Effective Informal Assessments & Learning Activities From TPT { Top 20 List }

Over the last three and a half years, I have gathered an extensive collection of informal assessments and learning activities from Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT). Most speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and educators know that TPT is an educational website that has a massive amount of instructional products for elementary through high school aged students. These activities are specially created by SLPs and educators to improve the communication, language, literacy, and overall academic skills of students. I have been an SLP for almost 12 years and have created numerous assessments and therapeutic activities to promote gains in my students’ speech-language skills. Some of which are available in my TPT store.  I truly love designing materials for my individual clients when I provide private speech language therapy and my elementary school aged students that I serve each week. Many of my resources are great for use by teachers with their students in the classroom as well to build language and literacy skills.

I have discovered that when working with children, it is necessary to have fun, engaging, and educationally relevant materials. It is definitely best practice to readily have informal assessments to gather baseline data that measure children’s knowledge prior to beginning therapy. This way you can accurately measure their growth and not target skills that they have already mastered. Similarly, it is important to have a variety of meaningful and interactive learning activities that will keep students motivated to learn. So, here is my top 20 list of Effective Informal Assessments & Learning Activities From TPT (Click on the link for direct access to products):

1)Speech-Language Therapy Informal Assessments Early Language
*This tool evaluates basic “wh” questions, yes/no questions, divergent categorization (naming items in a ategory), convergent categorization (naming category)

2) Basic Concepts Baseline Data & Progress Check Activity
* This activity evaluates spatial and qualitative concepts (prepositions/adjectives)
* There is also an instructional level of activity provided.

3) Vocabulary Progress Monitoring
* This is an informal assessment that measures students’ knowledge and expression of semantic processing skills: object function, associations, categories, similarities, differences, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meanings, oral definitions of tier 1 words with attributes, oral definitions of tier 3 words (academic), figurative language expressions

4) Speech Progress Monitoring
*This is a quick and easy data collection tool that measures speech fluency or occurrence of stuttering as well as speech intelligibility.

5) Oral Story Retelling Rubric
*Narrative development is a critical skill that is lacking in many preschool and elementary school aged children. I created this tool to have an informal assessment to measure their oral story retelling skills according to key story elements. It’s best to audio or video record a child’s speaking sample for an accurate analysis.

6) Speech-Language Therapy Curriculum Assessments
*These are a series of informal assessments that measure receptive E/LA curriculum vocabulary knowledge from the ommon Core State Standards.The assessments are in a cloze sentence (fill-in-the blank) format with a word bank.

7) English/Language Arts Vocabulary Progress Monitoring
* This is a curriculum vocabulary progress monitoring tool that measures children’s expressive E/LA vocabulary skills. There are 10 word lists with 105 total words in the areas of: story vocabulary, types of nouns, types of sentences, parts of sentences, parts of speech, types of literature, types of writing, text features, figurative language, and prefixes.

8) Guess What? Curriculum Vocabulary Bundle
* This bundle includes a series of 4 game sets to provide tons of practice for children to learn E/LA curriculum words. To play the game, a person selects a mystery word. Then others in the group use the included semantic maps or question prompts to guess the mystery word. The players take turns selecting a mystery word for others to guess. Kids have fun learning while playing!

9) English/Language Arts Comprehensive Categorization Bundle
* Categorization is a language organization skill that helps kids organize vocabulary, ideas, and academic concepts. They need direct instruction in this area to improve their memory, word retrieval, and overall language comprehension and verbal expression. This bundle provides tons of practice with categorization of curriculum vocabulary. There are 4 products included: sorting, memory game, category book, and categorization cards (tier I and tier III words).

10) English/Language Arts Common Core Standards Vocabulary 
* This is a task cards bundle that has 180 questions aligned with 2nd-5th grade E/LA common core standards. This product is great for language therapy or use in the classroom during small group instruction or whole group lessons. Skills address a variety of vocabulary, grammar, and E/LA content questions in a multiple choice format.

11) Back to School Baseline Bundle
* I use this product to collect baseline data as well as guided practice during speech-language therapy sessions. It includes practice with: synonyms, antonyms, homophones, homographs, irregular plural nouns, irregular past tense verbs, and word associations. I can easily differentiate instruction according to students’ learning needs during sessions by varying the questions asked.

12) Fall Speech-Language Activities Bundle
* In the fall, I use this bundle frequently for my students to practice fall themed vocabulary according to associations, multiple meaning words, and oral definitions with attributes (Tier I and Tier III terms). Kids can also practice identifying words when read definitions by the SLP or teacher from the included question prompts. The kids enjoy playing the fall  themed game board all season.

13) The Mitten Speech-Language Activities
*In the winter, I use this book companion set with my students in grades 3-5. It includes articulation word lists, wh questions, synonyms, antonyms, and tier 2 vocabulary practice.

14) Valentine’s Themed Categories & Associations
*This is an engaging holiday themed activity to address  2 critical language language processing skills: ategories and word associations. Kids can verbally name items in categories and word associations as well as write responses on the included writing practice pages.

15) Winter Land: English/Language Arts Activities
*My students are always asking to play Winter Land. They love the game board from this product that I glued onto a larger poster board and then laminated. I use it all winter with the categorization task cards included and a variety of other learning questions.

16) Non-Fiction Language Bundle
* This bundle is excellent for use during speech-language therapy sessions or language arts lessons from February-March or year round. It includes a Historical African American Unit that has 7 non-fiction passages, 46 comprehension questions, 70 context clues questions (tier 2 vocab),  compare/contrast pages, and 7 word association practice opportunities. The second product is a Historical Irish American Unit that has 6 non-fiction passages, 36 comprehension questions, 60 context clues questions, compare/contrast pages, and 7 word association practice opportunities. Additional units will be added such as Historical American Women.

17) Beach Themed Multiple Meanings Memory Activity
* Spring and summer are two of my favorite seasons. I created this product with beach photographs from my trips to Florida. The learning cards have homophones and homographs vocabulary that can be used to play a memory game. Children can also practice stating definitions of words or using them in sentences to convey the correct meanings.

18) Beach Themed Monster Trucks- Synonyms & Antonyms
*Many students struggle with word relationships including synonyms and antonyms. This free activity contains plenty of vocabulary practice for kids on task cards with “monster trucks” in the background. These photographs were also taken during a beach trip to Florida. My boy students especially enjoy this activity!

19) Parent Handouts for Communication Disorders
* This is a free resource guide that SLPs can give to parents that provides a quick overview of communication disorders. It briefly outlines the difference between speech sound disorders and language disorders. It also provides tips to improving speech-language skills including interactive websites.

20) Speech-Language Therapy Technology Resource Guide
*This is a complimentary resource guide to help SLPs integrate technology in therapy sessions. This will help vary activities in sessions and keep kids engaged during group sessions.

I know that this is a long list, but considering I have an extensive amount of products in my personal TPT library, I wanted to make sure that I give you my top 20 list from my TPT store! :) This is a great starting place for a new SLP/teacher or someone who wants some fresh materials to improve the communication, language, literacy, and academic skills of students.

Have a great remainder of the school year. Perhaps you can use a few of these effective informal assessment and learning activities with your students. I have 15 days remaining with my speech language students this year, but who’s counting! :)

Thanks for reading my blog today!

Tamara Anderson


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