Thursday, November 23, 2017

Differentiated Instruction ... Made Easy!


My Little Wagon is a resource that addresses color and size concepts. Students are invited to ‘Put a (big/little)(color) _______ in your (color) wagon'. It is essentially a color matching task for young
children.



The first click brings in a colored wagon followed by a field of 5 choices, e.g., little yellow truck (target), little red truck (foil), big yellow truck (foil), little green bear (foil), big green bear (foil)

When the child selects the incorrect item they hear a ‘gentler equivalent of no’ (i.e., huhugh)

When the child selects the correct item, the item is magically clunked into the wagon.




And off we go!  The second click pulls the rattling wagon + its new contents off the page.

What if a field of 5 choices is too much for your student(s)?
Maybe you want to concentrate more specifically on color or size, but not both.

You can narrow the field of choice by deleting the non-target foils. After deleting the foils you can re-position the remaining foils to balance the items on the grey disk. DO NOT delete or move the target item on that page. It has a specific relationship to the matching wagon that should NOT be altered.  Be sure to make a copy of the resource when you make a different version (gives you greater flexibility for additional modifications)

Here are some examples of differentiated instruction … the result of ‘pruning’ the field of choice. Note the field has changed but the location of the correct target item, i.e., little yellow truck (circled) has remained unaltered on the gray disk.

Working on Size & Color Concepts        Working on Size Concepts                            Working on Color Concepts


What if you want it to be a color identification task ... not a matching task?

The presence of the colored wagon obviously makes the original resource a color matching task.  If you wish to make this a color identification task, place a white rectangular shape over the color text for the wagon; then make the wagon and its foreground a neutral color such as gray. This will need to be repeated on each page.

Here’s the sequence for accomplishing this task within PowerPoint …. Select the two wagon shapes holding down the shift key (base with rope + foreground)  …. Picture Format …. Color …. Select the more neutral grey choice.










You might also want to create an 'errorless' version designed to teach the response of selecting.












So one resource can be modified to address a variety of differentiated needs. The hard work has been done for you with the original Animated Step-by-Steps®! With a little bit of effort you can create several additional differentiated files that may better address the needs of specific students!

This resource is available in three formats (Regular, PCS, SymbolStix) on Teachers Pay Teachers.
http://bit.ly/MyLittleWagon . 

Hope you have fun using it with your students on the computer, interactive whiteboard or iPad.  : ) 

…’til the next post … 

Visit my website   http://animatedstep-by-steps.com
Follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/@AnimStepbySteps
Follow me on facebook www.facebook.com/AnimatedStepBySteps
Email me canadiangoosse@gmail.com

©2017 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

To Symbolate … or Not? That is the Question!


Should you add symbols to printed text?

Dinosaurs 

There appear to be many opposing views on this issue. There is now considerable evidence to suggest that adding symbols to text doesn’t necessarily promote the acquisition of literacy skills.  Information derived from the Center for Literacy & Disability Studies suggest that pairing words with pictures actually slowed down word reading (Pufpaff, Blischak, & Lloyd, 2000; Willows, 1978; Rose & Furr, 1984, Samuels, 1967). When comparing two conditions (learning to read with and without symbol support), students learned to read more effectively without pictures (Samuels et al., 1974; Singer et al., 1973; Singh & Soloman, 1990). In addition there is evidence to suggest that students with significant disabilities can learn to read and write using print, without pictures (Blischak, 1995; Erickson et. Al., 1997; Gipe, 1993; Hanser, 2007; Hedrick, Katims & Carr, 1999).

“To symbolate or not?”       My response to this question, … is another question ... 

“What is your goal?”

If you are using an Animated Step-by-Step resource (ASbyS) primarily to address a literacy agenda, then the symbols are superfluous and sometimes distracting.

If you are wanting to infuse more symbol use into your classroom curriculum, by all means symbolate. Symbolated text provides an easy forum for teachers to become comfortable with performing Aided Language Stimulation.

I primarily work in ‘mixed ability’ classrooms.  As differentiated instruction is paramount in 'mixed ability' classrooms, Animated Step-by-Steps® were designed to address both agendas. ASbySs attempt to address the ‘symbolating dilemma’ by adding symbol support only AFTER all the page animations are completed. This allows the teacher and students to concentrate on the text aspects of the resource without having to ‘work around’ symbols that may be ‘stealing’ attention from a ‘literacy first’ agenda. Once the text has been read, symbols are added as a group and are readily available to conduct Aided Language Stimulation thereby addressing an AAC agenda.

If AAC is your sole or primary agenda when using an ASbyS, you may wish to move the grouped symbols to the beginning of the animation sequence allowing them to appear as soon as the page opens. See http://bit.ly/2fZYwVs  for further information on how to accomplish this goal. Please note this strategy would be implemented primarily when you are promoting an AAC agenda with children who are cognitively young.

If you do decide to symbolate, the next logical issue should be what words should be symbolated? Options range from symbolating only the key content words (omitting the small words like ‘to’, ‘the’, ‘and’ and 'a' … to symbolating all words in the text. Although I have ‘flipflopped’ on this issue for years, I have finally decided to symbolate ALL the words in my ASbyS resources and have decided to depict the common small words as print,  rather than the abstract symbols offered by the symbol set companies.

This Old Man Animated Step-by-Step Song





I’ve arrived at this decision for two reasons. 
  1. When ‘re-reading’ the page for song resources it is easier to sing along using the symbols when they are all in one continuous line rather than having to zig zag back and forth between the symbol line and the text line.
  2. It is also easier for colleagues to  ‘prune’ the symbol offerings to their liking, as opposed to trying to add symbols to accommodate their symbolating preferences.

To symbolize or not? ... It's not a black and white issue ... it really depends on your intended goals for your students!

…’til the next post …  

Visit my website   http://animatedstep-by-steps.com
Follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/@AnimStepbySteps
Follow me on facebook www.facebook.com/AnimatedStepBySteps
Email me canadiangoosse@gmail.com

©2017 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator