Wednesday, 29 April 2009

In the News

I shall be looking at the news this week with my Life Skills Entry 1 group.Here are some links from My Sqworl.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Free Time

Here are our SQWORL links for free time in our computer lesson tomorrow: (Entry 1 - M8/7)

Music on You Tube

Reading at Tar Heel Reader

Games and other Activities

Making Computers Easier To Use.

Making your teaching inclusive from The Open University site has a wealth of resources on accessibility and is a good place to start if you want to find out about equipment that could help your students use the computers independently.
The Assistive technologies section has information on:

Braille and tactile technologies
Calculators, time and measurement equipment
Communication devices
Electronic note takers 
Keyboard and mouse options
Listening devices and loop systems
Magnification aids 
Reading technologies 
Recording devices 
Reference software: Dictionary and thesaurus 
Scanning and reading devices 
Writing aids   

The information is not specific to students with a learning disability but there is some useful information
for example:
 selecting the right keyboard ( top of the page ) 
 mouse options (end of the page) 
The videos just show you the options with no explanation but the text has links that explain the equipment in further detail.        
for example: 
the word  trackballs takes you to a site 
where more information about trackball products can be found.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Tomato and Vegetables with Pasta or Baked Potato

My Milestone 4-8 Cookery class prepared Vegetables with Pasta or baked potato . You can download the ingredients and equipment sheet at My 4 shared.
This week the ingredients list ran over 3 pages as I wanted to make sure the pictures were clear and accessible for all the students. Having too many bits of paper didn't turn out to be a problem but let me know what you think.
This week the students first had to make a choice between baked potato and pasta and circle their choice.The students then chose the vegetables they wanted from the sheets. This allowed us to name and identify and taste.
I don't use exact measurements.We put all the ingredients on the table and students took a small piece or a bowlful as required.
Having the picture sheets has allowed the students to independently collect all their ingredients and equipment.
Some aims (depending on ability):
Make a choice between two ingredients
Name and identify 4 vegetables used in the cooking class
Identify 4 of the pictures on your recipe sheet.
Use pictures /symbols to find 4 ingredients without help.
Use a symbol/picture list to collect all ingredients with minimum support.
Use a symbol/picture list to collect all equipment .
Use a recipe to cook a dish with minimum support.
Identify one thing you have done well in the session.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Using a Cash Machine

I found one of these at a Red Cross Sale. Its a wonderful extra for Managing Money classes and gives students an experience of using a cash machine.The machine is 25cm(h)x23cm (w)x 8cm (depth) .To use the ATM you input a card and use a 4 digit pin . It accepts both coins and notes (you don't have to use real notes) and calculates your total enabling you to check the balance.The machine cleverly recognises the coins and displays the coin value as it is entered.
The ATM is available from
The Science Museum Store but I have also seen some available for less on Amazon and EBay.

Also try the Interactive ATM machine at Moneymatterstome

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Tuff Cams in action

We were lucky enough to have some Tuff Cams via the Molenet project .
You can watch a short video here about how the Tuff Cam works.

I've been using them for a few weeks and I have finally worked out how to use them at their best.(It now seems so obvious!)

They work very well for the student to record their own work :
The student holds the camera preferably close to the subject they are filming and at the same time speaks and comments on their own work.
The short films can then be viewed immediately on the whiteboard .
We have also used them for recording short messages to camera (close up)

Why does it work best like this:
  • The microphone on the Tuff Cam is on the screen side, so picks up the voice of the person using the camera
  • The quality of the camera makes it best for close up work or for filming that is not intended for high quality presentation.
  • The cameras are designed to be used by the student. They are simple in design and are durable.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A lesson on Tally

Being able to make a simple tally is useful for my students. They can use the skill to make a drinks list or keep a record of sales in an enterprise project .We used these resources to improve our tally skills for our Edexcel Enterprise sale which was a Valentine sweets sale.

For my Tally Lesson I used two powerpoints from
Primary Resources .

Look in the Maths Section, then through to :Handling data :Tally and bar chart .
I used:
Cars Tally (Rachel Wood) PDF
Cars Tally (Judy Valentine) DOC ( a recording sheet to use with the Car tally powerpoint )
Tally Charts (Rebecca James) Zipped - People who help us tally (very good for citizenship work)
People Who Help Us Tally (Judy Valentine) DOC (a recording sheet to use with the People who help us tally powerpoint).

I have also made a drinks tally

which is available to download at My 4 Share and a recording sheet
Before we used the tally powerpoint I started with some small group work to practise counting accurately and some work to practise making simple tally marks .(I wouldn't introduce the five bar gate for entry 1.)

The numeracy core curriculum says:

entry 1 students have to
construct simple representations or diagrams, using knowledge of numbers,
understand that the purpose of representations is to communicate information

this could include using a simple tally system to record and represent information
At Entry 2 collect simple numerical information and represent information so that it makes sense to others (e.g. in lists, tables and diagrams)

This skill will eventually be fully developed
at Entry 3
At E3 the student has to make observations and record numerical information using a tally and understand how to use a frequency table.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Data Handling E2

This interactive activity from BBC Bitesize covers tally, bar chart and pictograms . As you can see it can also be embedded in your own blog or website.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Wicked! BSL TV

Wicked! is a brand-new TV series presented in British Sign Language, which sees the Wicked Campervan travelling around the UK in search of stories in the Deaf Community.In each episode, there is plenty to see - from film reviews to local profiles, films from deaf filmmakers and an exciting main story - in a different part of the country every week!The first episode can be viewed on the website

It is also available to view on Community Channel.

Thanks to the disabilitymessageboard.blogspot for the link

Thursday, 16 April 2009

What’s new in the online Pre-entry Curriculum Framework

The first thing to say is that it is that the Pre entry Curriculum framework is now available on the Excellence Gateway
You will be asked to register to access the information. (don't forget to record the work you do on your CPD record)

The Pre entry Curriculum framework at the Excellence Gateway is well worth exploring. It is fully interactive and gives good examples of how to intergrate numeracy ,literacy and communication. There is an example scheme of work, Individual Learning Plan, individual targets and lesson plan available at the Holistic overview ( click on the different texts .Its not just a boring flow diagram) Each element of the curriculum also has example activities and there are a wide range of supporting documents.

Summary of Changes
from the document
What’s new in the online Pre-entry Curriculum Framework

Changes to curriculum elements

o The language of the curriculum elements has been edited and simplified where possible to make it more user friendly to a wider audience.
o Some of the detail of the curriculum elements has been amended or simplified to make it more consistent with the P-Scales and more accessible to a wider audience.

Changes to other parts of the curriculum

o There are now examples of possible activities provided for all elements. These are intended to provide guidance about how skills can be taught, but are not intended to be prescriptive, nor are they intended to indicate that the PECF should be taught as atomised skills, nor sequentially as a ‘syllabus’.
o Some activities from the Pre-entry Curriculum Framework (PECF) have been added to the sample activities for ESOL Entry 1 Reading and Entry 1 Writing illustrating the cross-over between the PECF and the ESOL Core Curriculum.
o The glossary has been reviewed and integrated with all the other core curricula into a single glossary.

Additional documents

o There is now a holistic overview providing an example of how the PECF can be used embedded in a vocational context (floristry). A visual overview indicates how a learner centred approach can draw on the PECF to inform teaching and learning and the progression towards vocational target skills. Individual, more detailed, documents can be accessed by clicking on the overview. These include :
• a personal profile

• an individual learning plan

• the groups’ individual targets

• itemised numeracy, communication and literacy, and vocational targets

• a learning plan for individual differentiation

• scheme of work

• a range of explanatory documents including some guidance about why person centred planning is important, explanations of teacher planning and the wider learning context for person centred planning
o There is a second holistic overview providing an example of how the PECF can be used to support person centred teaching and learning for learners with profound and complex learning needs using earlier Milestones.

Individual, more detailed, documents can be accessed by clicking on the overview. These include:
• a learner profile

• an individual learning plan

• communication, numeracy and personal skill targets

• a lesson plan showing how individual targets are selected for particular sessions

o A wide range of guidance documents.

Most of these relate to working with adults with profound and complex learning needs

PECF on the Embedded Skills page

o Task analysis diagrams: These diagrams show how literacy, language and numeracy are integrated in real everyday life, study and work tasks, at a range of levels from pre-entry to Level 2 of the national standards.
o Integrated skills: These diagrams provide suggested activities for specific tasks which involve language and literacy and/or numeracy at a range of pre-entry levels: Car valeting and Making flower arrangements.

The Pr entry Curriculum framework is still available at the old location at Read Write.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Going for an eye test

Look Up website features a DVD You and Eye for adults with a learning disability .Its about the importance of eye care and vision. The film can be watched online and is available in 5 chapters/films. Alternatively a copy can be ordered via their website.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Bird nesting in Scotland

My friend Jane has sent me this picture of her Easter hen with eggs.I love the way the hen is displayed in all her glory on the front wall.I think this could make a good creative arts projects with my students.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Happy Easter

ImageChef Word Mosaic -

Thanks to The Generator blog for the link to Image Chef.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Ideas from the Heritage Project

The Access to Heritage project was set up by Liverpool Mencap in 2005 to find out what could be done to make heritage venues accessible for people with learning disabilities.
The project has successfully engaged adults with a learning disability in the environment around them by creating a multi sensory experience.I have listed some of my favourites below:
A sensory box with mirrors on a table to see and touch the ornate designs on the ceiling.
Mrs Beeton's
Recipe books with smells of herbs
ellow phones that push out smells and sounds
Digital picture frame showing pictures of members of the Access to Heritage Group dressed in Victorian style with piano music.
A sensory glove to record the sound of touching different objects
Craft workshops to
produce rubbings from the timber framed building, modeling food workshop inspired by the kitchen
Dressing up in
Tudor style clothes.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Imagine Symbols

Imagine Symbols .This set of symbols is available free for non commercial use.The symbols are designed for AAC users with limited literacy skills.The files can be downloaded by giving name and contact details. The Zip file is 291 MB and took me 10 minutes to download. I read about this on " Les Infos Flash" .Once downloaded the files are neatly categorised into different folders such as House. The House folder is then divided into rooms such as Kitchen, Bathroom and Laundry.

Contributors Wanted

I love writing my blog but it takes up a lot of time. I am looking for people to help write Teaching Students with Learning Difficulties If you would like the opportunity to share your knowledge and ideas why not think about becoming:

A one off contributor. If you have something exciting to share send it in and I'll publish.
An occasional blogger.Contribute when you have every time e.g. every 1 to 3 months.
A regular blogger- Contribute once a week.
or you could
Email me with information which I can use to write a blog entry.

The blog is about teaching students 16+ with a learning disability/difficulty and I write from the perspective of a teacher within the Further Education Sector in the UK. I also want my blog to be useful to teachers and other professionals who work with adults and young people with a learning disability and so am interested in contributions on a wide variety of subjects and issues not only from lecturers and teachers but other professionals who work with adults and young people with a learning disability in other organisations. Contributions from outside of the UK are also very welcome.
If you think you would like to help write the blog why not email me?

Image from
Hiking Artist

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Writing and Telling Stories for Adults

Reading for Pleasure has just been launched by Niace . The site is primarily a Skills for Life resource but may be relevant if you are working with Adult Entry level groups on developing reading and story writing skills.
It has a section on
Story telling which has lesson plans and ideas as well as a Professional Development Unit which can be used towards the Institute of Learning CPD requirement.
The CPD story telling objectives:
To develop an appreciation of the importance of stories for adult learners.
To develop skills in locating stories with relevant themes
To develop an appreciation of the value of visiting storytellers and ways of
using them effectively in the classroom.
To develop an understanding of the value of storytelling as an empathetic
To develop an appreciation of using community resources.
To gain practical advice on how to get support from local libraries, the arts
council and the local community.

Tell us Your Story ! from has a creative writing resource to download . The download gives ideas for creative writing sessions. It was originally used in a project called Days Like This in 2008 which aimed to get people in Scotland ,including those with learning disabilities writing Personal stories.

If you are interested in Sensory stories for adults with learning difficulties take a look at Bag Books .

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Cookery Milestone 4-8
Today we made
Roasted Vegetable Pasta (BBC Recipe )
I made an ingredients and utensil picture prompt sheet which you can
download from my 4-Shared files.
Most of the images I used came from the
British Nutrition Foundation .