Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hear your writing!

Microsoft Word enables you to have text in Word documents read aloud. When using the computers in the library and computer room, simply make sure the Speech toolbar is displayed.

1. On the View menu, click on Toolbars and then click Speech.
2. Select (highlight) the text that you want Word to speak.
3. On the Speech toolbar, click Speak Selection.
4. To stop Word from speaking the text, click Stop Speaking.
(under system preferences, you can change rate of speech and choose different voices)

Why use this? There are a variety of educational applications:

- Students can listen to their writing as part of the editing process. It is common to misread what we have recently wrote, filling in what we intended to say rather than reading what is actually on the computer screen. Having the computer read it allows us to hear the text exactly as it was written and make corrections.
- Students can practice spelling words through another sensory channel. They type their spelling word then type the word a second time with a space between each letter. The computer will read the word first, then read it letter by letter. You may want to slow down the rate of speech for this task.
- Struggling readers can access information on the internet, even if the text is above their reading level. Copy and paste articles of interest into a Word document. Now they can listen to the information. Buy the way, TIME FOR KIDS is online in digital format..allow kids to "listen" if they are not on reading level.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Day After....

I am sure our students are all a little tired from last nights events. Some may be dragging, and others may still be reeling from the excitement. It's a great day to bring out the body tools from your tool kit, namely heavy work activities. These include:

# WHOLE BODY actions involving pushing, pulling, lifting, playing, and moving

# USE OF HANDS for squeezing, pinching, or "fidgeting"

# ORAL actions such as chewing, sucking, and blowing

Here are some specific activities that might fit into your classrooms or the school environment:

- stacking or moving chairs/books

- ANYTHING with weight to it! (weighted objects such as lap pillow, wrist weights, water bottles filled with sand to carry during transitions)

- tug of war

- jumping (jump rope, hopscotch)

- climbing on jungle gyms

- hanging on monkey bars

- "push of war" between partners

- Twister (great for indoor recess)

- Crab walk to areas in classroom (hands and feet on floor, belly up)...

- erasing, coloring on chalkboard

- yoga poses at the rug

- resisitve toys or tools (clothespins, scissors to cut putty or cardboard

- putty press (flatten putty on wall or desk/table)

- Play-doh Factory presses and molds, rolling pin

- theraputty play-doh(hide and seek with coins, tug of war, cut and flatten to make cookies, roll out to make letters)

- silly putty

- color/draw with crayon on textured surface

- bingo markers

- hole punches

- spray bottles filled with water (classroom jobs such as watering plants, cleaning chalkboard)

- rubber band finger stretches (prior to writing)

- blowing wind instruments, bubbles, cotton balls

- splatter paintings (use thin paint on paper... blow air through a straw and watch the paint move!