Go on a Scavenger Hunt...
A good teacher is not a sage on the stage,
Using the child's Speech Generating Device (SGD), select the icons for common objects that can be found in the classroom or home. Then, have the child hunt for the objects. The child will be surprisingly excited to find pencils, teddy bears, spoons and more. Modeling how to navigate through the pages of the device has never been so fun!
Surf The Web...
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
Give the child the SGD and sit down with a computer and internet connection. Have the child direct you to images, songs or videos that they are interested in with their SGD. They will be thrilled to have access to the computer and be controlling the search at the same time!
Be the student...
Whatever you tell a child, you won't allow her to discover herself -Piaget
Give your child the control! Open to a page of verbs/actions on the SGD and act our whatever the child tells you too. They will have you jumping, running in place, pretending to climb the walls and rolling on the ground. A great way to work on some fitness in the process. Laughing required!
Watch A Movie...
I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.
This one is just too easy! Sit with a child and watch a movie. Use their SGD to make appropriate comments, ask questions and make predictions about upcoming events in the movie. The child gets to enjoy a movie while benefiting from the use of the SGD being modeled to her. She will associate the SGD with watching a movie and having a way to talk about something she enjoys.
Children grow into the intellectual life of those around them
Provide each player with a stack of Picture Communication Symbols or pictures of objects. Have each player then take turns "matching" the cards by locating the same PCS in the SGD. If they find it, they get to keep the card or get a sticker. Games make learning fun!
I recently downloaded this App: iTraceur - Parkor for the student's whom I serve with complex communication needs in both Middle and High School. I created a quick and easy video (below) in iPhoto with Picture Communication Symbols (PCS). My students watched the video, were given accompanying Activity Specific Boards about Parkor! in addition to their CORE boards, and were then each given an opportunity to play the App (while projected on the screen). Lots of Oooohhs! Aaahhs! Uh-Ohs! and Verbs!
My goals for each lesson are consistent:
1) Provide the lesson in a relevant context (well, as relevant as you can make the k-12 classroom!),
2) Provide opportunities for the students to learn from and with each other in a social context (yes, even in a functional life skills class this can be done),
3) Embed Core and Fringe Vocabulary into each activity,
4) Model the use of AAC and various strategies to promote language acquisition and communication skills to the classroom teacher and teaching assistants so that it can be replicated when I am not there (move away from the "expert" model),
5) Have the students create or interact with some type of artifact,
6) While imbedding it in a familiar routine.
I take data on each student during the lesson. My goals for them are as follows:
1) Student demonstrates attention to the lesson: come to their seat/remaining in their seat/visually attend/auditorily attend/demonstrate a "listening body": turning toward the speaker/a peer/ the video, etc.
2) Participating in the activity: requesting a turn/taking a turn upon request/gesturing and communication: pointing, smiling, laughing, clapping, or commenting on the participation of other.
3) Demonstration of understanding and use of functional concepts or words - multi-modal communication systems are always integrated into the lesson.
This Valentine activity began with peer video modeling. I video taped my own son creating the project. He modeled the use of a low-tech Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) Activity Specific Board. I then quickly created a slideshow in iPhoto consisting of video clips and PCS and set it to music. I used my iPad, an external speaker, a dongle and a projector to display the video to the students before giving each a turn with the activity. Students watched the video and then were each given an opportunity to create their own "marble art" painted heart.
In this particular activity a video encore was requested by the students.
Communication is FUN! Communication ROCKS!
Robin Shobe has been serving individuals with complex communication needs for many years and thinks that making communication and language learning fun, meaningful and super social is the key to the successful use of technology to achieve this goal.