visitor center banner

Resource File: Early Childhood -- Tools

Annotated List of Susan's Most Used Tools

 

PRODUCTS: Bailey's Bookhouse (Edmark), BIGmack (Ablenet), Cheap Talk (Enabling Devices), Circletime Tales (Don Johnston, Inc.), Intellikeys (IntelliTools), Intellipics (IntelliTools), KidDesk (Edmark), Kid Pix (Broderbund), and KidWorks (Davidson & Associates), Sounds By Me (Golden Book Series), TouchWindow (Edmark)



Picture Communication Symbols
Computers
BIGmack Switch
Cheap Talk
Tape Recorder and Switch
Tape Recorder and Headphones
Record Player
Intellikeys
Photographs
Books
Talking Book Strips


Picture Communication Symbols

Since most of the children in Susan's class are nonspeaking, Susan uses picture symbols extensively to communicate with the children about academic and nonacademic things. For academic activities, each child has his or her own communication board - created at the level the child can manage. Susan uses felt boards to create sentences using a combination of pictures and words. At the front of the classroom, the chalkboard is covered in felt and there are large blocks of enlarged picture communication symbols divided into categories such as feelings, things we do, people we see, etc. Having the symbols organized in this way makes it easy for Susan and the children to access them as needed. For example, during a transition time recently, one of the children hit another child. The child who had been hit grabbed the other child's photo off the symbol center and the picture symbol that had a picture and the words "hate that." He created a sentence that basically said to the other child "Chris, I hate that."


Computers

Susan has three computers in her classroom - an Apple IIE with a Touchwindow (Enabling Devices), a Macintosh Performa with a CD-Rom and Touchwindow, and a Macintosh Performa with CD-Rom. These computers remain on throughout the day. Each Macintosh computer has KidDesk (Edmark) installed so that each child has access to software specifically selected for him or her. During transition times, small group activities, and free choice the children use the computers. Programs such as Bailey's Bookhouse (Edmark), Circletime Tales (Don Johnston, Inc.), Kid Pix (Broderbund), and KidWorks (Davidson & Associates) are on these computers.

Contact Information

Bailey's Bookhouse
Edmark
P.O. Box 97021
Redmond, WA 98073-9721
(800) 362-2890
(206) 556-8400
Fax: (206) 556-8430

CircleTime Tales
Don Johnston, Inc.
P.O. Box 639
Wauconda, IL 60084-0639
(800) 526-2682
(847) 526-2682
AppleLink: DJDE
America OnLine: DJDE
CompuServe: 72350,3143
Internet: djde@aol.com

Kid Pix
Broderbund
PO Box 12947
San Rafael, CA 94913-2977
800-521-6263

KidWorks
Davidson & Associates

P.O. Box 2961
Torrance, CA 90509
800-556-6141 Customer Service
800-545-7677 Sales


BIGmack Switch (Ablenet)

Several children in Susan's class use the BIGmack (Ablenet) switch to say repeated lines in stories during small group times. Susan places a picture communication symbol over the top of the switch that depicts what the switch will say when depressed. For example, right now the class is reading "The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle. Susan has the switch programmed to say "spider." When she reads the story, whenever the word spider comes up, the child presses the switch.

Contact Information

BIGmack
AbleNet
1081 Tenth Avenue, S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414-1312
(800) 322-0956


Cheap Talk (4 button) (Enabling Devices)

Susan has two of these devices and uses them for story readings. The Cheap Talk (Enabling Devices) has repeated lines or characters depicted on the buttons. This lets the children chain together things individuals characters say or do. The voice output is motivating to the children.

Contact Information

Cheap Talk
Enabling Devices
Toys for Special Children
385 Warburton Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
(914) 478-0960


Tape Recorder and Switch

This device is used for the same purpose as the BIGmack (Ablenet) with one exception. When the class sings songs, the music is put on a tape and the children control the tempo of the song by hitting a switch.


Tape Recorder and Headphones

This combination of technology is used during free time so that children can listen to books on tape. The books and tapes are organized in plastic bins on a table with the tape recorder. Several children can listen at one time to a particular book, although this doesn't happen often.


Record Player

The record player is used several times daily to play songs about books or other concepts the children are studying.


Intellikeys (IntelliTools)

This alternate keyboard is used with one of the Macintosh computers to help children use software Susan has customized to go along with stories she is reading. The software (Intellipics) may have characters from the story that say a line when hit. It is also used as a sort of TouchWindow (Edmark) for other nonliteracy programs.

Contact Information

Intellikeys & Intellipics
IntelliTools
55 Leveroni Court, Suite 9
Novato, CA 94949
(800) 899-6687
Fax: (415) 382-5950
http://www.intellitools.com

Touch Window
Edmark
P.O. Box 97021
Redmond, WA 98073-9721
(800) 362-2890
(206) 556-8400
Fax: (206) 556-8430


Photographs

Photos of children, food items, toys, etc., are used as an additional way to help children communicate. For example, pictures of toys and playgrounds(there are two) are on the classroom door. They serve as a sort of checklist so children know what items to collect before they leave the room for recess. On the lunch section of the symbol center there are photos of food items on the menu that day. Susan finds appropriate food pictures by using the old catalogs discarded by the food service employees. This has been a great source of accurate, clear photos of menu items. Susan also has pictures of a lunchbox and liquid supplement for those children who either bring their lunch or use such a supplement so that they can also participate in the lunch order routine of the day. Words appear below the pictures. A couple of the children who are working on sequencing certain tasks like dressing or toileting look at a succession of labeled photographs depicting the event.


Books

Books are always available and almost every activity stems from a book the class is reading as a group. For many of the children in this classroom, interaction with another child or adult is only initiated through book reading.


Talking Book Strips

Susan has several of these devices. They are programmable sound strips that have been pulled off of the Golden Book Series entitled, "Sounds By Me." Each strip is hard plastic - either purple or teal - and has six recordable buttons. Each button holds about 1 or 2 seconds of information. Susan uses them with children in small group and one-on-one settings to discuss stories they have read. She is reluctant to use them in a large group because she finds it more difficult to control the action. She says the children just use them as `busy boxes."


books of resources Back to Resources

visitor center signBack to the Visitor's Center

school busBack to the Bus Route


[ NCIP Home | Library | Videos | Tour | Spotlight | Workshops | Links ]

This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP)  in collaboration with the Center for Literacy and Disabilities (CLD)  at Duke University.   NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by CLD, NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

Education Development Center, Inc.