Sunday, 29 June 2008

Travel Training

A Step in the Right Direction How to be a safe pedestrian
Somerset Road Safety partnership have produced a Road Safety training programme suitable for people with learning disabilities.
The resource pack consists of a 2 set CD-ROM,a DVD,teacher handbook and hard copies of the initial assessment and assessment sheets .The pack is designed as a teaching tool for the delivery of A Step in the Right Direction Bronze, Silver and Gold Award.These awards are not externally accredited .
The Bronze Award gives a basic level of road safety awareness including controlled supervised road crossing. The Silver award helps students develop the skills to achieve some independent road crossing using a controlled crossing . The Gold award is the step where students demonstrate they can cross the road safely and independently. They suggest at the Gold award stage that you use a third party such as a road safety officer to ratify the award. They also add that careful consideration should always be given before students are allowed to use the road independently. The pack provides templates for certificates which can be awarded at each stage and for those working towards the stages.
The resources provided are limited to an interactive CD-ROM which can be used individually by the student or as a group via an interactive white board. On the CD-ROM each award is broken down into sections, for example What is traffic? Pavements, Zebra Crossings. The Bronze award has 14 concepts. the students have the opportunity to work through these in the classroom in safety by watching the video as a whole group and practising individually on the interactive CD-ROM .The videos are good quality and have been filmed in and around the Taunton area. Students can then begin to learn these skills outside in a practical setting,looking at the issues and skills they need to learn to cross the road.
The pack costs £99 to buy from
Somerset Road Safety Partnership
It requires Quick Time to view the CD-ROM on the computer and they say Real Player for the DVD.(Most colleges can't use Real Player and I haven't found that it needs it) As usual with college networks you will need to check that your college computer system will allow you to use it as the pack would be poor value for money without using the interactive resource. The pack would benefit from having picture resources to help with the teaching of the award.
Other Travel training Resources:
Transport for London produces an excellent free resource in PDF form The
Guide for People with Learning Difficulties
This is for people with learning difficulties and covers different ways of travelling, including bus, cab, Tube, train, Docklands Light Railway and tram. It has information for the student on keeping themselves and their belongings safe, and what to do if things go wrong.
There are sections called The Guide which have spaces for writing down journey details , drawing pictures or sticking in photos.It is intended for students learning to travel independently but with 131 pages there are lots of photos/sections which could be used for those working towards the Bronze Award Step in the Right Direction .
Arrive Alive
Arrive Alive web site has road safety signs and Traffic lights

Highway Code
The Highway code has information and pictures.

You can make a set of vehicle
cards using the photocards on SenTeacher.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Telling the Time

I have a project I like to do on time called The Human Clock.
I have been able to use this with mixed ability groups ( basic skills ranging from Milestone 8 - Entry 3 ). The website shows a photograph depicting the current time every minute of the day. Each minute there is a different picture, many sent in by the web site viewers.The pictures are taken all around the world, some are clear like the bike shop photo others more obscure, for example the beach scene at Rimini.

The students have fun spotting the time in the pictures.

The next step is to use the digital camera to create your own photos using the college environment.These can then be made into a PowerPoint presentation and viewed as a resource for teaching the time. Still photos make a good wall display either arranged in a time line or to look like a clock. Clock faces can be put along side the photos to further reinforce skills.
Some of the resources I use are :
Real clocks.
Clock faces to print out from Northern grid for Learning.
Print outs of clocks covering hours,half past ,quarter to and quarter past .Available from Senteacher printables section.

Interactive games
Stop the Clock 1 O'clock and half past matching digital and analogue.
Stop the Clock 2 15 minute interval matching digital and analogue.
Stop the Clock 3 5 minute interval matching digital and analogue.
Stop the Clock 4 1 minute interval matching digital and analogue.
Stop the Clock 5 1 minute interval matching digital and analogue 24 hour clock.
Only Fools and Horses BBC Skillswise interactive game teaching the 24 hour clock.
Interactive Whiteboard
Interactive clock on . Gives a clock to put on the whiteboard -allows you to demonstrate times showing the correct movement of the hands.
Digital timer. helps teach awareness of time. Click on the help section if you are not sure how it works.
Class Timer helps teach awareness of time.
Virtual stop watch helps teach awareness of time.

Teaching time starts with an awareness of key events and an understanding of morning afternoon and evening. ( Entry 1 skill ). To begin to tell the time the student must be able to read, recognise order and understand the value of numbers. They must also be able to tell the difference between the length of the two hands of the clock. With these skills they can begin to learn o'clock . The Core Curriculum puts this as an Entry 2 Skill. After that comes a whole load of higher level skills including:
Counting and ordering numbers to 60
counting in 5's and 10's
Counting on .

Matching the level of number skill to the appropriate level time skill helped me set realistic targets for the students.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

A tip for using Animoto

In my blog Using your photos I mentioned that resizing photos for Animoto was time consuming. I have tried out the image resizing software recommended by Animoto. It takes about a minute to download and about 10 seconds to re size 20 photos,so well worth downloading and its free!

Are you going to wear your glasses?

At a review meeting I mentioned that the student wasn't wearing his glasses . His key worker wasn't sure how much difference they made,and so we left it... I have now found some really useful information about eye care which I can take to the next meeting.
The site is called Look Up and gives advice about eye care for adults with learning difficulties.
It has some good common sense advice and very useful information about working with students with visual impairments in the classroom The page on adapting environments to help adults with visual impairment is also useful.
There is also information on the different eye conditions and a section called Talking About Me with pictures and sound aimed at adults with learning difficulties.
One of the most interesting things I found out was that students with a visual impairment should come to college with an eye care plan here is an example:

I've got a lot of interviews coming up for September,so the eye care plan is something I shall be looking out for.

There is so much information on this website,using the site map is a good way to find your way around.

Another source for information about working with students with visual impairment can be found in Access for All .

Monday, 9 June 2008

Using your photos.

In my work with students with learning difficulties I take a lot of photos. Students have enjoyed seeing themselves on the interactive whiteboard . Its been good for developing language and talking about activities and skills learnt.
At the beginning of the year I used PowerPoint .
I then used Windows Movie maker to make videos. I taught myself quite quickly by watching a tutorial on You Tube .

I have recently finished my first full length video using Animoto . I recommend this as you can produce a different, high quality video in a relatively short time. Animoto are offering free full access passes if you work in education. Just email them. They are very quick to respond.The blog Free resources from the net gives you a good summary . My experience is

Work on it at home .Most college networks can't cope with the uploading.When its finished dowload it and use it at college (it uses Quick time)
You will need 40/50 photos to make a 3 minute video.
The photos have to be at the image size 1024 x 768 pixels (it takes a while to change the image size of each photo) You have to choose a piece of appropriate music .

I chose Bill Withers Lovely Day . You'll need the music in MP3 form .
You can use Zamzar ,an online
file converter (for free) to convert a format if you need to.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Speaking and Listening

Improving the language skills of adults with learning difficulties is at the heart of my embedded basic skills work .The following activity works well for students with speaking and listening skills at Milestone 6 right up to those at Entry 3.
I got this idea from the TES. A modern language teacher had found it was a great way to develop language skills.

I play a CD track : Debbie Harry Hanging on the Telephone . When the music starts pass a chunky mobile phone around the group and just like pass the parcel when the music stops the person holding the phone has to answer it. I play a sound clip of a phone ringing (not essential but really adds effect) and when the phone stops ringing the conversation between you on one phone and the student on another begins. After a short conversation start the music again. Keep playing until everyone has had a go.
A chunky old mobile to pass around the group.
An old phone for you.

Deborah Harry: Hanging on the telephone

available from the CD Best of Blondie or for other CD sources Click here
download from ITunes or via Windows Media Player.
Remember to choose the format that will play on your college network.
Sound clip of the phone ringing available
free to download click here
Computer to play CD and sound clip
or CD player

How can it be used?
Its a fun way to improve telephone skills -listening and giving key information, appropriate greetings,use of names.
Reinforce information given out in the lesson "hello I'm just phoning to see if you have remembered what you have to bring to college tomorrow?
A fun and different way to hear every one's news "Hello I'm just phoning to see what you did at the weekend?"