Friday, March 29, 2019

Flipgrid + ECC =Success!

Image graphic that says Teach the ECC using Flipgrid

Have you heard of Flipgrid? Before I can tell you why it's so awesome, let me explain what it is.
From the website: Flipgrid is the leading video discussion platform for millions of PreK to PhD educators, students, and families in 180+ countries. Teachers set up "grids" which are topics. Teachers post questions or topics and students comment on them individually with their own video. General education loves using Flipgrid. I'm always thankful for our education technology specialist who keeps me in the loop of these things. We tested it with our AT specialist and realized that Flipgrid is very accessible (especially on Apple products with VoiceOver). Now that I understood what Flipgrid was, I knew I could use it teach the Expanded Core! The first thing I do is head to my ECC assessment tools and start making a list of EVALS skills. This helps me infuse skills into lesson plans. I always write lesson plans so I can focus on what my objective, procedure, ECC skills and instruction cues will be.

How can you use Flipgrid to teach the Expanded Core? 
This is an awesome idea for itinerant teachers. It allows me to do a lot of teaching remotely. I can post topics/questions/assignments and then students can respond to them. I use it in a variety of ways. Flipgrid is very helpful because it allows me to teach students who live close and students far. I currently have students that live 2 to 4 hours away from me. Important: you can't teach everything from the ECC on Flipgrid. But you can teach a lot of things! In fact, simply using Flipgrid is an ECC lesson because it alone has ECC skills. I love when I hear my students using VO when starting their videos. 

 I've included some screenshots. Below you will see my homepage with 3 of my most current "grids" (or topics). I use them in a variety of my classes. Currently I have 3 live grids: Study Abroad Canada, Accessible Arts Academy and Expanded Core.

Screen shot of Flipgrid screen with 3 grids on it.

Screenshot of the topic details page in Flipgrid

I post a variety of topics each class. This allows you to encourage students to "field trips". I assign students to do certain tasks and then video their responses. Don't just limit it to you (as the teacher) posting assignments. For my Study Abroad Class, I have a few students who are leading the discussions and posting topics. As the teacher, you can grade, provide feedback, etc. to students. I even invite guest teachers to join me and help teach. 

Screenshot of videos list posted by students.
It's hard to coordinate your schedule and student's schedules but Flipgrid allows you to (almost) have an authentic conversation on your own time. I post my topic/assignment/lecture thought and then I give a deadline for my students to reply. I also love that Flipgrid connects students. They don't have to be in the same place to interact with each other. They can reply directly to other's videos. It's a great way for students to get to know others. I also have my mentors join me as guest teachers (or called "co-pilots" on Flipgrid). 

Another feature that I like is that this mainstream general education. My students are using the same educational technology that their peers in their own school are using. They learn to upload videos, links, etc. and develop their tech skills. You can also use Flipgrid for PLCs!

Screenshot of a video Flipgrid page with a teacher making a funny face.
I've used Flipgrid for discussions, assignments, quizzes and even field trips! Sometimes I take my students on a "field trip" somewhere and video where I am or I have them take me on a field trip to show me how they would access a location. There is a time limit for a maximum of 5 minutes per video. I like that because it allows me to give direct feedback on a particular skill. They may have multiple videos that go with that skill and they can upload as many as they want for the assignment. I can give direct feedback to each video. 
We have a lot of fun taking the "selfie" for each video. We always end our videos and take pictures with a funny face. It's a fun tradition that we have in our Flipgrid discussions. I love how effective I can be utilizing this tool. There are so many ideas floating around on how general education teachers are using Flipgrid. I check out YouTube and other EdTEch sites to get ideas because I want to align how I use it with general ed. It allows me to teach my students to use Flipgrid like their sighted peers. 
Here's a tutorial on using Flipgrid:
My last idea for using Flipgrid: use it with your parents! As teachers, we have a special responsibility to teach our parents about the Expanded Core. Use Flipgrid to connect to your parents. You can take videos of their children doing lessons with you or to share bits about the ECC. It's vey easy for parents to learn, too! I'd love to hear how you use it for your ECC lessons.  I'll keep posting my ideas, too!

Friday, March 22, 2019

ECC Assessments

Hello friends!
Did you think I quit writing here on The Bee? I didn't!! I've just been busy on my social media accounts, 9MoreThanCore and developing SO many new programs. It's been busy and I have felt awful that I have neglected The Bee. Have no fear, I am here!!

I find that many teachers are unsure about using ECC assessments. I whipped up a little image to help you see what assessments you should be using for the Expanded Core.

First, you need a screening tool. There are a handful of awesome ones that I love.
Here's a few links to some great screening tools:
The first one comes from the site EA Rubrics under the supervision of Dr. Karen Blankenship. Save this link because it has a ton of great resources for teachers of students with vision impairments:
The other site is another treasure of items. It's Teaching the Visually Impaired by Carmen Willing. She has a really nice organized ECC Screening Tool: I recommended becoming a member of her site. She has a lot of great resources.

Dr. Karen Blankenship advises all teachers of students with vision impairments to complete all three--FVA, LMA and ECC Screening Tool on a yearly basis. Many teachers are unaware of the resources that we have for ECC Assessments.  Our resources cover birth-21 and include students with additional disabilities. There truly is something for everyone! I encourage all my teachers, both itinerant and classroom to make sure they have access to EVALS. The EVALS kit includes the Independent Living Skills Assessment, Basic Skills Infused Skills Assessment, EXIT Assessment and  the EVALS ECC areas such as pre-Braille.  It can be purchased from TSBVI:

Make sure you are completing the appropriate ECC assessment for your students and utilizing these awesome tools!
Happy ECC-ing!