Wonderful (Core) Words of the Week

We have been looking at the different resources in the new AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom. Last month we looked at the Core Word Planners, helping you to plan for core words in everyday activities you are doing. Today we move on to looking at the Core Word of Week Planners. They are similar, but these are more specific planners to help focused modeling and teaching of a specific core word. Let’s look more closely at this approach and how you can use these resources from the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom.

The WOW factor

Get the WOW factor in your classroom! You can have a way to introduce, teach and model core words consistently if you take a WOW (Word of the week) approach. This approach means choosing one (or even a few) core words and using them consistently across all activities, throughout the day. WOW helps teams to be focused on a few key core words, allowing more time and attention to modeling just those words.
 
Core words are those 50 to 400 words that make up most of what we say in typical conversation and writing. While core words may seem harder to teach because they are not as “picturable” as nouns, we know that with consistent modeling in natural situations, that our AAC learners can use core words to communicate independently and successfully.
 

Core Word of the Week Planners

The AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom has planners that can help you give your classrooms the WOW factor! The Core Word of the Week Planners are specifically designed to support teams in modeling a set of core words throughout the day, across all activities. Used in conjunction with the Core Word of the Week Displays - printable displays that show the location of the core words - you can get core words happening with WOW!
 
Like many of our resources in the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom, we focus on the 3W’s - the words, whys and ways. And while in the Core Word of the Week Planner, the WORD is more obvious, it is still important to use that word to communicate for different reasons (whys) and to combine that word with other words to communicate in different ways.
 
We currently have 30 different core words (or pairs of words such as here & there, in & out), and have plans to expand to more core words in time. We have an even mix of pronouns, verbs/actions, describing words, questions and prepositions, all of which are highly functional core words. The words are chosen based on the core words used to create the Proloquo2Go Crescendo Core Word vocabulary.

What will you find in a Core Word of the Week Planner?

Example of a Core Word of the Week Planner
Each Core Word of the Week Planner consists of the following four categories:
- Whys & Ways table
- Specific grammar
- Extension ideas
- Literacy suggestions
 
You can find an explanation of each below.
 
Download the Core Word Planner for "Like" as an example of what a Core Word Planner looks like. On the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom you can find more Core Word Planners.

Whys & Ways Table

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 “different” Core Word of the Week Planner, the suggestions in the “Asking for Information” cell start with a simple “what is different?” and end with a six word sentence: 
  • What is different?
  • Where is the different one?
  • Who wants a different one?
  • Why is it different?
  • How is this different from that?
  • When can we do something different?

Specific grammar

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

Extension ideas give you some extra ideas you may like to try to extend language and create more opportunities to model the core word/s throughout the day.

Literacy suggestions

We also 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.

Getting started with Core of the Week Planners

  • Explore the Whys & Ways table to help you in planning your modeling. Use copy/paste to grab sentences you want to be sure to use with your students. You can make a cheat sheet for your classroom staff in this way. You can choose between making a single cheat sheet for use with all your students, or a customized sheet for each teacher or aide with whys & ways that target the specific needs of the group of students they will be working with.
  • Explore the Extension ideas to find suggestions to extend use of the words of the week throughout the day.
  • Explore the Literacy suggestions and remember that literacy is the ultimate AAC, as it allows you to say anything without waiting for someone to program in the words! Every student can benefit from literacy instruction, regardless of the level of literacy they eventually reach.

Core Word of the Week Displays

These Displays were designed to support a Core Word of the Week approach, by giving you printable and easy to read posters that can be displayed prominently in the classroom and around the school. They could even be shared with parents for use at home! 
 
Page 1 of the WOW Display provides visuals, with both the symbol for the core word, as well as showing where the word can be found on the Proloquo2Go Crescendo core word board. If you are using a different AAC system, you could take a screen capture of your core word screen to create a similar page to this.
 
Page 2 of the WOW Display, provides sentence examples for using the target core word. These have been organised into 3 main communication functions:
  • Needs & Wants (eg. like it, like that, not like, I would like to __, etc)
  • Giving/Getting Information (eg. you like it, what like?, he will like, etc.)
  • Social Interaction (eg. I like to see you, etc.)

Not sure?

Are you not sure what approach to take for teaching and modeling core words? Do you teach the core words within an activity, or teach a core word of the week? While there is no right or wrong, we will be sharing some things to think about and consider in an upcoming blog. Keep an eye out for it!

Join the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom now!

Our Core Word of the Week Planners are loaded with ideas, and ready to help you to teach and model core words all day, everyday! Why not join up and try them out today?

~ 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.

 

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