Monday, August 17, 2015

Using Dual=Representation Name Cards When Randomizing Turns

Mary Wore Her Red Dress is an Animated Step-by-Step™ that is great for the beginning of the school year, especially during Circle Time. Mary, as the original song suggests wears articles of clothing reflecting a rainbow of colors allowing the class to work on both clothing names and color concepts. Of course there are three versions offered ( regular, SymbolStix-supported, Picture Communication Symbol-supported) so pick the version that works best for your classroom needs.

The file also includes an alternate version that allows you to personalize the song for the students in your class.  On this page you would use the Interactive pen tools to write in the child’s name, circle whether we should use the his or her pronoun, circle and/or write in the desired clothing item and finally circle its color. 

If class size is small (5-6 children) it is easy to let each child take a turn singing about something they are wearing that day.  Joseph wants to sing about his green shirt; Kati wants to sing about her new pink dress.

If class size is considerably larger (e.g., in a blended or regular classroom) you may wish to randomize the process to ensure that each child receives a turn across the school week.  Obviously, you can print each child’s name or photo on a card and simply pull it out of a bag or box. 

The option I prefer, however, is using a learning fun cube  from Mayer-Johnson/Dynavox ( A learning fun cube has a velcro® receptive surface that allows you to velcro® photos or cards to one of the six sides of the cube.

When school begins in the Fall, I’ve always encouraged classroom staff to create 3 inch Dual=Representation Name cards for every student in their class. Dual=Representation name cards have a labeled photo face on one side and an enlarged printed name on the flip side.  

Glue the two sides (photo, printed name) back-to-back, then laminate and trim the unit leaving a 1/8” border. Attach a small patch of male (hook/rough) velcro® to the top and bottom edge of both sides.

When its time for another classmate to take a turn, toss the dice … whomever lands ‘topside’ is the lucky winner of the toss.  Bethany! (showing Bethany’s photo face)  Bethany what do you want to sing about?  You can sing about your beautiful blouse … your snazzy socks … your spiffy pants … you pick.”  (using the opportunity to explore the use of adjectives)

If Bethany is cognitively young, she can indicate her choice by looking at the preferred clothing item on her body.  If a child is unable to indicate their choice with natural speech, Dual=Representation clothing symbol choices or a clothing communication display (with or without voice-output) can be introduced to allow the child to make a choice.

After the class has sung about Bethany’s green socks, her Dual=Representation name card is flipped to indicate that Bethany has had her turn.  If Bethany’s name ‘surfaces’ in a future toss, a teachable moment exists, e.g., “Okay looks like this friend has already had a turn (showing the printed name). Her name is _________.  Let’s toss again.”

Many teachers like to start using the photo face side; then flipping to the printed name side to infuse an extra literacy component. Other classrooms might prefer to start with the printed name side (challenging students to decipher the text); then flipping to the photo face side to merely confirm the correct answer. “ So you think its Shakira’s turn? (showing the printed name side). Let’s see if you’re right. (flip) Ta da! You’re right! That did say Shakira (showing the photo face side).

Here are some other variations that might work well in your classroom:

Variation l: use two cubes: one with the Dual=Representation names; the other with Dual=Representation Clothing Items. “ Haley …. Shoes …. Haley’s shoes are  _______. Let’s sing about Haley’s pink shoes.   Haley wore her pink shoes, pink shoes, pink shoes. Haley wore her pink shoes to school today.

Variation2: toss a cube with Dual=Representation color items.  “ Red! (can be using either the color side or the printed word side)  Is anyone wearing something red?  Look around.  Okay … Joey wore something red. Let’s sing about Joey’s red  __________.
Joey wore his …

In the hands of a creative teacher, this Mary Wore Her Red Dress Animated Step-by-Step™ can be varied slightly every other day to create renewed interest.

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© 2015 Carol Goossens', Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Specialist
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator