Friday, 31 December 2010

Music Top Ten !

Ten tunes from the blog!

Not all are my personal taste- I do like the first four!

Dave Brubeck Take 5
Used with my Leonard Cheshire group for our Plasticine animation

REM The Lifting
Made when learning about Wordle and around the time I was going to an REM concert

Praetorius Dances from Terpsichore Philip Pickett
A calming Christmas tune appreciated by one of my rap loving students

Kate Nash You say the nicest things
Discovered through Niks Daily English activity while learning about stop motion animation

Lady Smith Black Mambazo
As loved by another student an used for a literacy lesson -View on You Tube

Katy Perry Hot N Cold
Also used in literacy. We watched the video, 'read' the lyrics and joined in the chorus which is repeated lots of times ! We also talked about the story.

Susan Boyle A work sheet from Skills workshop watch on You Tube

The biggest aquarium
on You Tube
Something calming for the whiteboard

I'm Every Woman (cover of Chaka Khan classic) Too late now to download for free but visit Action Aid anyway

Happy New Year

I spotted my first top ten list of the year on Facebook today . It was a music list and I seem to be showing my age- the only one I had heard of was LCD Soundsystem !
I'm going to start thinking about my own top ten music, enjoyed in the classroom,discovered while researching ideas for lessons or as a chill out after college.
So while I work on that here are my top ten blog hits for the year. I'm glad to say I have one music entry with my Wordle/REM video at number 2. Most of the most popular hits are for subjects we have to cover as part of the curriculum.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Christmas e greetings

Why not send your colleagues an E-greetings cards from Mencap this year?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Switch games

Switch games

Christmas Presents from HelpKidz learn
christmas presents

frog game

Balloon Bang From Shiny Learning

Balloon pop

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QR codes A tool for accessibility?

There is a lot of information about QR codes and their use in education at the moment
Its something I’ve always been interested in. I would like QR codes to work as a tool for aiding access to information  for young people and adults with a learning disability.  
I saw a good idea for Entry 3 students studying work preparation skills at South Cheshire college

However I’ve never yet been able to put it any of these great ideas into practice.
We don't have I pads,I phones or smart phones at college
Not many students have their own phones with the necessary software and the right contract that allows them to access the internet.
Iphone cameras are still not very good with QR codes
Incidentally if there is someone who can give me an idiots guide to the cost of accessing the web on your mobile device I’d be grateful!

So where do I start?
I thought if I can’t use phones I would try using a lap top and web cam.
I printed off some QR codes
using a QR code creator:
and then looked for a QR code reader for the PC.

I found 

  Flash Webcam 
Still at testing stage but works!You need a web cam and the ability to allow adobe flash You have to hold the qr code in front of the web cam. You then have to use the mouse to clik “Take a his is a Photo” - t which then takes a picture. The QR code is read and the web address /text/ phone number picture is displayed
BAR capture
When you find a QR code on the web that you want to explore you use the Barcapture crop tool. You manually drag the crop tool around the QR code and it takes a picture This then lists the text/link/phone/ geo tag but does not provide a click through . It must be copied No web cam needed.  

You need a web cam. You have to hold the qr code in front of the web cam window(this will appear on your desk top .)
It takes a picture The picture app
ears as a link. You can then use the mouse to click on the link.
The downside for all three methods is that it still needs a learner to use a mouse to click through to a website . I would like to see  an automatic connection through to the web
In terms of ease of accessibility to web sites using picture link sites such as Sqworl , Tizmo or Symbaloo are still better at the moment.

The other problem is that the lap top is not that mobile, and its mine!-
To get the college laptop sorted needs a “computer person” to set it all up.
And all this takes time...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Turning a PDF into a powerpoint

Turning a PDF into a PowerPoint

Open ZAMZAR (This is a free file conversion website)

upload your PDF using ‘browse’

convert the file to .jpg

enter your email address

click convert

in a few seconds the upload will be complete

After 5 to 10 minutes look in your email inbox and click on the link which has been sent to you

You are redirected to the Zamzar website where you download the files . A five page PDF will be presented as five separate files, one for each page

Save to My Documents
Your PDF is now a series of pictures which can be inserted into a PowerPoint presentation

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Using Switches

I've been learning about switches. Here is a presentation I recently shared with colleagues in a skill sharing session

Thursday, 2 December 2010


At college we run a paper recycling round and so I'm always pleased to find new recycling resources which are suitable for students with a learning disability

Thanks to Cheese potato and onion

I've discovered some new videos on recycling from Recycle now

These are a series of short animated films which explain how waste such as paper, cans, glass and food waste is prepared and processed for recycling .Although some of the language and numbers are difficult the message is simple.Recycle Now also have some Green Christmas ideas which are explained in short videos. I think my students could manage the gift bags

See my other blog entries on recycling

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Advent calendar

Nature detectives has an interactive advent calendar. Behind each date is an idea for a Christmas activity

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Widgit has some special resources for celebrating Hanukkah suitable for young people with a learning disability. The resources can be downloaded free from their website.
There is a PDF explaining the story of Hanukkah supported by widgit symbols.
There is a craft activity :
Making a Dreidel.

There are templates available from The BBC and Activity village which are better for making the Dreidel .

The cutting and sticking bit is too fiddly for me so I will be doing a:

The BBC also has a good explanation of Hanukkah

Friday, 26 November 2010

Off limits to online QR codes

In 2008 Big Tree blog featured some work they had done on using QR codes to improve access to the internet for people with a learning disability.You can see the video below:

Now Tom Barrett at has shown how simple it is to use flash cards with QR codes and a web cam/lap top.

He has also produced some INTERESTING ways series which you can contribute to.

I'd like to give it a go . My only hurdle will be getting the software and web cam installed on a college network computer.
Also see my Blog entry on QR codes

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Mencap Snap! at Gunwarf Portsmouth

The Mencap Snap! Photography exhibition is currently on display at Gunwarf Quays,Portsmouth until the 17th November.
Also see blog entry: Snap Winners

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Specials Season 1 on DVD

The Specials have just announced that their award winning season 1 is available to buy on DVD. Cost £16.25 .My entry 1 class have really enjoyed this series.
Also see these blog entries:

The Specials do boyfriends and girlfriends

The Specials

Sunday, 31 October 2010


The season of Winter festivals has begun and this week in art and craft enrichment we are exploring Diwali .
There are some excellent free resources for students with learning disabilities which can be downloaded from the Widgit website.

They can be found under

and includes resources for

Saint Lucia
Gunpowder Plot.
Also see

Rangoli colouring pages and other resources from Activity Village

Teaching News

Simon Haughton has a blog entry about Diwali resources for primary teaching

My blog entry on free resources for Gunpowder plot and Halloween from Makaton

Friday, 29 October 2010


I've watched a few animated Plasticine films and wanted to have a go with my group.
The only problem was that our fine motor skills were not up to scratch for making intricate models.
Plasticine is very hard to start with but if you hold it in a warm hand it soon becomes soft and pliable.
Softening the plasticine became an important job proudly owned by members of the group.
We were all very pleased with our plasticine film and you can watch the film below

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Diversity Training

Some time ago I wrote about the difficulties of handling issues around sexuality Gay and Lesbian students with a Learning difficulty
A Day in Hand
is organising a one day training course .
Founder David Watkins says " It’s a great course for anyone working with children or young people with SEN from complex needs to MLD and who wants to tackled homophobia or celebrate LGBT life."
The course will take place in London on November 25th 2010
The Diversity Training also got a mention in The Guardian on 25th October: Making Homophobia History
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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Supporting a charity

Community Action Entry 1 is an Edexcel unit in the Foundation Learning Skills for Independence and Work Entry 2 qualification

One of the suggested activities is :

'thought-shower the names of any charities learners can think of, which may include medical, animal, environmental, developing world etc.'

I have created a sqworl which is a series of picture links to different charities.
There are You Tube videos from
Africa Street Child

Films on charity websites :
Help the heroes
Action Aid
and some web site links:
Charity Choice a place to look up charities
Canine partners

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Free signs from Makaton for Halloween and Nov 5th

from Imagine symbols

The Makaton Charity
is offering 2 free PDF downloads of

Halloween signs
Firework Night signs

on their website.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


Teaching News has a good listof resources :
Learning about Money to use for teaching money management.

I also have a few of my own to suggest which would work with students with a learning disability:

My previous blog entries on Money

Northern Ireland Curriculum Money Matters

Tar Heel Reader Being responsible at the shops (simple short story about buying onions rather than cakes)

Monday, 27 September 2010


Image: Imagine symbols
I love this blog entry from Autism Teacher about how she set up a tooth cleaning regime in her class and her dedication to saving toothpaste !

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Electrical Safety

This blog entry was updated on 30/10/15.I was disappointed to find how many good resources has been removed by IET and Sellafield

   Spot the Hazard - from EDF electrical safety at home Electrical safety around the home from switched on kids

Electrical safety signs from Classroom activities Sellafield
  Dangers in the Bathroom worksheet Also see my blog entries for Health and Safety

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Snap! Winners

Mencap Snap! 2010 competition has now finished and the winner announced. You can see the winning photos at The Guardian
Mencap are also taking the photos on tour so you can see them for yourself at the following locations:


Friday, 24 September 2010

Remember The Wilderness Downtown

Do you remember where you lived as a child ?

The Wilderness Downtown is an interactive film by Chris Milk featuring "We Used To Wait" by Arcade Fire
I don't think you could watch this at your college - there would be far too much buffering ! Enjoy it at home.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Appropriate behaviour

Greeting This short film can be downloaded from the BBC Learning Zone. A boy is going to the doctor's surgery. On his way he encounters a number of different people. He is shown engaging with them and demonstrates both inappropriate and appropriate behaviour when meeting different people.The film is suitable for using with students with a severe learning disability . The learning Zone also has a good range of short films for students with a moderate learning difficulties / Autism which cover many aspects of relationships and appropriate behaviour.

Bullying Henry has a mild learning difficulty. A boy and a girl who go to his school are bullying him and he's not sure what to do about it.

Dealing with feelings Several teenagers with learning difficulties talk about how they deal with uncomfortable feelings like anger and being fed-up.

Bad behaviour at the cinema Marcel is an autistic teenager. His friend Joe invites him to the cinema. Joe has Downs Syndrome. Other friends are invited too.

Staying out of trouble Henry's got a mild learning difficulty. He's at his aunt's house with his cousin Jade and a couple of her friends. A fight starts and Henry's not sure what he should do.

Inappropriate Attention A teenage girl is being pestered at school by a boy in her class. Both of them have mild learning difficulties. It has been going on for a while

peer pressure and sex A boy-girl teenage couple have been going out together for a few months. Her best friend boasts about having sex with her boyfriend

how not to get a girlfriend A teenage fantasist tries to chat-up two fellow students. It doesn’t go very well.

on line safety A teenage boy is online in his bedroom. He's communicating with someone using instant messenger

Know who your friends are Jodie's autistic. She and her friend John are at a party. All's going well and everyone is having fun until two slightly older teenagers gatecrash the party.

Monday, 20 September 2010


This film is about the recycling process for mixed waste. It is an American on You Tube Recycle Bank but still a useful film because of the good visual presentation . I will be using it with my entry level students .

4 other places to look for resources for teaching about recycling

My blog entry on recycling has a link to recycling games suitable for students with learning disabilities.

Learn Any time :
Reduce Reuse Recycle -links

A quiz about recycling aluminium
(no pictures and requires reading)

A quiz about recycling from Recycle Zone
(no pictures and requires reading)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Relationships-Staying faithful

Will's story from BBC Ouch!
Is a good resource for using with young adults with a learning disability (entry level)
In this story Will finds out his girlfriend is pregnant and he is worried about settling down. He is tempted to be unfaithful with one of Diamond's friend Laura and struggles with the dilemma -Stay with Diamond or go with Laura?
We get to look at his two options .
Also see my blog entry Us 5 from BBC Ouch

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Classroom timers for the Interactive whiteboard

Class timer

From Class tools a countdown timer with sound

sorry to see this is now only available to Kent schools.All schools should be able to use these resources.   

Use this you tube video instead

Using countdown timers in powerpoint

Virtual stop watch

From Jim Luther's Assistive Technology Collection
countDown is a simple standalone countdown timer to download that provides visual and auditory cues regarding the timer's status.