Building Functional Language Development Through Direct Instruction:
Most of my students need direct instruction on vocabulary labels, features, functions, etc. During these lessons I vary my questions and tasks to encourage true understanding and eliminate unwanted prompts. For example, if my student only knows certain letters or numbers when we are practicing that skill, then he doesn’t *really* know it. It isn’t a functional skill if you aren’t able to demonstrate the skill in any needed setting. To encourage functional skills, I mix up the questions and demands throughout out the direct instruction. Most of my sessions last 15 to 30 minutes. Below is a sample video using my school unit materials.
In addition to direct instruction for language, my students will also be practicing these skills in work tasks. For example, students will need to be able to sort pictures of the vocabulary we are learning.
There are three levels of labels to differentiate and meet the needs of all students without any extra work…WIN!
For these sorts, students will need to be able to recognize and sort multiple images of an item. It is SOOO important to use multiple images (photos, clip art, etc) when working on vocabulary with students. Too often, students learn one image for the vocabulary and then aren’t able to generalize that label to other forms of the item. To make students more functional, we need to include multiple versions of the item when working on vocabulary.
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