Today I want to share with you an activity that I do in my classroom during centers. It has to be done in a 1:1 or small group setting, so it’s not something that’s fully independent, but you could certainly adapt to make it fit the needs of your classroom.
This is a GoTalk32. This past school year I got to learn how to program one and use one for one of my students who is nonverbal.
The first time I made a board for this device and tried to program my voice into the device… was an adventure. I kind of have to laugh at myself because I sat there for about 20 minutes trying to get it to work.
But sometimes you just need to walk away and come back to it later, and that’s exactly what I did.
After I recorded my voice on one of the levels and had the new core board all ready for my student, I created some pages to practice working on colors.
This is what one of the pages looks like:
Here’s how we use these pages and the GoTalk32 in my classroom.
Before using the AT device, I let my student pick the page s/he wants to work on. Then we talk about what animals are on the page. We name each animal and point to it on the page (mixing in a little science).
We might do this 1-3x depending on the student’s background knowledge and success at the task.
Then I get the crayons ready. We use Crayola Twistables in my classroom because they are very hard to break. Plus it’s a great fine motor skill for the students to twist the crayon out and back in.
For example, if the student presses the yellow circle, the child will hear my voice say “yellow” through the device.
After going over the animals on the page (or letters or numbers), I choose 3-4 crayons and tell the student, “Color the raccoon orange.”
From the crayons in my hand, the student needs to choose the correct color crayon.
The student then places the orange crayon on the table. Next, the student needs to select the correct color on the AT device.
I use positive reinforcement with my students, so when a student does not select the correct color on the GoTalk, I say “that’s ____, we need to find _____. Try again!”
Once we’ve successfully selected the correct color from my hand and on the GoTalk, it’s time to color! I’ll remind the student to “color the raccoon orange” if needed. We continue these steps until the student has colored all of the animals on the sheet.
As we work through the page, I keep track on a progress sheet of how well the student did. I’ll keep track of which sheet we worked on, which color crayons the student correctly identified, and which colors the student was able to identify on the AT device.
This is actually one of my favorite classroom activities because it’s simple and effective, and my students really enjoy it.
I’ve had 2 students go from not wanting to color at all, to enjoying coloring since using this activity. It’s successes like this that make me absolutely love my job!
How do you practice Core Vocabulary and/or using Assistive Technology in your classroom?