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We have reached the last week of in-class therapy for Teacher Norma’s classroom! This week we are doing one of my favorite books, The Napping House by Audrey Wood

The Napping House is about a grandma who falls asleep in a cozy bed, followed by a boy, and a dog, and a cat, a mouse, and finally a flea who wakes everyone up! It is a patterned book, with every page adding the next character, and ending with the line “…in a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.”


  • Prepositions – ON: Each character lays down ON the character before, with the grandma ON the bed, the boy ON the grandma, the dog ON the boy, etc.
  • Verbs – SLEEP: While not a CORE word, the verb “sleep” is an important word for daily routines. Find the word “sleep” on your child’s AAC system, or look up the ASL sign (some families use “sleep”, and some use the sign for “bed”).

American Sign Language: “sleep”

  • Predicting: What’s next? is a great question to ask during a story like this. Stories with a predictable structure can help students predict the next words or actions, and use language to describe the story. After reading the story a few times, start asking “What’s next?” and see what your student says!

We are using this interactive book I made, asking “Who is sleeping?” on each page.

You can find The Napping House at your local library, or watch the read-aloud YouTube video here:



Our book this week is Froggy Gets Dressed, by Jonathan London. Froggy is a fun-loving frog, who sees that it is snowing and wants to go and play! When he tries to get dressed, he forgets to put something on each time – his pants, his shirt, and even his UNDERWEAR!

Things to target with Froggy:

  • Clothing words: Froggy is getting dressed, which is a perfect opportunity to work on functional clothing vocabulary. Students need to be able to receptively and expressively understand basic clothing words – pants, shirt, socks, shoes, and even underwear, as part of their daily routines.
  • “Put on ________”: Froggy needs to PUT ON his clothes! Students can work on the 2-word phrase, or use it as a carrier phrase for 3-word sentences. It is a predictable way to practice using clothing words in longer sentences, and the phrase “PUT ON” comes up in many, many situations at home and at school.


  • File Folder game: I made a file folder activity using these cute printables, which we will use to practice “Put on ______”. I can tell students which clothes to put on, or they can tell me which clothes to put on! I put rolled masking tape on the back of the clothing items, but you could also use velcro to make it more sturdy.

Froggy file folder

  • Interactive book: I made an interactive book to accompany Froggy, which you can find HERE.
  • YouTube: you can watch Froggy trying to get dressed on YouTube, or check out the book from your public library.


Our book in Teacher Norma’s class this week is “Today is Monday” by Eric Carle. Can you ever have too much Eric Carle in your classroom? No, you cannot. 🙂


  • Days of the week: many students struggle with concepts of time and the weekly routine. Learning the days of the week is a basic life skill that helps students to navigate school and home routines.
  • Labeling: the book features common animals and food items, which students can practice labeling with verbal, sign, or AAC words.
  • Sustained engagement: the book has a simple structure, which helps easily distracted students to stay engaged and listen to the whole book. Students know what to expect on each page, and each page repeats all of the previous day’s meals, building on each other until the end of the week.

We are using this emerging reader book on TPT, which I adapted using Boardmaker Online symbols to be interactive with cut&paste icons for each day and food.

This book also has a song, which you can find on YouTube. It’s catchy!


Our book this week is “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle. This classic book can probably be recited by memory by many parents, and by many children! It is a favorite nationwide, for it’s fun and repetitive format, and simple, engaging vocabulary.

Language targets:

  • Animals: every page features a different common animal. Can we name them?
  • Colors: each animal is a different basic color. Let’s label the colors!
  • 2-word utterances: color+animal makes a great basic 2-word utterance! The predictable format and familiar vocabulary make it easier for students to remember and produce a longer utterance.
  • Listening skills: Many students need practice listening to a whole book without losing interest. A book with a predictable format and familiar vocabulary can keep students engaged, and help them practice listening to the whole story!


There are more than 200 free Brown Bear Brown Bear activities on the TPT website. We will be practicing requesting colors and tracing color words with this book activity.

You can check out Brown Bear Brown Bear from your local library, or listen to the musical version from YouTube!


Our book this week is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. There are many themes we can work on using this book!

Numbers: The caterpillar eats through ONE apple, TWO pears, THREE plums, FOUR strawberries, and FIVE oranges! We are using an interactive book I made on the Boardmaker Online platform, which you can find here if you have a Boardmaker Online account. Students cut out the numbers, and glue them onto the correct pages. The book has numerals or number dots, depending on the number abilities of your students.

Days of the week: On MONDAY the caterpillar ate an apple, on TUESDAY he ate pears, on WEDNESDAY he ate plums… You can ask questions about the days of the week, what day is NEXT, or WHEN he ate different fruits.


“Put in”: For students with emerging cognitive skills, “put in” is a direction they hear a lot. I found this cute caterpillar “put in” task on Teaching Mama, which we will use with our own picture symbols of the food items that we will have the caterpillar “eat”.

You can check out a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar at your local library, or watch Eric Carle read his own book below!


Our book in Teacher Norma’s class this week is “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” by James Dean and Eric Litwin. Pete the Cat books are pretty popular, and there are many in the series. Pete the Cat got some new shoes that he loves, and he is singing a song about them. As he goes through his day he steps in different things (strawberries, blueberries, mud) and his shoes turn different colors.

Concepts to work on:

  • Colors: white, red, blue, brown. Students at this level cannot be overexposed to color words.
  • CORE words: Love. “like” is a more common CORE word, but “love” is also a great word for students to learn.
  • Managing emotions: Pete’s shoes get dirty over and over. “Oh no!” he says. But then we learn that Pete didn’t cry. Goodness, no! He kept walking along and singing his song. Students can watch Pete handle a problem without getting upset, and learn to do the same thing themselves.

We are going to use this emergent reader book, and color in Pete’s shoes on each page. Coloring practice is great!


Now that we have made it through the alphabet (yes, I knowI skipped blogging about “Z”, but we did do it!), we are moving to a book theme for each week. This week’s book is Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. Our CORE word for the week is “Go”, which we will use all week.


“GO” in American Sign Language

Some students are using iPads to learn CORE words, some are using ASL, and some are using verbal words. The great thing about CORE words is that we can all learn them in more than one modality! Since we use the word “GO” so often, it is a good idea to know how to say it in multiple ways.


The words GO and STOP pair together so well. We can use many different activities to practice GO (and STOP). Playing with toy cars, wind-up toys, swings, slides, bubbles, or even iPad apps or YouTube videos are all great ways to practice GO. Set up the activity so that it will STOP by itself, or so that you can choose when it will stop. Then cue the children to tell you “GO” to make it start again! If they can tell you “GO” with a cue, then start fading the cues and waiting for them to tell you “GO” independently. We want every child to be able to say when they want something to GO and STOP.

The book is available at the library, OR you can watch it on YouTube below!


This week our CORE alphabet word of the week is YOU!

YOU is an important word, especially for students who have autism. Many students get confused about personal pronouns, “I” vs “you, who is doing what, and how to referential pronouns work? We use YOU to tell students what to do (“You do it!”), to ask students questions (“What do you want?”) and to reference who has done what (“You went to PE today!”).


Our book this week is “From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle. I love this book because it targets body parts, animals, following directions, AND the pronouns “I” and “you”! 4-for-1! It’s also very fun to go through all of the different actions, and incorporate those movements during a session.

How are YOU going to practice “you” this week?


HAHAHA, get it?


X is a difficult letter to match with a CORE or important fringe word. But NEXT is a good one! NEXT is used a lot at school to talk about time and turn-taking. Understanding NEXT can help students to know what to expect, and help them use better social skills when playing games or taking turns.



“What’s next?” is a perpetual refrain in the intensive support classrooms I serve. Students need support to learn their schedule and routines. The question “What’s next?” helps to highlight the next activity or task happening. It helps students to anticipate transitions, and look forward to their favorite parts of the day. Use the schedules you already have at home or school to model “What’s next?” multiple times per day. The pictures help students to translate the abstract concept of “next” into something concrete and understandable.



Playing board games (or any game with turn-taking) gives many changes to ask “Who is next?” If students are playing a game with only a few other people, they will get many chances to realize that the NEXT person is them!



No one loves to stand in line. But ask the question “Who is next?” and a line turns into a teaching opportunity. “Who is next?” helps students understand the sequential nature of “next” in a practical way. And students love it when THEY are next in line!



I am a fan of “old-fashioned” books, with pages that turn. There is a place for e-books, though. Especially when we are working on NEXT. Since e-books don’t have physical pages, the cue to move forward is usually “NEXT page”, instead of “turn the page.” What a great way to explore technology, and practice our CORE word of the week!

We’ll be back NEXT week, with our NEXT letter!


Our letter this week is W, and our word is WANT! I WANT all of our students to understand this word!


Requesting is one of the fundamental functions of language that children learn first (other fundamental functions include protesting and labeling). “I want __________” is a very common early sentence frame that students are taught, to help them request things or actions. Asking for what they want can help students to manage their frustration, and prevent behavior problems, as well as helping students to feel happy and heard.


There are many, many times to practice WANT at home and at school. Any situation where the student does not have something that they need or want is an opportunity to ask them “What do you want?” Students can respond with “want ______”. If 2 word combos are tricky, have the word “want” already filled in, so the student only needs to chose the item or activity.

  • Snack time: Which snack do you want?
  • Art time: Which color crayon do you want? Which art supply do you want?
  • Play time: Which toy do you want?
  • Breakfast: Which cereal do you want?
  • Bedtime: Which book do you want?
  • Getting dressed: Which shirt do you want?

Students can also respond to a “What do you want?” question by pointing or looking. Any response that answers the question is a good answer!


American Sign Language – “want”

Our book this week is What Do You Want? by Lars Klinting. The book is a series of characters (a rooster, and old man, a baby, and old woman, etc) who each want something. The thing or person they want “matches” them in some way (a man wants a hat, a chicken wants her chick, a chair wants a table…). The words are simple, and the word WANT is on every page! I WANT to read it again!



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Spring break!

Spring break!March 30th, 2018
spring break!

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