Leading Language Arts Homeschool Lessons with The Leveled Daily Curriculum: Part Two

Last month, I introduced language arts homeschooling lessons and focused on reading speaking, and vocabulary. Language arts is a large area to cover. It includes all of the components of written and spoken language that we use to express our thoughts and ideas, such as reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, handwriting, listening, and speaking.

In this second part of how to lead homeschool lessons using The Autism Helper, Language Arts Leveled Daily Curriculum, I am focusing on writing, speaking, vocabulary, and beginning sentence structure. Since many autistic learners, including all of mine, use AAC in various ways, I wanted to focus on how I incorporate that as well.

Writing

Handwriting is not the most preferred task for Ben and George, but I try different things. Ben loves his Magna Doodle for writing. He loves it so much that he now has one that he goes to bed with. He scribbles on it because it relaxes him. Magna Doodles are great because the pressure needed to write is light, which is good for beginners. George loves dry-erase boards. Pencil and paper require a lot of pressure. Dry-erase is a lot easier. If your child struggles with pencils, try putting curriculum pages in a dry- erase pouch. I take pictures and save them to an album on my phone to track progress.

Davyd is my oldest and has great handwriting skills. We have started writing smaller and staying on the line. He is also beginning to trace cursive letters. The Multi-Sensory Labeling book from Channie’s is also helping him trace pictures which is improving his drawing skills, as well as comprehension because he is drawing what he is labeling.

Other Fun Writing Activities

When I was teaching in a special education classroom with students with beginning skills, every day we practiced writing in a different way. My students weren’t ready to trace lines. Before children write, they scribble. So, I gave them lots of opportunities to use different materials to do that. One day, they would grab their favorite Melissa and Doug Water Wow from a bin, another day, I would unroll white paper and let them pick from markers, crayons, and colored pencils and scribble whatever they wanted. On another day, they would each have a Magna Doodle to scribble on. They also had dry-erase boards one day and LCD tablets another. They were having fun, but they were also building hand strength. Every day we would practice pre-writing lines, with the level of assistance they needed.

Vocabulary building

There are lots of ways to build vocabulary. I like to use hands-on materials that are colorful and when possible, where I can show them in context. It is also important to consider your learner’s method of communication. I love to use Melissa and Doug puzzles because they also separate vocabulary into categories which helps comprehension. I got the ones I use in this month’s videos as a Black Friday deal at Walmart for $5, so I wanted to show some ways to work on vocabulary using these.
 
Grouping items by similar features helps students to organize and understand related nouns. I created folders in my sons’ AAC device and added a variety of answers to questions I will ask about them about the puzzles. I labeled the folder puzzles for this activity. Eventually, a child can go into a separate folder to look for things like colors and numbers on an AAC device. We have only had our tablets for a few months so we aren’t quite there yet. Ben got his tablet first and can look through folders. George and Davyd have only had theirs for about a month and are still learning how to maneuver it.
 
 
 
 

 

 

Building Vocabulary Examples

Matching objects and pictures
For vehicles, I add the names of the vehicles so I can ask them, “What vehicle is this?” This provides either an identical match or an unidentical match, depending on the picture I add to the device.
 
Sort a group of objects or pictures into two similar sets
I can take the pieces off the boards and have them sort them into groups. Depending on where we are at in learning, I would start with 2 groups that are very different like vehicles and dinosaurs. As they progress, I would get very specific like sorting farm animals and safari animals. I can add a button on the AAC device that says farm and another that says safari. I hold up the puzzle piece and ask what type of animal is this?
 
Sort a group of things by one feature
I take all the animals off the board and mix all the animals and sort by feature, like color, birds, live on a farm, 2 legs, 4 legs, etc.
 
Choose an item to match a given category description or name
Mix 2 or 3 puzzle sets together and ask questions like, “Can you give me a vehicle? Can you give me a farm animal?”
 
Sort into 2 and 3 categories
It’s important to teach the categories, as well as the individual nouns. Take the pieces off the board and have your child sort them. Again, I would start with things that are very different and graduate to things that are similar and require more knowledge.
 
Name categories
Once I teach the objects in a category, then I can hold up a puzzle piece and ask what type of animal is this?
 
What doesn’t belong and why
What doesn’t belong is more advanced. Give a group of vehicles with an animal and ask which is different.
Add on the AAC device like, land or water to describe where an animal lives.
 
What goes together and why
This is also a more advanced concept. These can be sorted into things like animals that have feathers, 2 legs, 4 legs, wings, flies, etc.
 

Conclusion

Language arts is such an important subject and it can be fun too. As with all learning, the more fun we make it for our children, the more they will want to learn.

3 Comments

  1. Good day,
    What AAC App do you use? We live in South Africa, and must still buy a device and an app.

    Reply
    • Hi Isabel, that is the NovaChat (only available for purchase through PRC/Saltillo https://store.prc-saltillo.com/ or buy purchasing an iPad and the TouchChat with WordPower application through the iTunes store. If you want to know more about obtaining AAC, email sadie@theautismhelper.com and she can help!

      Reply
    • Hi Isabel- I use Proloquo2go for the boys. I like it because of the ability to differentiate.

      Reply

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