Are you looking for more ways to bring core words into your everyday routines? Do you often struggle to think of what core words you could teach and model? Do you find yourself in a rut of modeling requesting, but find it harder to think about other communication functions to teach?
If so, you need our Core Word Planners! The Core Word Planners and their accompanying Core Word Modeling Guides, are simply perfect for planning what core words you will teach and model, within activities that are already happening in your classroom and home.
These materials are a part of the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom, which opened it’s doors, ready to support AAC learning, last month.
There are many Core Word Planners in the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom and they are designed around activities and things that are very common in most schools and homes. They fall into these following categories:
Like many of the materials in the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom, the Core Word Planners focus on the 3W’s for the activity: the Words (core words), the Whys (reasons we communicate) and the Ways (word combinations and word inflections to say things in a grammatical way).
Each Core Word Planner consists of the following five categories:
- Core Words table
- Whys & Ways table
- Specific grammar
- Extension ideas
- Literacy suggestions
You can find an explanation of each below.
Download the Core Word Planner for "Art" as an example of what a Core Word Planner looks like. On the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom you can find more Core Word Planners.
The Core Word table includes the core words that could be modeled during the activity. These words are categorized by word kind, e.g. verbs, pronouns, questions, etc. They are ordered by frequency of use and the order in which they are acquired by typically developing language learners.
Green words are the most frequently used and earliest acquired; Yellow words are next; and Orange words are the most advanced. Words in all groups can be modeled to all students - students don’t need to master Green words before they can see Yellow or Orange ones modeled!
Feeling words are listed separately - they are Blue to show they should be modeled whenever any situation that involves these feelings comes up.
This table gives suggestions for ways to model the core words to your students. These ways are split into the different reasons to communicate, or whys. Sentences are in order of increasing length and complexity, to give you ideas you can use with students of different language skill levels.
For example, in the Art Core Word Planner, the suggestions in the “Asking for Information” cell start with a simple “where” and end with longer and more complex questions:
This section gives you some specific ideas for how you may support the grammatical learning of the core word for those students that are ready, eg. teaching past tense of “go” > “went”.
Extension ideas give you some extra teaching activities you may like to try to extend language and create more opportunities to model the core words in and around your classroom activity.
We have given some brief starting points and suggestions for extending the activity to include a literacy component. The suggestions are not comprehensive and you should use alongside your current comprehensive literacy program.
Once you’ve found a core word planner that fits your situation, you can adapt it to meet the individual needs of your classroom:
Do you need a one page, quick reference sheet that will help the team to remember the core words to model for your chosen activity? This is the exact purpose of the Core Word Modeling Guide: to provide suggestions for modeling core words and to help you model to match the language levels of students in the classroom. For every Core Word Planner in the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom, there is an accompanying Core Word Modeling Guide. The Guide is a single page, and breaks the Planner’s Whys & Ways table up into three different language levels - green, yellow, and orange:
Our “GREEN” students are those who are just starting out. Maybe they are not yet using any words on the AAC system, or perhaps have started pointing to one word at a time. Model single words, with some 2-3 word sentences.
Our “YELLOW” students are those who are already producing 1-2 word combinations on their AAC system. Model 3-6 word sentences and simple inflections.
Our “ORANGE” students are those who are already producing 3-6 word combinations on their AAC system. Model longer sentences, joining ideas and more inflections.
Please remember that these language levels are intended as a general guide. There is no harm in modeling longer sentences for students at earlier levels. In fact, it is important to show even emergent communicators that longer sentences are possible - and powerful! So even with students that you feel are at the green level, be sure to model some yellow and orange sentences as well!
Our Core Word Planners are loaded with ideas, jam-packed with core words and ready to help you to teach and model so much language! Why not join up and try them out today? Join the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom.
~ Amanda Hartmann & Jennifer Marden
Amanda is a Speech-Language Pathologist with over 19 years experience working in schools and with families and as a technology consultant. All this has led to a passion for working with children and young adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. She gives lectures on Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Queensland and loves sharing what she knows about AAC and literacy!
Jennifer is VP of Clinical Development at AssistiveWare. She became a Speech-Language Pathologist in 1999, after 14 years as a software engineer at Hewlett-Packard. Jennifer specializes in AAC for children and adults with a wide variety of communication disorders, and has provided AAC services in school, hospital, clinic, home, and adult day program settings.