While there are many challenges posed by being stuck at home right now, one that hits especially hard is missing celebrations with family and friends. I have been using several greeting card apps to email and snail-mail my loved ones for birthdays, graduations, and baby showers. Card making is a great writing activity for any child and can be modified to include the use of alternative pencils. Below you will find a list of my favorite greeting card apps and some ideas for how to use a variety of alternative pencils.(more…)
I love Pete the Cat books! They are about a fun character, contain positive messages, and come with great songs and videos. I saw the newest book when I was at Barnes & Noble last week and had to get it. Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses is a wonderful story about optimism and a positive outlook. It also fits right into summer activities because of those COOL, BLUE, MAGIC sunglasses.
Yesterday, I downloaded the video that goes with the book on the Pete the Cat website. Using a few hyperlinks and the video trimming tool, I was able to make a fun video book. You can download it here by clicking either picture below.
After a quick Pinterest search, I also found this website with printable templates to make your own glasses. I envision a fun writing activity where students make their own glasses and then choose 3 adjectives (Pete’s are COOL, BLUE, and MAGIC) to describe them. The class can make a book with the sentence “Look at my _____, ______, ______ sunglasses.” with a photo of them wearing their sunglasses.
I would love to hear back from you when you use this activity!
I recently discovered the Great Expectations program from the National Braille Press. The program is designed to bring
“… popular picture books to life using a multi-sensory approach — songs, tactile play, picture descriptions, body movement, engaged listening — all designed to promote active reading experiences for children with visual impairments.”
I have found that although some of the activities as specific to students with visual impairments (activities focused on reading braille and using cane), most of the resources on the website can be used for all children. After all, “songs, tactile play, picture descriptions, body movement, engaged listening” are used by effective teachers and therapists across disciplines.
The website has a list of featured books that they provide resources for.
Each title comes with a list of tips and activities you can use when teaching the text. You can also purchase the book in braille through the site. The resources for each book include descriptions of the pictures. This is great for students with visual impairments, but is also a good resource for teachers who are learning how to use the descriptive teaching model to instruct students using AAC.
Thanks to this website, I have fallen in love with the book “Dragons Love Tacos“.
If you have a copy of the book, I am happy to share my adapted, high contrast, PowerPoint version and my PowerPoint for the song. Just send me an email or message me through Facebook or Twitter with proof that you own the book.
I hope you enjoy this resource as much as I do.
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.
A 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.
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.
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.
Have you tried Story Bots yet? You MUST! This website has a collection of storybooks and videos that you can personalize with pictures of your child! There is a great collection of “learning videos” featuring the ABCs, numbers, colors, animals, professions, body parts, etc. But, the best part of this website is having your child’s photo and name in the stories. Though it lacks audio text (parents, educators, or students must read the story aloud), the children I have used it with have loved it! They get so excited to see their face in the story. It’s a great way to engage your child’s interest in reading. The clever animations and text in the stories lend themselves to making predictions about what will happen next and other higher order questions.
You can sign up for free; however, you will have limited access to the stories and videos. In order to have access to the full library (over 200 books!) and videos, you can sign up for a membership. The membership cost per year is $36 ($3/month) or you can sign up for a monthly membership for $5/ month. Once you have a membership, you can add characters by uploading a picture and name.
Free Membership – What’s Included? vs. Paid Membership
Story Bots also has 10 apps that can be downloaded on your iPad for free. You can also use a limited number of features on the app and upload pictures of your child. If you have a paid membership with the website, that transfers to the apps and allows you to access the unlimited features of the app (i.e. more books, more videos, more characters).
I purchased the membership myself last month and have used it countless times already! I love it, the children I work with love it, and I think you will too!
When 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.