How many of you do some sort of end of the year celebration? I usually do something for the last day of speech class. I think it is important to acknowledge the effort students have made in speech class and the progress towards their goals. Celebrations are not as prevalent in the school environment as in past years. It seems they have suffered from not being politically correct or there just not enough time with all the accountability. I think they are valuable teaching moments though. Our students are missing out on the social communication that goes along with a social gathering.
There are social pragmatic skills that are learned from participating in a party. A carefully planned platter of cheese and crackers and a pitcher of water or juice works well for teaching basic table manners. Prepare just enough to make it around the table. Of course you need to check about allergies before doing this. I would still have some in reserve for the unexpected to happen.
Some students may not have much experienced with a sit down meal in a group. I remember one particular social group that needed a script to follow on serving. They didn’t think about looking ahead to see the amount of portions on the plate and helped themselves to multiple servings. They needed to be schooled about looking ahead to make sure there was enough for everyone. They may also need to be schooled about asking politely for the drink, using please and thankyou, and asking the next person if they would like some.
If you have worked on conversation skills in the past, it is a good place to see the culmination of skills; introducing a topic, staying on topic, exiting a topic, and including everyone.
I find icy parties are also a good therapy tool for the end of the year. My early language learners enjoy following directions for the treat. The syrup is economical and available in a sugar-free form for my student with medical restrictions on sugar. I have an icy machine but you may be able to uses a blender. I found I needed to keep in control of the bottles for proper portion control.
I like this party even better than a popcorn party because it is the easiest to clean up. Usually it is just wiping the table. We have an ice cube maker in the staff refrigerator so I only need to get a few syrup bottles and bring my icy maker, plastic spoons and cups. The smaller clear cups actually work the best because you can make layers of color and watch them blend. You can work on a lot of descriptive vocabulary with an icy party.