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Monday, April 28, 2014

Core vocabulary

Have you heard of CORE vocabulary?  Up until a few months ago, I didn't either.

In my role as a special education teacher, 90% of my students have poor to no speech and the 10 % with normal speech may have some cognitive challenges that prevent them from understanding language properly.  In a lot of cases, our speech pathologists would make them a communication board to either communicate with or clarify themselves if they haven't been understood. 

In the past I would also post Boardmaker symbols around the room to label items and places and I would make different communication boards with vocabulary that was relevant to the activity or topic that we were talking about.  When the book or topic changed, I would make new boards.

This is an example of a board that I made to go along with a specific book.

This year, things changed.  Our speech pathologist started to talk about something called CORE.  

So what is Core Vocabulary?

Core vocabulary is high frequency, generic words that are reusable.  These words make up about 90% of what we say. 

Personal core words are words that are relevant to a particular person such as names of friends and family, and favourite toys and foods 

 Fringe words are words that are unique to specific activities or academic subjects such as colours, shapes and art supplies.

The theory behind core vocabulary is that it contains the words that we use over and over again.  The communication board stays the same and we are not making new ones, with new vocabulary for every activity.

This is an example of a low tech 50 pixon symbol board with fringe vocabulary along the top.

This is an example of a high tech device.  Touching a button will open a new page and access to more vocabulary.  The principle is still the same though.

So I wanted to ask you your opinion.  Do you use CORE?  Do you like it? Would you use it if it was available?  Tell me what you think.

I'm now wondering if I need to change my thinking and re-do some of my activities to include a CORE focus rather than a FRINGE focus.  How can I be teaching them the words they are going to need in everyday life?  How can I teach my students to ask and respond in a more independent way?  How can I meet the ministry expectation with CORE?

I'm working on some CORE lesson plans right now to go with the book "I Went Walking" by Sue Williams to give it a try.   Let me know if you are interested in something like this.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pirate Math

My pirate math activities have finally been updated.  Remember, if you have bought this from me already, you can download the new version for free.  If you haven't bought it yet, it's on sale for 1/2 price until Tuesday.  I have also bundled the math, literacy and card games.  You can find the link to the bundle at the bottom of the page.  It's also on sale.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Updated pirates

My pirate units were some of the first that I made three years ago.  Wow, did they need updating!  I'm embarrassed to say they were mine.  I had some time to refresh them over the weekend with some new graphics.  Here are the new and improved Pirate card games and Pirate literacy activities.  If you have already bought them, you can re-download them for free.  If you haven't bought them yet, they are on sale for 1/2 price until Wednesday.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring No Prep Word Work

During my guided reading groups, my high group was ready to start working on word families.  I made up these sheets to practice some of the skills they learned.  I made two different versions to differentiate it for my students.  One version has blanks and the other has the words.  

I also made word family puzzles.  We practiced with the colour versions and then the children had to cut apart and put back together the pictures in a little book.

My middle group is working on beginning sounds.  We used real objects to practice and then worked with pictures.

 You can find all the sheets above in my Spring Word Work pack below.  It's on sale for 1/2 price until Tuesday.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Ideas - Sight word stones

I'm so glad you have joined me for April's bright ideas.  I'm excited to show you how I make my sight words stones.  When I first brought these out and put them in my sight word centers, the children could not contain themselves.  Everyone wanted to use them.  So read on, they are really easy and inexpensive to make.

I start by buying a bag of large stones from the Dollar Tree.  They are very inexpensive: only $1.25. One bag did all the words I needed.  Four copies of six words.


I printed out my words on one sheet of paper, with enough space around each to be able to cut them out.

I sorted through the stones to make sure that I had stones in the sizes I needed.

I first laid them out on the paper to make sure that they fit and then traced around each of them.  Once I had traced them, I cut them out, making sure that I kept each cutout with the correct stone.

At the Dollar Tree, I also picked up some puzzle saver.  I had left my podge at school and this was the next best thing.  I first put the puzzle saver on the stone, then put down the word, then put more puzzle saver on top.  I used my finger to smooth everything down.

Once they were all coated, I let them dry.  They didn't take long but I let them sit overnight just to be sure.  

Once dry, they are ready to use.

I used the stones in our sandbox and printed out another copy of the original list I used for the stones.  The children had to dig them up and then mark the words off on their sheet with a bingo dabber.

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