Monday, July 17, 2017

Core Vocabulary Ideas

Giving students access to language is one of the biggest things we can do as special educators. Even though we are not speech and language pathologist so much of what our students need revolves around communication. Can you imagine not being able to communicate basic wants and needs? Can you imagine not being able to tell someone who may be annoying you to go away lol? Well....consider teaching core vocabulary in your classroom and provide access in a variety of ways.

Here are a few ways to embed core vocabulary into your day.

1) Shared reading- take what you are already doing and put focus on core vocabulary. I use Unique Learning System in my classroom and use this approach when reading the monthly stories. The kids love it and it allows all of my students to participate and be exposed to a wide range of language. Here is an awesome video (from that explains how to use big core during shared reading. If you haven't ever visited their website I strongly encourage you to. It is filled with tons of information!


2) Snack Time- Now, I will be the first person to say that I do not allow my students to earn food as a reinforcer throughout the day (if you do, no judgement, I just don't) but snack time is already built into our schedule. Who doesn't love snack time. Consider building core into this time by having visuals of common used words such as; more, please, eat, want, who, where, what, all done. Model using the cards/high tech AAC device/oral language so that your students start to understand. Here are some go to phrases (these can vary depending on the level of your students, the more language they acquire the more you should model);
        - Go get food
        -You want more?
        -What do you want?
        -That looks/tastes yummy!
        -Where is it?
        -You all done eat/drink?
        -You open
        -Help drink/eat
        -Want different?
        -I like/not like it

*Google image, I take no credit for this

3) Play/Choice time- Even though the students have already earned the choice make them ask for it. They can request items they have earned/want. Here are some phrases students/teachers can use.
      -I want toy
      -Here you go
      -I/you want to play?
      -Tell me
      -Help please
      -Open please
      -More time

*Google image, I take no credit for this

3) Fine Motor- Pull pieces from your big core board or make separate visuals and place them in a sensory fun bin. Some examples are rice, beads, pasta, sand and string. The kids can "fish" around for the pieces and either place them on a board, find the matching word on their AAC device or show understanding of the word by doing what it says. For example if the word is open, they can open a container. And then go "fishing" again. I have a student who is learning sign language so when she pulled these out she showed us the sign.

4) Math Instruction- A lot of my students are working on very basic math concepts. Pair core vocabulary cards with verbal directions. (Read more about hands on math activities here)

5) Videos- Use these for direct instruction or a quick transition. My students love videos so this is perfect. We (my SLP's always find the best videos!) used this video to help with teaching "no".

6) Adapted Books- Always one of my favorites. Put out some adapted/symbolated books that allow students to look at text and manipulate the symbols. Here is a FREE book from Teach.Love.Autism to get your collection started. You can also check out this website, they have a lot of free symbolated books. 

I hope this sparked your interest in incorporating core vocabulary into your day OR if you are already using core hopefully this gave you some more ideas. Do you have any additional ways that you incorporate core into your day?

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