Monday, February 18, 2019

In the Hands of a Skilled Teacher ...

Chaya Sara is a wonderful intuitive teacher. She has a great understanding of her students developmental level and does a great job of presenting engaging content in a variety of ways


She is currently using the 6 Little Monkeys Vest Display as part of her Circle Time Routine.












She then added the 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the bed Book by Eileen Christelow during her Story Time.














Chaya Sara also has access to two iPad versions of 6 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed  that can be used for one-on-one intervention. The high contrast version is designed to address the needs of two students in her class with visual challenges. 



When I last visited her class. she had added a lovely extension activity for 6 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. The six children in her class were seated legs tucked under the edge of a duvet filled with large pieces of foam (upholstery left overs). Chaya Sara had cleverly scanned and enlarged  individual pictures of each monkey from the book (now 9" tall) and had attached them to a board covered with velcro-receptive, indoor-outdoor carpet  ... allowing the monkeys to jump on the 'bed' as a unit. They can also be easily removed from the board when they 'fall and bump their heads'. Chaya Sara's students have emerging joint attention skills so the symbols are presented ON the props, rather than on an additional communication board, e.g., each monkey has a number on its front and on its back are the symbols, (bumped) HEAD and OW!


As the chant progresses, the monkeys are removed one-by-one from the carpet board, leaving additional space to add 3"symbols to further support the chant, Mama CALLED DOCTOR and the DOCTOR SAID …  




A simple voice output communication device with the message "No more monkeys jumping on the bed' can be velcroed to the flip side of the carpet board allowing the teacher to seamlessly offer the time-dependent repetitive line to be be activated by her students.

This strategy of incorporating the symbols on the props helps to consolidate the visual focus ... especially important when children's joint attention skills are evolving. This activity also lends itself to replacing existing monkey faces with student photo faces.  The chant now becomes 'Five little kiddies jumping on the bed' and engagement is further enhanced!

This activity is repeated over several days/weeks.  Using this activity as a template,  similar activities can be introduced over the course of the school year. For example:

 5 Little Snowmen
The duvet now becomes the snow covered hills
A large sun graphic is attached to the front of a flashlight to support the lyrics 'out comes the sun'. 
There are three vest display versions availabl (PCS, SymbolStix, VI) to support this curricular unit.
There are four Animated Step-by-Steps® versions available (Regular, PCS, SymbolStix, VI)

The white duvet is now covered by a green sheet or blanket to simulate the green hills.

5 Green & Speckled Frogs
The white duvet is now covered by a blue sheet or blanket to simulate the blue water. A gym bolster is added as 'the log'.  A mister with warm water can be used to simulate the splash as each frog jumps into the water. 

5 Fat Turkeys  ...  6 Little Gingerbreads ...  5 Little Pumpkins    You get the idea. 

In the hands of a skilled teacher .... content is repeated in a variety of interactive formats ... creating a rich learning environment that is both therapeutic and fun. 

…’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

©2019 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator 





Monday, February 11, 2019

Limiting the Core

iPad compatible, Core + Fringe Voice-Output PowerPoint Displays are a great vehicle for giving  preschool classroom staff practice in conducting Aided Language Stimulation.  There are currently several Voice-Output PowerPoint displays designed to support language training (available through Teachers Pay Teachers TpT). Both SymbolStix and PCS versions are available. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Bloom/Search:core+%2B+fringe+PowerPoint+Displays 

Initially, you may wish to make training easier for staff by offering fewer core symbols.
You will NOT be eliminating these cells; instead, you will be altering the transparency of these cells causing them to appear as blank, black cells. 



Here are the steps for altering cell transparency:

  • Select the cell/picture that you wish to 'make disappear'. 
  • Under Format on the menu bar … select Format Object  select the Picture tab… select Picture Transparency  …. move the transparency marker to 100% and presto the symbol magically disappears … the cell turns black. Repeat this procedure for all cells you wish to 'make disappear' temporarily.









  • The audio is still attached to the cell. To 'silence' the cell  … right click on the blackened cell … select Action Settings… Uncheck the Play Sound box. Now if you or the student accidentally activates a 'black cell', no sound will be produced.  


Eventually you will need to gradually re-introduce the full array of core symbols. This can be accomplished by adjusting the transparency slider back to 0% and re-checking the play sound box. The cell is still linked to the correct audio!

Note: You can also easily achieve differentiated instruction by making hard copies of either full and reduced core displays.  Print them out. Laminate them. Assign displays to the group members according to need.

Aside: A more generic version of  a digital Core-48 display (PCS, SymbolStix) is also available through TpT. This more basic version lends itself to quickly adding symbols harvested from Animated Step-by-Steps allowing you to provide symbol support for lessons involving Animated Step-by-Steps. A previous blog post (Using Core-48 Displays with ASbyS) provides detailed information for 'harvesting' symbols. 

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

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

©2019 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Adding Student Faces to Voice-Output Core-48 PowerPoint Displays

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), as the name implies, reflects a continuum of intervention options for a broad spectrum of students.

Alternative: At one end of the continuum are students for whom the symbols (with or without voice-output) serve as their main voice. These are students for whom you MUST develop a robust communication system, one that can provide these children with a comprehensive means of communicating across a variety of contexts. 

Augmentative: At the other end of the continuum are children for whom the symbol support serves to augment their existing communication repertoire. This includes students for whom spoken communication is emerging … the symbols are being used as a strategy for moving language along a developmental continuum. In essence, we are using the symbols to help make language more concrete or visible for the students we serve, with the hope of accelerating acquisition of language.

The Voice-Output Core-48 Displays are PowerPoint-based displays designed for use on an iPad
(although they can be used on an interactive whiteboard). 


             Pizza Party Display                   Best Friends- Doll Dress Up Display              Bake & Decorate Cupcake             


Nine Voice-Output Core-48 PowerPoint displays, appropriate for use with an iPad, android tablet or Interactive Whiteboard, are currently available through Teachers Pay Teachers.
As previously noted, they are intended to serve as a vehicle for training language.

Baby Food & Bottle Play Set
Bake & Decorate Cupcake Play Set
Best Friends Magnetic Dress Up Play Set
Birthday Cake Play Sets
Pizza Part Play Set
Sandwich Making Play Set
Scoop & Stack Ice Cream Cone Play Set
Slice 'n Bake Cookies Play Set
Vet Play Set

There are 4 versions of this resource reflecting 4 different color coding systems:

  • Goossens', Crain & Elder - white figures on a color-coded background (depicted in this post)
  • Goossens', Crain & Elder - colored figures on a color-coded background
  • Mayer Johnson - colored figures on a color-coded background
  • No Color Code - colored figures
Bake & Decorate Cupcakes - Alternate Color Coding Systems


On the iPad, this resource is made possible by the Microsoft PowerPoint app, a free resource that can be downloaded from the apps store. The files are stored on either your Google Drive or DropBox which is then linked to the app. For further information on linking, please review the following blog post. http://bit.ly/2xFEg5l   These Voice-Output Core-48 Displays are intended to augment language training using the Melissa and Doug Play Kits. Please know they are NOT intended as a substitute for developing a more robust communication system using various more appropriate apps (e.g., Proloquo2Go, Word Power, Gateway).

The Core-48 vocabulary remains the same across all nine play sets, while fringe vocabulary reflects the specific vocabulary needed to communicate while engaged in that activity. Each display has three and sometime four linked pages that reflect general categories … Friends/Family/Pronouns … Numbers/Colors/Shapes and Letters/Keyboard (Querty layout) … and sometimes Body Parts. These category pages are applicable to all play set displays. An arrow in the lower left corner of the category display will send the program back to the home page (page 1).


Each cell on a display is a single picture/cell that produces audio when touched.  The Friends/Family/ Pronouns offers blanks where photo faces of your students can be substituted using the Change Picture feature of PowerPoint. The blank cells are currently set up with 'silence'.  You will be using a sound editing program called Audacity to create audio files for these cells using a 'child's voice' , i.e., you record your own voice, then alter the pitch to create a child's voice. 

This 01-21-19 post provides step-by-step information on how to create voice-output 'student cells' to add to your Friends/Family/Pronouns page.
  •       On the Friends/Family/Pronouns page, add the text for the names of your students (and your therapists, space permitting).  Insert your cursor into the xxxxx text and type over the text to insert names. Do not delete the xxxxx text as this technique ensures the font and text size will match that used throughout the resource. 
          


  • Drag and drop photo faces of your students into their labeled cells. To create the photo faces with  a transparent background, please refer to the following blog post http://bit.ly/PhotoFaces


  • Before assigning audio to these cells you must turn the cell+name+photo into a single image to which you will assign audio. Hold down the shift key while selecting these three components … (with all three components highlighted) select copy… then select paste  … then select the  little box in the  lower right corner … choose  paste as picture from the drop down list. A single combined image will appear in the middle of the page. You may need to use the cropping tool  to ensure that the boundaries of the image do not overlap on the adjacent cells. Repeat this process for all the names you wish to add to the Friends/Family/Pronouns Page


  • Open Audacity (free program that can be downloaded from the internet).  Record in a single file all the names you wish to add to the page. Optimize the loudness by selecting Amplify  (under Effects on menu bar; don't forget to check the box allow clipping).Emulate a child's voice by selecting Change pitch  (e.g., type in + 20% or +25% depending upon the age of the students you are serving). One by one, cut each name out of this big file and paste it into its own new individual file … export it as a .wav file and name it to help you find it in the future For more information please refer to the following blog post: http://bit.ly/ASbySs_ChildVoice
  •       Back on the Friends/Family/Pronouns page, right click (control-click on Mac) on the cell. Select Action Settings… Check Play sound box … Go to the bottom of the list to select Other Sound … navigate to where you have saved your name audio files and select the file that you wish to attach to that student face cell. Repeat this process until audio has been assigned to all the photo face cells.

      Hope this information proves helpful.

      Have fun using your iPad or interactive whiteboard to conduct 'language rich' pretend play using the Melissa & Doug Play Sets.


…’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

©2019 Carol Goossens’, Ph. D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator


I






Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Concept of Activity/Play Kits


I've always loved working with preschool students 'in the classroom'. That being said, the task of assembling the props needed for an 'impromptu' pretend play language session consumed more time than the actual interaction with the student(s). In response to this dilemma, I began encouraging classrooms and Speech-Language Pathology Departments to assemble theme based Activity/Play Kits.  Imagine … a labeled bin …with all the necessary props in one place … all the fringe symbols needed to supplement your core display (various sizes and formats) … and Core-48 symbol displays (electronic and non-electronic)!  It is a concept that works great for preschool children, but it can also embrace age-appropriate themes such as nail care and process art for older students.  Over the years I've assembled quite a few of these 'Activity/Play Kits' and have found them to be an excellent vehicle for training support staff to conduct Aided Language Stimulation.

Activity Bins                                               


Core-48 Display + Fringe/Supplemental Symbols











The fringe/supplemental symbols in the Activity/Play Kits are always rendered as Dual=Representation Symbols. One set of Dual=Rep symbols has the picture symbol on one side and the photo of the prop on its flip side (Picture Symbol=Photo). There is also a set with the picture symbol on one side and the enlarged printed word on the opposite side (Picture Symbol=Printed Word). To ensure that every child's needs are met, there is also a set of high contrast Dual=Rep symbols (figure outlined in white on a black background) designed to better address the needs of students with visual challenges (HC Picture Symbol=Photo; HC Picture Symbol=Printed Word).

As I am using photos of the actual props, the process of replicating the kits in future classrooms was often a real challenge. We were often faced with the dilemma of finding toys that were an exact match for the symbols that we created ... or alternately we had to re-create Dual=Rep symbols to support the new props.








Ultimately (better late, than never), I realized that the Melissa & Doug Play Sets were the perfect solution to this dilemma. These durable, reasonably priced kits are omnipresent in toy stores and are sold online through a multitude of companies. They have been in existence since 1988 and seem to have the longevity that is perfect for adding kits to future classrooms.

Contents of an Activity Kit

·     clear plastic bin with a lid (16 quarts; about 17" X 10" in size). 
    Activity/Play Kit bins are placed on a shelf in the classroom or therapy room.


·       color-coded label is attached to one (or both ends if you desire) of the bin using clear contact paper or clear packing tape. 

·       All the toy props for that activity are included in the bin. As some kits have similar props, e.g., the candles in the cupcake decorating set and the birthday cake kit, some teams use permanent colored markers or tiny sticker dots to differentially color code the items belonging to each kit (colored in keeping with the color of the ringed label) For example, the label above is ringed in blue.

·     Dual=Representation fringe symbols that can be added to a display of high frequency Core Symbols. Although all symbols sets are created upfront, you may opt to include only the set appropriate to your current students … storing the 'extra' sets for use in a future classroom of students requiring a different level of representation.

There are four sets of 3" Dual=Representation Symbols.

a.     Picture Symbol=Photo of Prop              b.  Picture Symbol=Printed Word


c.     HC Picture Symbol=Photo of Prop     d. HC Picture Symbol=Printed Word   
The high contrast symbols are designed to address the needs of students with visual challenges. They do seem to be a preferred mode for some students on the autism spectrum. 

There are two sets of approx. 2" Dual=Representation Symbols.

a.     Picture Symbol=Photo of Prop      b.  Picture Symbol=Printed Word







Implementation

·     The 3" Fringe Symbols can be used to supplement a large Core-48 Facilitator/Modeling board. This format is ideal for conducting large group play activities (e.g., involving two to three children) in which you are using Aided Language Stimulation while modeling pretend play skills. After a preliminary upfront introduction to the materials and their use, the children are left to play independently. As the symbols are Dual=Representation Symbols, it is easier for the Facilitator to straddle two levels of representation when conducting a group activity in a 'mixed ability classroom'. 


·     The 2" Fringe Symbols are used to supplement a Core-48 Non-Electronic Display, 18" X 10".  The resource available through Teachers Pay Teachers is 18" X 10", but you can print the files at a smaller % to create a smaller display (e.g. a display more appropriate to the needs of a specific child or one that will  fit inside your bin).  This smaller Core-48 display is ideal for one-on-one or paired intervention. The Core-48 Non-Electronic Display resource file is used to print out the display in quadrants that are then glued to a base of black 'poster' or 'railroad' board. The base can reflect printed words/symbols and can be constructed to support detachable Dual=Rep symbols to allow differentiated instruction. Don't forget to allow space on the far right to add two vertical rows of adhesive black loop velcro to which the  2" detachable 'fringe' symbols can be attached.  This resource contains symbols to support several color coding systems (Goossens', Crain & Elder ...
      a) colored figures or b) white figures; Mayer Johnson; Colored figures with no color coding)


Symbol Storage


The large 3" symbols are stored in labeled clear ziplock bags or string envelopes. If you use the latter, the envelopes can be velcroed to the underside of the bin lid.




The smaller 2" symbols (both sets) are velcroed to a laminated grey scale sheet that is inserted into a clear page protector sheet. These 'loaded' sheets can then be held together with a metal ring  or they can be inserted into a thin, 3-inch ring binder. 











Implementing AAC can be a very labor intensive process. By implementing the Activity/Play Kit concept, educational and therapeutic staff can easily provide quality language and AAC training.
To view the current titles in the TpT store, please  link to http://bit.ly/PlayKits.
A bundled resource is also available that offers fringe symbols for 9 Melissa & Doug Play Sets + the Core-48 Non-Electronic Display resource at a reduced price.

Here's to making life easier in 2019 by implementing the Activity/Play Kit Concept using the Melissa and Doug Play Sets. 

'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

©2019  Carol Goossens', Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator