Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Carving, the iPad, and Communication

 Halloween is right around the corner, and I decided to look for an app that was easy to use, cheap, and fit the IEP goals my kids have.  I found one!  Parents Magazine has a free app---Carve-A-Pumpkin.
This app is great for my kids---they have to make lots of choices from the color and texture of the pumpkin, to facial parts, to background color, to miscellaneous decorations.  The interface is intuitive, and the end result can be saved, emailed, and printed. My students were very motivated and really wanted to carve their virtual pumpkins!

choosing the pumpkin

I needed a little control over my iPad, though.  Kids often 'take over', and start tapping on everything, and communication goes down the tubes.  I felt that custom-made choice cards specific to the app would be perfect.  I captured screenshots of the different options, and cut and pasted the pictures on cards, ending up with 5 separate choice cards---pumpkin color, eyes, nose, mouth, and other decorations.   The kids could decide what they wanted to add, and then carefully look at the options.  In this way, a communication avenue opened, and language modeled.   ("Oh! You want the bumpy, orange pumpkin!"  "That's a smiling mouth.")      Adding choice boards slowed the pumpkin carving process down just enough, so that the task was more centered around communication-- requesting, describing, commenting, and sharing. 
     The end product really didn't matter---in my mind, it's the process that's important.

 You still have a couple of weeks before Halloween.  Check out this app.  It's free, and fun! 
Finished product--simple

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