Sunday, October 13, 2013

Using Vocabulary A-Z for Core Vocabulary AAC

Vocabulary A-Z is a website that is part of the award winning Learning A-Z family of websites.  Many school
districts subscribe all or some of the Learning A-Z websites, such as Raz Kids.  The Vocabulary A-Z (or for the sake of this blog entry - VAZ) site also offers a one week free trial where you can make free sample lessons.

The way the website work is that you start by entering a word list by selecting words from the categories the site gives you.  Most AAC core vocabulary words can be found in the high frequency list.  Although you have room for 12 words on any list you don't have to use that many.

Once you create a word list lessons are automatically developed for you. Given our student population quite a bit of adapting may need to be done and some worksheets may not be useful, however since many of us in severe special education get little or no curriculum to start with these worksheets can be a nice starting point.  The worksheet where the students are asked to put the words into sentences could easily be adapted using picture symbols to glue into the spaces or it could be re-created in Boardmaker Plus, Clicker 6 or a similar program.  Another choice would be to simple have students "dictate" by using their communication boards or speech devices.  The parts of speech sorting activity could be made more meaningful for AAC users by printing out the words/picture symbols for the lesson with color coding according to the Goosens or Fitzgerald color code (be sure to use the system used by your students' devices!) and then sorting by color and part of speech.

Other parts of the lesson could not be more perfect for adapting like the picture flashcards were students glue a picture (or picture symbol) onto the back of pre-made flashcards.  The bingo (they call it Wordo) can also be adapted easily.

Another way you can extend the VAZ lessons or any other AAC core word system is by using the Word Toob app on an iPad.  The Word Toob app allows you to make a custom "board" with photos or imported picture symbols (save them to your camera roll) and pair them with video clips to teach vocabulary.

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