If Only I Could Get Professional Development Hours For Following Blogs: SEMANTICS!

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Welcome to day 4!!  Are you having fun yet?  Is this the best way to get “professional development?!”  I have been having a blast gathering information, resources, and ideas just for you!!  Today's topic, building vocabulary or semantics.

Vocabulary: such a BROAD topic and so many ways to tackle it!  I think it is very important to use information from standardized tests or screening materials to decide where to begin.  Below is a list of standardized tests that I prefer to use in my therapy room to decide where to begin with building vocabulary:

Now we know if the student has weak or strong vocabulary.  We also now know if they can identify and express categories, associations, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and multiple meaning words.  But if they cannot, we can work on building vocabulary using those skills just mentioned.
Categorization: I like to do sorting and naming activities with this area.  Use classroom curriculum/themes to decide on vocabulary targets.  Can students identify which items go together as a group?  It helps them make meaning of the vocabulary words.
Associations: I like to play memory matching games with this area.  Can students identify which items go together and why?
Synonyms:  I like to start out with memory matching games.  I use graphics from Boardmaker, Smarty Symbols, or Google Images to represent the words.  I use the same image for both synonym pairs to help illustrate the concept to students.  For example, for “happy” and “glad” I will use a smiley face on both cards.
Antonyms: I also like to use memory matching games.  I also like to use file folder sorts to show what words can represent the different antonym pairs.  For example, students can sort things that are “wet” and “dry.”
Homophones: Teaching homophones can be tricky if students are poor/weak readers/spellers.  It is mainly important that students understand that words can have more than one meaning.  I like to just drill the popular/common/most mistaken homophones such as: write/right, too/two/to, there/their/they're, and ate/eight.
Multiple Meaning Words:  I like to use different images with the same word across the top to illustrate concept.  Now that you show them to students, can they use each version in a sentence?  Once they understand that there are words that can be used in different ways, I like to have them sort the meanings into parts of speech to help them “categorize” them.  Click HERE to see a DIY idea I've previously posted.  I also like to provide cloze sentences to students and see if they can determine which word can complete all sentences due to its multiple meanings.
Are you wondering what your favorite speech bloggers/TpT sellers do to teach vocabulary skills?!

  • “I always target seasonal/thematic vocabulary in the context of language activities for my preschool students. Many of them have goals for identification/naming of thematic vocabulary so I created thematic vocabulary pages using Lesson Pix. When we're done with a unit I have a quick way to see which words they can understand and use.”~ Carrie from Carrie's Speech Corner
  • ” I use children's books to target Tier 2 vocabulary words from the story, using the strategies in Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction by Beck. Helping kids come up with their own definitions, exploring caveats in meanings, and practice using during language activities. “~Jenn from Crazy Speech World
  • ” I make flip books for vocabulary. The students put the word on the bottom of each page and use the top of the page to illustrate the word and create their own sentences. I also use graphic organizers or word webs.”~Jess from Figuratively Speeching
  • “I like to show you tube videos when trying to introduce concepts and vocabulary. I also use pictures from books to teach vocabulary, so that they can SEE the word. I also work on describing things by using an attribute wheel.”~The Dabbling Speechie
  • “When I teach vocabulary to children who are readers I usually do it via a 4 step approach 
    1. Say the word and ensure the students can pronounce it 
    2. Provide a dictionary definition and a “student-friendly” explanation
    3. Give examples of the definition in a sentence
    4. Have the students practice using the word with each other in sentences. I teach students how to figure out unfamiliar words based on context clues. I also teach the students how to use parts of a word (and sentence) to determine its meaning.”~Smart Speech Therapy
  • ” I use LINCS a lot for older kiddos and the EET for my younger ones. Having the students bring their vocabulary from class also works with my caseload.”~Nicole from Allison Speech Peeps
  • ” I use the LinguiSystems Language Builder Picture Cards all of the time with my students with Autism. We use them to build basic vocabulary. I write out sentence starters on pieces of paper to expand the use of the words into sentences.”~Speech Universe
  • “We use a 5-part sequence for vocabulary instruction and this post kind of gives an overview.  We did a whole month on teaching vocabulary in November and fleshed out the specifics. Thanks for this great series. I've really enjoyed reading the different posts that you mention in your articles and exploring the links.”~PracticalAAC
  • “With preschoolers/early elementary students, I use children's repetitive-wording thematic vocabulary books as well as figurines. I keep my figurines in labeled drawers for different themes as well (farm animals, vehicles, sports, etc.). I do a lot of auditory bombardment and repetitive play with labeling/cuing with the figurines.”~Jessica from Consonantly Speaking
  • ” I like to use activities from The Bridge of Vocabulary. This product is tied to evidenced based research, and has activities for preschool through high school. There is a wide variety of vocabulary topics and activities in this program. This is a great resource to have!”~Megan Moyer
  • ” I tend to teach vocabulary strategies vs. specific vocabulary items for my older students (multiple meanings, prefix/suffixes, etc.) I really like some of the Flocabulary raps to help kids understand the concepts I'm teaching.”~Speech2U
  • ” I like to expand vocabulary by working on comparing and contrasting, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meaning words, etc! I usually do this within an activity, like a book. I LOVE Grannie's Candies for this!”~TeachSpeech365
Below are some resources and products available for working on vocabulary:

I have SOOO many products in my TpT store that work on all of the skills I've mentioned above.  I have FINALLY added Custom Categories to my TpT store.  You can find all of my vocabulary building activities by clicking “vocabulary!”  One product has several of them in one.  Enter below to win my Vocabulary Uno-Like Game!

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