Top 5 Games for Middle School

Most of my middle school speech and language sessions are homework or classwork related. I find myself helping students with topics from longitude and latitude to math proofs to water cycles. As SLPs and teachers we have to remember that these students are still KIDS! Kids love games, and taking sometime to build relationship with them will end up helping our students in the long run. Bonus if the games also target their IEP goals!

Below are my top 5 games I use in therapy or on game days. Do you have a favorite game that didn’t make the list? Comment below. All links are affiliate links.

Bubble Talk

Bubble Talk is very similar to Apple to Apples, but you use pictures as the prompt. Students take turns being the judge of the captions students decide upon for each picture prompt. It’s perfect for turn taking, conversation level articulation, inferencing, and describing. You can even use these pictures for other therapy sessions as there are 150 colored pictures included. There are a few pictures that people may not be a huge fan of, but I choose the picture for every round. You can use this game for 10 minutes at the end of a session, or make it last the entire time!

Pickles to Penguins

I originally heard about this game from another SLP in my district who works with 5th and 6th graders. Honestly I think you can use it with any grade, as it is really open ended. The main game is all about how you can connect two cards together. You always have a main card in the center, and you try to get rid of your cards by connecting them to the card in the center. I end up making up my own rules to target my students’ goals for the day. PERFECT for EET goals or expanding MLU as students have to explain how the two cards are similar. There are other ways to play the game that are included in the rules. Most of the pictures are real pictures, and even the ones that are animate do not look “childish”. I find that my older students will not participate in games if they feel it is young for them. You get hundreds of picture cards which can be used for therapy too. For it’s price you could just use the cards as articulation cards!

Blurt!

Do you need a new vocabulary or inferencing game? Then you need to grab Blurt! It has two different levels of cards which are perfect for a variety of ages and abilities. Students read hints for the vocabulary word the other student identifies the vocabulary word. I think what makes this game different than other games like this, are the two levels of cards. Blurt! game does not take up a lot of space either, and can easily store in your therapy bag for the day! It simple and easy to play. Perfect for fun Friday.

Telestrations

This game is great for your larger groups, as the more people you have playing, the more fun it gets! I use this with my push in social skill groups to show perspective. Each round lasts about 10 minutes. Every person is given something to draw on their notepad in dry erase marker. Once you draw the word you pass it onto the next person and they guess what it is. From there you pass it onto the next person who draws what the guess is. This continues on until the notepad returns to the first person. Telestrations is like a drawn version of telephone. When you are done you can go back through and see how the picture was passed on correctly or incorrectly and exactly how the breakdown occurred. I enjoy this because sometimes my students with social language deficits need to see how things occur, and not just be told. **Also a fun game to play with family and friends!

Scattergories

This game is a classic, but my students LOVE to play it. I can target goals from articulation to categories, to social skills all with this one game. I put a twist on mine, and have students only focus on one category at a time with one letter. This allows the game to slow down a bit, and for a deeper conversation to be had about each category. In a given session we may only get through three categories, but we go very in depth. I always tell my students to “stretch their brain” to push past the first few things they know. Giving them time to focus on one category at a time allows them to build up the confidence that they do know, or know more than they think, when just given a bit of extra time.

My Middle School Madness: Part Two

Thank you so much for following along as I talk about how I landed my middle school SLP job, the struggles, and the triumphs! If you missed part one check it out here!.

First day of school/work picture!

Worrying about a new job in a new place was quickly replaced by excitement and the apartment search. I took time over the summer to follow as many middle and high school SLP instagrams as possible. As soon as I received my new work email address, my new credentials, MA, CF-SLP, went after my name. I learned that I had my own closet room at the middle school, but there was not a place for me at the high school that I would be covering one day a week. At time time I didn’t care, I had my very own desk to store my profesional things! I was finally achieving the goal I had spent five years working to achieve.

Picture from my room. I tried to start off the year by writing on my board what each area was going to do for the week.

Then it came to the first day of school, well for new teachers anyway. We went through the introductions and all the niceties that come along with starting a new job. I quickly realized that I was the only new staff member that shared my time between the middle and high school. Also, I realized how no one knew what a Speech-Language Pathologist really does. This is not something that they prepare you for coming out of graduate school. That was not the last time I would come to that realization. I sat through days of professional development that felt like it had nothing to do with me, but as a new profesional I thought that I was just behind and had a lot to learn. Over time of countless PD days I have now realized that most presentations and topics are teacher focused. The lonely island of being an SLP was slowly starting to come into focus.

I used the Monae’s Speech House Big Mouth Posters for my first bulletin board. Find it here!

I spent my weekend and any free time before school started trying to make the perfect schedule. I had a caseload of ~55 students and needed to schedule my time between two buildings. This was difficult as we have A/B schedules and the high school and middle school are on completing different schedules/times. I color coded, made notes for the students when they come, and even had lists for teachers what hours I needed their students. Honestly I thought why does everyone complain about making schedules? That was so easy to do! (I admit now I was wrong).

I met my other SLPs in the district. Each are placed at the various elementary buildings, and each with their own personalities. My mentor, another SLP in the district, was very helpful getting my room at the middle school set up. The other SLPs donated some materials to help get me started as I was a new position hire for the growing secondary speech/language population. Luckily my handy stash of materials I thought would be used for elementary students had several board games I could use! I thought maybe I was prepared for this after all!

In our district the SLPs do not start seeing kids until after all the K-5th grade students are screened/recreened. Although I was not an elementary SLP we all joined forces to screen students. This allowed me to ease into my role in the district, gain confidence with the age group I’m familiar with, and have more time with the other SLPs.

All this was great, but I was ready to start seeing MY KIDS.