We have been talking a lot about accessibility lately. We have highlighted some low-tech assistive tech tools, as well as high tech resources, like Goalbook, which help teachers implement universal design for learning. We have also shared our favourite resources for special education teachers. Today, my article for the Yellin Center Blog, goes in-depth on some of the free, accessibility extensions for google chrome. Don’t forget that Microsoft and other browsers have similar features, so if you aren’t a chrome uses do a little digging into what your internet browser offers! Continue reading “Using Chrome Accessibility Extensions”
I have another article out for the Yellin Center. This time I dig into how to use infographics in the classroom to differentiate your instruction and meet the core mandates of Universal Design for Learning. Below you will find my article where I discuss a few excellent, easy to use resources for making infographics. Happy Learning! Continue reading “Using Infographics in the Classroom to Differentiate Instruction”
I have always taught in an inclusive classroom, which means I have always taught students with diverse learning abilities. I have had a number of students who struggle with written output. As a teacher in the North American school system which relies heavily on literacy skills it was often really challenging to assess students’ comprehension when writing difficulties inhibited their ability to write down their ideas. As such, as an alternative to answering questions or constructing essays during reading or listening comprehension lessons I would allow my students to map their understanding.
After reading a story to my students or having them read a tale independently, I would have my students draw pictures of all the main events and details of the story, and also draw path that showed their understanding of the sequencing of each event in the plot. I would specific that each map was to include all the characters, all main events, the different settings and a key like a traditional map would. I would also ensure my students understand what the terms, plot, character and setting meant.
A PDF version Story Map template can be downloaded for free here from my Teachers pay Teachers Store. Continue reading “Freebie Friday: How to Story Map with a Free Story Map Template”
My latest article for the Yellin Center is out. This time I explore NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman which received the Samuel Johnson Prize. Below you will find a copy of my article. Continue reading “Book on Autism wins the Samuel Johnson Prize”
Another article is up on the Yellin Center Blog! You might remember that last fall I reviewed FableVision Learning‘s Animation-ish program. While during my exploration of Animation-ish, I stumbled across a few other awesome resources that FableVision has created. One of which is an amazing tool for learning how to structure an effective essay called, Essay Express. Crafting an essay requires multiple abilities including, spelling, understanding of grammar and sentence structure, master of written conventions, understanding of semantics etc. It is an area of writing that many students (all the way into their college years) struggle with and takes time to truly master. Often students come into the clinic having some of the key abilities in places but weaknesses in others. Essay Express is an exceptional tool that helps strength a students strengths and fill in any gaps they may have in the writing process in order to teach them how to devise strong written output.
So head over to the blog to read my review, the research that went into creating the program and the amazing aspects of this software that will make it beneficial for both home and school use.
Another article authored by yours truly is up this week on the Yellin Center Blog, and getting lots of traction. Last week I highlight a few of my favorite developmental learning toys, which would make great gifts for teachers and students alike. This time around I am sharing some of my favorite books for teaching social skills (We all know how much I LOVE integrating picturebooks into my curriculum). Social learning can be hard for children to grapple with, and it can be an even greater challenge to effectively teach social skills in an enjoyable, nonthreatening manner. In my own classroom I often wrote my own social stories, or social building tales based on the needs of the students in my class. However, a teacher’s time is precious and there are a few remarkable authors out there, like Janan Cain and Julia Cook, who have done all the heavy lifting for you. So head over to my post, Books to Teach Social Skills, for a list of resources for teaching skills like sharing, controlling your voice, learning when to speak and expressing one’s feelings. On the Yellin Center Blog you will also find a discussion on why mastery over social conventions is so vital to a child’s overall development. Happy Reading!
Another resource is up on the Yellin Center Blog, and this time is it for the Blends Bingo game I designed. This game aims to improve student’s understanding of different letter-sound relationships which are critical to the development of a child’s early reading skills. Mastery of this fundamental phonological awareness skill has been linked to overall success in reading decoding and comprehension.
I use this game primarily in special education and reading recovery settings. However, it can be easily adapted to a whole class environment. If adapting for a large group, it is important to note that every sound is on every card. Therefore, you should expect to have multiple winners at a given time. The reason every sound appears on every card is that this game was designed as a purposeful play activity. As such, Blends Bingo has the objective of each student participating by locating a new sound every time a new playing piece is drawn by the teacher. There is no waiting in this activity, and every child is able to continually work to manipulate sounds.
For detailed description of the research that backs the creation and implementation of this game, how this activity aligns with the standards and detailed instructions of how to run this activity in your classroom please head over to my in depth discussion on the Yellin Center Blog. There, I also discuss how I have used this tool as a formative assessment measure, as well as a few alternate game play structures to keep your students engaged.
This activity was rather labor intensive to create due to formatting and finding images that clearly represented each sound. As such, this game is one of my paid TpT resources but today it is on sale! The sale lasts through the weekend, so you can head over to my Teachers pay Teachers store to download Blends Bingo. Furthermore, since my Blends Bingo Post went up on the Yellin Center Blog I have been routinely asked where I procure affordable or free materials for my curriculum designs. I understand how tough it can be to find copy write free materials, so for this game and most clip art infused resources I often use Classroom Clip Art. It is an affordable membership service, with a pretty robust selection of images that are education centric.