Learning To Teach Communication through Core Words​ & Social Messages

Core words and basic social messages are extremely powerful for communication. Social messaging gets us started right away! Core words function both as sight words for reading and writing, and highly frequent words we use to express ourselves and understand others. This training set helps both the classroom team and the students learn how to communicate using these "power words and messages" using speech, the AAC device, communication books and boards or sign language. You'll have slides to help the staff learn, and slides to help the students learn!

student slides
Student Instructional Slides
staff core word slides
Staff Instructional Slides

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Learning To Teach Communication through Core Words​ & Social Messages

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills: Start Here!

Everyone begins learning to communicate a second language through basic social interaction! We use repeated social messages to greet, quickly respond, meet basic needs, and share our feelings. These messages are targeted in our first four slideshows practicing Greetings and Social Messages, Quick Messages, Needs and Feelings. These slide shows are simplified to help YOU get started too. You have a sampling of the content provided in the Core Word Slideshows, just enough to help you learn the sequence of instruction as you start this process!

Core Word Slideshows: Suggested Sequence of Instruction

MONDAY:  Adults view slides 1-6 to learn "how" to say the target word.  Adults and partners will practice saying the word, using the student's communication method (device, sign, board etc.). Practice saying the word. Think about when you could use it.  During the remainder of the day, pay attention to how many times you say this word.
TUESDAY: Instructors introduce the core word and concepts to the student starting with the Core Word Video(s) in slide 7.  Consider supplementing by showing examples of using the word in the classroom or environment.  For example, when introducing the word "all" use candies or snacks and separate them out in to a few piles; push them "all" together and talk about the word "all."  Have "all" of the students move to one area of the room and talk about how "all" of them are there....etc! Show, sign and hold up the symbol/written word for the word "all" everytime you say it!
WEDNESDAY: Instructors remind students of the core word by playing the Core Word Song(s) in the slideshow.  This is fun leisure type activity.  Be sure to point to the symbol, say the word, sign the word and show the word in text while you are singing!
THURSDAY: Using the core word book slide, or download and print a core word book focusing on your target core word.  Read the book and be sure to point to, sign and show the symbol every time you read the word!
FRIDAY: Count it out! On this day, adults and partners MODEL the use of the core word as often as possible.  Best practice is to model using the student(s) device, board or book; but you can also use your own copy!  Have fun with this- use finger counters, put tokens in a jar, make a tally on the whiteboard- see if you can reach a goal of 200 models per day!!  Give yourselves a treat when you hit your target!

Home Communication Support Modules

Communication is learned first and foremost in the home.  Our families need materials and supports to help them help their own children at home.  These modules include resources and ideas to get those families on board and talking!

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Academic Team Training Modules

This set of modules gives you material and resources to take charge of your own professional learning.  Staff without time or funds to travel to conferences, or attend after school workshops need ways to access training material.  We will discuss ways to access these types of trainings, and provide some right here!

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Comprehensive Literacy Support Modules

This set of modules discusses literacy, arguably one of the most important skills we can teach students. The ability to read and write using traditional text allows students to communicate and learn, imperative skills  for students with additional challenges. We have years of research showing the discrepancy in literacy instruction between students in general education and those in special education.  These resources help us narrow that gap! Most of the resources we share follow a 4-Blocks for Literacy model, which has been adapted and modified for students with special needs.

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Classroom Communication Checklist 2.0 START HERE!

The Classroom Communication Checklist is a tool developed to identify communication supports in place in the classroom and to determine potential supports which may be of value to add into the existing program.  This planning tool helps teachers & administrators consider a variety of supports to help their students communicate effectively in the classroom.  ​Download, save and use as a writeable form!

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Student Participation Support Modules (SP)

These modules include tools we use to help students understand what is expected of them and to help them comfortably and cooperatively complete tasks to move throughout their daily activities.  We are concerning ourselves with giving students information in a way they can understand, and teaching them tools to help them function in the academic environment.  We are striving for independence, cooperation and communication, NOT compliance. We often add visual elements to support our verbal explanations and directions.

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Simple Communication Support Modules (SC)

These modules help you develop a variety of communication displays for your classroom so that ALL children can communicate ALL the time.  You'll find large displays that allow you to "talk" to your students pointing to symbols as  you speak. Turning your classroom into a giant communication "system" makes it easy for you to model communicating using AAC to students learning to use their own personal AAC systems. Each student has their own comprehensive communication system too, so that they can follow along and talk when they want to as well!

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Robust AAC Systems Modules

This set of modules help you support robust communication systems.  These include tablet based AAC applications, speech generating devices and comprehensive communication books.  Robust systems are ones that include all a comprehensive set of vocabulary, core words, alphabet/keyboards, and support for sentence building.  These systems support language development for all students, replace absent or insufficient speech and assist students with intelligibility challenges.

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Adapted Academic & Communication Curriculum Modules

One of the biggest challenges teachers face is the lack of appropriate, standard cross-subject curriculum in self-contained special education classrooms. Many teachers are doing an amazing job creating curriculum from scratch year after year.  This module is looking at several curriculum options for communication, academics and literacy, which are presented in a standardized manner to help  you use your time teaching rather than creating curriculum.

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Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills: Start Here!

Everyone begins learning to communicate a second language through basic social interaction! We use repeated social messages to greet, quickly respond, meet basic needs, and share our feelings. These messages are targeted in our first four slideshows practicing Greetings and Social Messages, Quick Messages, Needs and Feelings. These slide shows are simplified to help YOU get started too. You have a sampling of the content provided in the Core Word Slideshows, just enough to help you learn the sequence of instruction as you start this process!

Core Word Slideshows: Suggested Sequence of Instruction

MONDAY:  Adults view slides 1-6 to learn "how" to say the target word.  Adults and partners will practice saying the word, using the student's communication method (device, sign, board etc.). Practice saying the word. Think about when you could use it.  During the remainder of the day, pay attention to how many times you say this word.
TUESDAY: Instructors introduce the core word and concepts to the student starting with the Core Word Video(s) in slide 7.  Consider supplementing by showing examples of using the word in the classroom or environment.  For example, when introducing the word "all" use candies or snacks and separate them out in to a few piles; push them "all" together and talk about the word "all."  Have "all" of the students move to one area of the room and talk about how "all" of them are there....etc! Show, sign and hold up the symbol/written word for the word "all" everytime you say it!
WEDNESDAY: Instructors remind students of the core word by playing the Core Word Song(s) in the slideshow.  This is fun leisure type activity.  Be sure to point to the symbol, say the word, sign the word and show the word in text while you are singing!
THURSDAY: Using the core word book slide, or download and print a core word book focusing on your target core word.  Read the book and be sure to point to, sign and show the symbol every time you read the word!
FRIDAY: Count it out! On this day, adults and partners MODEL the use of the core word as often as possible.  Best practice is to model using the student(s) device, board or book; but you can also use your own copy!  Have fun with this- use finger counters, put tokens in a jar, make a tally on the whiteboard- see if you can reach a goal of 200 models per day!!  Give yourselves a treat when you hit your target!

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Basic Core Word Trainings