Saturday, 31 January 2009

Music Music Music

Here is a list of music I have used with my milestone 4-8 and Entry 1 students with learning difficulties.
Bohemian Rhapsody by Dandy Warhols
Used with a powerpoint of class photos as a lesson start .See my
blog entry Alternatives to Hello Songs

Bill Withers Lovely Day is a great track to accompany a powerpoint or Animoto video see my blog Using Photos

Also take a look at Music videos of the day from Teaching Learners with Multiple Needs blog

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Using You Tube Offline

Sept  2012
Zamzar can no longer be used   to download You tube  videos  and I can no longer work out how to use  You Tube off line: NO clear instructions

Sometimes it is not possible to use You Tube in the classroom. The site may be blocked or the video can freeze or be very slow.
To get over this you can view videos offline by using a web site that will convert and allow you to download the video.
You Tube off line works very well if you use Quick Time or I Tunes to view videos as it produces a file in MP4 format . If you want to use Windows Media Player then use another website called Zamzar and when selecting the file format choose to convert to avi . When using Zamzar don't expect to download and use immediately as a link is emailed to you and then the file has to be downloaded on to your computer.
Sept  2012

Zamzar can no longer be used   to download You tube  videos
Free Technology for Teachers has a blog entry about a website Convert my You Tube but I have found this only produces an audio track not a video.
Becta forum also has some other suggestions .

Saturday, 24 January 2009

You Tube channel on Accessibiliy and Inclusion

It currently has 22 short videos for example, using adapted keyboards, alternative mouse,alternative keyboard and braille readers.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Snap! Get involved in this years competition

The photos from Mencap's Snap! 2008 are fantastic and are currently touring the country with visits to Birmingham's Chamberlain Square until the end of February, and then Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens from 1 March to 4 April. If you are not able to go and see them in person they can be viewed on The Guardian and Mencap websites.
Snap! 2009 photographic and short film competition is now open for entries .The photos/film can be the work of a person with a learning disability or be of a person with a learning disability (see the rules section ).The closing date is March 9th 2009.Further details can be found on Mencap website.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Teenage Readers

Tar Heel Reader has a collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics designed for beginner teenage readers.Its an American site and each book can be speech enabled (with the American accent) It can be accessed using switches, alternative keyboards and touch screens The books may be downloaded.

I have just used I Love You as part of my Valentine's Day Project.We put it on the whiteboard . The readers in the class read page by page by and early readers were able to join with the repeated "I love you" written in every picture .

You might also find Looking for Signs (from a UK author) useful for Health and Safety

Read a review of Tar Heel Reader on Paul Hamilton's blog

Monday, 19 January 2009

Valuing People Now

An overhaul and strengthening of the 2001 Valuing People has been announced today by Phil Hope, Care Services Minster.

Valuing People Now will be a three-year plan to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities. It builds on the four key principles set out in the original document and will include some of the groups who missed out in 2001 including black and Asian people, those with autism or complex needs, offenders and carers.

Further detail can be read in The Guardian article Government urged to boost funding for learning disability services .
The LookUp Forum also has a
summary .
The Government strategy can be downloaded from the Department of Health Website. An Easy read version is also available

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Accessibility and Inclusion

If you interested in using I.T. in your teaching RSC has information and advice to develop your use of technology and in particular making it accessible to all learners.

There is a page about e-learning tools on the
Support for Teachers page.

The Home page has Best of News-feeds 2008 detailing innovations in 2008

The Technology tab has a section about
Assistive technology for those with additional needs

The web access tab has some videos on accessibility including:

A very good introduction to web access using switch technology.

Web access using alternative and adaptive input devices.
And finally the Accessibility and Inclusion blog is worth subscribing to using an RSS feed.
More information on how to this on my blog entry or from the Accessibility and Inclusion blog The Impossible Task of Keeping Up With New Information.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

More about College Life

The Special School Link group attend college each week to help their transition from school to college. We were invited to a performance by the group which included a rather special rendition of We will Rock You. This was a great way to help the students learn about college life .The tutor wrote and sang the rap.She was accompanied by two students and a CD player.Between them they beat out a steady rhythm on the desk tops with drum sticks.The rest of group provided backup joining in the chorus and clapping out the beat.


(Sung to
We will Rock You by Queen )

Come to ******* College, choose a course that you like,
A course that will help you live your life.
Here’s a few courses to give you a guide,
What’s on offer here, so you can decide.


Creative Arts gives you a chance to explore
How to paint a picture; make a bowl and more,
Designing and creating are the skills you’ll take on,
Using different materials to get the job done.


Cookery can help you appreciate
How easy it is to bake a cake
Cook a simple meal that won’t make you ill,
Then make a good pud, cos you know you could.


Communication Skills might be the one
You’ll learn how to use symbols and Makaton
Mak-ing choices, working in a team
Are how you’ll go about communicating.


Performing Arts could be fun for you,
With singing and dancing and acting too.
Perform in a play, allow your confidence to grow
Make the costumes and props, then your ready to go!


The courses are designed to develop your skills
In making decisions and climbing those hills,
‘Live your life to the full’ It’s important to do,
So they design the learning to fit around you.



Sunday, 11 January 2009

Can't tell the time

My pre entry students can't tell the time and will be unlikely to learn .They can however learn strategies to help them manage time.To tell the time numeracy skills will be at Entry 2 and many of my students with learning difficulties are not at that level.
I have written about the level of skills and the curriculum references in my
previous blog entry about time (last paragraph).
The Pre entry curriculum says at Milestone 7
MSS1/M7.1: and MSS1/M7.2 students will be working on an awareness of time and recognising the names of the days of the week
So when I work on time with pre entry students I am developing:

An awareness of time
Awareness of time allows greater independence and choices. It includes the development of the ability to plan for important events and share news about events in the past and future.

Simple time management
The ability to learn routines and arrive on time .

Simple strategies for time management
This will include

Sign and say the days of the week.
Think about the past.Understanding of yesterday today and tomorrow.
The marking of significant events e.g birthdays,holiday and Christmas,bonfire night.
Awareness of the passing of time
Awareness of the length of time
The setting of targets about time management.

I'd be interested to hear from you if you think differently about teaching time telling and the strategies you have used.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Walter Now - A play about Independent Living and Learning Disability

Radio 4 has a play Walter Now which is being aired on Saturday 10th January at 2.30

The story is about of Walter, played by Sir Ian McKellen, a character with learning disabilities who has been through the psychiatric care system and moves into a shared house with other people with a learning disability.

We are here for you

is a free 24/7 independent and confidential services for emotional and practical support for those working in the adult,further and higher education sectors.
Here is some information from their leaflet:

"Work and family commitments were pulling me in opposite directions. With your help I managed to get some balance back into my life" Lecturer

" I was having a tough time with a senior manager - The support line gave me the confidence to take control of the situation. " Researcher

"I regularly use the Infocentre. The fact sheets cover lots of relevant topics and have also given me useful suggestions about organisations to contact for support and information" Administrator

Support Line Call 08000 32 99 52

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Create your own picture cards

Teaching learners with multiple needs (read her review) has introduced me to a great picture building resource. Mrs (from February 23rd 2009 a subscription only service)
The free trail period is now over.

I have made a cleaning washing and ironing picture card very quickly.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Some Acronyms

First day back after the Christmas break and luckily we had a day to get used to being back at work with a day without students.We spent the day thinking about what is ahead for us in education and particularly working with students with a learning difficulty.
We started with an overview and noted that the LSC Learning and Skills Council will be replaced by 4 bodies who will be
SFA Skills Funding Agency - who will fund adult courses

LA Local Authorities who will fund 16-19 learning

NAS National Apprentice System who will oversee apprenticeships

YPLA Young Peoples Learning Agency who will input into the 14-19 provision

In addition colleges will continue to work with the

DIUS Department of Innovation ,University and Skills and the
DCFS Department of Children Schools and Families

We also considered the implication of ROCPA Raising of the Compulsory Participation Age - currently set for 2013 for 17 year olds and 2015 for all 18 year olds and not to be confused with ROSLA Raising of the School Leaving Age.

We then focused in on the FLT Foundation Learning Tier which will be with us by Dec 2010 This will cover pre entry entry and level 1.

We learnt that each student from the moment they start school through adulthood will have an IPN Individual Personal Number which can be used to track their qualifications and allow credits gained to be banked and used towards other qualifications.

It will use the QCF the Qualification Credit Framework which will allow the accumulation of credits.
All our existing qualifications are being written to fit into this framework.We learnt that funding will be still based on GLH Guided Learning Hours 1 credit =10 hour.

The FLT will have

Functional skills
Personal and social development

and will lead to 4 progression pathways:
To a first level 2 course
Skilled work
Foundation diploma
Supported employment or independent living

so BFN By for now and thanks for reading

By the way I'm using this as a reflection for my CPD Continuing Professional Development IFL Institute for Learning record

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Recognising Coins UK

Here are some resources for teaching coin recognition to students with learning difficulties:

From Readwrite plus web site.Use Page 2 Unit 2 Which is which? An Entry 1 printable resource concentrates on the weight and feel of UK coins.

An interactive money activity about coin size smaller /larger/thicker can be found at the Barking College site . It has no sound and requires reading, so the student will need support to play.

Heads and Tails page 3 from the Entry 1 printable resource from Readwrite Plus also helps the learner to identify the coins by looking at Heads and Tails.

There is also an interactive heads and tails matching activity on the Barking College site

Colour and shape of coins interactive snap game at the BBC website

You can also find my money bingo game to download .(previous blog entry)

What is College like then?

F.E Colleges work hard to help new students make the big leap from school to college .These short videos are from Yeovil College and are a good example of how to present information in a user friendly way. Each course is represented in a 1 minute video. The videos have an short introductory voice over from a student followed by a series of pictures set to music. I like them.

Retail and Enterprise

Communication and Media