Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Story Book Communication Boards (Games and Activities)

This one is for my friends who teach early intervention through the early elementary grades.  Super Duper/Webber has a new product called Story Time Communication Boards.  It looks very similar in design but not theme to one of my all time favorite products Webber Functional Communication Games.  Essentially this contains the a twelve square static communication board for 20 favorite picture books (2 sides on each board), which double as bingo boards.  Which would be pretty cool alone, but then add a CD Rom of sample IEP goals/benchmarks and printable activities and lesson plans, an electronic spinner (these are so cool) foam chips, calling cards, differentiated question cards and game pieces.  Too bad they didn't add the game board.  It retails for $56.00

This is from the website:

WebberStory Time Communication Boards teaches students with limited verbal skills to recognize and use the most important vocabulary words in 20 popular storybooks.* This versatile teaching tool allows students with language delays, autism, and other communication disorders to participate in reading activities using Mayer Johnson’s BoardmakerPicture Communication Symbols (PCS). Webber Story Time Communication Boards is ideal for the SLP, teacher, or special educator working in an inclusive setting.
The complete set includes four identical communication boards for each story and 12 matching picture cards (240 cards total) to teach expressive and receptive communication skills. The lessons and activities in the workbook reinforce vocabulary and the included CD-ROM makes it easy to print activity pages in black and white or color.
The workbook includes measurable goals and objectives, and three different activities with extensions (Sentence Completion, Question and Answer, and I Spy) to use with a lesson plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP). These activities help increase the child’s understanding of the story. Modify the specific measures of each goal to fit the individual needs of the students.

Materials Include:
  • 40-double-sided communication boards (20 stories)
  • Activity workbook
  • 240 picture cards (12 per story)
  • Electronic spinner
  • 60 foam tokens
  • CD-ROM for printing activity pages in black and white and color
* Uses the following books with your Webber® Story Time Communication Boards.
  Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
  From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
  Good Night, Dora by Christine Ricci
  Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
  Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
  Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle
  The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk
  My World by Margaret Wise Brown
  Matthew's Truck by Katherine Ayers
  I Love School! by Philemon Sturges
  Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  Wave Hello to Thomas! by Rev. W. Awdry
  Spot Goes to the Park by Eric Hill
  Cooking With the Cat by Bonnie Worth
  Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
  "More More More," Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
  Here are My Hands by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
  Peek-A-Boo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Communication 4 All

If you haven't been over to Communication4All lately it is worth a return visit.  Bev Evans has added a plethora of new activities and printables since I last posted about the site.  From board games to interactive story maker powerpoints there is so much to explore and try out.  Give yourself some time, have your printer ready (or at least your bookmarking tools) and think outside the box for ways to use these materials with out students!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Zoodles: Another Kid's Web Broswer is joining the ranks of Zac Browser, Kid Zui and Kido'z (kid's browsers I have mentioned before) as a means for children to safely navigate the internet. Like Kid Zui, Zoodles is free for a basic plan.  However if you want Ad Blocking and the Parents Dashboard (and you do, because it IS a kid's browser) you need to shell out $7.95 per month, $39.95 for 6 months and $59.95 for the entire year (Kid Zui is $3.33 a month).  Kido'z is also a divided service, free for basic and $50 a year for plus.  Zac Browser is free.  Zoodles runs on Adobe Air.  It allows access to educational website and tracks time spent in each subject area, displaying it for the parent to see.  All of these kid's browser's have something to offer.

Below are screen shots of Zac Browser, Kid Zui and Kido'z.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Buggy But It's Better than Nothing - Switch Accessible You Tube

SWAY is switch accessible You Tube, but by switch they mean switches (set to right and left arrow).  Still, better than nothing!  Basically you paste the address of a playlist into the textbox and then you can use your switches to navigate the videos.  It works only in the Firefox browser.

Here is SWAY set to play the TLWMSN Vlog.

Check it out!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

YouSayToo Awards

Dear Santa,

I have been a basically good girl this year.  As I know you are busy I am writing this post in hopes of perhaps winning a dream gift from YouSayToo

My dream gift is for my classroom.  As you know I reach five wonderful students ages 14-18 with multiple special needs.  Over the next year there is a pretty good chance my classroom will grow to six, seven or eight students.  Santa, my students are so amazing.  They come into school everyday ready to try whatever I set in front of them.  This is in spite of the fact that, for the most part, my students need technology for nearly everything they do.  My students use wheelchairs to get from place to place.  They use special (and very expensive) technology to help them communicate.  They need specialized software and computers to help them learn.

That is where you come in, Santa, you and YouSayTooYouSayToo is having a $1,000 dream gift give away.  I would love for my students to have a Mayer-Johnson Mobile Activity Player.  It is outrageously expensive ($949.00), but it consists of a sturdy convertible netbook/tablet computer with six Curriculum Companion Activities.  The netbook/tablet would give my students a way to access specialized curriculum through the touch screen or by attaching a switch interface and switches.  Since it is pre-installed with Boardmaker Player software it can be used as a communication device or as a learning tool.  The Curriculum Companion Activities will add new ways for my students to explore learning topics in the classroom. 
I am sure lots of bloggers are going to enter the YouSayToo Dream Gift Give Away, Santa, but won't you put in a good work for us?  If this blog wins it won't just be a prize for a blogger, it will be an opportunity to enrich the lives of teenagers with multiple disabilities.  I can't think of a better reason for us to win, can you?

If we can't win the dream prize, Santa, will you let them know that we could use the Photoframe Keychain constellation prize for visual schedules if we installed pictures of picture symbols or students engaged in their schedule.  That would be awesome.

Thanks, Santa!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vocaroos Free Audio E-Mail is offering a free download of their simple, easy-to-use, audio e-mail software, Vocaroos Express, from now until 12/26/2009.  Check it out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dish Drying...

switch style!


In an effort to record, review and share with parents a student's ability to use a high tech AAC device we recently mounted a Flip Camera to a students wheelchair.  Currently we have about 45 minutes of footage which gives us an interesting perspective on this student, the device usage, the motor skills used in accessing the device and some of the linking between pages the student does with out actually "saying anything out loud" (this was surprising to us).  As we set up the camera to show only the device screen and the users hands the footage catches things we miss when we think we are watching how the user is accessing the device.  The footage is also great for calculating data points for alternative assessment and progress reports.

If you are supporting any high tech AAC users I would highly recommend trying this out!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shiny Learning's Free Switch Games

Blast the pirate shipShiny Learning has six simple switch games from cause and effect to timing levels on their website.  They can be played in your browser or downloaded.  The games include Mouse Follower, Fly Swatter, Car Crusher, Press to Move, Balloon Bang and Blast the Pirate Ship.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Reindeer Orchestra

Reindeer Orchestra is a fun little activity that is great for mouse, mouse emulator, touch screen and interactive white board as well as working just fine with two switches set to tab and space bar.  Free play or match the numbers and beep the red noses to make a song.  Enjoy.

Special Needs Scissors

Scissor Sources

Friday, December 11, 2009

Figgy Pudding Recipe

Grandmother's Fig Pastry Filling

Today we made Figgy Pudding as part of our classroom unit on A Christmas Carol.  In spite of our misgivings it was delicious.  We altered a recipe found here for a simple figgy pudding.  Here is our version:

1 and 1/4 cup Fig Pastry Filling
1 Box Deluxe Hearty Carrot Cake Mix (best if it has a separate bag of dehydrated carrot and raisins) and ingredients for Cake Mix (1/4 cup oil, 3 eggs - leave out the water)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
Zest of an orange is optional

Put everything in a big bowl.
Using beaters (with switches galore) beat until well mixed.
Pour into greased baking pans, follow baking directions on Cake Mix box.
Optional:  Half way through baking cover with foil so the "pudding" is more steamed than baked.  


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fed Up

Once upon a time there was a special needs teacher.  She supported a teenager who used a communication device from Big AAC Company.  The model of his device, the Quick Silver, was older, but not old enough to allow purchase of a new AAC device.  Sadly for the teacher, the teenager and the speech pathologist, the Quick Silver runs software from Giant AAC Company.  Giant AAC Company has grown very huge recently, with their gobbling of smaller companies and so forth.  However, one of their main stay products remains the software that runs on the Quick Silver.

The thing is that every time Quick Silver breaks the teacher or the speech pathologist calls Big AAC Company for support.  Big AAC Company says the issue is a software issue and that they are "no longer allowed" to support Giant AAC Company's software.  This is because Giant AAC Company has decided to make their software licenses unobtainable through pricing or other methods.  The teacher and speech pathologist have been hearing this story of licenses from just about every AAC vendor on earth these days and they are pretty tired of it.  In fact it is making them want to never, ever buy anything from Giant AAC Company again.

However calls and e-mails to Giant AAC Company claim that the issue would either be fixed by paying all sorts of money to upgrade the software or that the issue is not software related at all.  This is only after the teacher and speech pathologist loose hours of work with disappeared programing and the directive from Giant AAC Company to delete the preference files (a very bad idea).  Giant AAC also claims that Big AAC is allowed to support their software, which is an annoying argument to be stuck in the middle of when a teenager is sitting around voiceless.

Something is very wrong with the AAC industry when Big AAC Company and Giant AAC Company cannot manage to support the users they have.  This is almost ironic for the teacher and the speech pathologist because Big AAC Company and Giant AAC Company are both bending over backwards right now to try to sell devices to other teenagers in the same class.

Guess what?  This teacher is voting for Little AAC Company or Less Well Know AAC Company until Big AAC Company and Giant AAC company redirects their focus towards meeting the needs of AAC users.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Madi's in a New Book

Madi, the Dynavox using, powerchair driving star of "So Don't and See What Happens!" is back in Sour Puss with her brother and the family pet.  I haven't seen it yet, by my class really enjoyed Madi in her first book and I hope we end up with a copy of Sour Puss soon.  Both books ate $15.00.

50 Best Special Education Blogs

Would you like to add to your selection of online resources?  Check out this list of the 50 Best Blogs for Special Education Teachers.  I am happy to have Teaching Learners with Multiple Needs on the list.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Animated Christmas

Animated Christmas is a good resource with many things to explore. In particular your students may want to look at the interactive animated storybook, Fir Tree.

Might be a nice addition to a multicultural winter celebration unit.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Trabasack: Lap Tray, Bag and Mount All-In-One!

Image of a Trabasack Curve - a padded laptop rest with velcro surface
this is taken from Barrie at One Switch Blog.

The Trabasack is a fantastic UK designed product that is a bag and lap-tray all in one. The Trabasack Curve as pictured has a Velcro surface making it ideal for many switch users when away from home.  Comes also in a rectangular shape in a medium and mini size, with and without being Velcro accepting.  The wheelchair version has special strap designs for wheelchair attachment.  The trim comes in different colors too.  Buy direct from Trabasack or the USA vendor Windsor Direct.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Splatz Switch Holder

'splat' shaped switch holder showing recessed hole where a switch can be placed.

The Splatz Switch Holder is a washable, non-slip switch holder for 2.5 inch round switches (Jelly Bean, Buddy Button) with a hole to thread the cord through.  They come in the four colors shown from QED for £15.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Multi-Sensory Icons for A Christmas Carol

As I've mentioned we are doing a unit on A Christmas Carol.  These are the characters in Pete Well's adapted sensory story version of A Christmas Carol.  Our first lesson for the unit the students were shown the characters and each picked one to adapt into a multi-sensory icon, using Pete Well's suggestions and their own ideas.  Today we used the multi-sensory icons as props in our first viewing/telling of A Christmas Carol.

(Note the large characters were used as puppets and the small symbols as switch labels.  The red cards have cinnamon glued to them.)

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