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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

3 ways to increase vocabulary using word wall cards

Many special education students don't have the experiences that their typically developing peers have.  If a child cannot walk or talk, cannot hold things or turn their head in certain directions, then their view of the world is different from other children.  Autistic children often experience the world in ways that differ from those of other children due to the nature of their condition.

Because of this, it is very important for us as teachers to make sure that our students have experiences to expose them to situations, events and vocabulary that they may otherwise not experience.

Word walls cards also known as flash cards are a great tool to use for testing and practicing new vocabulary.  How to you use them in your class?  Here are 3 ways that I use word cards in my class to test prior knowledge and increase the vocabulary skills of my students.

When introducing a new topic to my students, word wall cards are a great way to see what they know.  When we started our farm theme I asked my students if  they had been to a farm before.  Did they know what a farm was?   What kind of things would we see on a farm.  We made several CHARTS which demonstrated what they knew about farms.  Testing prior knowledge is very important to know where you are starting from.  We started out by just putting up words they knew such as the animals on the farm.  As the month progressed we added vocabulary that did not belong on a farm and I had the children tell me what did belong on farm and what might not be on a farm.  You can make charts of farm animals and farm people and farm equipment.  The possibilities are endless.  Display the charts around the room for your students to refer to throughout the day.

Do you have a child that can't talk?  No problem.  Hold up two pictures, one that belongs on a farm and one that doesn't.  If they can point, have them point to the correct answer.  If they can't point, have them look at the right answer. 

Once I've determined what vocabulary my students know and what they have to work on, I add the word cards to my WRITING center.  Students can practice writing just the words, they can use the cards to help with spelling in their stories or they can use them as story starters.

Did you have a child that can't print?  Put the cards at the computer station for them to type.  Even children using assistive technology can practice typing.

The third activity I do with my word cards is to put them in a literacy center as a CONCENTRATION game.  I make two copies of the cards and put out a varying number depending on the group and how well them know the pictures.   The kids love this game.  It's also great for working on turn taking.

For children with poor fine motor skills, laminate and put Velcro on the cards.  Attach them to a Velcro board so they don't get knocked to the ground.  

How do you use word wall cards in your class?

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