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Nessy Apps

I’ve had a good play with all the Nessy Apps on my android Smart Ultra 6 phone and they all run pretty smoothly. The Hairy Words apps are particularly good for High Frequency Words. Check out more information on Nessy products.

 

If you use the code ‘red dragon’ at the cart, you’ll get 10% off.

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Chimp Fu and Nessy

Just in time for summer hols, Nessy Learning Ltd have released a new app on both iTunes and Google Play– Chimp Fu! Chimp Fu press release

Chimp_Fu_app

Chimp Fu takes an aspect of the Nessy Learning System and provides a games-based graded approach to ‘chunking’ or segmenting words into syllables. The player is introduced to strategies to help break up words then can play a series of games. I’ve played it with some of my pupils and they seem to enjoy the games and progression. The neat thing about Chimp Fu is that if you have a Nessy.com account, Chimp Fu will sync to it allowing pupils to pick up progress on any device. The App costs £1.99 on iTunes but is FREE on 17th July for 24 hours, don’t miss out!! It’s £1.79 on Google Play.

|||***If you use the code ‘Red Dragon‘ for ANY Nessy product, then you will receive a 10% discount***|||

Chimp_Fu_word_chop

 

Whilst it’s aimed at KS 1 & 2 pupils, many older struggling readers may benefit from using the App.

The Nessy Learning System is now available online as NESSY READING and those of you who use Nessy Learning System will welcome this extension. Pupils can access the program from home, with the 1000s of worksheets and printable card games included in the program, it’s a steal. Even better with the 10% discount, just quote Red Dragon.

Nessy Reading is a pretty comprehensive online teaching resource and whilst nothing’s perfect, it ticks lots of boxes for engagement and motivation for those struggling with literacy and the humour running throughout is an endearing feature. There is plenty of overlearning and repetition of patterns and strategies. Don’t be put off by the KS1 & 2 focus, I’ve had plenty of KS3 pupils happily using the games and worksheets to reinforce lesson content.

You can play for free here

 

NB. I have delivered training for Nessy but receive no commission for sales, I just think it’s a good tool.

 

How to install OpenNI, PrimeSense and SensorKinect to use Processing Hand Tracking ‘Apps’. Part 1.

I demoed some stuff that the fabulous Jan Ciger has put together for me with the OpenNI Open Source libraries for Kinect and some great sketches from Processing at #TMSEN12 SEN teachmeet on Sat 28th Jan.

As Processing is written in Java, then the OpenNI libraries have been used to avoid driver conflicts and also they are cross-platform. As Jan compiles uses Linux, it makes sense for me to use the format and libraries he uses.

You need to download and install several bits of software.

You will need to download :-

From this site:-

https://code.google.com/p/simple-openni/

Follow the instructions under installation.

Plug in your freestanding Kinect into a USB port (you’ll need an adapter if you haven’t got one e.g. ONE OF THESE ) and power socket.

In you start menu, you should have OpenNI and Primesense , under Primesense you should have Nite and Sensorkinect, click on Nite and you should have an uninstall, a Documentation and a Samples folder, click the samples folder, click on Sample-Point Viewer, it should open, stand in front of the Kinect and after a little while you should see your hand drawing a line or Sample-Stick Figure, you should see a little yellow you with  a skeleton inside it.

Also, in the yellow samples folder double click that, in the Bin folder, click the Release folder, and there are a few more samples in there, some work better than others, but you should get the idea.

let me know if any problems @cerirwilliams on Twitter.

Stop here for now and check all that lot works.

Next you’ll need these.

Java Development Kit version 6 is stable

Processing- http://processing.org/download/

Eclipse (it has a better editor/debugger than Processing), scroll down and get the UK Mirror. Get this one.

I’ll do a how-to on ‘Proclipsing’ next, but have a look here if you want, it’s  MAC version but it does work, but might need a couple of tweaks for Windows in the terminology.

Hope it works for you.

Social Media- Peers Help Spelling?

This morning I taught 2 year 7 pupils, one was late into school so I had some time 1-1 with Hanalise. I’ve just set up zondle logins for all my students so went through that first as an icebreaker. Every  now and then I check up how their High Frequency Words are coming on and they devise mnemonics or other ways of remembering tricky words. Just out of the blue I went over Hanalise’s check list and asked her to spell orally some she got wrong at the end of January/beginning of Feb, she scored 60/100 then. She spelled several correctly so I continued, at the end of the process I counted up how many she had correct of the ones that were incorrect lat time, she scored 94/100. I was intrigued but thought there has to be some reason that such a jump has been achieved.

I recorded this audioboo after listening to her explanation of why there was such a big jump in her score.

I was a bit under in my estimate of how many more she got right! I am always a bit skeptical about ‘test’ scores but her improved oracy and confidence (she was an elective mute in the past) and and inclination to participate has been quite something to behold. Obviously this is a snapshot incident, but it was exciting to witness her undoubted self-confidence in her newfound skills and also watching her imaginary ‘air- typing’ as she went through the process of remembering how to spell certain words.

Later in the day also, a year 9 became animated at the prospect that he could now blog from home as I set him up as a contributor to my Pupils’ Blogs. His comment? ‘oh,rather than writing on paper i’ts easier to write on keyboard’ < paraphrased, I did record his soundbite but mustn’t have saved it properly, doh!

An interesting day!

games based learning for spld and dyslexics- post ukief10

I’ve written nothing since my new job as a teacher of SpLD, dyslexic pupils and pupils with literacy difficulties, but here’s an update on some ideas that I’ve posted before on but with a fresher slant, and especially after #itmeet and #ukief10. Some fabulous mini-presentations from @janwebb21, @dawnhallybone, @deputymitchell, @mrstucke, @jdeyenberg et al at the #itmeet evening session and it was great to put faces and bodies to lots of tweeps. I’ll reflect on the Tuesday a bit later.

I try and turn everything into a game where I can and have found the following have engaged the pupils in their learning-

  • Phonics- letters recognition for the very young, feely bag, a few letters in the bag ( the ones they don’t know only), score points for correct sound and name
  • Spelling solutions- after dictating a test passage pupils score each others dictations proof reading from the original text, helps scanning, reading carefully and throws up the specific spelling anomalies for each pupil
  • Mnemonics- they do work-get kids to make funny ones and score on laughter rating.
  • As I have Android I use Talking Tom Cat (like Talking Carl) to speak back, kids love it on early trials and the fact you can record video is a bonus (I wish Talking Carl would work on an htc wildfire  devs ;-)).
  • Wordshark– still so excellent for quick find spelling pattern reinforcement.
  • Nessy– shedfuls of rich content-serve it digital or print but save ink and use it on whiteboard- great.
  • The ipod Pocket Phonics leads the pack for me in apps because of the British accent (come on you app developers, get a UK British accent on your literacy games, you’d sell tons more!!!)
  • I’ve yet to try the Pictochat thing on the Nintendo DS in the current job (but did before) however I think the pupils will enjoy spelling and story telling using that feature (rather than paper, just because they like it!)
  • Swap cards-reading, speaking and listening card games- very useful and the pupils love them
  • Story telling with USB Smartmic to record.
  • Xtranormal- have used this today to create a spelling dialogue here, very first trial, huge potential for engagement and scriptwriting, and both a year 7 and a year 9 said it was ‘very cool’.
  • Thanks to @chickensaltash for the heads up on these next tools…
  • Blabberize– great fun for speaking and listening activities.
  • Fuzzwich– an animation tool for dialogue added to pictures.
  • Dvolver– direct your own movies.

but also general things you can do in mainstream classrooms to aid the SpLD/Dyslexic pupil

  • Change background clour on whiteboard-
  • Word 2007/10 (-> Page Layout>Page Colour> select colour)
  • PDF doc (-> Adobe Reader>Edit>Preferences>Accessibility>Check Replace Document Colours box>Choose Page Background) to pale yellow, blue, whatever colour suits (even if there is no discernible difference, why not have a pastel background.
  • Photocopy texts onto pastel coloured paper.
  • Word banks- can be on wallcharts, put in a file, on a Wallwisher, Dabbleboard, etc.
  • Spelling journal, carry it around with them.
  • Coloured overlays, you can buy a set of 10 A4 sheets from Crossbow and cut them up into 5cm by 2/3cm rulers. Get a mini-set of all colours, lay them out over a page and ask the pupils if any colour make a difference reading-wise, the extensive research in this area doesn’t matter one way or the other in my opinion, if a pupil feels one is good/better than reading black off white then give them their own mini reading ruler.

Just a few things I have found useful which I hope some of you find useful, and to quote  a widely read book , ‘The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing and the main thing is learning.’ Steven Covey- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (thanks Dan again). And keep learning dangerous and naughty- thanks @daviderogers.

And its all horses for courses, what works for one might or might not work for another, let the pupil lead the learning, light the fire rather than fill the vessel.

dyslexia-friendly classrooms -9 things to try

I’m starting a new job next week as a peripatetic Specific Learning Difficulty and dyslexia teacher. Part of the role will be to give advice to mainstream teachers about things they can do in the classroom to help those with SpLD, dyslexia and literacy delay.

Here are just a couple of ideas that people perhaps could use to take down some of those barriers to learning for the pupil with literacy hurdles.

  • Use enlarged photocopies of any small texts to be used.
  • If texts are electronic, different background colours can sometimes help the words ‘stop jumping around’. Pale yellow, pale blue have worked for me. Or high-contrast like pale yellow text on black, see what works.
  • Also, photocopying onto pastel shade paper might help.

yellowblack

blueblack * more info here and here

  • Use a font with a single story ‘a’, rather than a double story ‘a’ as this can be inverted with ‘e’ by some dyslexics and cause confusion. This font is SassoonCRInfant but there are others.
  • Some scanners will turn text into editable text via OCR software, the text can then easily be changed, e.g. enlarging and/or changing the font.
  • There are free screen-readers, here that will read highlighted text although the text-to-speech reader in Clicker5 for example highlights each word as it is spoken, the English accent speech engine is very good too.
  • Those using Internet Explorer can use Bing Translator to act as a Text-To-Speech engine. Highlight some text (not too much, I don’t know the character capacity of it), insert into the left-hand side of Bing Translator, set it to translate into English, and a little speaker will appear and read the text. Helpful for short paragraphs.
  • Word banks with topic-specific words can be helpful posted onto walls, and can be added to.
  • Voice recorders, such as the Easi-speak microphone, the voice record function on the iPod or iPhone etc or simply the sound recorder in the accessories in different operating systems can be used to orally record work/responses, useful for those that have trouble writing down thoughts and ideas.

Ok, those are just some ideas that you might find useful if you’ve got pupils or students with dyslexia, SpLD or general literacy delay.

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