Category: Assitive Technology

AAChronicles #11

AAChronicles

When working with a teacher in a classroom with AAC users, I often direct them to Gail Van Tatenhove’s resources on descriptive teaching (you can also find some great youtube videos modeling it). One of the classrooms I have been supporting in has 5, 5 year olds using high-tech. We have been doing shared reading every day after nap-time, and their teacher has been working on commenting on the text and describing what is happening on each page using their devices (with these supports). He is doing a great job using the supports and is beginning to model for the students without using them. The other day, he was having some difficulty coming up with things to model and one of his students said “DESCRIBE” on her Accent. He immediately began describing what was happening on the page. The timing was excellent and we all had a laugh.

Don’t you love it when the students remind you of what you are supposed to be doing!

Switch Adapted Book Template

Switch adapted book template to save you time!

Have you felt like Jessie Spano lately? As educational professionals we never have enough time. Here in DC, we are right in the middle of testing season and it is STRESSFUL. As an instructional coach, I try to provide the teachers at my school time saving templates for activities whenever I can. I recently made a template for creating switch accessible books in Boardmaker and thought I would share it with all of you!

Switch Adapted Book TemplateSwitch Adapted Book Template

Each of the text boxes is set up to speak, so just change the text rather than deleting the box. The pages are set-up for step scanning (you can scan through the text, turn the page, and go back). The pictures are set-up do that they can’t be selected when scanning. If you wish to keep this feature, just replace the image in the button.

Click here to download the book template.

Click here to read about switch scanning in Boardmaker.

Adapting Candy Land!

Amanda received a grant earlier this year for adapting toys and games. We made a giant list of games and all of the materials we thought we might need to adapt them. Candy Land was at the top of the list. I had seen an idea for adapting the game with textures on Pinterest a few years ago (you can click here to see the original post) and wanted to add something similar to our game collection. Continue reading to find out how we adapted Candy Land for our school.

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Making A Sandwich // PowerPoint Activity

This week, the students have been reading Pete’s Big Lunch as part of their Speech and OT co-teach lessons. Pete The CatThey have gone to the classroom “grocery store” and made a giant sandwich with this Sandwich Stacking Game.Stacking Sandwich Game

As a wrap-up lesson on Friday, we will be making actual sandwiches. I made a quick PowerPoint activity to accompany the lesson.

Make A Sanwich Activity

Sandwich Activity

Students can choose each ingredient and build a sandwich. The best part comes at the end when they get to watch the sandwich disappear as it gets eaten.

You can down load the PowerPoint activity by clicking here.

Let us know if you use the activity. We would love to hear how you used the PowerPoint to enhance your lesson.

Switch Accessible Books in Classroom Suite

Switch Adapted Books in Classroom Suite

Each week, the older students in our school read an adapted news article. When I started working with some of these teachers, I quickly realized that the article was not accessible for all students. Most of the teachers are still learning Classroom Suite and needed additional supports to be able to create materials every week for their students.  In order to support these teachers, I created a template and how-to guide to make these switch accessible articles. (more…)

AAChronicles #4

AAChronicles

 

This week one of our students discovered the word “hide” on his Accent. The classroom teacher and I immediately hid. This led to several games of hide and seek. The game created numerous opportunities to model new phrases.

“come out”

“you/I hide”

“where are you?”

“I see you”

“look there”

“Where did you go?”

Unity 84 Sequenced- Hide

I have a feeling hide and seek is going to be very popular in that classroom for the next few days!

GoNoodle.com // Movement Fun in the Classroom

GoNoodle.comA teacher recently shared the website GoNoodle.com with me, and I love it! The website is a collection of “brain break” videos to use in the classroom. Most of the videos are no more than 5 minutes long and lead students in dancing or stretching routines.

Schools also have the option of signing up for GoNoodle Plus which includes movement activities focused on teaching academic content. GoNoodle Plus costs $10 a month or $99 a year for a school.

The free version still gives you access to hundreds of movement videos.

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Create Switch Accessible “Mixtapes” in Classroom Suite

Music can be a great motivator, especially for students with visual impairments. Amanda and I have been creating simple music activities in Classroom Suite that provide students with the ability to choose what music they want to listen to while working on switch scanning. For some of these students, this is also an opportunity to find out what their musical preferences are. I have made a few “mixtapes” that include R&B, classical, pop, country, and rock. We quickly discovered each student’s preferences (Pharrell’s “Happy” wins hands down for almost everybody).

After showing one of these “mixtapes” to a parent, she was excited to attach switches to her daughter’s headboard for her to choose the classical music she wanted to listen to before bed.

Here is an example of a Taylor Swift “mixtape” made for one of our older students.

Recently, I made a template for teachers and therapists to make their own “mixtapes”. i thought I would share the template and directions on the blog as well.

Continue reading for the downloadable template and directions.

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Five AT Products We Are Thankful For

In the spirt of Thanksgiving, here are the top five AT products we are thankful for!

  1. Language Based AAC Systems – Of course those made it to the top of the list!  We are so grateful to see our students using devices like the Accent 1000 with Unity 84 Sequenced, Spanish Unity, or CoreScanner; the iPad with the LAMP WFL app; and the Tobii I Series.  Accent1000-20-red
  2. TAP-it – We first saw the TAP-it at Closing the Gap in 2014 and have been thankful ever since!  It’s an adjustable touch accessible learning platform that differentiates between unintentional and intentional touch!  Because it is adjustable (height and angle), has a military grade screen, and is on wheels; it has been an amazing asset at our school.  It allows students with severe physical disabilities to access a touchscreen they would otherwise be unable to reach!

TAPit_slide3

3. Classroom Suite – A great way to make switch accessible activities for your students.  We have had a great time making and using switch accessible books!  We’re also thankful for this alternative pencil for our students with severe motor issues.

classroom suite

4. Loc-Line – We love this budget-friendly way to mount our AAC systems and switches!

 locline

5. Boardmaker with Speaking Dynamically Pro – What SLP isn’t thankful for Boardmaker?!  It’s the go-to for making print based materials with picture supports and with Speaking Dynamically Pro you can make awesome interactive materials!boardmaker

What AT products are you thankful for?

Whimsy Workshop Teaching*Thanks to Whimsy Workshop Teaching for their Thanksgiving ClipArt!*

Converting YouTube Videos for Classroom Activities

Converting YouTube Videos

A YouTube video can be an excellent addition to a lesson. When used at the beginning of a lesson, videos can grab student interest and provide context for what the students will be learning about. Videos can also be used to enhance the meaning of text, maintain lesson momentum, and provide additional opportunities for communication.

Many schools prevent users from accessing video websites. In order to circumvent this problem, you can convert the video to a file format that can be saved and embedded in programs such as PowerPoint, Boardmaker, and Classroom Suite. There are hundreds of websites that have this capability but my personal preference is Online Video Converter.

Continue reading to learn how to convert YouTube videos for classroom activities.

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