Saturday, June 6, 2020

Library of Animated Step-by-Steps®?

 We are all coming up the learning curve on remote teaching/therapy.  Animated Step-by-Steps® (poems, songs, crafts, games, recipes, stories, science projects) can help to address that need allowing you to worry less about content while you concentrate  on issues of technology delivery. 

The current library of Animated Step-by-Steps® includes 233 titles

Recipe Resources                 60

Poem/Song Resources          91

Science Resources               25

Story Resources                     6

Craft Resources                   22

Games/Literacy Resources29

The Bloom Where You're Planted Store(TpT) has been witnessing a considerable 'uptick' in purchases … This is especially notable for Bundled Resources that offer a 20% savings. 

If you are a school/agency serving students with special needs, consider purchasing the complete library of 233 titles for even greater savings (approx. 30%).

Library Options include:

 1. Regular Library
(No picture symbols) 
$700 for 233 titles (normally retails for $1,165)  $3.00  per title

2. Symbol-Supported Library – PCS
(Tobii Dynavox)
$900 for 232 titles (normally retails for $1,392) $3.88 per title

3. Symbol-Supported Library – SymbolStix
$900 for 232 titles (normally retails for $1,392) $3.88 per title

4. VI Library
 (suitable for students with visual impairments)
$150 for 49 titles (normally retails for $294) $3.00 per title

For  illustrated listings of available Animated Step-by-Steps®, please click on the following links:


…’til the next post … 

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©2020 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Special Educator

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Mary/Joey Wore ... A Flexible Song Resource

I recently posted a revamped version of a 2015 resource, Mary Wore Her Red Dress
Being 'on a roll' I decided to also add a 'boy version', Joey Wore His Red Pants. Both versions can be personalized with photo faces of your student/class members using the instructions provided in the resource.

In many ways these resources are reflective of what I've learned in 5 years of developing educational resources using PowerPoint! Each resource offers two distinct interactive activities …. identifying colors and identifying articles of clothing. It also provides a forum for pronouns and name/ letter identification. 

General Instructions:

When using this resource I usually read the page first, simultaneously adding one new clothing item to the page/slide using the starred animations. In the process students are invited to find a particular clothing item in a three-choice array, e.g. "green socks"  "yellow mitts"

If correct, the requested clothing item will disappear from the choice array and reappear on either Mary/Joey. The item's name is announced. 

If incorrect, a mildly negative comment ('huhugh') is heard, and the student is encouraged to "try again".

Personalizing Your Resource to Heighten Student Interest

Instructions are provided to personalize this resource. If you are providing Tele-practice, personalization is  a great way to heighten interest and keep your student(s) engaged. 

Implementing Differentiated Instruction

The downloaded version offers a colored text cue, 'setting the stage' for an color matching task. If you wish to conduct a more difficult activity, i.e., identifying the item without the benefit of a color cue, simply drag the colored text 'off slide'. 
DO NOT eliminate the text … just move it to a location where it will not be seen when triggered in the animation sequence. 

The song can be sung during morning meeting. Children take turns choosing  an article of their clothing to sing about. " Jenny … what would you like to sing about today?  Your pants? Or your top?   Your pants? Okay what color is Jenny's pants? That's right! Let's sing about Jenny's red pants. Is Jenny a boy or a girl? A girl … that means we say her (not his).  A slide is included to visually support this extension activity.  Use thePowerPoint Pen tool to write in the child's name and circle the color, pronoun and clothing item. 


The revised format is more amenable to interactive tele-practice. The three choice array includes numbers to facilitate choice-making (when able to recognize numbers and unable to directly access the buttons due to distance learning). "choice 1 … or 2 ..,. or 3. You pick; I'll press"

Adding a Literacy Component

Personalize your resource with photo faces your class.  The educator can use the PowerPoint pen tool (comman p or Right click p while in presentation mode) to provide the class with a hint to guess the identity of the mystery student (that has not yet been animated to appear on the slide/page). 

The type of clues provided can be tailored according to student needs.
e.g. Our mystery student's name starts with the letter 'R'  (Randy)
e.g. Our mystery girl's name starts with the 'mmmmm' sound  (Maggie)
e.g.  Here's a hint …. B __  __ t (Bret)
e.g.  Our mystery person's name rhymes with 'fan'  (Sam)

I then invite students to sing the verse using the song button to set the pace. As we sing the page/slide, the facilitator follows along, pointing to either the text or the symbols (depending upon the version purchased). 

As always there are three versions of these resources: Regular, PCS and SymbolStix. Resources can be displayed on the 'big screen' (interactive whiteboard, large screen TV using Apple TV) or the 'small screen'  (computer monitor, iPad/Android tablet or iPhone using the free Microsoft PowerPoint app specific to each). 

…’til the next post …  

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©2020 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Special Educator

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Games, Games, Games! Tele-Practice Anyone?

During these difficult times, families are grappling with how to use their time together productively … and enjoyably. Some of my fondest childhood memories were playing board games in the evening with my siblings and Dad. In addition to being fun, games like Connect 4, Dominoes, Checkers, Rock Paper Scissors, Go Fish, Beat the Clock, WarI Spy With My Little Eye, Tic Tac Toe and even Pig Latin, provide a wonderful forum for teaching a variety of skills (numbers, colors, matching, foresight, letters, memory and spelling to list a few).

Animated Step-by-Steps® are animated PowerPoints designed to address literacy, language, AAC and a host of academic goals. Each page includes a series of animations. Read the text up to the star … click … and see an animation of what you just read. If you purchase a symbol-supported version, the symbols will appear AFTER all the slide animations have been triggered. This strategy is designed to promote a 'literacy first' agenda. Once the symbols appear they can be used to conduct Aided Language Stimulation. 

Over the past few years, I have gradually added How to Play Animated Step-by-Steps® to the vast library of animated resources. This 'How To Play' Series is designed to teach the rules of various 'family-orientated games'. In addition to outlining the rules, they also provide practice trials to ensure that children understand the rules. 

In the home, these resources can be displayed on the 'big screen'(large screen TV using Apple TV) or the 'small screen'(computer monitor, iPad/Android tablet or iPhone using the free Microsoft PowerPoint app specific to each). 

Please visit the Animated Step-by-Steps blog for further information on the creative use of these educational resources.

In the hands of a creative parent, specific adaptations can be implemented to allow children to participate more fully in these games using an eye-gaze frame, a communication device or even a switch to trigger the sequential animations that make up each resource. 

They can even be shared via Tele-practice! The rules of the game are systematically shared using the share screen feature of a program such as Zoom, Skype or Google Team.  Communication training can set the stage for an interactive game. The child's communication device can be programmed with messages to mediate the game. 

These teaching resources are available through TpT. They can be purchased individually or bundled.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Animated Step-by-Steps® and Tele Practice!

Currently Speech Language Pathologists are grappling with how to conduct tele practice with their students with special needs. Many are exploring the use of apps like Zoom, Skype, Facetime or Team Google to mediate their therapeutic practice. 

Animated Step-by-Steps® are animated PowerPoints that can serve a role in tele practice. Imagine … sharing your computer screen to read an animated book that paces the child through a shared story, making pudding, constructing a Baggie Butterfly  or Making Play Dough, conducting the Bean Experiment or learning how to play Go Fish (assisted by a parent or older sibling). 

Some ASbySs are guessing games with a literacy component. With these resources, you would use the pen tool of PowerPoint (command p when in slide show mode) to provide the letter hints necessary for guessing the mystery object's name. The child at home might be using their electronic communication device to offer their guesses (i.e., animal page, fruit page, vegetable page).  

My Backpack (song button)
Mystery Animals
Mystery CVC Balls
Mystery Fruits & Vegetables

Some ASbySs provide a structured way to introduce the child to various 'family-oriented games' … 
a great past time when 'sheltering in'. Resources highlight the rules and provide the child with some practice to ensure they know the rules.
Connect Four
Poles & Ladders
War (card game)
Rock Paper Scissors
Go Fish
Beat the Clock
I Spy
The child's communication device can be programmed with scripted messages to mediate communication during future games. 

Some ASbySs are designed with choices that must be made as the resource is read and animated. The therapist could then use partner-assisted scanning ("This one? … This one? …). For some students the choices can  be supplemented  with numbers/letters that that can be used as an alternative to partner-assisted scanning. 
Mr. Potato Head (choosing body parts in keeping with the 5 senses)
My Little Wagon
I Spy (clothing)
I Spy (backpack contents)
Weather Bear (clothing)
Cars in a Row (patterning)

Several ASbySs reflect variations of the interactive B-I-N-G-O Song which has a fun singing and literacy agenda. 
B-I-N-G-O & Friends
B-I-N-G-O Weather
B-I-N-G-O Zoo
B-I-N-G-O Planets (See Caroline Musselwhite's TpT)

There are many ASbySs that are counting songs working on number concepts. Again, the pen tool can be used  to highlight subtraction as an academic focus.

And last, but not least ... there are many ASbySs that lend themselves to being personalized with photo faces of your students and their classmates/family members thereby heightening the child's interest in watching the screen. Similarly, Mystery Puzzles – Letters and Mystery Puzzles – Numbers that can be personalized with photo faces of the child and their classmates/family.

To view the entire Library of Animated Step-by-Steps® download the Illustrated Listing of Animated step-by-Steps® a free resource available from the Bloom Where You're Planted Store on TpT.

Happy Tele Practice!

…’til the next post …  

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©2020 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Special Educator

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Mystery Puzzles - Tele-practice anyone?

Mystery Puzzles are Animated Step-by-Steps® designed to provide students with practice recognizing letters/numbers in sequential order.  

If the child is using direct selection they can directly access the puzzle pieces when instructed to find a letter/number. 

If the child is using a switch, alphabet/number knowledge is not required; across slides, a switch click removes one puzzle piece while simultaneously providing stimulation by announcing the number/letter of the puzzle piece being removed.  Please note this resource does not target scanning per se,  but rather targets motor practice in accessing a switch. 

Each puzzle size (e.g. 4-piece puzzle, 9-piece puzzle, 16-piece puzzle)
has a series of slides, each targeting the 'next' letter/number in the sequence.

For example:
Slide 1 -  "Find a"in the lettered puzzle array
Slide 2 -  "Find b"in the lettered puzzle array
Slide 3 -  "Find c"in the lettered puzzle array . . . etc.

Whenever the child (using direct selection) selects the requested correct letter/number, that puzzle piece is removed revealing a portion of the underlying picture; the letter/number name is heard. If the child is using a switch for access the process is errorless. They hear the command 'Find a' and a click of their switch removes the puzzle labeled "a". 

Whenever a child (using direct selection), touches the wrong requested number /letter, a mildly negative  "huhugh" is heard; the underlying portion of the image is NOT revealed. 
This is not an issue with children using a switch, as the process is errorless. 

When the picture is fully revealed … the child is rewarded with a cheering sound effect. 

Instructions are provided for using photos from a picture library that is included with the resource. Instructions are also provided for using pictures of your choosing, e.g., 'mystery' photo faces of classmates, therapists or family members. 

How fun is that?

This resource is great for tele-practice using Zoom. When the slide (viewed via shared screen) announces "Find d", the child must indicate the correct letter on their alphabet display (non-electronic/electronic) possibly assisted by a parent or older sibling. If the child is correct  the therapist/teacher proceeds to click on the correct letter/number triggering the animation to remove the target puzzle piece. If the child selects the incorrect letter on their alphabet board ... the therapist selects the suggested incorrect letter which results in the 'huhugh' sound (a slightly negative sound effect assigned to all non-target puzzle pieces).  " Nope that's not it ... let's try again, "Find d".

In fact most Animated Step-by-Steps® lend themselves beautifully to tele-practice. Each page often includes a series of animations. Read the text up to the star … click … and see an animation of what you just read. If you have purchased a symbol-supported version, the symbols will appear AFTER all the slide animations have been triggered. The symbols are now available to conduct some Aided Language Stimulation. 

The bottom line: Animated Step-by-Steps® are perfect for tele-practice

…’til the next post …  (new posts every Monday)

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©2020 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Special Educator

Monday, March 16, 2020

High Contrast Animated Step-by-Steps® - A Starting Point

There are currently 46 high contrast Animated Step-by-Steps®  available through TpT.  Compared to the Regular, PCS and SymbolStix versions, the VI version is designed to better address the high contrast needs of students with visual impairments. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that these resources might not be a perfect fit for your particular student's visual strengths but it's important to   think of the VI resource offered, as a possible 'jumping off point'. Depending upon the complexity of the animations, you may be able to substitute preferred visuals for existing visuals, while keeping the animation sequence intact. Illustrated below is a slide from the  original version, contrasted with a slide that has been modified to reflect simplified visuals.

To substitute visuals, simply control click (mac) or right click (windows) on the visual that you wish to replace ... navigate to where you are storing your 'substitute' image (perhaps one that is simpler or reflects your student's preferred colors) ... select the substitute image (it must have a transparent background; png format) and presto it is replaced in the resource without disrupting the animation sequence! In the accompanying image, the traffic light base has been substituted ... a red circle was substituted ... a yellow circle was substituted and the original green light is in the process of being substituted.  A Control click on the current green light  brings up a dropdown menu allowing you to select the Change Picture command. You must then navigate to select the substitute image stored on your computer.

For further detailed information on replacing images within the animation sequence, please visit these previous blog posts:

…’til the next post … 

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©2020 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Special Educator