Monday Repost: 5 Minute Day Variation

The following post was originally posted on 09/17/2013.  This was the subject for the poster that I presented with a colleague at ASHA 2014.

A couple of years ago, one of the SLPs in our system began talking about "5-minute Days", and a few of us went to a seminar on 3:1 and 5 minute days.   We took the information back to our Special Ed Coordinator.  He seemed genuinely interested, but there was one little problem:  money.  Isn't that what most everything boils down to?  Not seeing students for 60 minutes/week puts them in a lower funding "bracket" (if you will), which would mean less money generated.
So...we came up with an alternative.  One day/week (at each school), I have "5 Minute Days".  The students come to the therapy room for their designated 30 minutes, but I have "stations" set up.  Each child spends 5 uninterrupted minutes with me, one on one.  If he/she is on the word or sentence level, I use the "Jumbo Articulation Book" from Super Duper.  They roll a die, and then say a word or sentence that number of times.  If they're on isolation, we'll work on that sound.  The number of responses I get during those 5 minutes is amazing!  On the word level, it's common for me to get around 100 responses; on sentences around 75.  That's compared to around 28 on a typical, "traditional" speech session.
 For data collecting, I will use a tally counter to keep track of how many total words/sentences they produce.  On each student's label (which I use for data collection), I will make a mark for each incorrect production.  The students keep track of how many times they've said their target by putting their finger on one of the cut-out shapes.  For example:  this month I'm using flowers (just because I haven't had time to cut out leaves!).  If he rolls a 3, then I put 3 flowers on the desk in front of them.
  I have a notebook where I have the pictures/sentences needed divided into their groups.  I didn't do this until towards the end of the year last year, and it's proven to be a time saver for me.
When the students aren't with me, they rotate between a couple of other stations.  I may have a listening station set up (sometimes, but not always).  The past couple of weeks I used my "Articulate It!" app as the listening station:  last week the students listened to each word/sentence 3 times before scrolling to the next picture.  This week, they are using the matching game.  They are instructed to listen for their sound, and think about where in the word their sound is.
Another station may be anything from Chipper Chat to a cut & glue activity, a color activity, a board game, hidden object activity, or a Bingo Dauber Art activity.  Pretty much anything goes during the table activity.  As long as it's something that the student can do independently, it will work.  The student uses a pvc pipe as a "whisper phone" while he says his words/sentences to himself.  For those students working on the /r/ sound, I have them do their "straw exercises" while doing the independent activity.
Last year, I was talking with one of my principals about how I felt like the students showed a lot of progress by using the 5 Minute Days, and she said, "If it works that well, why not do it both days?"  We talked about how important it was for the students to have that social aspect of therapy of playing a game or participating in the "typical" therapy activities.  I wasn't sure how the Special Ed Coordinator was going to take it, but he said it was a form of Differentiated Instruction.
If you have any ideas on how I can improve my 5 Minute Days, or any activities, please let me know!


  1. I agree five minutes of uninterrupted, dedicated speech is crazy effective. I use a combo of the ArticLab (from SuperDuper) and the 5-Minute therapy books. ArticLab adds a motor component that helps with carryover and the kids love it!

  2. Thank you for giving me the details on your five minute day. I have totally wanted to add centers, but never take the time out of traditional therapy and data collection to achieve the stamina and independence. I will be bringing this to my department today and hopefully finally finishing a centers material I began last year! You are amazing!!


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