Friday, February 15, 2013

February Features: Using Visuals

Today's February Feature is an article about using visual supports from Miss Speechie, from Speech Time Fun. I love that every post I see from Miss Speechie, is relevant to my everyday therapy!

Using Visuals to Teach Older School-Aged Students

When I first started working in the public schools, I was working with middle and high school students.  I was forced to think about how I can teach these students in a way that is different than they are being taught in their academic classrooms.  One strategy I started implementing was visual strategies for every task we worked on.  In that setting, I had a Smart Board, which was great for easily taking Boardmaker symbols or flow charts and placing it in a central location easy for students to access and take advantage of.  Now I work in an elementary school.  Although I do not have a Smart Board, I always print visuals and hang them on my dry erase board.  I keep a cardboard magazine holder near my dry erase board with all of my visuals ready to go.

What skills do I use visuals for?  ALL SKILLS!!  If I want to remind students about grammar rules, I hang a visual.  If I want to remind students of the steps for inferring questions based on stories  heard/read, I hang a visual!

What do my visuals entail?  I try to provide examples and steps for how to achieve each task/skill.  For example, when teaching main idea:

As you can see, I show the steps necessary and the concept necessary to achieve goal.

Another example, when teaching complex directions such as before vs. after:

You can access this freebie visual for responding to basic wh- questions.

What programs/materials do I use to create visuals?
  •      Boardmaker
  •         Custom Boards app
  •         Index cards!!!
  •         Post-its
  •         Visuals from my themed activity packs
  •         Sentence strips

Things to consider for using and creating visuals from Miss Speechie:

  • ·       What skill are you trying to elicit?
  • ·       How can you teach it differently?
  • ·       How can you break down steps on how to achieve certain skills?
  • ·       What program do you have to make creating visuals easy?
  • ·       How can you keep materials and visuals easily accessible?
  • ·       Where can you hang the visuals for students to be able to view easily?
  • ·       How can you prompt students to use visuals to develop skills and carry them over?
  • ·       How can you limit the language as much as possible?
  • ·       How can you add images to help students visualize and understand?

I have provided a fun freebie visual that I use to encourage students to express when they are having trouble and need help!  I do NOT accept “I don’t know!”  Click HERE to access this fun visual freebie!

Those are just a few tips and examples that have worked for me in my therapy room with a variety of students of different ages.  I am always trying to come up with ways to instruct and prompt students so that they can be successful and eventually independent. 

Miss Speechie, M.S. CCC-SLP is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and author of the blog Speech Time Fun.  She currently works with elementary students and private clients in a home care setting.  Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TeacherspayTeachers.