Tag: Literacy

Eye Gaze PowerPoint Book Template

PowerPoint can make adapting books a breeze. We recently took the same features we use when making books for the computer or iPad and created a book for an Accent 1400 with NuEye. The Accent 1400 allows the user to download Microsoft with PowerPoint 360. This opens up the endless activity possibilities available through PowerPoint.

AlphaOops! H is for Halloween is the first book we tried this with and it was a hit!  Each slide contains 4 icons that the child can click to turn the page, hear audio of the page, go back, or exit the book.

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Continue reading for a free template and step-by-step directions.

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Writing Activities Using Instant Messaging Apps For Kids

roo-kids

An important rule in implementing comprehensive literacy instruction is that children need to be presented with multiple opportunities to write for multiple purposes (click here to read a great post from Caroline on the 3 T’s of Writing). When I reflect on my own day, I can include communication through text message and social media as two of my main forms of written expression. I made a Facebook Status Writing Activity a few months ago, and wanted to explore text messaging apps for kids next. I downloaded Roo Kids and PlayKids Talk, but will only be sharing information about Roo Kids, due to the security features of PlayKids Talk preventing Amanda and I from trying it (PlayKids Talk uses a photo of the user’s parent to determine if they are old enough to use the app and apparently Amanda does not pass for over 21).

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Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses//Video Book

Pete the Cat

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.

Book Cover Book PageAfter 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!

Great Expectations Program // An Excellent Resource For All Students

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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.

 

featured books  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.

Dragons Love Tacos Activties

Thanks to this website, I have fallen in love with the book “Dragons Love Tacos“.

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.

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I hope you enjoy this resource as much as I do.

-Lauren

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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Light Up Your Sentence- A Fun Predictable Chart Writing Activity

Free Download For Predictable Chart Reading Activity

As part of our “Read The Sentence” predictable chart writing lesson (you can find the 5 plan here), we have been using tap-lights and a Boardmaker activity to increase student engagement. The tap-lights can be purchased on Amazon, hardware stores, CVS, etc. and you can lay out one tap light for each word (the words can be on or above the light). During the lesson, the student says each word and turns on the corresponding light. Our tap-lights decided to give us a little trouble so I made a back-up Boardmaker activity (download here).

Light Up Your Sentence 1

Light Up Your Sentence 2 The title page introduces the activities and allows students to turn a light on to practice.

Writing Sentences is Fun

Writing Sentences is Fun Lit Up

The first page has the sentence with the final word blank. Each box will turn yellow and the text will turn black when it is selected. When the board is in “use” mode you can type in the message display bar and when the box surrounding it is selected it will light up.

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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.

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…)