Showing posts with label Video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Video. Show all posts

Boardmarker's Symbolate Feature

I have spent the better part of my break trying to figure out how to increase student access to text without changing the depth of knowledge. Easier said then down. Well almost--until I stumbled okay fell into a feature in Boardmarker that can be found in 6, Studio and plus-symbolate. Talk about a blessing--a whole lot less cutting and pasting and more learning.

Symbolate in a nutshell adds pictures to words in a sentence. It was so excited to share that I created my first video. I'm going to try it next week with a student with autism to see if it helps him answer questions after he has read. What started this was this student who does better when pictures are attached to what he needs to do. So, knowing that answering basic who, what, when, where questions is tough on a good day that perhaps adding pictures would help him understand and answer comprehension questions after he has read. I can see doing this for other things too like a unit math test--not to change the work but to increase access to the text.

This quick and easy adaptation to text is an instructional accommodation. As an access accommodation that provides access to the core curriculum and doesn't affect the mastery level expected of students.

I've included a couple that I have created to use when I have the student in Wilson. If these work for him than I can see using it for other things like math.

Don't forget that everything in my store will be on sale Monday and Tuesday (12/2 and 12/3). Have a great week!

Language Disorder Accommodations

This year, I have a couple of students who have significant Expressive Language Disorders. In their case language skills almost 4 years behind their chronological ago. This makes it tough as these guys have begun to move into the intermediate grade. This is a list of things that I have share with classroom teachers so that they can keep in mind as they plan and incorporate into your classroom in a meaningful way.

Expressive language refers to the use of spoken language. A student with an expressive language disorder is unable to communicate thoughts, needs or wants at the same level or with the same complexity as his or her same-aged peers. Students with an expressive language disorder may understand most language but are unable to use this language in sentences. Difficulties with the pronunciation of words may or may not be present. Expressive language disorders are a broad category and often overlap with other disabilities or conditions.

These guys have difficulties with word-finding difficulties, limited vocabulary, overuse of non-specific words like “thing” or “stuff,” over reliance on stock phrases, and difficulty “coming to the point” of what they are trying to say.


1. Modeling
When asked a question, a student with expressive language disorder may provide you with an incomplete sentence. If you were to ask what they saw at the zoo, the student may respond with "tiger." The best thing to do is to model back a full and correct sentence, such as "I saw a tiger." You do not have to have the students repeat the sentence; just hearing the words in the correct order will help.

2. Choices
When you are asking students with expressive language disorder questions, instead of asking them to form their own sentences, give them choices. Following our zoo example, instead of asking "what did you see at the zoo?" you might ask the student "did you see the lions or the tigers when you were at the zoo?" This takes the stress off of the student to make up their own sentence from scratch.

3. Visuals
Place visuals around your classroom to help remind students of words that they could use. Students with expressive language disorder have difficulties remembering words, so seeing them posted may help.

4. Slow down
This is for you and the student. When you are speaking, slow down and model good speech for the student. When the student is speaking, remind them to slow down and make sure that their sentences are complete. This should increase the students self monitoring skills.

5. Time
Let the student know if you are planning on calling on them. This will give them time to think of a response. When the student is talking, allow them the time that they need.

6. Accommodations
Students with expressive language disorder may require different accommodations. If your student is more comfortable with writing their assignments, or with verbalizing the answers, you should allow them to do this. Try things like word prediction software.

Implications for Instruction
  • Repeat back what the student has said, modelling the correct pronunciation, word form or sentence structure. It is unnecessary to ask the student to repeat the correct form after you; what is important is that the student hears the correct form.
  • Provide the student with choices of correct grammar, sentence structure or word choice to help them process the correct form or word to use. For example: “Is it a giraffe or an elephant?”, “If it’s a boy, is it he or she?”
  • Be patient when the student is speaking; not rushing a student who has expressive language difficulties will reduce frustration levels.
  • Use visuals to support expressive language skills. Pictures or written cues can be used to prompt the student to use a longer utterance or initiate a phrase within a specific situation or activity.
  • Help build the student’s vocabulary by creating opportunities for focusing on language processing skills, such as sorting and grouping, similarities and differences.
  • Help students connect new words and information to pre-existing knowledge.
  • Use visuals, symbols or photos to help students organize and communicate their thoughts.
  • To facilitate students’ speech intelligibility and expressive language skills, encourage them to slow down while speaking and face their communication partner.
  • Provide descriptive feedback for students when the message is not understood. For example: “You were talking too fast, I didn’t understand where you said you were going after school.” This will also improve the students self-monitoring skills.
Implications for Planning and Awareness
  • Meet with the student and parents early in the school year to discuss how the school can support the student’s needs. This could include finding out about: the student’s strengths, interests and areas of need successful communication strategies used at home or in the community that could also be used at school.
  • Learn as much as you can about how expressive language affects learning and social and emotional well-being. Reading, asking questions and talking to a qualified speech-language pathologist will build your understanding and help you make decisions on how to support the student’s success in the classroom.
  • Review any specialized assessments available, including the most recent speech-language report and the recommendations listed.
  • Collaborate with the school and/or jurisdictional team to identify and coordinate any needed consultation, supports such as speech therapy, or augmentative communication and assessments.

Unfortunately students with expressive language disorder may only experience social problems because of they cannot effectively communicate their ideas and feelings. Here are some strategies you can use as a to help students with expressive language disorder.

1. Conversations
Students with expressive language disorder may need to be reminded to participate appropriately in conversations. Things like greeting people, answering and asking questions, starting or maintaining a conversation are all things that you may work on with your student.

2. Skills
There are certain communication skills that we may take for granted that a student with expressive language disorder may struggle with. Teaching these students to do things like read body language is important. Role playing can be used, or story telling.

Implications for Social and Emotional Well-being
  • Engage the student and parents in planning for transitions between grade levels, different schools and out of school.
  • The student may have difficulty with social and conversational skills. Teach the language to use in specific social communication situations, such as:
    • greeting people and starting a conversation
    • asking and answering questions
    • asking for help or clarification.
  • Explicitly teach social communication skills, such as how to read body language and expressions. Use direct instruction along with modelling, storytelling and role-play.
  • Provide support in transitioning from one activity or place to another. Cues, routines and purposeful activity during transitions may be helpful so that the student clearly understands what to do.
As a teacher who has had student graduate from Lakewood High School, I have to share their wonderful Lip Dub they created this year. Way to go Tigers!! There Roar will put a smile on your face. Have a great week

Lakewood High School Lip Dub 2013 - Roar from Lakewood High School on Vimeo.


Vocabulary is tough to teach; let alone to student with exceptional needs. It doesn't seem to matter how many times I go over the term or have them tell it to me. They never seem to get to a place of mastery with it. Using Thinking Maps has been a tremendous help to them this year--they are USING them. OMG!!! This has never happened before. As I'm reviewing at the beginning of a lesson and ask "What's the formula for perimeter?" and someone might start guessing, while someone will get up and walk over to where the map is and come back with a  hand up. For my guessing students, I tell them to go check the resource as I wait for the student. They come back and tell me the answer. But these can't stay up for state testing. I've been racking my brain to find ways to get students to remember terms. I've been using iPads for retelling and storytelling--what about to reinforce vocabulary. I began to think of ways to bring in technology to work on vocab but not take more than one 30 minute lesson period to do it. I think I've figured it out but I'm still playing.

So began this idea of finding ways to bring in apps and websites, so students can create definitions for  vocabulary. My goal is to have students work weekly on expanding their vocabulary with various tools. (And not taking forever.) My hope is that they will begin to rely less on the Thinking Maps and begin to demonstrate mastery for the term they need to know. As they create examples I will share them. I have a one to get to the ideas flowing. You'll find a for some apps and websites, to support our vocabulary work. Have a great week!!

Animation Software - Powered by GoAnimate.

iVocabulary Apps
View more lists from Ms.Whiteley

Bloomin' Creating Apps

Bloomin' Apps has made it's way to creating. All with free apps. The fun my students had creating this examples was unbelievable. They can't wait to do it again. Students had to read and reflect before they could come anywhere near an iPad. The video was done using Gina the Giraffe, Talking Tom, and Roby the Robot. I've talked before about how the students created their scripts and then went to town. Word Mover is like magnetic poetry but free. The students used this app for their response. After reading about Extreme Weather, they have to create a poem using word association. Have a great weekend!

Award Time and Something Fun

Fun in First
I was awarded the Versatile Blogger Award while on vacation at Monterey Bay, California. (One of my favorite places in the world.) Award first, then something fun.

I am totally flattered by Dana who awarded me this award!  It made my day! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my little blog. I was awarded Versatile Blogger Award from Dana at Fun in 1st grade. 

Here are the seven rules to follow when receiving this award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.  
2. Include a link to their blog.   check!

3. Include the award image in your post.  check!
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.   

5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.  check!
6. When nominating, include a link to their blog.   
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.  

Seven random facts about me-
-I grew up in California (love Monterey Bay).
-While in high school, I was an exchange student to Australia.
-While in college, I taught preschool.
-My younger sister is an Aerospace Engineer.
-I have complete 3 half marathons.
 -I’m the only red head in my family.
-I just finished my endorsement in early childhood special education.

And the Award goes too:

Last weekend I was playing at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I love this place for all the things they let you touch. They are such a family, learner friendly place, so worth the drive. Two of my favorite exhibits were the jellyfish and sea horses. Below is a video that I made to share. You will also find a freebie, inspired by jellyfish. Have a wonderful weekend.

Oh, by the way there's a sale on at my store. Stop by and check it out this weekend.

Guided Math Chapter 5

Welcome to Guided Math Chapter 5: Using Guided Math with Small Groups

My take away from this chapter was that small group math instruction is the perfect place to provide all students with access to core instruction. This means you have to differentiate the what (curriculum) not change it. Small group math gives you the time to do that--just like you would in Guided Reading.  

This got me thinking about how flexible, needs based grouping affect student learning. I know with guided reading, students move all the time. Why could the same not happen with math. My building has been playing with adding small math groups to the math block. You'll see the schedule below. But I do know that when you group students by math need and provide them time/practice to access core they do get it. They get it and it shows everywhere when they do. 

Why Small Group Math?
The Kids 
 Learn at their ability level
Experience Success
Grow in Self esteem 
Enjoy math 
Gain new understandings
Are allowed frequent movement 
Participate in activities of appropriate length
The Teacher
Knows exactly where each kid stands
Has time to work with individuals in small groups
Has less frustration
Uses time more efficiently

Small Group Math Instruction allows you to address the needs of your class, in a way that targets students’ strength and needs, tailor instruction to provide the specific instruction that best challenges all learners. Students receive the support they need to expand their understanding and improve their math understanding.  Fountas and Pinnell say this about small group instruction, "in the comfort and safety of a small group, students learn how to work with others, how to attend to shared information, and how to ask questions or ask for help." For students who struggle with math learning these things is key for their success. Small group math allows teachers to challenge all learners by providing instruction at varied levels of difficulty and with scaffolding based on needs.  Small group math instruction lends itself to differentiation. It fits perfectly into the Gradual Release Strategy that is used in Guided Reading.

One example of how students could be grouped is from low to high. 
The low group starts with the teacher at the Work With Teacher Station. This group is met with first, so that they are taught the lesson before being asked to work independently or play a game related to the concept I am teaching.  I use a small dry erase board or the interactive whiteboard for my instruction, and the students sit in front of me on the carpet.  They bring their math journal with them because I often have them work on the math journal pages with me during the lesson. This would be the time to provide remedial instruction for students as well. 

The medium group starts at the Math Games Station.  They are often playing the game that is part of that day's Math lesson, but they may also be playing a game that they have played in the past that corresponds to the concepts in the unit.  Sometimes students are also doing projects at this center, especially during the fraction and geometry units. 

The high group starts at the Independent Practice Station.  I have them start at this station because they are often able to do the math journal pages without much instruction.  Each day, they are asked to complete the journal pages that correspond to the lesson I will be teaching.  The high group is also given a math packet created by our "Gifted and Talented" teacher because they often finish the math journal pages before it is time to rotate to the next station.

Depending on the need of the students, like in guided reading, you may not meet with all three groups every day. But you need to meet with every group at least once a week. You may meet with your lowest group four of five days, the next lowest group three of five days, the middle group two of five days and your high group only once. 
Daily Schedule for Math Block
I have one hour and 30 minutes scheduled for math each day (90 minutes).  Below is how my building uses that time.

Number Talks: (8–10 minutes) As a building we use Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies, Grades K–5 By: Sherry Parrish 

Lesson Introduction & Directions: 15 minutes) During this time, I briefly introduce the concept I will be teaching for the day, announce any materials they will need to do their daily work (rulers, protractors, etc.), and explain the game that students will be playing at the Games Station (if necessary).

Rotation #1: (20 minutes)
Rotation #2: (20 minutes)
Rotation #3: (20 minutes)
Closing: (5 minutes) At the end of math, I call the class back together quickly to reinforce the day's concept.  If there is time, we will correct the daily math journal page as a class.

I have included two videos examples of what guided math can look like in classrooms.

I have created a Small Group Lesson Plan Template to help in your planning for Small Group Math.

A couple of questions to get the juices flowing:
1) Do you use Guided Reading, how can you use that idea to work in small group math to accommodate all learners? What would be easy? More difficult to adapt?
2) What data do you already have that would help you create those groups?

About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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