Monday, April 18, 2016

Design that Supports Modeling the Past Tense

The text of the Animated Step-by-Steps™ recipes are obviously written in the present tense to provide students with step by step instructions for preparing a specific food item. When items are added sequentially to a bowl in an Animated Step-by-Steps™ Recipe there are always visual representations of all the items previously added to the bowl, e.g., the mound of cake mix, the cut strawberries, the pool of cooking oil.

Why is this important?

This strategy allows you to model the use of the past tense while simultaneously supporting memory recall. “ First we added the  (expectant pause pointing to the item) … strawberries. Then we poured the (expectant pause pointing to the milk) … milk into our bowl. Mmmm what did we add after the milk ?…… Let’s look in our bowl.  I see something that is yellow (pointing to the oil in the bowl) …. I think that might be the (expectant pause) … oil  We added some oil to our bowl.”  This might also be a great time to use the pen tools on the interactive whiteboard to spell out the past tense verbs, underlining their regular past tense endings or further emphasizing the fact that they are representative of an irregular verb.

In similar fashion the measured ingredient often moves on to the page accompanied by the source ingredient, e.g. the container of milk, the container of oil, the bag of brown sugar. This ‘source item’ remains visible on the page after the empty measuring cup exits the page. Again there is a concrete visual reminder of which item was last added. These visual reminders (either inside or outside the bowl) can at least help students jump the hurdle of what to say when asked to formulate a message using the past tense.

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

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©2016 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator