Epic or Fail…High School group therapy that is actually fun!

Epic or Fail...High School group therapy that is actually fun!

Epic or Fail…

Soooo, this year, I was given a gift I never asked for…my very own hot mess of a high school caseload!! Our private practice provides contract SLP services for a few local districts and I serve one that I am particularly fond of.  I find their administrative team and SPED staff to be mostly exceptional.  And when they reached out to me because their high school SLP resigned days before school started, I agreed, in spite of the fact that I prefer my kiddos under age six!

One caveat, when they asked me to take on the high school, they asked me to clean things up…dismissals where appropriate, collaborative services with RSP and SDC teachers, social skills club development…things that make high school speech a more effective model.  I loved this plan!  Clean up equals improvement and growth, which makes our services so much more effective for the students on our caseload, and even those that are not!  This is no small endeavor, as pretty much every existing speech goal is written: …in the speech room, NAME will…AUGH!!  I though that habit had stopped!!!  But that is another story…

I was instructed not to be overly concerned with direct services initially, as those were less important than the restructuring (at least for the first months of school, direct services will start in October).  So I have directed my attention on establishing collaboration with those teachers who are working hard in the trenches and have not previously worked side by side with an SLP.  I attended a meeting with the high school special education staff and gave my pitch – less pull out, more push in…team teaching…classroom take-overs…services integrated into work environments for some students.  And they agreed!  One teacher, who had seemed resistant to collaboration in initial emails, asked if I would be willing to take on Wednesday morning tutorials.  She shared that from 7:50 to 8:30 every Wednesday, her special day class students came to her classroom for tutorial.  Because they are mostly in supported or modified educational settings, they do not need the typical tutorial services and often they just sit around in her room, doing very little.  She asked if I would come tot tutorial.

The first week I came and brought a bag of games…and there were 15+ kids…I did play a few games of Uno with smaller groups, but I knew that I needed something bigger for the next session…

Enter EPIC or FAIL!!

The concept of using Epic or Fail videos in speech sessions was mentioned this summer at the Speech Retreat, hosted by Hallie Sherman: SLP behind the blog and TpT store, Speech Time Fun; Felice Clark: SLP behind The Dabbling Speechie; Natalie Snyders: SLP behind Natalie Snyders SLP; and Maureen Wilson: SLP behind The Speech Bubble SLP. I am no stranger to  using You Tube in therapy sessions (Thank you Anna Vagin) – it’s amazing how interactive and engaging that screen can be in the right hands! 

I enlisted the help of a TALK volunteer to create two sided cards reading epic on one side and fail on the other, paired with a thumbs up and a thumbs down, respectively…I even got to do a little after hours coloring.  We laminated them and they were good to go!

Then, this Wednesday, I walked into the classroom, connected to the SmartBoard, and handed these babies out.  It took a bit of coaxing for the kids to turn off whatever game (Clash of Clans) or YouTuber they were watching, but they did.  This is where we hit vocabulary enrichment! 

What is EPIC?  It is MASSIVE…ENORMOUS…HUGE…GIGANTIC

What is FAIL? It can be a TRAGEDY…UNSUCCESSFUL

And then I talked about how we would PREDICT…HYPOTHESIZE…CONCLUDE…DEDUCE…the outcome of each video clip! 

(I totally used a list of high school academic vocabulary here!!)

I used a segment from the Ellen show – I did preview it, of course, but it was very likely to be clean and safe for the students to watch.  This 5 minute clip filled the 40 minutes.  The kids made their predictions, holding up their cards to show their vote.  Then they used the EVIDENCE (another great vocabulary word) in the pictured situation to formulate their hypothesis and those who could, would explain what they thought would happen.  It was so simple to level up and down for each student, and the kids were all engaged in the activity.  We did lots of pausing to predict and discuss and really interact. 

This was the clip used:

Use your pause button liberally and have a blast with this one!  Hope someone out there can use this Monday!!

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