Thursday, November 5, 2015


Happy Thankful Thursday! In continuing with our goal of communication for the school year, my co-teacher +Deandra Verest and I would like to kick start the month of November with a video we created of our students communicating. We hope you enjoy it! 


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

iCan use a Bigmack!

   At the beginning of the school year, my Speech and Language Pathologist approached me and asked what I was looking for as far as communication for my students. My response was simple: I want my students’s voices to be accessible and functional throughout the school day. In a Special Education classroom, with 13 students, 2 Special Education Teachers, 4 Paraprofessionals, 1 Nurse, and related service providers coming in and out of the classroom throughout one day, it is easy for materials to get lost in the shuffle, so the idea of having accessible and functional communication is essential. Our classroom focus for the year had quickly (and quite obviously) become communication. This year I will be sharing with you the journey of infusing technology and communication in our very special classroom.  

  My first share is introducing you to one of my 5th Grade students, Naomi. Naomi absolutely loves the television show, Hannah Montana. Using youtube on the iPad, we have made the show an accessible reward throughout her school day. We have been encouraging Naomi to request for the show by using a Bigmack device. The idea behind the Bigmack, although limited to only one choice option, is to encourage her hand movement for requesting, which will lead to multiple options given. We have met as a team with an outside Assistive Technology Consultant, Sandy Chiampas, from LADSE who explained that we need to teach Naomi the cause and effect idea that when she presses the button (the cause), we will respond to her needs and wants (the effect). The video below shows Naomi requesting for “more” Hannah Montana using the Bicmack. You can see how excited and happy she is after being able to communicate her wants to me for more Hannah! 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Technology in Math

Our principal asked staff to create a presentation on technology in the classroom. This particular video will showcase technology programs and apps that we incorporate to develop math skills and concepts in our Special Education classroom. You may recognize some of the programs from previous blog posts. Follow the link to learn more about the Unique Learning Curriculum for Math, Photo Booth and Splash HD. 

Technology in Math

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

App Slam 2!

Hi Everyone! I have created another app slam for the latest app hits in my classroom this year! Check out this short video about some of my student's favorite apps. 

App Slam 2

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

iCan Make an iMovie

      I was recently approached by a colleague who was struggling with encouraging co-workers to incorporate technology into their Special Education classroom. In similar instances, my favorite quote to share is this, “For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible” (IBM training manual, 1991). Technology can be overwhelming but the opportunities that it has to offer are limitless. This brings me in to my student’s latest accomplishment: creating an iMovie. At the end of the year, for a few months, my Instructional Director in our district, +Shannon Soger would come to our classroom once a week to help take on this challenge.We worked one on one, and sometimes two on one with each of my students to help them create their own personalized iMovie. This took time and patience but in the end it was absolutely worth it. Check out one of the iMovies that was created by a student with an Intellectual disability on his favorite movie, Lion King:  

                                                          Lion King iMovie

Below you will find a quick “How to” for creating an iMovie with students in a self-contained classroom: 

1. Shannon and I sat down and selected an iMovie topic for each student based on their interests. (Dora, Stars, Birthday parties, dinosaurs, etc). 

2. We created a table of tasks that needed to be accomplished We checked off each student's  box each time they completed a task. Here is the checklist we used: 

                                                           iMovie Checklist

3. We completed this whole activity one step at a time. Shannon would come in and her and i would sit with a student and go through step 1 of making an iMovie: having students select pictures. We googled their topic and and students chose or hand over hand selected 3-5 pictures they liked. We did this for each student 2:1 before moving on to the next step. Then we went on to the next step of importing pictures into the iMovie program. We helped students label each picture and had students who are verbal describe each picture using the voice over feature. Finally, we had the students select music for the iMovie. The results were fantastic! 

If you are still hesitant to take this challenge to your classroom, view this short video created by +Shannon Soger on the impact this student’s Lion King iMovie had on his mother.

                                                        Redefining Mobile Learning 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Guided Access on the iPad

     What is it? Guided Access is a setting that keeps the iPad locked into a single application. Guided Access also allows you to control which features in a particular app are available or disabled. 
     I am an avid user of Guided Access in my classroom. There are many reasons why I use it when teaching my students. As a Special Education teacher, I know how intelligent and at times, "sneaky" the students in my classroom can be. I assign students to particular academic apps to work on in hopes that they will remain on the app given and not slip off to a game that is more appealing or even accidentally exit the app. Often, that is not the case.  This accessibility feature can lock my students into a particular app that I have planned for that center or station and not allow them to exit the app unless they have a 4-digit code that I am able to keep from them. Guided Access prevents students from performing specific actions that are not aligned with set tasks as well as preventing them from exiting an educational app. Students are not allowed to alter settings when Guided Access is on.  
     Below I have two videos that show one of the students in my classroom using the iPad app with Guided Access turned off and the other with Guided Access turned on. 

Follow the link below for a screen cast by my District’s Instructional Director, +Shannon Soger , to learn how set up and use Guided Access in your classroom!

Guided Access How to Video

Thursday, February 13, 2014

App Slam!

Over the weekend I was approached by +Shannon Soger  to complete a video of my top 3 apps I use on the iPads in my classroom. You can check out my video and see some favorite apps that my students  use at school!

My App Slam Video