Category: Literacy

Shrunken Treasures Book Giveaway

giveaway

Since we started AACreATively in October, we have enjoyed getting to talk to and share ideas with some amazing parents and professionals. This is our way of saying “Thanks!” to those of you who have supported the blog.

Shrunken Treasures shortens 9 literary masterpieces into beautifully illustrated verse that is appropriate for children of all ages.

The book includes:

  • The Odyssey
  • Frankenstien (The illustrated monster is adorable.)
  • Moby-Dick (Written to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.)
  • Jane Eyre (Written to the tune of “Three Blind Mice”.)
  • A Thousand and One Nights
  • Hamlet
  • Don Quixote
  • The Metamorphosis
  • Remembrance of Things Past
  • About the Stories (Short, funny blurbs written by the author about each story.)

Good luck and we hope you enjoy this wonderful book!

Lauren and Amanda

Making Writing Motivating-Facebook Status Boardmaker Activity

Facebook Status Writing Activity

Finding ways to motivate older students can be difficult. You want to be age respectful while also providing instruction that is cognitively appropriate. I created this Facebook activity as a way to increase student motivation during writing activities.

Students can write a status at the beginning or end of the day. The teacher can write the morning message as a status. Students can “Like” the status, they can use an emoji to show how they are feeling, check-in at their current location, or tag a classmate.

Click here to download the activity.

Facebook Status ScreenThis is the main board for the activity (it is called “Facebook”). The other files are pop-up boards.

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Reading Books on the Accent!

In trying to become fluent in Unity 84 sequenced, I have failed to explore some of the other awesome features on the Accent. I share an office with a great SLP, who just showed me the books that are available on the Accent. There are several books to choose from and they allow the student to read the words on each page using Unity while they look at the book! It’s a great way for students to learn a new motor plan (or continue to practice an old one) and build literacy skills. Here is how you can access the books:

  1. Go to PAGES.

Books on the Accent!

  1. Go to BOOKSCapture 2
  2. Book options will open up. Choose one to read (We chose “What Do You Do?”). They mostly focus on different core words but there are some books that are more complex (e.g., Goldilocks). If you pick the book called “I Can Turn…” (the character changes colors throughout the book), you will see the relevant vocabulary for each page (“I can”, “turn”, colors).Capture 8
  3. Turn the pages by hitting the blue “prev page” and “next page” buttons on the little book page that opens up. The icons that appear are the first ones in the sequences for the vocabulary on the page. The page will move around the screen so that you can access the vocabulary.Books on the Accent!Books on the Accent!Enjoy!

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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.

The Four Block Model for Students with Disabilities

reading buddiesLiteracy instruction for AAC users seems to be popping up frequently in Facebook groups, ATChats, and other blogs!  Unfortunately, it hadn’t been a focus of mine until this past year.  But now that it is, I’m excited to share what we’re doing!

I was very focused on making sure everyone had an AAC system to communicate.  And that IS an important step.  But I wasn’t focusing on WHAT comes NEXT?!  Last year, I listened to the presentation Carole Zangari did at the Minspeak PALSS webinar last year.   She discussed the importance of making sure our students become literate and shared the curriculum she is working on for preschool classrooms.  A couple of coworkers and I were psyched to try to implement something similar at school.  That presentation is not available but it’s similar to this one.  I highly recommend reading through it!

This school year I had the opportunity to go to presentations by Caroline Musselwhite, Gretchen Hanser, Karen Erickson, and Susan Norwell. They inspired me to just GET STARTED!  It took some time, planning, and convincing others to get on board, but we’re doing it!  The first step was describing the four block model to my coworkers and coming up with a plan to get them going!I strongly suggest reading the Four Block Model book for children with disabilities!  Here is a brief overview!

four blocks

 

Guided Reading – This block teaches students how to comprehend text.  The goal of this block is to increase background knowledge, vocabulary meanings, comprehension strategies, and reading fluency through repeated readings.  A crucial component to this block is to Anchor Read and Apply.

To be honest, some of our students still early emergent readers and not quite ready for this block!  But that’s why we work on shared reading with them instead.  Check out this presentation to learn more about the difference.

Self Selected Reading – This block is important as it allows student interests to drive an interest in reading!  This block helps develop expressive language, reading comprehension, and students’ ability to select interesting reading materials.  Teachers may help guide this block by providing students with books similar to the one they are looking at in Guided Reading or by encouraging students to pursue reading materials of personal interest!

Writing – This block helps students learn to independently write for real purposes.  This block utilizes shared writing, writing mini-lessons with revisions an editing, and writing on self selected topics.

Working with Words – This block is one of my favorites!  It’s purpose is to help students learn to recognize high frequency words faster and to decode and spell phonetically regular words.

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.

Using Bitstrips to Illustrate Adapted Chapter Books and Social Stories

Bitstrips for Schools

Finding age respectful reading material for students with disabilities can be difficult. As teachers and therapists, we often find ourselves making materials from scratch or adapting already existing materials. Illustrating these adapted books can be tricky. Especially when you are adapting works of fiction with characters that need to stay consistent page to page.

Do you pay to use stock photos?

Do you go with whatever google has to offer?

Do you accept that the main character may look different on every page?

I know that we have been very frustrated trying to adapt chapter books for our older students. Our solution has been using Bitstrips for Schools.

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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…)

Literacy for All // A Great Resource for Enhancing Literacy Instruction

While researching information about literacy instruction for students with CCN, I discovered a set of video and learning guides on http://www.engagingalllearners.ca/.

The videos feature Dr. Caroline Musselwhite and include brief discussions about various ways teachers can further develop their literacy instruction. I have already shared the video on Symbols and Learning to Read with several teachers at our school.

Please share this resource with anyone providing literacy instruction to a child with complex communication needs.