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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Poetry Power and Scaffolds


Post by Deanna Wagner, 12/31/20

Today we are releasing our next TPT mini book in the Poetry Power series!

Caroline's TPT Store

Deanna's TPT Store

Just like in building construction, the right scaffolding can support our emerging writers and communicators in reaching higher heights, recognizing what the final product represents, and actively participating during co-construction of poems. Examples of scaffolds are provided through strategies we use in our mini examples. See, for example, Ben’s poem about his dad for an example of partner assisted scanning.  When his device wasn’t working, Caroline’s fast thinking in creating a paper-based alphabet display for him saved the day.

Many of our strategies reflect personally meaningful connections, a scaffold to connect experiences and build language. Alexa and her mother use a combination of spelling and symbols.  They use the Word Finder to begin her “Remember” poem, but once rehearsed she is able to more efficiently access the word with icon sequencing for discussing and dictating her poem.

Other examples describe use of repetition, which provides opportunities for multiple models and rehearsal, ultimately supporting more efficient access to words. Sometimes we use a combination of light tech and high tech writing or communication tools (previous blog on light tech flip books can be found here), observing how learners respond to the timing and feedback. Look for mini examples with poems by Lily Grace.


We use the I-DARE acronym purposefully to draw attention to the importance of immersion and demonstration before expecting autonomous writing. We encourage our writers to take risks because we are there to support them, and we can respond to what they share in ways that reflect, respect, and elevate their words.


We can provide scaffolds throughout the writing process:

● selecting a topic,

● choosing a tool (or tools) for writing,

● finding more words on an AAC system,

● saving and sharing (publishing and celebrating)


For more ideas about I-DARE, follow this LINK to an USSAAC article I wrote.


Happy 2021!

Monday, December 7, 2020

Poetic Language

Poetic Language

Poetry Power.

 As you may know, Deanna Wagner and I are really wild about the benefits of poetry for all learners, but especially for people who use AAC.  We recently finished a book about Poetry for Teachers Pay Teachers , and are working on a book with ideas for highly accessible list poems and poetry starters.  

Caroline's TPT Store 

Deanna's TPT Store 



 We have recently started an Instagram account, poetrypoweraac to share amazing things that people who use AAC and struggling writers are creating.   

Follow us on Instragram to see poetry samples and more! 







Get ideas for the people you teach or live with!


For December, we are focusing on ‘poetic language’.  This means that we will be sharing ways that people we know use language poetically – even when they are not actively creating a poem!


See you on Instagram!