In the previous edition of “AAC in Classrooms”, we discussed AAC in a math and science classroom. Click here to check that resource out. In this article let us see some ways in which we can use AAC in an English classroom.
Using AAC in the English Classroom
Let us look at the different ways we can use AAC while teaching English. To illustrate this, we have picked a topic and created a lesson plan of sorts.
Parts of Speech
To understand and identify various parts of speech (noun, pronoun, verb, adjective) and to write sentences with various parts of speech
Noun – Name of Person, Place, Animal or Things
Verbs – Represents actions
Adjective – Defines or describes a noun
Pronoun – Replaces noun
Tenses – Used to represent when the action/verb takes place
Preparing for Class
Before the class begins, customize a folder in the AAC system with some nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives. Avaz AAC uses Fitzegerald color coding scheme. This feature helps those who use eye gaze devices to scan faster through the words. This feature will also help the students in visually differentiating various parts of speech. You can also print the folder as a low-tech board for the rest of the class to work on.
Another feature in Avaz AAC lets the user select a tense form when they tap on a verb. For this class, create a separate folder with the various tense forms of the verbs in the board. This could look like:
Divide the class into groups of 4 and hand over 4 cards to each group. Each color coded card has a part of speech written on it. Ask them to work on a group activity, where each of them would pick one card. Let us say the group of 4 with Vanya, Claire, John, and Luya pick a card each. Vanya has the noun card, Claire has the adjective card, John has the pronoun card, and Luya has the verb card.
Before they begin their activity, explain the meaning of various parts of speech once again. Now the group will begin with Vanya, and let’s say she picked the noun, ‘Mary’. Instruct them to show the noun on the board and write it down in a paper and pass the paper to the next person. Next, let’s say Claire picks the adjective, ‘soft’. Claire will point to the word soft, say it and write it down on the piece of paper and pass it on. If John is an AAC user, he will use his AAC to tap the word and write it on the paper. Let’s say John picked the pronoun him. The round ends with Luya picking a verb, ‘play’.
Once the words are picked ask them if they can form a sentence using the words that are picked. Let them brainstorm as a group if they should replace a pronoun in order to make a sentence, how they can work with various tenses. Let them exchange the cards and make another sentence. Encourage them to play around with verb tenses or the group can pick a common card that will decide the tense form of the sentence they are making.
You can use the content literacy board to have conversations like
- What is a noun?
- Why are we using this pronoun?
If the AAC user finds it difficult to shift between folders, one or two of the folders can be given to them as low-tech boards initially. Once they get comfortable, they may navigate on their own on the AAC system itself.
Let us know your ideas on how we can make these lesson plans more creative.