Feature Article: 2012 Summer Olympics Symbols Available

by lisakehoe 26. March 2012 06:01

Only 123 days until the Summer Olympics! Are you planning on teaching your students about the Olympics this spring? If you are, we are offering a collection of 28 symbols to provide vocabulary about the 2012 Olympics in London including symbols for yachting, gymnastics, canoeing, diving, swimming, gold, silver, and bronze medals and more. These symbols can be used in Boardmaker Software products including v.6 and Boardmaker Studio! Stay tuned for activities to be posted on BoardmakerShare around the Summer Olympics as well!

- BoardmakerShare Editor

Feature Article: New Update Now Available for Boardmaker Studio

by lisakehoe 1. February 2012 08:46

There is a new update now available for Boardmaker Studio!
When you open Boardmaker Studio you may see a message like this:

This message lets you know that a new, free update is now available for you to download.
Here’s the most exciting part of the update…OVER 50 new Studio Starter templates for you to enjoy! Below is a summary of these new templates:

Classroom Routines:
10 new templates for taking attendance and signing in at the beginning of the day.  
• Attendance Bins
• Attendance Checklists
• Student Sign In (Registration)

Graphic Organizers:
33 new graphic organizer templates for creating cycles, list maps, storyboards, trees, and webs.  Create visual maps that talk for the ideas and concepts you are teaching.   
• Cycle
• List
• StoryBoard
• Tree Map
• Web

New Word Study Templates:
8 new word study templates and samples, including CVC activities that will sound each words phoneme-by-phoneme.
• CVC Word Builder
• CVC Word Flashcards
• CVC Word Scramble
• Onset Letters - Recorded Sounds
• Word Making - Onset-Rime

New Sorting Templates:
Two, one-group sorting templates have been added, where the student selects only the items that belong to the specified group and places them in the bin.
• Sorting - 1 Group 10 Items
• Sorting - 1 Group 18 Items

Feature Article: What's New in Boardmaker Studio 1.2

by lisakehoe 2. September 2011 08:01

A New Update for a New School Year!: What’s New in Boardmaker Studio 1.2 

The latest update for Boardmaker Studio v1.2 is now available!

This week the latest version of Boardmaker Studio was released.  This free update offers exciting new features that will have a huge impact on how you are creating materials for your students. Studio Starter Templates continue to be the easiest way to get started using Boardmaker Studio and in 1.2 there are 12 new templates that focus on language instruction strategies!
The New Template Include:

  • 4 Recordable Books

The Recordable  Books allow students to record their own voice as the book narration or to hear from a separate button. This is a great opportunity for any student practicing articulation and pronunciation.
  • Visual Scene

Simply drag and drop any picture, or symbol(s), as the scene and drag hotspots onto the scene! When a hotspot is selected the label is shown and the word is read aloud.
  • Recordable Visual Scene

This is just like the Visual Scene template only the student can practice recording his or her voice onto each hotspot on the scene.
  • Say the Word Recordable Flashcards

These simple flashcards allow a student to record his or her voice saying each word. Use the teacher report to go back and listen to how the student spoke each word.
  • Record a Response

A question is presented and read to the student and he or she can record their verbal response. The teacher report includes the student’s verbal response to each question!
  • Sentence Builder 

This activity allows the students to build sentences to work on grammar and syntax. Settings allow you to change the number of words in the sentence and select if the sentence order is fixed.

Many of these new templates utilize the new ability for students to record and playback their own audio recordings from within an activity.  This feature is great for students studying articulation, pronunciation and fluency! In addition to using these with the templates, the new ‘Recording Gadget’ lets you enhance any onscreen activity with this new play mode  recording feature!
Enjoy using Boardmaker Studio 1.2 as you begin this new school year!

Feature Article: Boardmaker Studio Transition Guide

by lisakehoe 23. February 2011 06:29

Are you a Boardmaker, Boardmaker Plus or Boardmaker with Speaking Dynamically Pro v.6 user trying to transition to Boardmaker Studio? Check out the new Boardmaker Studio Transition Guide!

This guide will help you leverage the skills you already have with v.6 to make using Boardmaker Studio even easier! Click here to access the Boardmaker Studio Transition Guide. The Transition Guide can also be found on the Mayer-Johnson website under Trials, Support > Product Documentation and Support > Tutorials.

- BoardmakerShare Editor

Feature Article: Alternative Professional Development Initiatives

by lisakehoe 8. March 2010 05:05

By Christopher R. Bugaj, MA CCC-SLP

There are very few who would say that learning new things is a burden. Everyone wants to
learn something new. Everyone covets new strategies, new skills, new research or new
techniques that will enhance abilities and ultimately make life easier. However, finding the
time to learn something new is a constant challenge. Everyday responsibilities gobble up free
time faster than Uncle Henry eating the last piece of pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving dinner.
Soccer practice, gymnastics, dance, wrestling, Tae Kwan Do, homework, preparing meals,
listening to Sis on the phone complain about Mom, and more steal the precious time one has to
learn something new. When those responsibilities aren’t soaking up the time and a few free
minutes do roll around we’re all confronted with a difficult choice. Do we spend those
moments doing what we should do or do we spend those moments doing what we want to do?
Jack Bauer, Ryan Seacrest, and Tom Bergeron might be calling. Edward Cullen’s glittering
seductions might be too strong to resist. Which of the old high school gang might have a new
post on Facebook? Better check. Everyday responsibilities meshed with the desire to do
something fun leave little time for professional development.
Traditional forms of professional development conjure visions of rows of people packed into a
stuffy room listening to some so‐called “expert” ramble on about this or that. Unless that
speaker is a hilarious stand‐up comedian or giving out rare diamonds, the thought of sitting
through an after‐work workshop isn’t all that enticing. More recently, technology is being used
to alter the traditional model with ways to make professional development accessible
anywhere, including at home via the Internet. Multimedia slideshows, videos, webinars, and
virtual worlds (such as Second Life) are being used to house content that can be accessed from
locations that have a high‐speed Internet connection. However, the producers of this form of
professional development make three general, and often incorrect, assumptions about the
person who is to receive the content at home. The first assumption is that the potential
participants have high‐speed Internet access at home. Second, the assumption exists that
participants know how to use these tools with minimal support. Third, there is the belief that
people have the time to experience the content at home. In order to provide effective
professional development outside of the traditional “sit‐in‐chair” model, without making these
assumptions, alternative professional development methodologies could be employed.
Consider the following three methods to disseminate content aimed at professional
development outside of work hours that slide into a busy, hectic, even chaotic schedule with
relative ease:
Short Videos Burned To DVDThe
popularity of resources like YouTube and TeacherTube have reinforced the idea that not
only do people enjoy watching videos but that they prefer to watch short videos. No matter
how entertaining the content of a professional development video the longer a video is, the
greater the chance segments of the audience will lose interest and tune out. A good rule of
thumb is the 7‐Up rule. Once a production hits seven minutes in length then time is up. If a
video goes over seven minutes, well then absolutely don’t go over eight. Eight Is Enough. Once
a number of videos have been created consider burning that compilation to a DVD that can be
accessed by staff via a check out system, similar to the service Netflix provides. A set of
questions contained in a booklet could be developed to accompany the DVD. As a participant
watches the videos the questions in the booklet can be answered proving that the videos were
understood. Once the entire DVD has been experienced the DVD and booklet can be returned
to receive credit. Due to the brevity of each video a person could watch one segment of the
DVD during each commercial of their favorite television show, experience the entire contents
encapsulated on the DVD, and still not miss a quip of the brilliant but callous doctor with a bad
leg from New Jersey. Although this strategy still assumes some technology knowledge on the
part of the participant, the technology being employed (the DVD player) is much more widely
used and accessible than that of most web‐based tools.
Side Bar‐ A.T. Tonight DVD Volumes 1 and 2
The Assistive Technology Team for Loudoun County Public Schools implemented a DVD
workshop titled “A.T. Tonight” in the Fall of 2004. The DVD featured five videos, each
approximately 5 minutes in length, on a variety of topics related to utilizing technologies
already present in schools to assist students. Any educator in the county was given the
opportunity to check‐out the DVD using the county’s on‐line staff development website. Once
a participant signed up they were sent a copy of the DVD along with a question booklet. The
booklet contained five questions per video serving to reinforce the main points made in each
video. The final page of the booklet asked for participant feedback about the videos and the
style of professional development. Participants were not given a timeframe in which to return
the DVD and were encouraged to keep the DVD for as long as necessary. Upon return of the
DVD and completed booklet participants were given a certificate containing information about
how they scored. Participants received one hour worth of staff development credit for
completion of the workshop. Within the first year, the DVD workshop greatly surpassed the
number of participants when compared to other forms of staff development workshops.
Furthermore, the DVD was checked out by educators with varying responsibilities, including
general educators, special educators, and administrative personnel. Feedback gathered about
this form of professional development was overwhelmingly positive. During the 04‐05 school
year an additional five videos were produced and A.T. Tonight, Volume 2 was created. Volume
2 maintained the same methodology as the first volume but contained additional special
features including subtitles, storyboards, DVD‐ROM content, and bloopers. Volume 2 proved to
be even more successful than Volume 1. Both volumes continue to be available for school
personnel and the videos are available to the public by selecting the “Video Library” link from
www.loudoun.k12.va.us/at. Based on the popularity of the format A.T. Tonight, Volume 3 is
currently in production.

Nearly everyone commutes. Some have short commutes, some have long commutes, some
have lonely commutes, and others wish they had lonely commutes. Although there are
different methods of transport depending on where you live, many people drive to and from
their place of employment. For that time spent driving people are trapped with nowhere to
run. That time could be spent fiddling with the AM/FM dial to find the latest morning zoo radio
show, tapping away on the satellite radio to choose from the myriad of choices, or jamming to
some of the same old classic 80’s tunes over and over again (you loved them back then and you
still love now) or that time could be spent learning new strategies to enhance everyday
professional practices. There are an incredible number of podcasts available for free on an
array of topics that could be downloaded, burned to CD and distributed via a checkout basis to
anyone who wants to listen. Examples related specifically to speech‐language pathology and
assistive technology include ASHA’s aptly named podcast “ASHA Podcast”
(www.asha.org/podcast/), StutterTalk (http://stuttertalk.com/), Speech Language Pathology
Praxis Exam (http://slppodcasting.com/), MSHA Radio‐ Mississippi Speech‐Language‐Hearing
Association (www.blogtalkradio.com/msharadio) and (a personal favorite) the award‐winning
A.T.TIPSCAST‐ Assistive Technology: Tools In Public Schools (www.attipscast.wordpress.com). A
booklet containing questions about each episode of the podcast could be developed to prove
that the participant listened and understood the content of each episode. People don’t need
an .mp3 player or even need to understand how podcasting works in order to participate if the
shows are burned to an audio CD. The only technology people need to use is the CD player in
the car.

Using a multimedia tool, such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Docs, a “Strategy‐A‐Day”
presentation could be created. One solitary technique, tip, best practice, or any particle of
knowledge that needs dissemination could be embedded per slide of a presentation and then
shared daily with staff. This presentation could be distributed by changing the image that
displays on the background of each computer within a network, shared via a daily e‐mail
update, or produced as an old‐fashioned, paper‐based daily tear‐off calendar.

Although these methods could serve as standalone “workshops” any professional development
is enhanced with a meaningful follow‐up activity. Whether face‐to‐face or over a shared virtual
environment (like a forum on a website) individuals who have participated in one of these
workshops could discuss what they’ve learned and, more importantly, share how they’ve used
what they’ve learned. Integration activities where participants share or show how they’ve used
the content in a workshop serve to enrich the entire experience, spark additional ideas among
participants, and further embed the newly acquired knowledge.
Acquisition of new knowledge is usually highly coveted but finding the time to learn something
new isn’t always easy. Implementing alternative professional development workshops
demonstrates to the participants that the producers of the content recognize time as a valuable
commodity. Respecting the time of a staff member can lead to positive attitudes about all
forms of professional development rather than gripes and groans. Utilizing tools that everyone
has access to and that are common place eliminates any inequities in what is available in the
home environment or potential resistance due to fear of unknown technology. Once
participants get a taste of the success offered by these new methods of professional
development they’ll begin to crave additional workshops that implement the same
methodologies resulting in an overall increase in job performance and satisfaction… in no time
at all.

Haiti Symbols

by lisakehoe 3. February 2010 10:21

This collection of symbols will help you provide instruction and discussion around the recent crisis in Haiti.

1. Become a member of AdaptedLearning.com and login.

2. Enter the search term “Haiti”.

3. Select the file titled “Haiti Symbols.”

4. Download the file. It is a .zip file. Save it to your computer and then unzip it.

5. The file that contains the symbols to be added to your library is called “Haiti.” You are going to paste (drag) this file along with "Haiti.idx" into your MJ Symbols – Additional Folder which can be found by following this path:
Win – C:\Program Files\Boardmaker with SD Pro\Symbol Folder\MJ – Additional
Mac – Applications\Boardmaker(v5)v6\Symbol Folder\MJ Symbols-Additional

6. To test to make sure this worked. Close and restart Boardmaker, if you have it open. Open your Symbol Finder and search for the following terms: Haiti (country), Haiti (flag), Red Cross, Need clean water, Need food, Need shelter, Call for medical care (male & female versions), Port-au-Prince, Hospital ship, Rescue team, Rescue from rubble, Call for help (male & female versions) .If they don’t come up as the first match, use your thumbnail view.

What's New on AdaptedLearning - Receive and Share Activity Updates

by lisakehoe 10. December 2009 07:48

New options are available in "My Settings" to allow you to receive and share new information about activity on AdaptedLearning.

Site Activity Email Frequency and Content
The Site Activity Email is a great resource to keep you updated on activity on AdaptedLearning.com.

In “My Settings”, there is now an option to get Site Activity Emails Throughout the Day, Daily, or Weekly. The Site Activity Email covers four different aspects of the site: Public File Posts, Forum Messages, Group Activity, and News & Views.

To change this setting go to My Settings > How often would you like to receive email updates from AdaptedLearning?>  Pull down menu to change frequency. In addition you can select which of the four site aspects you’d like to be updated on.

Publish My Activity
Do you have a Twitter account and want your followers to receive an automated Tweet announcing the posting of boards you have uploaded to AdaptedLearning? You can set this up through “My Settings” on AdaptedLearning.

Go to My Settings > Publish My Activity

- AdaptedLearning Editor

Feature Article: Read, Write, Practice, Quiz

by lisakehoe 10. December 2009 06:38

Read, Write, Practice, Quiz: Adapting Curriculum Materials

-AdaptedLearning Editor

Tackling the creation or adaptation of curriculum support materials can be challenging. Where do you begin? How do you introduce and practice curriculum vocabulary and concepts? How can materials be differentiated for varied learning levels?

Curriculum Companions provide a structured instructional framework within which each comprehensive curriculum support unit is presented. You can use this framework as a guide for your own creation of adapted curriculum materials for any unit or topic you are teaching. Let’s take a look:


Activities presented in Read tap into prior knowledge, teach unit vocabulary concepts.
Suggested on-screen activities include:
Idea Map
Flash Cards

Tips for modification for specific learner needs include:
    • Varied degrees of symbol support
    • Book navigation options
    • Picture and/or Definition flashcards


The student has the opportunity to work on written expression, through drawing, sentence building and spelling skills using various levels of support. Supplemental writing activities allow for expression of ideas, pre-planning, and visualizing written ideas.
Suggested on-screen activities include:
Errorless Writing
Sentence Building
Structured Writing
Free Writing
Draw a Picture

Tips for modification for specific learner needs include:
    • Varied number of sentence elements presented
    • Text-only or picture writing mode
    • Words-only or words with pictures word bank type
    • Amount of punctuation presented


Through a collection of activities, the student gets to practice knowledge and concepts taught. Support and feedback are provided to the student.
The student demonstrates their understanding through a variety of activities. Many of the Quiz activities overlap with the Practice activities, but no feedback is provided on correct/incorrect responses.

Suggested on-screen activities for Practice & Quiz include:
Multiple Choice
Word Search

Tips for modification for specific learner needs include:
    • Altering number of answer options for varied difficulty
    • Providing auditory and/or visual prompting and feedback
    • Maximum number of incorrect answers allowed before moving on to next question

Interested learning more about Curriculum Companions or seeing the activities mentioned above in action? Click Here      

Feature Article: Happy Birthday AdaptedLearning

by lisakehoe 23. November 2009 04:18
This week marks the first birthday of AdaptedLearning.com, and what a year it has been. With over 25,000 members and over 22,000 public boards posted, AdaptedLearning has grown to be the largest sharing site for adapted curriculum in its first year.

It is the AdaptedLearning members that have contributed to the success of the site. Members have recognized the value of sharing what they’ve created using Boardmaker Software Family to help other professionals and parents support the individual(s) they work with.

The AdaptedLearning.com editors would like to recognize the following members for their contribution!

Most downloaded print board – Wh Questions by SPEECHASSIST
Most downloaded interactive board – The Sounds of Halloween by Linda Butler Dunn
Most active school district – Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) groups, administered by Lesley McGilligan with the highest combination of members and boards in their group.
Most active group – Yahoo Boardmaker Group, administered by Jeanette Van Houten

Thanks to all AdaptedLearning members for making this site a success!

Feature Article: Mobile Activity Player in My Classroom

by lisakehoe 16. November 2009 04:42

by Sharon Maack-Connolly, M.A., ATP

Our students who used the Mobile Activity Player demonstrated a significant increase in attention to the tasks they were involved in. We saw cooperative learning when students were paired in groups of two.
Students who had limited mouse skills surprised us with their ability to use the track pad built into the computer. For students who needed a touch screen for access, the MAP allowed easy access to educational and recreational activities. Behavior problems decreased while students were working individually. Those students who used their AAC devices in conjunction with MAPs showed increased communication skills. Using the Curriculum Companions on the MAP offered a variety of meaningful and interesting content for all students. Our school is excited about purchasing this innovative product to integrate technology into our classrooms.

Sharon participated in beta testing of the Mobile Activity Player and used the MAP at Elim Christian School in Palos Heights, IL  

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