My AAC Immersion Kindergarten: Week 6
I see a trend when I look at photos from this week. Nathaniel continually has his head down on the table or is laying down. He is still not feeling well. I have been advocating for a clear diagnosis of a respiratory infection for three weeks. I think we finally have a treatment plan. However, it is late Friday afternoon and I'm still working with the pharmacy and doctor's office to get the medication we need in a form that is easy for Nathaniel to take. We have not needed his g-tube for anything, including medications, since early June. It seems this illness might require using the tube again.
Nathaniel's medical conditions will continue to be a primary influence in his educational journey. Outsiders looking into our lives through these posts likely read that and think, "Of course, but look how far you've come." But on Monday, I saw a fairly open week and was hopeful we would accomplish not only all I had planned for the week, but make up some missed lessons from last week. But then Nathaniel would put his head on the table and our paced slowed again. I can not eliminate the consequences of Nathaniel's health problems on other aspects of his life. I wrestle accepting that. I want it to be different for him.
AAC Core Words of the Week:
My primary goal with these posts about teaching Nathaniel at home is to share how I am incorporating AAC immersion into our daily lessons. I use PrACCtical AAC's Core Word of the Month twelve word list. I focus on four words each week. Our words for this week were: OTHER, GIVE, BRING, HOT. In my modeling examples, I will write these in all capital to draw attention to them. Other words for August (together, day, sorry, job, fall, know, any, sick) will be in italics.
Week's Theme and Literature: Ponds and Frogs
Most of our theme learning this week occurred through our daily after lunch reading time. We enjoyed the poetry of The Frogs and Toads All Sang by Arnold Lobel. After working on comprehension for each poem, I pointed out how many nouns in the poem are plural. I offered a mini lesson in how Nathaniel makes a word plural using his device. He does not do this independently yet. As a spin off of the poem when Frog wishes he played the clarinet instead of the violin, we listened to Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major with Nadja Drakslar. She is amazing. Core words STOP, GO, GET and READY are very easy to incorporate into conversations and modeling while listening to and watching a symphony.
We loved the book, Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner. There is so much in this book. The illustrations are beautiful, and there is an illustrated glossary in the back for the animals named in the text. Again, the main characters are a mother and son learning and sharing together. We read From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer multiple times this week and used some hands on materials about a frog's anatomy and life cycle. Rather than introducing any fringe vocabulary with these science lessons, I discussed the life cycle modeling core words, "First that," while I pointed to the photo of spawn, "then that," while I pointed to a tadpole, and so on.
I carried our frog theme into one of our math lessons by asking Nathaniel to match my lily pad with the same number of frog counters. I am constantly reminding Nathaniel that he needs to count in his head as an alternative to the counting aloud that verbal children can do. I would love to see some videos of classroom teachers helping children with AAC devices learn to count. If you've made one, or know of one, please share in the comment section. During this lily pad activity, I modeled the following on Nathaniel's AAC device:
- Make like (the) OTHER
- It looks like (the) OTHER
- BRING ____ more frogs on.
- I GIVE you _____ frogs.
- GIVE me more.
- It is HOT in (the) pond.
We continue to work on our OT goals of turn taking and waiting by playing board games. One, Two, Hoparoo fit our theme and reinforced our recent efforts at counting dots on a die. During our games, I modeled:
- I BRING my frog.
- Bring frog here.
- GIVE that (to) me.
- OTHER frog(s) turn.
- Pond is HOT.
- Frogs go together.
- My job is waiting.
Our phoneme of the week was Pp. I wrote a thorough explanation of how I am teaching phonics and phoneme awareness in last week's post. Nathaniel mastered the new letter sound correspondence quickly, and retained all the others we've worked on this year. He consistently gets all the CVC sound blending exercises correct. I was able to incorporate modeling this week's AAC words while he worked on one of his phonic worksheets that required scissors and glue. Phrases I used were:
- I BRING glue.
- You BRING scissors.
- You need trash can.
- I BRING it.
- I can GIVE you some help.
- That(s) my job.
- We do jobs together.
- Glue is not HOT.
- Good job!
I will not be writing a separate post about our AAC direct instruction times this week like I have done in the past. On Monday, we found the new words for the week and created sentences for them. On Tuesday, Nathaniel was immersed in playing with his trucks when I wanted to do my prepared lesson, so I just sat down with him and looked for ways to bring our words into the moment. It was so successful, we returned to this play other days of the week. Some phrases and sentences we said on Nathaniel's device were:
- I BRING police car!
- I BRING tow truck!
- I BRING help now!
- It need fix(ed).
- GIVE me the OTHER wheel.
- BRING it here.
- Can you GIVE me the OTHER car?
- I fix the OTHER car now.
- Look! I fix it.
- It is my job.
- I put it together.
- My job is helping you.
- Good job on (this) HOT day.
- We do it together.
Other Books We Enjoyed This Week:
Summer, An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur, Illustrated by Leslie Evans. Nice illustrations that foster summer theme conversations. Text introduced us to some new sentence syntax and vocabulary.
I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney. A little boy gives all sorts of animal hugs on as he goes through his day. A whale hug accompanies bath time, and he gets a sheep hug to help find his night-night blanket. Repeated phrase, "I going to give you" could be a shared AAC reading experience.
Bear Counts by Karma Wilson. The bear books are dependably excellent and this one is no exception. It fit in with our pond theme nicely. One shared reading option is the phrase "Can you count," as it is repeated for each number one through five.
Did You See These Facebook Posts This Week?
Sometimes I mini-blog via Facebook. Be sure to LIKE Nathaniel's public page, Hold My Words, to keep current on these. My Instagram feed provides yet a different peek into our world. It's all giant sunflowers over there.
Thank you for sharing our week!