I’m not sure if anyone else subscribes to Scholastic’s magazine, “Instructor,” but I often enjoy reading articles that can help me improve my speech sessions. I came across a really interesting article in the Spring 2012 issue. The article claimed that texting on a cell phone can actually improve spelling in kids. My first thought was, NO WAY could that be possible. As I read on though, the article mentioned a lot of interesting facts that had never occurred to me. I wanted to share them here! A recent Nielson survey states that the average American teen texts 3,339 messages per month. How can we use this information to help the students we teach every day? According to the article, two recent studies have proven this idea to be true. A British study that was published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning concluded that texting helped in the development of phonological awareness and reading skills. The second study was published in the Australian Journal of Educational Development & Psychology and concluded that texting improves spelling because phonological skills are also increased. Here are a few ways the article advocates for texting:
- Texting helps students read: Children have to often become creative when texting to help them shorten their messages. An example of this is “C u l8ter” for see you later.
- Texting boosts phonology: When being creative with texts which can be seen in the example above, children must understand how sounds and letters are put together. Texting allows children to be able to do this on a daily basis.
- Texting is a fun way to play with words: Essentially, texting is writing, and why would we ever stop a group of children from writing? ::Especially when its hard to get them to even start in the classroom::
- Inventing new textisms is creative: Having to abbreviate words is not easy to do. By creating textisms such as “gr8″, children have to use creativity to make texting quicker.
But how can I stop children from texting in the middle of class? Firstly, why do we need to have children STOP completely? This article also showed me how to incorporate texts into my classroom so that children are doing work while doing what they enjoy at the same time. They listed some incredible resources that I just had to share:
- classparrot.com: This website is a “hassle-free way for teachers to text their students.” Teachers can remind their students of upcoming exams (test Monday!) and send homework and event reminders (class trip tomorrow, don’t forget to pack a lunch!). The cool thing about this website is that parents can also be added to the contact list, which is great when working with younger children who don’t have phones of their own.
- polleverywhere.com: This website is a way to gather live responses in any venue: including schools! You can easily creat polls that can be text to students who then respond. Students can then view the results of the poll.
- studyboost.com: This website allows teachers to create study questions and have their students discuss them via text messages.
- clickerschool.com: This amazing website allows students to choose multiple choice and short answer questions via cellphones.
One of the biggest things that I took from this article was that I am no longer going to ban cell phones from my class, but rather, try to incorporate it as often as I can. By doing so, I can hopefully provide an environment that is more exciting and most importantly, motivational!
Have you already used texting to assist in your classroom? Share with us at Speechbop!
You may often hear speech pathologists and teachers discussing a child’s “pragmatic skills.” “Pragmatics” is a word that simply means the use of language in social contexts. An example of this can be seen through a variety of things that we do during effective communication. Examples are as follows:
1. Greeting: One important aspect of pragmatics is appropriately greeting individuals.
2. Eye contact: Maintaining appropriate eye contact during conversational speech is a very important skill so that the talker knows you are listening.
3. Facial expressions: The ability to use appropriate facial expressions as storiesor conversations change.
4. Posture: Demonstrating appropriate body posture (not hunched over) when talking or listening.
5. Nodding: The ability to nod or demonstrate understanding of what is being said.
6. Intonation: The ability to change your tone or intonation appropriately to match the mood of the conversation.
7. Request clarification: Another important aspect of having effective communication is requesting clarification when something is not understood.
8. Topic: Another pragmatic skill involves maintaining the topic of conversation. Some children will hear a word or part of the sentence and then go off topic to discuss something else. It is important to bring them back to the original topic.
There are several other pragmatic skills such as politeness markers, giving explanations and appropriate imitation. Above is a list of some of the ones that I look closely for. If you suspect that a child has a Pragmatic Language Disorder, contact a speech pathologist. One standardized test that can be given is called the Test of Pragmatic Language-2 (TOPL-2). This is a norm-referenced test that provides important information and assists in program planning. Remember that strong pragmatic skills are important to achieve effective communication!
Last week I was at a client’s home when I stumbled upon a book that sparked my interest. The book entitled Rolling Along with Goldilocks and the Three Bears is “the familiar folktale with a special-needs twist.” What I love about this book is that it has all the details of the actual story but the baby bear has special needs and uses a wheelchair. Instead of him having a “small chair,” he uses a special chair with a tray. Baby bear also discusses how he goes to physical therapy to help him “get stronger.” This made me curious to see what other books might be available for special needs children. A few minutes on Amazon.com revealed just how many there were out there! I figured I would share what I’ve found so you can read with your child or use in therapy!
Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis: A great book that describes all that Susan does. The reader doesn’t find out till the end that Susan uses a wheelchair.
Special People, Special Needs by Arlene Maguire: A rhyming book that describes children with all different kinds of disabilities. Winner of IParenting Media Award.
Don’t Call Me Special: A First look at Disability by Pat Thomas: Young children can find out about various disabilities written by a psychotherapist and counselor.
Rolling Along, The Story of Tyler and His Wheelchair by Jamee Riggio Heelan: An inspiring story of a young boy Taylor who has cerebal palsey while his twin brother Tyler does not. This book explains how Tyler uses his wheelchair to do many things including playing basketball with his brother.
You can check out all of these books on Amazon.com! They have many more but thought I would share some of my favorites! Have a book you love to use? Share it with us at Speechbop.com on Facebook or tweet us at Speechbop!