Do you use speech therapy learning targets? No? Let me convince you!
Have you ever been in a new city, without cell service? It’s disorienting to live without your GPS or access to Google Maps. We’re more efficient and less likely to take the long way when Google tells us the route.
Similarly, we need to be a GPS for our students. Our students look to us to guide them through their learning and if we provide them with learning targets, it can increase their independence. It wouldn’t be very helpful if my GPS just said, go four miles west and you’ll be in Dublin, Ohio. Instead the GPS tells me exactly where to go. Learning Targets can do that for our students.
What are you doing in speech? “Learning to talk.”
How are you going to do that? (crickets)
While learning to say sounds is what they are doing in speech, our students need the detailed, step-by-step, navigation to know the path to that goal.
I find there are two ways to share learning targets in your space. Option one is to have the students write out each of their IEP goals translated to “I Can” statements on a sheet of paper. Your other choice is to post learning targets in the room that are generalized for all students/pre-made for all your goals. No matter how you post them, don’t write it in IEP form. Change the terms to something the student can understand.
I like to use learning targets as part of our routine at the beginning of each session. This reminds the student of his/her target and allows for me to have him focus on the work (not the activity!) The target is there to bring your attention to what the learning goal is. The learning target isn’t the activity. Most importantly, have a discussion about the topic. Don’t just post it and never talk about it.
One of the benefits of posting the learning target includes having students rate their own success. This is important for having students take ownership of their learning. We can chart their success and then refer back to the learning target to see if they have met the I can statement. In each therapy session, I use thumbs up/down to determine the path.
I’ve shared different learning targets that I’ve used over the years. I have student-made versions, a preschool learning target packet, and a larger pre-k to elementary learning target packet.
My Elementary Learning Target packet has 104 pre-made learning targets for common IEP goals. Each learning target is illustrated to support students’ understanding. You can find them in my TpT store here.
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SLP Runner says
Great post and product. It is so true that we need our students to understand the rhyme and reasons for speech services.