Building Functional Language Skills In The Classroom

Many of our students come to us needing intense language development instruction. Often, my students are diagnosed with language based disabilities. Receiving speech therapy down the hall a couple times a week isn't going to cut it. It is imperative that we build in a high level of practice in our classrooms. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Many of our students come to us needing intense language development instruction. Often, I my students are diagnosed with language based disabilities. Receiving speech therapy down the hall a couple times a week isn't going to cut it. It is imperative that we building in a high level of practice in our classrooms. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
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Requesting

Requesting is one of the most basic and easiest language skills to integrate into your classroom. Here are a list of activities that you can easily practice requesting with:

*Materials needed for lessons (pencil, glue, paper, etc.)

*Materials needed for art projects (different colored papers, scissors, etc.)

*Snack & Lunch items (the actual food, napkin, cup, drink, etc.)

*Actions at therapy or recess (push on swing, chase on the playground, help, etc.)

*For information during lessons or transitions (where are we going, what do I do next, etc.)


Vocabulary

We work on vocabulary building a few different ways. We use theme units in my classroom, so we highlight new theme words every week. I choose 10 words from the unit to do each week during my 2 week theme unit. Some students are able to learn all 10 while others focus on 3 to 5- just depends on the student.  Here is a picture of how I display my theme words. The cards are usually lining the left side of this whiteboard divider. We pull the individual cards out to highlight the word(s).



We use these cards to work on language concepts, too. For example, it's features, function and class. We write sentences about the words in shared writing and in journals. Since we are using words from our theme units, the students are immersed in the vocabulary and language concepts. They are seeing and hearing the words over and over to increase the likelihood of mastery.

We also build vocabulary and functional language with interactive books. These books are like gold in my classroom. My kiddos LOVE them!! Here are some examples of interactive books we use to for language development in my room:





Direct Instruction 

Direct instruction is also a good time to target language skills. The skill we target the most is being able to answer yes/no questions correctly. SOOO important for our kids, yet SOOO hard for them! We begin targeting this skill in direct instruction and then generalize the activities throughout the school day. For example, question of the day in morning meeting, sorting in literacy centers, clip cards in task boxes, etc.



Here are some example of how we target object function in direct instruction:




Click the links below for more info on integrating language skills into your classroom:





Many of our students come to us needing intense language development instruction. Often, I my students are diagnosed with language based disabilities. Receiving speech therapy down the hall a couple times a week isn't going to cut it. It is imperative that we building in a high level of practice in our classrooms. Here are a few ideas to get you started.



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