Tag Archive: new words

Building Word Consciousness: Vocabulary Instruction in AAC

November 17, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Building Word Consciousness: Vocabulary Instruction in AAC

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. Plutarch Last week, Robin discussed some strategies and activities for teaching new words to individuals who are at the earlier stages of language learning. This week, we move ahead and address semantic instruction for individuals who regularly create sentences to express themselves. One of my favorite things about working with AAC learners at this level is the opportunity for having metalinguistic conversations. Getting them to think and talk about language can accelerate their learning. Here are some prAACtical thoughts on how this relates to semantics with a focus on building word consciousness. We’re all familiar with music appreciation and art appreciation. I always think of word consciousness as a sort of like word appreciation. It refers to an awareness that words are the building blocks of language and that they can be examined and manipulated... [Read More...]

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Vocabulary Activities: 5 Sites for Learning with Avatars

November 13, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Vocabulary Activities: 5 Sites for Learning with Avatars

We’re always looking for engaging activities to use to practice words that our AAC friends are learning. For some learners, making avatars can be a great way to do have an authentic reason to use words for body parts and accessories as well as modifiers for size, shape, color, and other things. Plus…Who wouldn’t want an excuse to make a younger, thinner, cuter, or funnier version of themselves?! Here are some sites to check out. Pop Art Pixies: Basic avatar site oriented for girls. Good for using core language, making requests, color & size words. DoppelMe: Easy to use site  for making cartoon-like avatars with several opportunities to choose elements, like clothes, hairstyles, and backgrounds. Use words for feelings to select facial expressions. WeeWorld: Another user-friendly site that can be a fun way to use descriptors in making selections to create, dress, and style your avatar. This site’s graphics would... [Read More...]

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What Makes a Good Vocabulary Teaching Activity? 4 Things to Look For

November 12, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

What Makes a Good Vocabulary Teaching Activity? 4 Things to Look For

This post is a follow-up to some others in which we introduced a general sequence of how we conceptualize semantic instruction and then went on to discuss the initial step in more detail. Today, we’ll be talking more about Step 2, Teaching the new word(s) with explicit instruction activities. There are so many creative ways to teach new word meanings, but for this step in the process we stick with those that meet a few basic criteria. Guidelines for Creating or Selecting Activities to Teach New Words Rich context: As we’ve said before, context reigns supreme. The cognitive, social, and linguistic cues that children use to learn new word meanings change over time, but at every stage they derive meaning from the surrounding context. Using contextual cues makes us more efficient learners and so it is something we want to encourage in our AAC learners. For a beginning communicator, a... [Read More...]

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10 Things to Do in Using Focused Language Stimulation in AAC Vocabulary Teaching

November 8, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

10 Things to Do in Using Focused Language Stimulation in AAC Vocabulary Teaching

All this month we are talking about considerations in teaching new words to people who use AAC. We’ve talked about the role of focused aided language stimulation and wanted to follow that up with a few more ideas for implementing this strategy. Select the new (target) word to teach giving consideration to Tier 2 words that fit with their language or curriculum goals. Pronounce it. Provide a student-friendly definition Use aided language input: Model the word on the device if it is stored in there OR use the device to explain the new word in a student-friendly way. Find ways to use it throughout the day (and beyond). Hearing the word in various contexts is a great way to deepen the learner’s understanding. Have the AAC learners say it using their AAC (e.g., spelling it out on SGD) or natural speech. Segment it. (E.g., “One of our new words is... [Read More...]

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Tell Me About It: Focused Language Stimulation In AAC Vocabulary Teaching

November 7, 2012 by - 2 Comments

Tell Me About It: Focused Language Stimulation In AAC Vocabulary Teaching

Earlier this month, we introduced a general sequence of how we conceptualize semantic instruction. We promised to elaborate on that. There are two things that I really love about this approach to to vocabulary teaching. The first is that is honors a principle that we know to be true: providing repetition with variety not only helps us reach learners with different strengths, but also gives our AAC learners much-needed practice. The other thing that makes this really work for us is that assessment has an active role but not a central one. Testing takes a backseat to teaching. As we all know, getting accurate assessment information from people who are learning their AAC systems is a huge challenge. Often, our AAC friends don’t have decent test-taking skills so we’re not really testing what we think we’re testing. Just last week I got to see Kristofer, an adorable little fellow who... [Read More...]

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Vocabulary Instruction In AAC

November 3, 2012 by - 8 Comments

Vocabulary Instruction in AAC

For all of us, the process of how we learn to use words begins with the expression of our own intents. Initially, we use words, pictures, or signs to make our wants/needs known but that soon develops into social exchanges, true conversations, stories, and more. For some of our AAC friends, the path to a rich lexicon can be convoluted and bumpy. Our November Strategy of the Month posts will focus on vocabulary instruction giving both general principles that should guide our teaching and specific considerations for communicators at different levels. As SLPs, we should be champions for a comprehensive approach to semantic instruction in AAC. Much of what we already know for teaching semantics to people who speak can be applied quite nicely to individuals with AAC needs. Certainly some things will need to be adapted, but that’s not the real issue. We’ve noticed that SLPs sometimes forget to... [Read More...]

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