to find a lot of those materials on my own. Thank goodness for Target's Dollar Spot! Throughout that semester, I created the "therapy-in-a-box" concept, which I still use today.
The Pre-K classrooms at my school use a theme-based curriculum as well, so they are perfect for introducing the theme with vocabulary and manipulatives. My themes have grown over the past few years...I currently have 26 boxes, and am always looking for new ideas! Some examples are food, colors, shapes, animals, ocean animals, letters, numbers, time & money, music, doctor's kit/medical, transportation, and bugs. In each theme-related box, I have books, manipulatives, and of course, stickers! Many of my boxes also have toys, flashcards, games, puzzles, and craft items related to that theme. I use the boxes for various things, including introducing new units, focusing on individual IEP goals, play-based therapy, and Pre-K evaluations. They are great when you are "in a bind" and need a quick lesson. Everything is right there!
You can see my "animal" themed box below. My students love the plastic animals and bugs (most of them from the Dollar Spot), stickers, animal movement flashcards, and farm animal puzzle. They also love the fence, which works great for practicing prepositions!
Do you work with themes? What are your favorites? Any great ones I missed???