My AAC Immersion Kindergarten: Week 11
It is Tuesday of week twelve. I started this post last Friday and have daily tried to sneak in ten or fifteen minutes of time to finish it. Just going to jump in with some information about what week eleven looked like for our kindergarten at home.
AAC Core Words of the Week
My primary goal with these posts about teaching Nathaniel at home is to share how I am incorporating augmentative alternative communication (AAC) into our daily lessons. As I've mentioned in the past I typically use PrAACtical AAC's Core word of the month list. However, for September, I've decided to drop a few words from the twelve word list to continue working on some of the words from the summer months. The words Nathaniel and I worked on last week were: SIT, WRITE, MUCH, AND. In descriptions below and examples of what I modeled, this week's words are in capitals to draw attention to them. The other words and one phrase we will work on in September (call, listen, we, color, take, time, is, what is your name?) are in italics.
Week’s Theme: Food, Fruit, Plants
We have been hanging out on some version of these themes for awhile. Because I started school so early in the summer, I moved some of the topics and books scheduled for late spring to now. Though it is a bit different to do plants in the fall, it has worked out well because the sunflowers we planted last spring are now ready to harvest. As we read and talk, we are getting to see the end of the growing cycle rather than the beginning.
Our main children’s story for the week was Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle. Nathaniel completed a cut and paste page identifying where flour, eggs, milk and fire came from. The Fruits We Eat by Gail Gibbons continued our reading on food categories as did sorting some photo cards of fruit. From Seed to Plant, also by Gibbons, furthered Nathaniel’s exposure to plants. He completed a cut and paste page ordering the life cycle of a plant. These activities not only reinforce information about our theme, but give opportunity to work on some of his occupational therapy goals. Playing Pancake Pile Up a couple times helped us work on occupational and physical therapy goals.
We torn apart the blooms of our sunflowers and added the word “seed” to Nathaniel talker. Other than giving directions like “SIT down,” I was not successful incorporating this week’s specific words into these themed activities. We were able to review plant vocabulary, and I modeled these sentences using mostly core vocabulary while working with the sunflowers.
Cut here please.
I cut (the) flower.
Take time (to) do good job.
What color is flower?
Flower is brown now.
We see big AND small flowers.
Pull now AND get it.
It is (a) seed.
Nathaniel and I start our school day with prayer, reading a bible story, reciting a weekly verse, and the listening to scripture songs. One of the ways that Nathaniel uses his AAC device regularly is to pray. He prays before bed nightly and for our meals. I programmed full prayers (from Prayers for Children and his Sunday School class’s snack prayer) into his device, but divided each into phrases. Nathaniel can say these prayers in sequential order as originally written and often recited, but also has the freedom to create unique prayers of his own by mixing up the phrases. I love that this programming approach has given him spontaneity in prayer.
We enjoy the music from Songs for Saplings. We are working through the Songs for Saplings ABC as we learn our phonemes. We use Nathaniel’s AAC device to say any words in the verse that are already opened, focusing on core vocabulary. Using the printables from 1+1+1=1, we highlight the word in the verse beginning with the week’s phoneme and at the end of the week, complete a worksheet of cutting apart the words of the verse and gluing them back together. This gives opportunity to talk about how letters combing to make words and words combine into sentences. We can talk about sight words, starting with a capitol, and ending punctuation. All is still just exposure for Nathaniel.
I put together a short playlist from Song for Saplings Questions and Answer Vol 1. I use key word signing as we listen to give Nathaniel another communication option. He has started to sing along with signs both in our daily listening and a little in church. Often, he likes to swing on our indoor swing while we listen. This month we are using the Names of God cards from Kids Read Truth to compliment the studies Rich and I are doing. I’ve decided this material is a little too old for Nathaniel and am looking for something different in October.
The photo at the top of the blog post was taken during what was probably the most fun Nathaniel and I had all last week. I printed a handful of low tech cards featuring places of things he could sit on. Wagon. Pillow. Bed. Toilet. I asked him to pick one of the cards from a bag and then we ran to that thing. Gross motor activity always engages Nathaniel and the fact that some were outside was all the better. Once we found the thing pictured on the card, I asked him to assemble the low tech cards into a sentence, “I SIT on…..” on our syntex tree. Then he said it with the device. We had so much fun with this activity that we did it multiple days.
As a spin off, I used “I WRITE on paper,” as a follow up after writing his name one day. He giggled when I pulled the word wall out of the bag and said made the sentence, “I WRITE on wall.”
Years ago our early intervention speech therapist found a Cariboo game at a garage sale and brought it to our next session. She said, “This is so valuable for speech therapy. It is yours for what I paid for it.” I think it was $20. I don’t use it often, but Nathaniel loves Cariboo when I remember to include it somehow. To work a little more on syntax and with our week’s words, I printed two sheets of vehicle pictures. Nathaniel knows where all these are on his device. I cut one set of pictures apart and they went on the Cariboo game doors. I left the other as a full page. We took turns picking a vehicle, crossing it off on the printed sheet with a marker (practiced diagonals lines for OT), creating the sentence “I WRITE on _____ (vehicle name)” with low tech cards, saying that sentence with the device, and then opening the appropriate Cariboo door with the key. It sounds like a lot of steps, but Nathaniel was very engaged. It is silly to me how motivating finding the balls and ultimately opening that treasure chest is to him.
As you can see, I didn’t have any activities to work on the word MUCH. If you have ideas, please share them in the comments!
Writing and Reading:
The “I SIT on…” activity was so successful, we made a book of Nathaniel sitting on different things with the repeated text, “I sit on” for shared reading using his AAC device. It ends with “Blaise (Nathaniel’s niece) sits on me,” and lots of smiles from Nathaniel each time we read it together.
I’m going to close this week’s post without my usual section sharing books suggestions. If I don’t get this out tonight the end of the week will sneak up on me, and I’ll want to move on to writing about this week. Thanks for reading and sharing our journey.
Nathaniel is a five year old non-speaking child who uses multiple modalities to communicate. His communication device is an iPad with the app Speak for Yourself. He is in kindergarten and is taught at home. Read more about his and our family's journey through blog posts and at his Facebook page, Hold My Words.