April 2010 Activities and Symbols of the Month

by lisakehoe 31. March 2010 09:17
Six activities are included in April 2010 Activities of the Month. A description of each activity is listed below. Boardmaker Plus is needed for the interactive lessons. New April Symbols are available for: ecology, litter bug, recycle, reduce, reuse, wildlife.

Earth Day Vocabulary
   12 picture/vocabulary words are introduced on this talking board. Students can explore the vocabulary related to the Earth Day Book prior to beginning the activity. This talking board can be used to answer questions in off-computer activities related to Earth Day. This page can also be printed for off-computer activities. (Idea to reinforce vocabulary – have the student find the picture on the computer when you point to it on the paper sheet).

Earth Day Book
   This simple electronic was created with the TALKING BOOK TEMPLATE from the Adapted Learning Site. The book consists of 18 page layouts with simple text and graphics. If you would like to narrate the text included in the book, follow the instructions included in the Talking Book Template from the Adapted Learning Site (see link above).

Earth Day Reading Page
    This reading page will summarize the theme of the lessons. The reading page can read the text on the computer or can be printed for an off-computer activity. This is an excellent way for students to share conversation about their computer activities at home.

True/False Questions
   This interactive activity allows the student to answer ten questions related to Earth Day. Students will hear the question and then select the true or false buttons. This activity was created with the TRUE/FALSE TEMPLATE from the Adapted Learning Site
Sorting Activity
   Students will sort 15 recyclable items into three categories: paper, plastic and glass. This activity was created with the SORTING TEMPLATE from the Adapted Learning site.

Word Scramble
   Students will unscramble a series of 10 words related to Earth Day. This activity was created with the WORD SCRAMBLE TEMPLATE from the Adapted Learning site.

User Tip: Black out - Errorless Teaching with Set Button Properties

by lisakehoe 30. March 2010 04:25

Have you seen Errorless Teaching activities on AdaptedLearning that look similar to the following?



Do you wonder what feature the author used to program the incorrect answers to turn black when selected by the user? Well, wonder no more! The feature is Set Button Properties.

Click here to access the activity above and the Set Button Properties Tutorial and you will be on your way to creating Errorless Learning activities for your students, clients, and children!

Pick from the Web: Educatus

by lisakehoe 26. March 2010 03:47
Educatus consists of over 1,000 educational lessons covering a wide variety of topics. The lessons contain images, illustrations, diagrams, graphs, activity instruction, and short quizzes. Depending on the topic, each lesson consists of a series of "scenes" which can range from: 6, 8, 12, 18 or more scenes. The lessons are very much like a pictorial encyclopedia, however with an emphasis on teaching a particular topic.

Topics range from science, to history, to English architecture, to religion, to geography, to special needs, and to other. Some content contains grammar and spelling from the United Kingdom. Free registration is required to see all content.

-AdaptedLearning Editor

Editor Highlight: Shapes Activities on an Interactive White Board

by lisakehoe 26. March 2010 03:33
Highlighting  outstanding contributions from the AdaptedLearning community
Shapes Activities posted by AdaptedLearning member Ktieds, is a great collection of interactive boards! Ktieds offers a wonderful recommendation in her activity description to try these activities work well on Interactive White Boards. What a great suggestion!
-AdaptedLearning Editor

User Tip: Paste Look

by lisakehoe 19. March 2010 03:14
Have you ever decided after the fact that you wish all of the buttons on your page were a certain color? Had thicker borders? Had rounded corners? Did you know you can copy and paste the look of any button?

To copy and paste the look of a button (color, border, etc.):
1. Select the button you want to copy the look of.

2. Right-Click (Ctrl-Click on Mac) and select “Copy Button.”

3. Select the button or buttons that you want to have that look.

4. Right-Click and select “Paste Look.”

Pick from the Web: Use Visual Strategies

by lisakehoe 19. March 2010 02:50

Linda Hodgdon’s website, Use Visual Strategies Meet the Communication Challenges in Autism, provides an excellent resource for those who are being introduced to the world of visual supports by highlighting the importance these supports play in meeting the learning needs of students with Autism in the domains of communication, behavior, and academics.

- AdaptedLearning Editor

Editor Highlight: Picnic Counting 1-6

by lisakehoe 18. March 2010 03:53
Highlighting  outstanding contributions from the AdaptedLearning community
Are you ready for spring? It's nice to see a collection of spring activities popping up on AdaptedLearning! Picnic Counting 1-6 by Amy Wood, is a great example of using Boardmaker Plus to target math skills! 
-AdaptedLearning Editor

User Tip: Cut Time Cutting Symbols

by lisakehoe 11. March 2010 08:49

Ever been in a hurry cutting out a grid of symbols with a paper cutter and accidentally chop off a part of one (or more) of the symbols? Or have you ever used scissors to cut out a grid of symbols (so you don’t cut in to one of symbols with the paper cutter) and found yourself thinking, “I wish the borders of the symbol boxes were not close to one another.” Well, lament no more! The following instructions will direct you how to change the Width and Height of the gaps between the buttons so that when you print out your grid of symbols, you can use the paper cutter to easily cut them out!
Instructions on how to change the Width and Height of the Gaps on a grid of buttons:

1. Go to File > Print Setup

2. The Print Set Up screen will appear on your screen.

3. In the middle of screen you will find a section called Grid Size.

The default measurements of the button gaps are both set at .125.
If you want to keep the borders of the symbols intact when cutting them out, then enter a larger number. The example below was set to .4:

If you want to use the borders as the cutting line, then set both the width and height to 0.

Tip: After you make the Gap Width and Gap Height 0 – you may want to thicken the border of the buttons using the Line Thickness tool. This helps leave a border intact after cutting.


As you can see, cutting out the symbols you need for your students can be quick and easy!

Editor Highlight: March 2010 Interactive Calendar

by lisakehoe 8. March 2010 08:23
Highlighting  outstanding contributions from the AdaptedLearning community

Bailey Broderick’s activity, March 2010 Interactive Calendar, is a superb activity using movable buttons, writing display window, and music  files  to use on a whiteboard during morning circle time.

-AdaptedLearning 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.

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