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?
- Custom Boards app
- Index cards!!!
- 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.