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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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