My caseload is likely similar to yours. Lots of variety of in types of communication delays but just a few children using AAC devices. Those AAC users only make up a few kids on my caseload but they take a TON of time to plan for. This year I decided to try out the Word of the Week idea for implementing Core Vocabulary into the preschool day.
1. Keep myself accountable for teaching new core words each week.
2. Help teachers, paraprofessionals, and related service staff learn to use the child’s AAC device functionally.
3. Keep better records of the growth of the device for different pragmatic functions.
4. Show parents how to use toys, books, and daily routines with the core word of the week.
Throughout the year, I used one core word as the focus for the week. I stuffed teachers, paras, OT, PT, and APE mailboxes full of handouts each week. I covered the classroom in pictures, data charts, and activity sheets. I am giving my activities a facelift for this summer and thought I’d share them with you in case you can use them! In the photo above you can see what I put on the wall by the classroom door each week. Data sheet for all to keep data on up top, followed by some recommended activities, and on the bottom a picture of the AAC screen where I circled the button. That helped staff while they learned new words.
I put icons for the W.O.W (word of the week) around the room. This helped remind the kids AND adults to use the WOW!
I thew them everywhere! On trampolines, by doors, on the radio, and on white boards.
This summer on of my major projects is revising these activities. I’m sharing them in sets of 4. So you should be able to use the set for one month.
The packet is meant to provide a month of instruction (four core words are targeted) for a classroom. It has tools to collect data, give teachers and staff ideas, and notes for parents too. The packet can be adapted for a clinic setting or another service delivery model, but it works perfectly for a classroom setup.
A quick video tour of what is included for each core word of the week is included in the video! Check it out.
The set uses Smarty Symbols in the products because each AAC program uses copyrighted symbols. You can use this packet with any AAC device.
The packet includes:
Parent Intro Letter
Staff Intro Letter
Parent Model/Elicitation Explanation Sheet
The following materials are provided for each core word:
Weekly External Door Sign
Weekly Staff/Parent Letter
Activity Sheets on rings
Interactive Vocabulary Book
My W.O.W. Book cover
W.O.W. weekly sheet
The packet also includes a set of editable pages where you can add your own symbols/text so that you can use the same symbols used in your student’s device. The editable documents include: parent intro letter, staff intro letter, data sheet, classroom sign, staff update sheet, room signs sheet, and W.O.W. book collage sheet.
The idea is that you have everything you need to help the staff you work with use the core word of the week! You can check out my product in my TpT Shop! Set One includes the words Go, Help, Different, and In.
Have you used a Word of the Week program before?
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Chris Oyer says
I am starting year 38 in my county schools and this is so simple! Should have thought of this before! Thanks for this. It will definitely be used to surround my students with cues and support.
I teach in a classroom for students with severe autism. Currently, four of my five students are nonverbal. All of my students benefit from AAC devices. This resource is incredible in setting up the school year for success. I applaud you in the effort you put forth in making this product! Would love to use it with my students.
Angela Pisano says
I have lots of core users. I love the word of the week idea because teachers are often overwhelmed about having to implement something else. I love that specific suggestions are given with the data chart posted. I will use it in all 12 of my summer school rooms and will send copies home to parents also.
Kim S. says
i would love this for the activity sheets and vocabulary books.
We are just ramping up our services to kids with complex communication needs in the program I work in. Would love to win a set!
Becky Kopera says
This would be so amazing to share with our support staff!!!!
Anna Claire says
Thanks for sharing! This is so helpful and seems like a great way to use AAC in therapy, and get teachers/staff involved to teach core words. I would love to when a set to use with my LAMP users:)
Mara Cannon-Brooks says
What a beautiful way to encourage use of core words!! So wonderful!
Mary Leonard says
Currently I have 5 students utilizing AAC devices as their main communication source. An area that I struggle in is keeping the team/staff informed on what core word is being targeted.
This is great! I can already imagine how I would use it.
Ashley Harris says
I love the systematic and intentional method behind teaching core vocabulary. This is an absolutely wonderful resource! Wow!
Cindy C. says
Working with preschool AU kids who need a low tech system and I need all the help I can get for the parents. Education of the parents and teachers is key to getting the child to communicate consistently across environments.
This is an amazing, comprehensive packet! I LOVE it. I haven’t used WOW yet, but I am now!
I am just finishing up my CF and was at a center school for the second half of the school year. While I absolutely loved the population and all the challenges, I had difficulty with encouraging teachers/other staff to use taught vocabulary outside of speech/classroom. This is something I really want to work on and I really love how systematic and easy it would be for me to provide for each of the teachers with room signs and use the interactive vocabulary books. I am so excited to start my second year with your materials and to open up communication with support staff using weekly letters!
what a great idea! this is such an organized way to approach teaching kids and the adults who communicate with them the meaningful use of core vocabulary. I get overwhelmed with where to go beyond “want”. This is so perfect! Thanks for the chance to win! My preschool and elementary early communicators will surely benefit!
Jenna, this is amazing! I really love how easy you made it for the student’s whole team to be a part of the AAC process. I work with preK and elementary students with significant needs and I oftentimes feel like the use of and success with the AAC falls solely on me. Your product appears user friendly and comprehensive. What more could a SLP want!?.
This is a fantastic idea. I have been wanting to do something like this with the self-contained sped class.
Caitriona Tynan says
Oh wow this is amazing! I am just a newly appointed coach at a special developmental school here in Melbourne and I’ve to attempt to draw data from every classroom and empower teachers to use core word so this is going to be a great help. Thanks you thank you thank you so much
You have created an amazing product. I have a few AAC users next year and already the time necessary to create materials is huge. Thus is a great product for my Pre K and severe students. The data sheets and info for teachers is extremely useful. Thanks for creating such a well thought out and necessary product!
Terri Porter says
My ECSE Pk teacher and I have been trying to incorporate new words each week. This will make it much easier! Thank you!
What core vocabulary do you plan on including in the next sets?
Set two features STOP, MORE, ME and WANT. I’m using a top 100 core words list from PRC.
This would be great. My caseload sounds similar to yours. This would help a lot.
Gabrielle Dixon says
This is absolutely fantastic! I teach in a K-2 autism classroom and I have had several trainings that reiterate focusing on core words for our kiddos, but it’s so hard to keep up with, especially when there aren’t a lot of resources for us to follow and it takes up a lot of time to keep everyone working with the students in the loop (paras, OT, SLP, PT, staff, parents, etc). Please kiss your brain, you are fabulous!!! 🙂
This is a good approach. Thanks for sharing.
I remember reading on your blog that you were taking an AAC program/certificate. Do you mind sharing what school you are doing that through?
I’m taking it through Bowling Green State University! I’ll write a post with more info!
Janet H says
I am so excited to try this in my schools next fall. Thank you for your wonderful ideas! One of the biggest struggles I have is with encouraging others to implement ideas and activities but you have laid it out so nicely that it will be easy to share with associates and teachers and other staff. Thank you so much. You are amazing!
I have used the suggestions from PrAACTical AAC for the word of the month (http://praacticalaac.org/praactical/a-year-of-core-vocabulary-words/) with some success. I generally keep it separate from the book/game/theme activities that I am doing in therapy, but maybe I’ll try combining them! Anything to help generalize to classroom or home is a good idea in my book 🙂
Me, again, with a question for you, Jenna–how did you choose your core words or the order in which you were going to introduce them?
I’m using a list from PRC of the top 100 and just trying to pick functional words first! I am trying to select a variety of type of words (verb, adjective, noun, etc.).
Leslie yandel says
Can I purchase set 2 and any other sets you have developed beyond set 1. I loved set 1 and purchased it on teacherspayteachers site.
Hey! Here is a link to all the current sets! https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Jenna-Rayburn-26/Category/Skill-AAC-213633
I have all of these sets and absolutely love them! Thank you!!! However, the core board I use has different pictures since my district has SymbolStix and not Smarty Symbols. Do you have a leveled core vocabulary board with the same symbols as these books? Thank you so much!
Andrea D Unger, CCC-SLP says
Hi Jenna! I purchased the set from TPT and started using it right away. I have a whopping 10 students on my caseload that are non-verbal and using various forms of visual communication. Thanks sooo much for making this program available. I have felt that my prep was sort of piecemeal and random. This gives me more consistency in my program and I think I’m going to love it! I am wondering if there is a list of all the Core Words for the year and if you have a Core Word Board that you like. Some of my students do not have a device and will need to work toward a Core Word Board or book as we increase vocabulary. Before I get too far along, it would be great to know what vocabulary my core word boards are going to need to include. Any recommendations?
Jill Howe says
I love this product! I am trying to add the symbols from symbol stix and they are showing up with a black background. Any suggestions?
They sometimes show up with a black background when they are PNG instead of JPG. Can you try adding a JPG and see if that fixes it?