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Guide calendar iconWorkshop Guide Contents


Workshop Participation

Navigating the Workshop

Week-by-Week Guide

Welcome to the Early Childhood Online Workshop

The Art and Writing Connection: Fostering Creativity Among Students with Disabilities is sponsored by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP) and hosted by Caroline Musselwhite and Pati King DeBaun. This guide is designed to give you an overview of the five weeks of the workshop and a description of the topics for discussion. This guide can be accessed from each page of the NCIP Early Childhood (EC) Workshop Web pages. Look for the Guide icon on the toolbar at the botton of each page. The online version of this Guide incorporates links in the To Do list that go to the relevant part of the site. You can also view or download a text-only version of this Guide from the Workshop Resources page.

We suggest that you review the Guide prior to the start of the workshop, and contact NCIP staff as soon as possible, if you have any questions. Once the workshop begins, check the Week-by-Week checklist and the Tips and Talk Conference regularly.

In addition, to Caroline and Pati, Patricia Corley of the NCIP staff will be "on hand" to help in the facilitation of the workshop. Requests for technical assistance can be directed to Denise Ethier, the telecommunications coordinator.

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Workshop Participation

There will be approximately 80 registrants for this workshop. Our expectation is that all registrants will actively participate by making frequent contributions to the discussion conferences. It is important to become familiar with the conferencing system (HyperNews) as soon as possible. Prior participants in NCIP workshops and workshops have indicated that learning the software took longer than expected but that knowing the software was key to their successful participation.

The workshop will begin with a Getting Acquainted week (February 24-March 2) during which participants will be asked to introduce themselves and get familiar with the workshop pages at the site and the discussion conferences. This week is also a good time to try out the conferencing software by posting to the Tips and Talk conference.

Following the preliminary week, Caroline and Pati will lead the workshop, exploring topics related to fostering creativity among students with disabilities in early childhood. All participants will be involved in the Topic Discussions. In addition, participants may elect to take part in the Activity Center and/or the Offline Challenges to extend their participation.

Topic Discussions

There will be four topics explored during this workshop. Each topic will have a discussion conference and related resources in the form of an overview, case examples from the NCIP Early Childhood Tour, a reference list, and links to other Web sites. The four topics are:

Books for Learning, Books for Enjoyment

The Art and Writing Connection

Building Success in Writing

Making Writing Fit in Your Busy Schedule

Beginning March 3, each Monday during the Workshop, the discussion will move to a new topic discussion area. For a full description of the four topics, see the section entitled: A Week-by-Week Guide to the Workshop.

Activity Center

In addition to the Topic Discussions, you may elect to take part in the Activity Center. The Activity Center is an extension of the Topic Discussions that gives participants an opportunity to work hands-on with the concepts discussed during the workshop. Each activity participant will design a storybook-centered emergent writing activity. As they design their units, activity participants will get feedback and additional ideas fom Caroline and Pati and the other activity participants. For those who wish, at the end of the workshop, NCIP will disseminate the activities on the NCIP Web site.

Because the work on the activities builds over the four weeks, those who wish to participate in the Activity Center should "sign up" before the start of Topic 1 on March 3 by sending an email to Denise Ethier.

Offline Challenges

If you are participating in this workshop as a group; or, you will be sharing what happens during the workshop with colleagues; or, you wish to try some hands-on work but do not wish to commit to the Activity Center, be on the look out for Caroline's and Pati's Offline Challenges. The Offline Challenges are listed and described in the section, Week-by-Week Guide to the Workshop.

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Navigating the Workshop Web Pages

Major Links

The major areas of the Workshop are all listed on the Early Childhood Welcome Page of the NCIP Web site. These major links are:

Getting Acquainted
For the posting of your introduction.

Tips & Talk
A general discussion area for posting technical questions and general comments. This is the conference to use when you want to post test messages in order to learn the conferencing system.

A compilation of all the resources cited in the Topic discussion conferences. You can find additional resources related to the Workshop, such as a compilation of all the topic overviews in text-only format, and a text-only version of the Workshop Guide.

Topic Areas
Each Monday beginning March 3, a new topic will be linked to the Early Childhood Welcome Page. From this link on the Welcome Page you can access the discussion area, the topic overview, and case examples related to the topic. The four topic areas are:

Books for Learning/Books for Fun (Mar 3)

The Art & Writing Connection (Mar 10)

Building Success in Writing: Story Construction (Mar17)

Making Writing Fit into Your Busy Schedule (Mar 24)


Activity Center
For those participating in the designing of an emergent writing unit.


Note: For a graphical representation of these links, see the Workshop Map.

The Toolbar

A "toolbar" at the bottom of each page in the Workshop will help you navigate the workshop pages.


On the toolbar, you will find:


ncip home icon

NCIP home to go to the NCIP home page.

EC welcome icon

EC Welcome page to go to the Welcome page of the workshop.

EC guide icon

EC Guide to access the guide.

activity icon

Activity Center to go to the Activity Center Discussion.


early childhood tour icon

EC Tour will go to the first page of the NCIP Early Childhood Tour.

help icon

The Help button on the toolbar will create an email message which you can send to NCIP staff for assistance.


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Week-By-Week Guide

Workshop Schedule:

Week 1 Feb 24-Mar 2
Getting Acquainted

Week 2 Mar 3-Mar 9
Books For Learning/Books For Fun

Week 3 Mar 10-Mar 16
Art & Writing

Week 4 Mar 17-Mar 23
Building Success in Writing

Week 5 March 24-Mar 28
Making Writing Fit in Your Schedule


Week 1: February 24-March 2
Getting Acquainted

This week is intended to help participants get to know one another and the resources for the workshop. We'll talk about our backgrounds and our prior experiences with working with students with disabilities in early childhood classrooms. During this preparation week you will have an opportunity to learn more about the goals and process of the workshop, become familiar with the online environment, and meet other participants.

 What To Do Checklist:

Go to the NCIP Web site and become familiar with the Early Childhood Event pages

Set a bookmark (Netscape) or Favorite page (Explorer) for the Early Childhood Event Welcome page

Try out the conferencing system by posting a message to Tips and Talk

Read Caroline's and Pati's Introductions

Post your introduction to the Getting Acquainted conference.

Explore the NCIP Early Childhood Tour and other resources

(If you haven't already, and you wish to, sign up for the Activity Center by sending an email to Denise

Please return your Pre-Event Questionaire!

Activity Participants:

Review your activity packet


Week 2 March 3-March 9
Topic 1: Books for Learning/Books for Enjoyment

This week presents a review of basic philosophies, including the importance of repeated readings and the idea of using a storybook-centered thematic approach. A classroom should have a range of both types of books, as well as poetry anthologies, music books, and many other book types.

During this week, we will discuss the concept of identifying these types of books, how to use Books for Learning in storybook-centered thematic units, and share our ideas for promoting freedom of choice for Books for Enjoyment.

 What To Do Checklist:

Go to Topic 1 Books for Learning/Books for Fun area and read the Overview and accompanying resource materials for Topic 1.

Read Caroline and Pati's introductory postings to the Topic 1 Discussion.

Post your own thoughts about the topic.

Offline Challenge
Use the Books for Learning checklist as a small-group task with a couple of your favorite books. Then have each participant take a different book, use the checklist, and share information. Remember that you are trying to match the literacy and language needs of your class.

Activity Participants

Choose a book that you like and evaluate it using the Books for Learning Checklist. Then use the format presented in Favorite Books for Learning to write a book review with goals.

As part of your Activity Packet, you have access to four Communication/ Literacy Profiles. The descriptions of the students and the sample Literacy Infusion goals included in those profiles will help you with ideas. Post your book review to the Activity Center so everyone can see it and give feedback!


Week 3 March 10-16
The Art and Writing Connection

This week presents a distinction between free-form art and construction art. Both forms of art have value, and children must have opportunities to experience success in each form. Light tech modifications such as creating handles for paint rollers or stamps, and high tech modifications such as computer software can allow all children to participate more fully and more independently. The link between art and writing is powerful, and must not be ignored in children with disabilities.

During this week, we will discuss free-form art and construction art, how art and writing can connect, and why this is important for students with disabilities.

 What To Do Checklist

Go to the Topic 2 Art & Writing area and read the Overview and accompanying resource materials for Topic 2.

Read Caroline and Pati's introductory postings to the Art and Writing Discussion Conference.

Post your own thoughts about the art and writing connection.

Offline Challenge
Create one of the art adaptations that was posted (e.g., adapted stamps, tacky handle). Try it out with several students to see if it increases access to art. Make any modifications required to customize it to your student(s).

Activity Participants

Using the book you selected in Week 1, design one light tech and one high-tech extension activity to promote independent creativity through art. Post your activities (Remember to include the book title & author), so everyone can see them and give feedback!


Week 4 March 17-23
Topic 3: Building Success in Writing: Story Construction

This week offers sample ideas for early writing success, such as creating cards and lists. The primary focus is on story construction, using activities related to core storybooks, or Books for Learning. Story construction permits the child to use "old forms" (the pattern of a now-familiar story) to create "new functions" (a variation on the old story line). Again, both light and high tech options can be used.

 What To Do Checklist

Go to the Topic 3 Building Success in Writing area and read the Overview and accompanying resource materials for Topic 3.

Read Caroline and Pati's introductory postings to the Building Success Discussion Conference

Post your own thoughts about the topic.

Try out a device or computer Magic Trick. If you don't have the devices or software/hardware combination we suggested, see if you can make it work on similar devices. (For example, many tricks can be modified to work on the Action Voice, AlphaTalker, Macaw, Message Mate, SuperHawk, Voice Pal+, and other devices.

Activity Participants

Use the book you chose in Week 1. Design a simple light tech, device-based, or software-based story construction. Use the old story line, but add new content (e.g., different characters, actions, descriptors used to fill in slots in the story line). Remember to include the book title and author, and post your activities so everyone can see them and give feedback!


Week 5 March 24-30
Topic 4: Making Writing Fit into Your Busy Schedule

This week addresses the realities of life and the fullness of the preschool schedule! Using students who have been introduced in previous weeks, we show sample opportunities for encouraging writing opportunities in existing activities, such as Circle Time, music, science, and so forth. As always, a balance is struck between light tech and high tech strategies. Pre-planning and organization are stressed, with tips for success provided.

 What To Do Checklist

Go to the Topic 4 Making Writing Fit area and read the Overview and accompanying resource materials for Topic 4.

Read Caroline and Pati's introductory postings to the discussion.

Post your own thoughts about the topic.

Offline Challenge
Reflect on the case study provided this week. Share ideas with your colleagues about similar ideas you have used, or opportunities you see for fitting writing into the class schedule.

Activity Participants

Look at your class schedule and think of several new opportunities you can take for infusing emergent writing into your schedule. Post these ideas, so participants can see them and give feedback!

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