Sunday, October 23, 2016

Teaching the Tasks (part 4)

This Tasks GalorePublishing blog entry continues addressing the questions we ask when designing tasks:
We addressed the first question in the blog entry on July 13, 2016 , the second question in the blog entry on August 9, 2016, and the third in the entry on September 18, 2016. This entry will discuss the fourth question:

Is the Task Created Using Visual Cues that will be Meaningful to the Individual Student?

We want our students to look at a task and immediately know how to proceed independently. An important way of conveying this information is by using visual cues to highlight important information and give instructions. Instructions tell the student how to put the separate parts of a task together in the correct sequence. Instructions may be given using objects, pictures, or written words. Think about your students and what types of visual information will make sense to them and then design their tasks using those types.

For this student, objects define what to do. She does not yet understand the meaningfulness of pictures or written words but does know what to do when actual objects are set up from left-to-right.

To help her keep track of her progress in washing the dishes, the dirty ones are segmented into bins. She chooses one from the first bin, washes, rinses it, and then places it in the red container that indicates it is finished. When all the bins on the left are empty, all the dishes washed, rinsed and in the finish bin, she can watch a favorite video. She is independent with this task because the visual cues make sense to her.

Some students do not understand initially that pictures represent actual objects.  A method to help teach this skill utilizes a cut-out jig. In this task, the shapes of the wooden pegs are cut into Styrofoam trays. Under the cut-outs are pieces of colored paper to highlight and coordinate with the colors of each piece. The student finds the peg that fits and matches and then screws the parts together.

The flip book with its pictures, numbers, and words gives visual directions about the sequence to follow when making a sandwich. A student who comprehends the meaning of pictures, can count, and knows pages in a flipbook represent a series of steps, can use these types of cues.

For another child who can read written text, this list gives instructions about packing lunch. The large X’es highlight how many of each category to choose.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 2016 Task of the Month

Our October task of the month uses Halloween-themed toys. Students choose a top from the left side of the tray and play with it in the “Spin” section of the tray. After the top stops spinning, they sort it by color into either the orange or black designated containers. They proceed with each top in the same sequence until they have emptied the tray of the toys and placed each into the correct container. 

Once students learn how to play with the tops during 1-to-1 teaching, we would next make this activity available in a classroom play area as a free choice option. 

The tray is affixed to the box and the containers are inserted into openings cut into the cardboard.  With the materials segmented and stabilized, students do not have to set up this play interest. It is “ready to go” and, thus, more likely to be chosen.