Seminars
 

Literacy

Storytelling for Non-writers and Non-readers with Digital Cameras

Reading Tracks for the Inclusive Classroom – Special Education, ESL, and Under-Achievers

Music

Musical Intervention - Autism to Auditory Learners

Speech and Language

Building Blocks of Speech - Supporting Speech and Language Development with Technology

ESL – Breaking Down the Language Barrier

Specific Disabilities

The Autism Spectrum Disorder - Issues and Interventions, Hands-on

Software Strategies to Reach the Autistic Learner

Screening for Dyslexia and Dyscalculia - Hands-on

Dyslexia Strategies for Success – Software Intervention and Interactive Activities

Profound and Multiple Difficulties – Assessment and Intervention, Hands-on

Emotional Literacy – Exploring a Student’s Emotional Awareness

IT Skills for Inclusion and Special Education

Mouse Skills to Masterpieces – Confidence Building for Visual Learners

IT Tools That Talk! -  K-8 and ESL

Digital Cameras

Digital Camera Workshop, Building Projects in the Inclusive Classroom – Hands-on

Using Digital Photography in Special Education for Early Skills Building

Hardware and Software Combined

Explore the Universe of Assistive Technology! - Hands-on

Switches and Software Combined for Effective Intervention

Cause-and-Effect Software, Touch Screens, and the Development of Coordination Skills

Inclusion

Inclusion Teaching Across the Core Curriculum - Hands On Experimental Lab

Play on the Assistive Technology Playground

Literacy

Storytelling for Non-writers and Non-readers with Digital Cameras

Students of all ages struggle with the basics of literacy. Strategic use of technology can add to their learning, and support the beginning steps of reading and writing development. The ability to perform sequencing is a basic skill essential to organizing thoughts both in written and spoken language. We’ll look at software programs that support the development of sequencing skills at all levels. Learn practical methods to teach sequencing using digital images. Then together we’ll take an entertaining journey upriver and share the exemplary project called, “Cally goes on a Narrowboat”. It was constructed using a digital camera and recorded voice, and demonstrates how story telling can be a tremendous motivator for struggling learners. Work in teams using a digital camera and a toy to shoot your own sequence of images. Build on these ideas by constructing a personalized talking book and a noisy interactive worksheet. Discuss strategies for autistic intervention using digital images.  Develop graphic organizers using sequences of photos to create a visual step-by-step instruction sheet for daily tasks. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a look at some great online resources.  Come prepared to get some great ideas for story building to enact with your emerging learners in the classroom. Each attendee gets a free copy of Tool Factory Workshop (worth $199), plus a free subscription to Elementary Zone.  

Reading Tracks for the Inclusive Classroom – Special Education, ESL, and Under-Achievers

Chart a course for district-wide improvements in reading. When coming across an unknown word, students must call upon a variety of reading skills in harmony:  phonics (sound), graphic and word recognition (sight), syntax (grammatical knowledge), and semantic (contextual understanding). First we'll explore an English/Spanish screen reader. Scan a book or PDF file, and hear the words immediately spoken back. Read any onscreen text using RealSpeak™ Solo text-to-speech voices, then “hear” the internet come to life. Then experiment with a progressive research-based software series designed to break down the reading process into its essential building blocks. Begin with activities for visual discrimination and pre-letter learning. Explore 45 isolated phonemes and try activities that help students learn to deal with the lack of one-to-one correspondence between sounds and symbols. Place sounds within the meaningful context of a word, and word sets within the context of a sentence. Students will learn to track letters and words by selecting the proper item from the group, in the proper order. Take steps towards fluency with 2 different storybook reading programs. Adapt each program for use with students who have specific learning difficulties, and inclusion issues. Finally, we’ll explore strategies for fluency.  For elementary interest, there’s Sound Stories with a different story for each letter of the alphabet and 4 h-digraphs. Then using Think About we’ll explore activities for reading comprehension, sequencing, visual memory and writing, targeting older learners. Closing discussions will center on implementing a comprehensive research-based reading program with special education students alone or in inclusive settings.  Attendees get one program from the On Track Series (worth $69), plus a subscription to Elementary Zone.

Music

Musical Intervention - Autism to Auditory Learners

You don't have to be Beethoven to compose great music! Prepare for a noisy but exciting workshop! Music is a fantastic motivator for select populations of students. Begin the journey with character-based activities for lower functioning students. Friendly characters respond in tones, and help students to communicate their ideas in imaginative ways. Listen to a mixture of timbre, dynamics, and texture using instruments ranging from a guitar to tubular bells. We’ll even sequence singing characters to compose tunes and choreograph dance routines. The concept of pitch is introduced using visual characters. The taller the character -- the higher the sound he makes!  Experiment with the dynamics of volume using a virtual mixing desk.  Move animals closer or further away to make corresponding sounds get quieter or louder. Formulate songs which are scary, serene, angry, or happy in an exploration of musical mood. Throughout the seminar we’ll work with tools that are configurable for students with progressively higher cognitive levels. Construct stunning musical projects with simple mouse clicks. We’ll explore activities that encourage students to grasp the basics of music such as volume, pitch and tone. Learn when to play, and when to stop! We’ll show you a unique technique of using pictures and names to represent musical phrases. Experiment with 128 different musical instruments and try your hand at composing a full-blown Egyptian dance, Mozart’s waltz, or sequence an old favorite song.  Create music from around the world to support autistic intervention, auditory learners, and all areas of the curriculum. Free subscription to Elementary Zone.  

Speech and Language

Building Blocks of Speech - Supporting Speech and Language Development with Technology

Technology can be very effective in supporting the inclusion of students with speech and language difficulties in the classroom. We’ll take a comprehensive look at a variety of resources, and share new ways to use your existing computer technology.  Explore groundbreaking voice reactive software that encourages development of the building blocks of speech for non-vocal students and emerging talkers. Blow up a balloon by making an extended sound or blowing puffs of air into a microphone. Use increases in volume to win a race. Build a photographic puzzle and paint a picture by making a series of short or specific sounds.  Put your voice to work as we demonstrate and practice various computer-assisted vocalization activities. Then we’ll share a video showing a student with a vocabulary of just 4 words, say her therapists name for the first time while using these intervention methods. Using a follow-the-leader teaching style, we will build confidence as we walk through guided teaching strategies. Record your own voice into the word robot, then drag the words onto a grid to hear them spoken back.  We’ll present new strategies for using a screen reader with scanning to encourage and support students with speech and language difficulties. Turn your voice into a sound-activated switch, and play cause-and-effect activities. Try out Two Wise Owls and draw and speak your on mnemonic memory aid, while also working on difficult spellings.  Each attendee receives a supplemental handout packed with useful resources, plus a subscription to www.elementaryzone.com. 

ESL – Breaking Down the Language Barrier

ESL students face many barriers to learning. Commonly, their spoken language development will far exceed their written literacy skills. In this seminar we’ll look at software intervention strategies that have proven effective in other schools. Begin with an English/Spanish typing tutorial that offers ESL students familiarity with second language spellings, and can also improve reading skills. Discuss the use of simple tools such as a spell checker, then look at a screen reader that speaks any text displayed on a computer screen or on the internet.  Watch as we scan a paper book or PDF file, and then hear the text read back in a clean computer voice with word-by-word hi-lighting in either English or Spanish.  We’ll explore word prediction, talking spell checker, homophone identification, and a reading ruler.  Experiment with various programs from the On Track Reading Series. These titles were designed with a mature interface so that older learners could reinforce their pre-fluency skills without the often-felt stigma attached to cartoon-based reading programs. Take a quick look at idioms and play activities designed to help students gain a better grasp of implied meanings.  Finally we’ll wrap up with a trip to the Writer’s Workshop and try our hand at journalism in English, Spanish, French or German.  Each attendee gets a program from the On Track Series (worth $69), and great ideas for breaking down language barriers.

Specific Disabilities

The Autism Spectrum Disorder - Issues and Interventions, Hands-on

People with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) typically show impairments in three main areas: 1) language and communication, 2) social interaction and, 3) rigidity of thought and behavior.  We’ll explore each of these areas and try out a myriad of resources that have helped with each individual difficulty.  ASD students may have superficial perfect spoken language, which may seem formal and pedantic. When listening and/or reading, they might understand the words in a literal way, without understanding implications of their meaning. We’ll discuss strategies and coping mechanisms for overt literal interpretation of language. Play the activities in Idiom Track and select correct meanings for commonly used idioms. See how the computer can be a safe, non-threatening, non-judgmental learning environment that can allow students to grow. Socially, autistic students can be isolated amongst peer group (but not care less about it!) or they may wish to join in, but can't and therefore become upset. In addition, they might fail to pick up social rules and unwritten rules - makes them prone to teasing and ridicule. We’ll share resources that encourage sustaining friendships, and help them to understand and function within social norms. Finally, we’ll discuss various case studies of rigid behavior such as adherence to strict routines, inability to think and play creatively, and difficulties transferring skills from one setting to another. We’ll show how simple tools such as spell checking and drafting techniques can be a great help in formulating intervention strategies. Build a visual timetable showing an appropriate sequence of actions. Participants receive free printed resources, plus a subscription to www.elementaryzone.com.

Software Strategies to Reach the Autistic Learner

Explore a myriad of software programs that have proven effective in connecting with Autistic learners. Begin with vocalization software and use small utterances to make a creature blow up a balloon before your very eyes. Vocalization is key to your success! Find new tactics to teach sequencing and visual tracking, then tailor the activities to the ability level of the learner.  Autistic students frequently process the world in very literal terms. Try out 5 activities that help discriminate between the real and literal meanings of idioms. Some students will have difficulty processing drawn images so we’ll review programs that incorporate digital photographs in order to make a direct relationship between your students and all the people, places, and things in their environment. Musical programs have been effective in reaching auditory learners. Coach the theories of music while learning cause and effect relationships. Explore appropriate use of emotional responses with a new friend, Smart Alex. Students can conduct a simple conversation with Smart Alex, sharing likes and dislikes and teaching him new words. Learn about time and spatial orientation with skills building software. Incorporating speech the senses of hearing, touch, and sight. Experience the range of capabilities in this seminar. Great printed resources, plus a subscription to www.elementaryzone.com. 

Screening for Dyslexia and Dyscalculia - Hands-on

We’ll look at a unique award-winning computer-based screener that helps to identify 5-14 years olds with Dyslexic and Dyscalculic tendencies. Share stories, discuss the attributes of the disorders, then we will show you how to administer the assessment. We’ll have the opportunity to actually take a portion of the assessment ourselves and discuss some of the issues that students with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia face. Then review and interpret the feedback generated so that we can prescribe the best course of action. Late in the seminar we will focus on looking at software resources designed specifically to help students with reversals.  Participants receive useful handouts explaining the identification and support of Dyscalculia and Dyslexia. Plus take away CD-ROM demonstration of the screeners to reference after the conference.

Dyslexia Strategies for Success – Software Intervention and Interactive Activities

Explore a myriad of resources available for intervention with Dyslexic students. Look at a 5-part reading program that support literacy from visual perception to sentence construction, developed by a Dyslexia specialist. Activities support visual discrimination, alphabet learning, phonics, spelling and sentence development, carrying students right up the stage of “fluency”. Place sounds within the meaningful context of a word, and word sets within the context of a sentence. Students will learn to track letters and words by selecting the proper items from the group, in the proper order. Activities configurable to the ability level of the student, and we’ll discuss how simple changes in the activity settings can make a difference to the Dyslexic student.  Finally, we’ll preview the “b” and “d” Letter Olympics. Students repeatedly practice discriminating “b” and “d” with six instructional Olympic challenges. We’ll review 2 program which focus on sequencing. One is based on ordering 4-image sequences of playing cards, and the other is seated in reading comprehension.  Wrap up with a quick review of 2 assessments that help to identify students with Dyslexic and Dyscalculic tendencies. Come prepared to experiment! Attendees get a free program from the On Track Series (worth $69), a subscription to www.elementaryzone.com, plus a comprehensive set of SEMERC handouts and research on Dyslexia and technology.

Profound and Multiple Difficulties – Assessment and Intervention, Hands-on

Students with profound and multiple learning difficulties can react to their environment in a myriad of ways. We’ll try out the “SNOEZELEN Sensory Assessment and Profiling Tool” designed to help teachers identify children with particular sensory needs, then explore many options for intervention. The assessment begins with a description of the main sensory areas: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and movement. The main body of the assessment features a series of questions relating to each of these sensory areas. For example, when concentrating on sight, the tools asks questions such as, “Does the person enjoy reading / looking at pictures?”, “Does the person seek out brightly colored objects?”. Each question requires a response that is based on a Likert scale. Assessors are asked to indicate if and how frequently a response occurs. Each descriptor of frequency will be defined at the beginning of the assessment and a feature is available for the assessor to obtain a definition of the sensory need. Upon completion of the assessment, the assessor will be able to print a report that indicates sensory preferences, gaps in sensory input and suggestions for management. This acts as the basis for appropriate intervention programs. After reviewing the assessment, we’ll explore software programs that have been effective in specific situations, with students having profound and multiple difficulties. We’ll look at Picture Builder, a switch accessible activity center which gives constant feedback to mouse, sound, touch, or switch input, and uses digital images to help peak student’s interest.  We’ll also look at some character-based programs that have proven to be very successful in triggering responses from PMLD students. Share success stories and get new ideas for reaching students in the PMLD spectrum. Get great resources plus a demonstration CD to reference after the conference.

Emotional Literacy – Exploring a Student’s Emotional Awareness

Emotional literacy is the ability of people to recognize, understand, and appropriately express their own emotions, as well as responding accordingly to the emotions of others. In this seminar we’ll explore an assessment that evaluates the five dimensions of emotional literacy, 1) self-awareness, 2) self-regulation, 3) motivation, 4) empathy and 5) social skills. The assessment tool includes 3 separate surveys offering a dynamic perspective on the student’s emotional literacy.  First students will take a test and answer simple questions about how they react to other.  Next the parent/guardian will take an exam answering questions about their child’s reactions based upon poised situations.  Finally the caregiver will answer questions about the emotional responses of their pupil in selected situations.  These scores are then combined to give an overall emotional literacy score.  Each “exam” takes about 10 minutes and can be administered in checklist or paper format then entered into the program by the test administrator or teacher. Alternatively, the tests can be taken directly on the computer itself, which is ideal for compiling automatic scores. Assessments can be administered multiple times in order to track a student’s progress after intervention activities, then mark significant changes.  This complete assessment and intervention tool includes a 135-page book of research, scoring overlays, and reports as well as worksheets and intervention activities. The program is research-based and developed to support social and emotional development in young students. Get great resources plus a demonstration CD to reference after the conference.

IT Skills for Inclusion and Special Education

Mouse Skills to Masterpieces – Confidence Building for Visual Learners

Mouse skills may be all that’s required to reach your visual learners. Select students can have difficulty expressing themselves through verbal communication.  Art programs give all learners a medium through which they can explore their feelings and express their ideas.  The computer is a more forgiving medium than traditional methods as it allows pupils to experiment and change their mind safely through the use of the “Undo” button. In this seminar we’ll look at 3 different art programs, designed with special education students in mind.  Start with Tool Factory Beep! and explore ways to develop fine motor control while creating a noisy painting.  Experience firsthand how artwork can be a great confidence builder. Using Fresco we’ll see how an art package can simulate real art medium. Watercolors blend transparently, paint runs out on your brush, and pastels smudge with the slightest touch. Using nothing more than simple mouse clicks, we’ll guide you through some easy-to-do projects. No artistic ability is needed to create stunning artwork for students who may otherwise have little way of expressing themselves.  We’ll discuss and explore strategies for teaching in an inclusion classroom. There are 5 built-in levels so that educators can transparently accommodate diverse student needs, without the often-felt stigma attached to assistive technology. Finally, we’ll switch to Tool Factory Painter and explore the use of stamps to allow students with limited motor control to produce age appropriate designs that might otherwise be impossible.  Special effects such a tiling, wash and spin, allow simple scribbles to become complex and beautiful designs.  See how paint programs can be a fantastic resource for use across all curriculum subjects and for all ages. Attendees get a free paint program (worth $70), plus a subscription to www.elementaryzone.com.

IT Tools That Talk! -  K-8 and ESL                                               

Learn how to introduce critical IT skills at any ability level, in this jam-packed seminar! Begin with the fiercely addictive program, Tool Factory Beep. Develop basic mouse movements, click-and drag skills, orientation, and decision-making skills as you animate paintings, dress the creatures, and help the elephant find its home. Next we'll review 2 different inclusive typing tutorials that help early-ability level students gain familiarity with the keyboard.  There is Keyboarding Adventure with fun characters to guide elementary kids, or try out Keyboarding Skills -- a more serious typing tutorial for older learners and ESL students.  With typing skills mastered, the instructor will guide you through building curriculum in the different environments of Tool Factory Workshop. Using the word processor, we’ll create a talking writing project that integrates text, pictures, sound effects, and video. Learn how to activate a speech engine for pre-reader, special needs students, and story narration. For older learners we'll develop a more serious newspaper report with narration and digital photos. Embark on a confidence-building painting adventure, using nothing more than simple mouse clicks. Tailor the interface of Fresco to the level of the learner, and create fantastic drawings with just a little guidance.  Finally, for Microsoft Office users, we'll activate a screen reader that can speak text from any program or the internet in English and Spanish. Scan a book or PDF into Microsoft Word and hear the text read back instantly.  This is one of our most popular sessions! Receive a lesson plan packet, a free copy of Tool Factory Workshop (worth $199), plus a subscription to Elementary Zone.  

Digital Cameras

Digital Camera Workshop, Building Projects in the Inclusive Classroom – Hands-on

Watch your students sparkle when their faces appear on the computer screen! Reach your visual learners by integrating digital photographs into your class projects. Together we’ll build some of our favorite curriculum projects created by teachers in the training labs. Activate the talking tutor and built-in speech engine so that students receive timely auditory feedback as they create projects. Learn to convert a photograph into a mosaic, then utilize the cloning tool to draw a “third eye” on a portrait. Swap the heads on two different people in a photograph, then explore loads of clip art resources for “stamping” down borders and frames. Use photo-manipulation to make a humorous greeting card that talks as the student types. Put splashy captions across your photos and print or email them. We’ll even turn a photographic scene into a background, then add clip art characters for story writing projects. Come prepared to experiment! Attendees receive a step-by-step photography manual packed with project ideas, links to great web-based resources, a copy of Tool Factory Workshop (worth $199), plus a subscription to www.elementaryzone.com.

Using Digital Photography in Special Education for Early Skills Building

Consider all the people, places and things that illicit a positive response from your students, then take photographs and build learning activities that utilize these images. In this seminar we’ll discover a myriad of ways to use a digital images in the learning process.  Begin at a lower cognitive level with Picture Builder. Browse for a photograph, then touch the screen to make it slowly reveal. Build a puzzle from a digital image, in progressive levels of difficulty, then use a photograph on the face of a slider puzzle and work on problem-solving skills. We’ll show you how to activate a “sound switch”, so that students who can only make simple vocal utterances, will be able to play a myriad of switch-based learning activities with photographic images. Then explore cause and effect activities that develop timing skills and targeting.  Using a collection of photographs, we’ll play the Touch It game, where images fly across the screen in pre-selected speeds and directions, giving students the opportunity to capture them with a touch. Travel up the cognitive spectrum and build a mnemonic memory aid for difficult spellings. Browse for a photo, write your own mnemonic, and even record your voice speaking the mnemonic in rhythmic tones. Wrap up with some photo manipulation activities using a paint program. Open a photograph, then use blurring, blending and smudging techniques to create vivid images with simple mouse strokes. Frame a photograph, stamp down borders, and even create wrapping paper from photographs. Your visual learners will excel! 

Hardware and Software Combined

Explore the Universe of Assistive Technology! - Hands-on

Experience a hands-on exploration of assistive technology. Journey into a wide array of hardware and software programs, and identify powerful new ways to reach your students with special needs.  We'll demonstrate a myriad of input devices, designed to work in tandem with software for skills building and literacy development. Try out pressure-adjustable switches, then explore a switch-adapted reading reinforcement program for phonics development. Plug in two types of trackballs and feel what it’s like to access the computer with only the tips of your fingers. Look at a touch screen overlay and then play the Touch It games to develop targeting, tracking, and timing skills. Grab a mini-mouse and imagine you have small hands. Then try out a paint program that develops click-and-drag skills and decision-making. Learn about mounting devices that make computer usage possible for students with motion issues. We'll even show you how to use a microphone to control character movements during game play. Learn how to set up each device, discuss when to use each one, then experience firsthand the software that complements each assistive device. Discuss situations where each tool can make a big difference in achievement. Play games, make music, and practice literacy skills! This is a great session to get a general overview of many available software programs and hardware devices in context. Find out how and when to best use assistive technology. Free switch-accessible phonics software (worth $70) for every attendee, great printed manual, plus a subscription to www.elementaryzone.com.

Switches and Software Combined for Effective Intervention

What is a switch? Who uses one? Do I need special software? Get the answers to all these questions and more, plus get ideas for how to introduce switch access. We will start by looking at what makes an effective switch, how they connect to a computer, mounting, and correct positioning.  With the switches in place, we’ll explore a myriad of different software programs that were designed to be used in tandem with switches. After an introduction to switch basics, we’ll show you how to develop a progression of skills. First we’ll build 4-step picture sequences by assembling any of 30 different progressions. Next we’ll reinforce key skills in matching, categorization and concentration. Then pair pictures with sounds of everyday objects, animals, and people, using switches to make your selections.  Learn how to stimulate pressing a switch, encourage multiple presses of the switch, and effective teaching methods for timing activities. We’ll show you how to encourage multiple presses of the switch, as well as experimenting with timing activities to foster pressing a switch at just the right moment. This session begins with switch basics, and spans a constellation of teaching scenarios.  Get helpful information on different types of switches, switch mounts, and software information.

Cause-and-Effect Software, Touch Screens, and the Development of Coordination Skills

Action and reaction! That’s what cause-and-effect is all about. Get hands-on experience with a wide array of software programs built to foster interactive responses from students. Start with an overview of the best-selling Leaps & Bounds Series. Begin with one cause (a simple mouse click) and one effect (an animation plays) then work to a higher level of complexity with multiple causes and multiple effects.  Change the order of the actions and the result will differ, giving students endless opportunities for progressively develop their skills through discovery.  Due to the natural instinct to use our hands, touch screen can be the ideal input method for select students. We’ll explore the advantages and usage of touch screens, look at touch screen overlays then try out a myriad of cause-and-effect software programs specifically developed to improve a wide range of coordination and decision making skills. Next, we’ll construct a face by selecting eyes, nose, mouth, skin color, and hair. Students make decisions and regularly indicate their choices by pointing at the screen, clicking the mouse, or hitting a switch. Discuss opportunities for decision making, printing, and displaying student creations for visual reminders of success. The development of coordination skills is vitally important if students are to succeed. Using the tips of our fingers, we’ll literally compose a symphony with character-based composition tools.  Then do some work on visual discrimination, and reinforce matching, identification, sorting, and observation skills. After group play, we’ll investigate the teacher controls which allow educators to adapt the programs to the special needs of each student.  Get a subscription to www.elementaryzone.com.

Inclusion

Inclusion Teaching Across the Core Curriculum - Hands On Experimental Lab

Students today grow up in a technological world and it is important that our teaching reflects this. A great inclusive software program can be very effective for teaching mainstream and special education students in tandem, when there are a wide range of accessibility options available. Explore a myriad of software programs which are adapted for inclusive classrooms, and can be used school-wide. Touching on each core curriculum area, you’ll gain a wonderful insight on a myriad of available resources in just one hour. Experiment with a computer or simply observe. In early math, we’ll show you how to customize activities for varying levels of difficulty, then calculate with numbers up to 20. For spelling (and dyslexia) we’ll enter high frequency word lists. Practice with difficult spellings and compound words in any of 7 different spelling games. For reading development, we’ll listen, hear, and recite a story, then play activities to test comprehension and sequencing recall. For science and life skills, we’ll learn All About Ourselves. Explore the human senses, operate the X-ray machine, and write about ourselves based on word prompts. Finally, using simple mouse clicks, we’ll compose a musical symphony of character voices. Every activity can be customized to the ability level of the student, and encourages a progressive development of skills.  Come prepared to experiment with technology and learn strategies that will excite children’s interest in learning. Get a free  subscription to www.elementaryzone.com  

Play on the Assistive Technology Playground

Come and experiment with assistive technology, designed for inclusion teaching, as well as specific disabilities. This is your opportunity to speak to a specialist, one-on-one, and discuss which hardware and software may be appropriate for a specific student or class. Ask about software for Dyslexia and Autism. Experiment with switches, trackballs, touch screens, joy sticks and mini-mice. Bring questions or just experiment!