What the lesson is about
If you peered inside my classroom you would hopefully see a busy, talkative, and engaging environment; a small group of pupils working together on the computers, while another is gathered by the interactive whiteboard. I might be talking to some children at my table, while others work independently on assignments, writes Colleen Lennon.
What you might not guess is that this group of pupils comprises children with disabilities working alongside those with none. All are given an outlet to express themselves at their level and choose various forms of technology to communicate.
To engage my highly visual pupils, I began to use the digital camera. Instead of reading from our word wall in the classroom, I took pupils on "digital scavenger hunts" through the school. We walked the halls, looking for common words on, say, bulletin boards, and snapped pictures of them. We loaded the words on to the classroom computers and used programs such as SMART Notebook and Paint to make our own digital word wall and create sentences with the snapshots. The pupils then illustrated their sentences, added pictures and made e-books.
I expanded the concept of "digital scavenger hunts" to other curriculum areas, as we began to search for simple machines, 3D objects and map making. We used programs such as Flixtime (flixtime.com) to narrate and add text.
The pupils shared their finished projects in an interactive display which built their social and presentation skills. Most importantly, they had fun and were proud of their work.
Make your school an inclusive environment with a guide from Mayer-Johnson.