Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Chocolate Chip Ghost - 2019

I wrote the following post in 2012. The links in the old post have disappeared from the web, so I am reviving the post and adding links to new finds. 


I was looking through my "fall folders" and found the story, The Chocolate Chip Ghost, written by my daughter when she was about eight years old. As there were no blogs at that time, I was happy to borrow ideas from my children's classwork. Her teacher read the story about the little ghosts who ate various foods, turned the color of the food, and then, hid throughout the house so no one would see their colors. Students wrote a similar story with their choice of foods and hiding places. 

My students, who were just beginning to write, chose colors, matched food to the colors, and described hiding locations. We wrote the stories as a group. Toy foods and food pictures were used for visual supports and students colored little white ghosts to match food colors. 

My daughter's story was written in 1995. Before writing the 2012 post, I searched the web and found two books titled The Chocolate Chip Ghost; both out of print - one written in 2004 and another in 2008. Seven years later, there are still no books but there are online and printable versions of this story. Use this story to teach spatial concepts (behind the door, in the bathtub, under the bed, etc.), sequencing, and appropriate responses to questions such as What happened next?, Why is he green?, or Where is he hiding?

The Chocolate Chip Ghost Story at is adorable. Play the animated story on your computer or whiteboard then, retell the story using the free printables. 
Halloween FREEBIE {Chocolate Chip Ghost}
from Miss Hellen's Hippos

The cute Halloween FREEBIE {Chocolate Chip Ghost} from Miss Hellen's Hippos was found at Teachers Pay TeachersEnjoy reading the Teacher Big Book as well as the matching emergent reader.

I like The Chocolate Chip Ghost Printable from Sunflower Storytime AND her suggestion to make a match game with the printables as well as the story puppets. 

Find The Chocolate Chip Ghost printable story and suggestions for felt puppets at Colors and Kindergarten

THE 5 LITTLE GHOSTS- HALLOWEEN STORY ON OBEDIENCE - free story and props from So Festive

Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends and MRS. O'DANIELS both suggest gluing the colored ghosts on the back of the white ghosts.

Diana Quinn

© 2019 

Sweet Clip Art. "Cute Free Clip Art and Coloring Pages." Public Domain. Accessed and modified 9 Oct. 2019.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

AAC: Let's Talk About "I want"

I want is not a word. However, if you were making overlays for speech-generating devices when I was first introduced to AAC (a long time ago), you may have created similar boards. Commonly used word combinations, such as I want, were put on one button and communication on a speech-generating device was often about requesting. 

Modeling on a core board (a manual board) or on a speech-generating device shows 
our students how to use language for a variety of communicative functions such 
as commenting, asking questions, protesting, requesting, and directing actions. Read 
more about communicative functions at Pat Mervine's blog post, Colorful Language
I have learned much in the last 15 years. Core vocabulary and aided language input are terms I use in my everyday speech. We use core boards in our special education classrooms worldwide and dynamic display communication software for many students needing devices.  We model a variety of communicative functions and strive to see our students use novel utterances. 

Unfortunately, even with robust vocabulary sets provided in the dynamic display software, there are still those routinely using the devices for only requesting and I want is a frequently used phrase. 

It is suggested that children taught to use basic requests (such as I + want + object) are at risk of limiting their ability to combine words to generate a variety of novel utterances (1).

While requesting is one of many communicative functions of language, all requests don't need to begin with I (2). Get more, want go, eat now, and, my favorite, not want tell us so much more.

Think about how often you say I want.  When someone asks, What do you want for lunch? you might say pizza or how about pizza. How would you respond when asked, Do you want the red ball or the blue ball? Maybe with the red one or red. A young child might respond with that while pointing. We do not always use complete sentences when talking. 

Below are links to other sites with thoughts on using I want and some good suggestions about placing the focus on increasing the variety of communicative functions. 

Moving Beyond “I Want…” in AAC; What do You Want? from SLP, Susan Berkowitz 

Moving Past “I Want” - A podcast found at The Speech Space

Beyond Requesting: A Week of Routines to Increase AAC Use at Mealtime from PrAACtical AAC  

Core Word of the Week: Want found on the Facebook page for The Center for AAC and Autism.  

Rachel Madel, SLP, suggests moving away from I want in her blog post, GET FROM SINGLE WORDS TO SENTENCES USING CORE WORDS (PART I). This would be a nice post to share with parents. 


© 2019


1. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (2018).“Best Evidence Statement (BESt). Aided Language Stimulation Leading to Functional Communication Gains in Children Using Augmentative and Alternative Communication.” Accessed 5 Oct. 2019.

2. The Center for AAC & Autism (2019). "Core Word of the Week: Want." Accessed 1 Oct. 2019.

3. The Picture Communication Symbols ©1981–2019 by Tobii Dynavox. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Used with permission.  Boardmaker® is a trademark of Tobii Dynavox.