Thursday, July 23, 2015

Writing Buddy--Assistive Technology Low Tech Flip Book for Inclusion

Writing is one of the most challenging areas for students with special needs, and often an adult has to sit one-on-one with the student to eke out every word and letter. I created "Writing Buddy"  to enhance independence for the early primary writer by providing an extensive word bank which is organized by who, what, when, and where concepts along with other categories. I used Smarty Symbols for the awesome graphics (commercial license).

 A long time ago, I went to a workshop where a talented mother, Inga Smith, presented on an assistive technology low tech flip book which she called "Journal Jogger".  I bought the CD for this, and we created some of these flip books at our school.

She offers this product online here.  Even though the website mentions 'passwords', I had no problem going directly to it. It's free, and many, many pages long.  If you own Boardmaker, you can download it all!

The problem that I know many of you have is that Boardmaker is expensive.
The other problem with "Journal Jogger" is that the flipchart that it becomes is big with 26 pages of pictures/words.  My kids get lost with all the words.  Bigger is not better.

I have taken the same concept, but simplified it, totally reorganized the vocabulary, eliminated many pages,  and used Smarty Symbols rather than Boardmaker.  Although "Journal Jogger" was the inspiration, this product is totally different from the original with a different type of child in mind.  "Journal Jogger" was designed originally for high functioning children with extensive vocabulary.  "Writing Buddy" is designed for more linguistically challenged children who deserve their seat in the mainstream, too!

This is a low tech
assistive technology accommodation
for students to use during inclusion
in a regular primary class.
Page 1—Title
Page 2 –People and verbs
Page 3—Adjectives or descripters
Page 4---Nouns (food, drink, toys)
Page 5– Where; prepositions and places
Page 6—Numbers and fractions
Page 7—Colors
Page 8—Calendar concepts
Page 9—Feelings
Page 10—Sentence starters
Page 11—Kindergarten high frequency words 
Page 12—Steps to writing visual

This example is printed in black and white. It's very nice printed in color, but both ways work.

Take a look at this flip chart online here.

I hope you all are having a good summer.  My ESY experience just ended.  Vancouver, BC is next!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Let's Make a Boat---Simple craft with printable directions, questions, communication board

A long time ago, I blogged about a boat craft I did with the kids using Pictello.  This was a great activity, and Pictello has only gotten better through the years.  I used this activity again this summer and the kids loved it, making a substantial flotilla of little boats, all seaworthy! 

I now have a set of printable or displayable directions for all of you.  This summer, during Extended School Year, I didn't have access to a printer, so we simply displayed the directions/pictures on the iPad with the Pictello app.  It's also easy to simply show the directions on the Smartboard, or on your laptop without printing.  Pictello has text to speech which is nice, but the boat craft directions work with an adult or child reading them aloud too.

Save lids in advance for this project.  I used wooden skewers broken down to size for the mast.  Pencils work too.

Kids love the hole punch.  It's sometimes hard for little hands to have enough strength, but then they can ask for help.

At the end, I asked some of the kids simple yes/no questions and wh-questions about the craft. You can also download those at the link below.

 A word about the communication board (link is below)---this is primarily fringe vocabulary.  Hopefully your limited verbal children have personal systems with core words.  Mine did!
A communication board with fringe is just handy for immediate needs during a group as a supplement. 

This communication board is made with Smarty Symbols, which is an awesome set of clip art, and within a reasonable price range.  I have a commercial license, and these symbols are copyrighted by that company.  Check them out! 

Download the boat directions here in pdf.

Download the communication board here.

Download a simple set of questions here.

Flotilla including a pirate boat!


Monday, June 29, 2015

Dotty---Short Film to Watch and Ponder

I love the blog Film English, mainly because the author highlights short films, and I love shorts.
This author, Kieran Donaghy, actually is highlighting and providing lesson plans for English language teachers at the secondary level--but I look over his virtual shoulder and watch too!

One film he showed me was Dotty.  This was an awesome illustration of human interaction set in a nursing home in England.  A review is here: "This beautiful film tells the story of a lifetime in the span of 11 minutes. The simple, yet elegantly crafted tale begins with an elderly woman in a full care facility who wants to send a text message to her daughter.

A young woman brings her tea, but before the elderly woman will drink it, before she will do anything else, she must send this text to her daughter.

The young woman tries to help, but of course there is difficulty mastering the technology. Just when her patience has run out, so has yours. At different moments you will empathize with each of the women.

This film was a favorite at the 2013 Naples Film Festival

As speech-language pathologists, we have all been there---mustering patience, modifying our language, putting ourselves in the shoes of the other person.  We often have to let go of our own agenda, and honor the agenda of our client whether the person is 5 or 85. As I get older, I empathize more and more with Dotty.  I could be her someday, and only hope that I am treated with respect and patience as I navigate my world the best I can. 

  I'm curious as to what do you readers think about the younger woman's interactions as she shifted from "talking at" Dotty, to actually providing instructions on how to send a text message?  

I highly recommend this film on many levels.

Go HERE to watch this short film on Vimeo (10 minutes).   

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Back to School Packet

Hi Friends!   School will start before you know it!   
Here is a back to school activity packet that works for my kids who are on the more linguistically challenged side.  This is mainly for those kids who are not on the regular curriculum track.

Here's the description:

This is a literacy/activity pack to go with a “Back to School” theme. This pack meant for the more linguistically challenged students and is perfect for speech/special ed collaboration. This is nice for integrating literacy and language activities.

Enclosed are:

“Riding to School” Interactive Book--Pages 3-16

Icons for the “Riding to School” book– page 17

Sentence Frame for “Riding to School” -page 18

School Bus craft direction book –pages 19--28

Communication Board for the School Bus craft—page 29

Comprehension questions for School Bus Craft—page 30

Sequencing activity for School Bus craft—page 31

Bingo game for school vocabulary---page 32--36
 On another topic, in honor of the SCOTUS ruling, here's one of my favorite songs.  Love conquers all!

In case you wonder about the clips in this video, some are from a 1992 movie "Scent of a Woman".



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Confused Math Student

Extended School Year really opens my eyes to the diversity of materials the kids work with, for better or for worse. 

One student today (first grade) was a bit confused by the last problem in this photo.  I'm all for teaching multiple meanings of words, but this was a new one for me (and her).   There must be a better way to assess number sense and order.


Monday, June 22, 2015

"The Very Lonely Firefly"----Free visuals and sentence frame

If you are working this summer, you may want to pick up a copy of "The Very Lonely Firefly" and read it to the kids.

It's all about lights, a repetitive line, feelings of loneliness, fireworks, and a surprise at the end.  Your students will love it!   It fits in beautifully with the fireworks theme at this time of year.

I whipped up some free visuals to go with it.  These are made with Smarty Symbols.  You may download this set for use with this book, but do not use for other purposes.  The symbols are copyrighted.


 How is your summer going?  North Carolina has been a bit toasty.


Monday, June 15, 2015

ESY Sale!! June 16th and 17th

For those of you who are working this summer, everything in my store is on sale for June 16th and 17th.
I have several literacy/language packets designed for the more linguistically challenged child.
These are what I'm using with the kids during ESY!  I thought you might need the same.