Category: Tips and Tricks

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.

 

How to Make a Switch Adapted Toy

Lauren and I work with some pretty amazing students.  And our students love to play!  Unfortunately, some of them are unable to play with toys in a conventional way due to their physical disabilities.  We’ve ordered switch adapted toys online to incorporate into our play based activities, however, they are EXPENSIVE!!  If you search for switch adapted toys online you will see that they range in price from around $40- $200+ even though the non-adapted toy costs significantly less!  The stereo cable that makes the toy switch accessible usually only costs about one dollar.  That doesn’t seem right…

We’ve discovered that the best way to get our students MORE toys is to switch adapt them ourselves.  This weekend we recruited an SLP, OT, and tech-savvy friend to help us adapt some toys!  After a couple of botched attempts, we got the hang of it and were able to adapt 5 toys!  We’ll be posting soon about how we are going to use these toys in therapy, giving them a purpose!  You can check out our final products here.

We filmed the last toy we switch adapted so you can see how we did it!  You can watch the video on our YouTube Channel.

Read on for step by step instructions on switch adapting a toy!

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Adapting Don’t Wake Daddy

Adapting a Board Game

Board games can provide opportunities for literacy, numeracy, communication, and social skills instruction. In order for students with special needs to access these games, we have to adapt the materials.

When Amanda told me that she bought 2 Don’t Wake Daddy game boards, I was excited to see how they could be adapted for our students. Unfortunately, the theme song from the 90’s TV commercial was stuck in my head the entire time.

Continue reading to see how we adapted Don’t Wake Daddy. This posts contains a free PowerPoint download and ideas for communication opportunities while playing the game.

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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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The Magic of Battery Interrupters

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I don’t know how I went for so long without knowing about these little beauties. Any toy with a single function operated by AA or AAA batteries (you can get these for other batteries as well) can be adapted by sliding the disk in between where the battery meets the metal on the side of the compartment or in between 2 batteries. Voila! You have a switch adapted toy. 

When possible, I suggest permanently switch adapting the toy using stereo plugs (this with definitely be in a future post), but a battery interrupter gets the job done quickly. 

Purchase on Amazon.com 

I used one with this traffic light when teaching about transportation. Students created maps of their community and added street signs and traffic lights to direct a remote controlled car through the streets.


*Remember, the switch is not the activity. Make sure that swith adapted toy serves a purpose in the larger activity.

SoundBible.com- Enhancing Lessons with Sound

soundbibleWhen creating interactive activities in programs such as Boardmaker with Speaking Dynamically Pro, PowerPoint, and Classroom Suite, including sounds can:

  • capture student interest
  • provide access to the content for students with visual impairments
  • support the meaning of text
  • embed feedback for correct answers
  • provide opportunities for communication (e.g. commenting and directing actions)

SoundBible.com is an excellent source for free sound files. Continue reading to find out how to use SoundBible.com files in your lessons.

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