Brand new FREE resource: Toolbox for Self-Determination
This is a great resource for the first week of school to introduce your students to the I’m Determined tools. Please share this resource with anyone who would benefit from it!
It is not the easiest thing to send your little ones off to school be it preschool or school aged, but sending off your child who is learning to communicate, play and be a member of a school community can be even more difficult. This mom shares her heartfelt request for those who will care for and educate her daughter. It is a great message not just for preschool teachers but for teachers of all students who may struggle with keeping up with their peers.
Not everyone has the ability to use spoken words to communicate with the world around them, which means it is important to find a way for them to communicate. Dillian is an example of just that. Dillan’s Voice and Dillan’s Path, share a glimpse of the journey a young man with autism takes to finding his words and voice to communicate with others.
AirBar brings the capabilities of a touchscreen to your laptop. No tools or software are required, just a simple USB plugin provides you with the ability pinch, swipe, zoom, tap and draw using your finger, a stylus or even a paintbrush. Presently AirBar works on computers with Windows 7, 8, or 10 or a Chromebook. Just plug it in and create an interactive screen.
Closed captioning was initially created to provide access to video recordings and television programing for individuals with hearing impairments. However, turning on the closed captions has been found to support literacy skills for struggling readers. The use of closed captions has lead to improved foundational reading skills including, phonics, word recognition, vocabulary and fluency. The use of closed captions increases access to print and provides another way of presenting print. Listen to the research and turn on the captions to boost reading skills for all students to improve their speed and fluency. When using captions students are more engaged and increase retention of information because they are actively participating in the learning process. Students are more focused on the information that they are recieving visually and auditorially especially when provided with high interest material.
Reading fluency is the ability to read text quickly and accurately with expression and comprehension. Reading fluently involves a reader’s ability to use multiple skills simultaneously. As a reader reads a text it is important that he/she is able to decode and comprehend individual words, complete phrases and sentences that he/she encounters. When the reader has to stop at each word and spend time trying to pronounce it or determine its meaning it impacts their overall understanding of what they are reading.
Using song lyrics can help build fluency skills through repeated reading of familiar text that has a rhythm to it. Using song lyrics can be a motivating activity for reluctant readers who are struggling with reading fluency. Incorporating familiar or popular song lyrics can also help provide a confidence boost as they are reading what their peers are reading.
Read on to see how some teachers are using song lyrics to help build fluency skills with their students.
With end of the school year quickly advancing schedules will be changing for many of our students. For some testing schedules interrupt the daily norm and summer vacation leads to a change in routines. For some a conversation to prime them of the changes or a change schedule card can help alleviate the stress and anxiety related to these changes while others may need something more. Virtual Hope Box, by National Center for Telehealth & Technology, is a smartphone App that contains simple tools that can be individualized to promote coping, relaxation, distraction and positive thinking. Virtual Hope Box stores a variety of multimedia content specific to meeting the supportive needs of an individual. Some examples of things that might be added are family photos, videos and recorded messages from loved ones, music they find especially soothing, reminders of
previous successes, positive life experiences or other special interest materials. Virtual Hope Box provides options for positive activity planning, distraction tools, and interactive relaxation exercises, controlled breathing and muscle relaxation to help promote self-regulation. The App is free and can be used on an iPhone, iPad or Android device.
When we think about Apps often the first thing that comes to mind is related to what games a person might have on their tablet or phone. Apps however can be so much more than game based for individuals with disabilities. How often do you create a list before going to run an errand or write a to do list to insure you accomplish everything you need to get done in a day? For individuals with disabilities apps can provide access to technology to create supports to help them move towards being more independent. Plan it, do it, check it off is one such App.
Plan it, do it, check itoff is an iPhone and iPad app that allows the user to build step-by-step photo and audio picture prompt sequences.
The individual using this app is provided with real photos to create a customized “To do”. The app contains a 26 page picture bank, with real picture images, that illustrate events but also allows the user to import their own photos and customize the text. As the individual completes an activity or task they tap the picture to place a check mark on the picture or play a prerecorded message to prompt them. Another feature is the ability to create self-talk videos that can provide needed directions without having to be prompted by others. Plan it, do it, check it off is available for $4.99 in the iTunes App store.
Using QR codes may seem like something of the past for some but it is an easy way to adapt activities. QR codes are a wonderful tool that can be used across curriculum areas when preteaching concepts, providing opportunities to review material, build independence in accessing information and increasing student knowledge. How might you use QR codes? How might QR codes work when setting up stations, creating scavenger hunts, making anchor charts, creating homework or assigning oral presentations?
Having access to a smart phone, tablet or iPad makes it easy to set up activities however you can also use your computer. If you have a computer with a webcam you can use a Google App such as ScanQR to allow your students to scan QR codes. Think about the possibilities of how you might use QR codes with your students.
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, is an inspiring novel full of heartache and hope. Meet a girl whose voice you’ll never, ever forget. Eleven year old Melody, a brilliant young lady with a photographic memory, is considered by many to be mentally retarded because all her thoughts are trapped inside her own head. This impatient fifth-grader however refuses to let her cerebral palsy define her. Read how a someone who can’t talk, walk or write overcomes these challenges to prove that she is one of the smartest kids in the school. Follow her on her journey to find her voice with the help of those who believed in her. This engaging young adult novel includes guiding questions making it a great tool for starting conversations around disability awareness and assistive technology.