Push-In To Stop Pulling My Hair Out

Push-in therapy goes by several different names (in-class service, classroom-based services, integrated services). I use the term push-in for this post. I also understand that push-in therapy may not be the right fit for every student or therapist. 

Push-in therapy isn’t something that is taught as often in our schooling career. For many of us during undergrad/graduate clinicals we saw one to four clients/students at a time for 30 minutes. We would grab our students, take them to the therapy room, and send them on their way. Great?! Yes, for some students. At the same time we are taught pull-out services, we are also taught to work towards generalization of skills and carryover of their progress to other settings. How can this happen if we are only servicing our students in the same room, with the same group of their peers, on the same day, for the same amount of time?

Centers can include a range of activities! Story cubes, synonyms, antonyms, and idioms pictured here.

I don’t want you to think that my journey of providing push-in therapy was something that I just magically knew how to do coming out of school. It actually happened a little by accident, and a lot by my relationships with teachers. When forming my crazy schedule for the middle school I noticed that many of my language impaired students had the same resource english language arts class. At first I brushed it off, and went along scheduling my pull-out sessions. Each group I scheduled was 2-4 students, normally having at least two different goal areas.

Well the school year starts, and I started pulling out my students (or at least trying to). Many of them would forget to come, teachers weren’t sending their students even with a reminder, or my students would get “lost” on their way to my room. When I did have students, many of them had little motivation to work as they have been in speech/language services since early elementary school. Honestly, I couldn’t blame them for their lack of motivation to work. When I had my larger groups, we did not have enough room in my room for use to all comfortably fit (middle schoolers aren’t little).

So after about three weeks of the struggle, I went back to scheduling. What could I do to help not only myself, but also my students? This wasn’t working. When going back to try and move students around I noticed again that many of my students were in a language resource class. I reached out to the teacher, as we were friends outside of work (Miss. R), and we decided on a day for me to start seeing my students. I would teach a language lesson and assist with any other tasks. Miss. R and myself became co-teachers on the days I pushed-in. Once a month we would do centers in order to collect data easier and monitor progress. Guess what?! The students LOVED it. My students started to show progress.

Now, not all of the students were my language students, but they still learned from some of my language lessons. These students would also help those with language deficits, and could communicate with their peers in ways I never could. Often class would start with a 5-minute language warm up. We did worksheets from Speechy Musings, research projects, and one sheet grammar lessons. At times I felt like a paraprofessional, but if that’s what my students needed for the day, then that’s what I needed to adapt to.

I didn’t always know if I was doing it “right”. I started researching all the push-in materials I could and slowly gained confidence. If you want to see ASHA’s stance on school-based service delivery check out their website here! They have some GREAT research, and list the various types of push-in services.

Push-In: ELA Famous People Research No Prep

This past week I started a research project over a famous person with one of my push-in groups. Often times I am providing the graphic organizers and leading the activity. I wanted to flip this activity. This will be a four part activity, but I will explain it all here! Targets: articulation, summarizing, important vs. interesting information, main idea, details, and social skills!

Students create their own graphic organizer questions.
  1. Give the students a sticky note for each question. Ask these three questions. Who can we research (e.g cooks, football players, famous women)? What can I research about them? Where to find information? See the picture to the right. After each question talk about what the students decided. Students then decide, after talking through the questions, who they will research. This will take about 30 minutes with all the discussion time after each question.
  2. Next, create a graphic organizer using the questions the students came up with. Students can then students will research their people. This will be done on the computer and in the library. Students can practice looking for interesting versus important information.
  3. Student will then summarize their information/findings into a presentation. This can be a poster, google slides, or something else.
  4. Finally, students will present over their people in front of the class.

Be on the lookout for more push-in ideas, as this is something that I am very passionate about. This semester I push into two resource classes, a co-taught ELA class, three social skills advisory classes, and high school life skills. As I stated above, I understand this service delivery model might not be perfect for everyone. I will be talking more about this in future blog posts. Do you have any questions? Feel free to reach out.