Yesterday I was very lucky to present three papers around the topic of literacy instruction for students with complex communication needs (CCN) at the 2013 AGOSCI Conference.
The first presentation was with the awesome Dr Sally Clendon. Sally and I both do similar consulting roles – although Sally is based in Auckland, New Zealand. We try to collaborate with each other as much as we can. Our presentation was entitled “Balanced Word Instruction – Supporting Students with CCN to Crack the Alphabetic Code” and allowed us both to share some of the fabulous things happening in the different schools we work with. Thanks to staff and students from Kilparrin Teaching and Assessment School in Adelaide, Malkara Specialist School in Canberra, Acacia Hill School in Alice Springs and Wairau Valley School in Auckland for allowing us to share their photos and videos. You can view the slideshow for this presentation below:
The second presentation was with the very knowledgeable Helen Tainsh. Helen and I both have a passion for literacy and for AAC and we also love collaborating! Our presentation was entitled “Connect2Literacy: Communication Supports for Guided Reading” and the slideshow is below.
And my third presentation was with an excellent and keen young teacher that I have been working with for the last 18 months. Beccy Hayes works at Kilparrin Teaching and Assessment School, and our presentation was entitled “Connect 2 Literacy: Literacy Instruction for Complex Students”. Unfortunately I am unable to share this presentation as there are too many student details and photos for it to make sense if I removed them (as I would have to if sharing on the web).
For those of you who came to these sessions, we hope you enjoyed them. These are the last resources I’ll be sharing from the AGOSCI Conference as I didn’t have any presentations on the final day – and hopefully I’ll see lots of you at the next AGOSCI in Brisbane from May 13 to 16 in 2015!
Today I presented with Fiona Barron from Malkara Specialist School at the AGOSCI 2013 Biennial Conference. Last year Fiona had a whole class of students who used iPads with Proloquo2Go as their high technology communication device – and the presentation today was shared the journey in her classroom with the delegates at the conference.
The presentation is below (minus videos) and I’ve also put the links from the presentation underneath the slides for easier access.
This is my third blog post about the new look Tar Heel Reader. I am finding these new features so useful – and I hope you are too. In this post I’m going to focus on Favourites and Collections – both of which are great ways to store and share groups of books in Tar Heel Reader.
Favourites isn’t a new feature of Tar Heel Reader – in fact I blogged about it last year. But it works differently now – so I wanted to walk you through the new steps. Favourites is a really easy way to pull together a collection of books. I use favourites in different ways – with different aims and users in mind. For example, if I know that a student is very interested in country music, I might put together a selection of books about country music singers and country music to “tempt” them in the self-selected reading block. I also create favourites bookshelves as extension reading suggestions – for example here is a favourites bookshelf I made up to extend the themes in “Blue Hat, Green Hat”.
To make a favourites page is now easier than ever – and you don’t have to be logged into Tar Heel Reader any longer. Just follow the steps below.
Step 1: Search for books to add to your favourites page. In this example I’ve searched for books that include the phrase “country music”.
The Zybox for iOS is a new switch interface from Zygo that uses VoiceOver to control the iOS and VoiceOver compatible apps on your iPad or iPhone. The most significant advantage of this adapter is that it is the first one I have tried that plugs directly into the port on the iPad. This will help in some situations where Bluetooth adapters have proved impractical (e.g. some hearing aid loops seem to interfere with the Bluetooth switch adapters).Continue reading →
This is my second post in a short while about Tar Heel Reader – but I just wanted to take a look at some of the great new (and old) features while Tar Heel Reader’s new look is still fresh! The second of these features is full screen or app mode – which is a perfect option for some students and for any of us who just want easier access to the site.
I’ve written recently about a way to select Tar Heel Reader books and import them into iBooks with speech support. But there are also times that we want a student to have access to the whole Tar Heel Reader website – to search for their own books and find the ones that will inspire them to do repeated self-selected reading or to do research. To help with this, the Tar Heel Reader site has been designed to take advantage of the full screen mode in your iPad’s Safari web browser – which is often referred to as app mode. I’ve also found it really helpful for myself to have this setup as it makes it faster for me to go to the site and start browsing for books straight away.
To get Tar Heel Reader running in full screen mode on your iPad, the first thing you need to do is to add a shortcut to Tar Heel Reader on your home screen. To do this, you need to open Safari on your iPad and navigate to www.tarheelreader.org. Once the site is displayed, then press the arrow that is up on the top menu bar of Safari. You should see several options appear as in the picture below. Select the option “Add to Home Screen”.
Today’s post is brought to you by the two guiding rules of self-selected reading.
It isn’t self-selected if you don’t choose it yourself.
You can’t get better at it if it’s too hard.
One of the literacy activities that we want students to engage in is self-selected reading. Self-selected reading has many purposes: it gives students an opportunity to apply the skills they have learned in their other literacy sessions; it exposes students to a broad range of books; and, it helps them to see why they might choose to read once they can.
Many times, self-selected reading is an easy block to set up in classrooms. However, some teachers, particularly teachers who have older students who are emergent readers and writers, find they need to do a more structured setup so that they can follow the two guiding rules of self-selected reading (see the beginning of the post). One concern that is often mentioned is that many older students prefer to read chapter books, even though they may be too difficult for them. Another issue is finding enough material at an easy-to-read level that interests them.Continue reading →
I am a HUGE fan of Tar Heel Reader – and have blogged about it before. However, Tar Heel Reader has had a big upgrade and has some great changes that I am going to write about over a few blog posts. Today, I’m going to focus specifically on the ability to put your Tar Heel Reader books into iBooks with speech support as I think this is the most useful new feature!
A user can go into Tar Heel Reader and search for a book on a wide range of topics. I was working in a classroom today that is doing a theme on “People Who Help Us”. The teacher, Christina, was actually using a Tar Heel Reader book to introduce the topic so I am going to use this as my example and take you through the steps to get this book into iBooks.
This morning I have been making up a couple of communication books that I want to trial with students in the coming term. The following photo of my dining table is submitted as evidence! (And I’m hoping the Christmas decoration still on the table is extra proof that I actually took this photo today!)Continue reading →
When I first started teaching literacy I focused on teaching reading. At the time, I was working with adults with physical disabilities and writing seemed so hard. None of my class would be able to use a pen or even a keyboard and mouse, which was all I had access to (or so I thought). So I focused all my literacy instruction on reading – and after three terms was making very slow progress.
Then in 2000 I did my first literacy course with David Koppenhaver and Karen Erickson – and learned how important writing was for reading development. I still have my notes with a quote from Dave “Without writing, reading development will be limited” – and I’ve highlighted it, drawn arrows and put a big circle around it so I couldn’t forget! I came back to Australia, put writing into place – and very quickly saw improvements in my student’s reading. One of many very valuable lessons I have learned over the years from my literacy gurus. Continue reading →