Thursday, March 17, 2016

Do You Use Mini-Schedules?

Use core words on your mini-schedule to increase the use of functional language. My student
is going to "talk" about the calendar, "see" a YouTube clip, "find" matching pictures, "read"
 books and "play" games on the iPad. 

Do you have a mini-schedule within each therapy session? And, are your students privy to that schedule?  

Think about those professional learning activities that you attend. Isn't it nice to have a schedule provided so that you will know when each speaker will be ending presenting, how long you will have to complete that team building exercise, and when you will be able to stretch or take a bathroom break?

Your students will appreciate the schedule and it may just make your sessions run a little smoother. 

Introduce the session's activities with a picture schedule. 
  • Make a PowerPoint and present the schedule on your whiteboard or print it as a handout to create small visual schedule pictures. 
  • For those with transition issues, a pull-off schedule would benefit. See how Kristin at Simply Speech tamed some behaviors with her visual schedule. 
  • Make a FREE picture schedule at Use the provided photos and Boardmaker pictures or upload your own. 

For your readers and older students, try a written agenda  or schedule. 
  • Use a dry erase board or something like the To Do List at Can Do Kinders. 
  • Who wouldn't like schedules made with comic strips? There are several FREE websites and apps. I made the one on the right at Bitstrips.  Or, try the kid friendly, ReadWriteThink Comic Creator.  

Don't have visual support software? Check out my post No Software Needed - Free Visual Supports. 

Find more about mini-schedules at PrAACtical AAC, The Autism Helper, and Autism Classroom Resources.  


© 2016

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

35+ Simple (and FREE) Ideas for Beginning Core Word Users

This post began as a search for new core word activities. As I searched, I was amazed at some of the fabulous resources found.  Core words wasn't such a great search term.  I found many ideas by searching for core vocabulary,  core word books, sight word activities, and life skills activities

The PrAACtical AAC is my #1 source for core word strategies and activities. If you work with AAC users, consider subscribing to the blog. Two recent posts PrAACtically January: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words and PrAACtically February: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words have suggested children's literature selections along with the core words to teach with each book. AND, if you are just beginning to teach core words in your therapy sessions, Carole Zangari's post, Thoughts on Teaching Core Vocabulary is a must read! 

Susan Berkowitz has some very good ideas for incorporating AAC into your learners' day on her YouTube video, AAC Basics Video #9: Integrating Core Words into Interactions

Visit Gail Van Tatenhove's site to find Script Cards containing ideas for teaching 10 core words and many other resources. 

Core Word Books

Use core word books to model and teach core word vocabulary. Make them with PowerPoint or with your favorite story making app. OR use these resources to download FREE core word books. 

  • For core word lessons and over 70 ready to download core word books, register for a free account at My TobiiDynavox Community.
  • The core word starter lesson plans at PRC's Language Lab uses their 20 core starter words in FREE core word books and lesson plans. 
  • Tar Heel Reader has over 40,000 FREE books that can be read online or downloaded as a PDF or PowerPoint.  These books were made by readers of all ages. Download them as PowerPoints to change text, add core words, etc. I searched for core and found both core word books and books containing the word core. A search for AAC yielded two core word books. Search by topic, by core word, or phrase.
  • Pat Mervine at Speaking of Speech just posted two core word books and added them her new category Core Language Materials. She created them in PowerPoint so that they could be modified as needed. I will be using Hungry Dog while teaching not next week! 

FREE Story Making Apps for your core word books. 

This simple core word book was made to introduce the phrase "want different" prior to playing with a variety of windup toys. Click on the picture to enlarge. 

Use Apps and Toys to Elicit Core Words

Put it away - help, go in, put in, where go

Toca Kitchen Monsters - like, don't like, turn on, my turn, eat, make, put on 

 Toca Tea Party - eat, drink, want more drink, want more eat, you help  

My Playhome Lite - turn on, get, want, can, sit, go, in 

View Master - I see, my turn, what you see, I see it

The Parking Lot Game (download my free template as a PowerPoint to make your own) - go, where, what, on, fast, slow, turn

Put interesting objects in boxes. Students can request open it and use other words to talk about the items in the box. 

Use matching games to teach not that, same, or different.

Puzzles or toys with parts elicit want or want more. 

Simple board games will lead to utterances such as my turn, I go, you go, help me, and much more.  Check out Teaching core Words with Games at Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs. Scroll down to the bottom to find Adapting Commercial Games AND check out her other great ideas.  


These five-minute activities help students become more familiar with words on their device or board.

  •  Write core words (or attach the word and symbol) on Legos and give the student the Lego each time that he finds the words. 
  • Write words on ping pong balls and let students throw them in baskets as they find the words. 

Try one of these short videos to give students a little breather during the session and give you another chance to model the core word or phrase. 
  • Introduce the concept more with Baby Bean, also by Pelican Talk. 

Make your own movie using iMovie (FREE if you have a device activated after September 2013) or a similar video editor for Android users

Want more? Join the Core Words Forum at Speaking of Speech to add your ideas, questions, and materials. Thanks to Pat for doing this!



© 2016

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Best Story Props for Winter's Literature Activities

I am an Amazon Affiliate. 

Last week, as I was cleaning up the links on some of my older posts, I noticed that's newest Story Patterns are for The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. This is my favorite winter literature selection for speech/language groups and the story patterns by Kizclub illustrate some of the more unfamiliar vocabulary words found in the book.  Use beautifully drawn pictures as story props to retell the story, define vocabulary, or create a PowerPoint book or game.  And, check out my earlier post The Snowy Day for Speech and Language Therapy.

Here are more story patterns suitable for winter's literature activities. 

Under My Hood I Have a Hat 

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow

Three Little Kittens 

Froggy Gets Dressed

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

The Mitten 

The Hat


© 2016