About Me

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I am a special education teacher in England, working in a mainstream academy with a centre for children with learning difficulties. I teach a class of 7 students of secondary age with profound and multiple learning difficulties. These include autism, visual impairment and sensory integration disorder. I love love love my job. It inspires ,enthuses .and lifts me and I never intend to retire. :)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Tobacco tin or iphone ?

As a girl guide many years ago we had to carry a survival kit around in our uniform pockets, which I think practically everyone held in a tobacco tin [for ease of fit but oh so non pc now!]. I still remember what it consisted of : a 2p and a 1p for the phone [now I'm really showing my age :)], an elastic band , a needle and thread, a safety pin, a spare button,a piece of string, a plaster or 3,and something to amuse a child. The latter was left to our imagination and of course the limited size of the tobacco tin . What any 13 girl could really achieve with this collection of random items is debatable but we were regularly inspected on the contents of our tins. One guide meeting during which we were required to be out in the town, myself and 2 friends" foolishly "took our tins out and left them behind feeling they would hinder our running ability. We got a black mark from Captain when we returned as "its when we are out and about that we are most likely to need them" This was before the days of Catherine Tate and "Am I bovvvered" you understand, but I'm sure that was what our faces were reflecting.
Now, recently I was in a house with no toys and 2 very bored little girls , daughters of a friend of mine. Did I wish I had my tobacco tin? No indeed ,I have something much better, my iphone, filled chock a block with things to amuse a child . I'm sure it would have kept them amused for several hours .
Recently a friend of mine on facebook asked iphone users what they had found was the most useful app they had added and I couldn't really reply as my phone is full of silly apps that bring lots of hilarity and laughter from kids of all ages but couldn't really be described as useful. I did start looking for apps that are useful in stimulating and teaching students with complex needs so here's a brief description of what I've used so far:-
  1. soundEFX , a great sound effects app useful for bringing multisensory stories to life or encouraging sound/picture matching. Also entertains 12 year old lads for well over an hour.
  2. PyroMania ; touch the screen and firewords explode , great for cause and effect, or attending to colours and moving objects
  3. ipiper , touch the screen and explore your way up and down a bag pipe -yuk , if you can bear it
  4. bobble zoo ;this one is one of my favorites , featuring several animals and their noise and when you shake the phone their heads wobble from side to side .Such fun!
  5. smack talk. This is fantastic and defy anyone not to laugh their socks off when they first encounter it. speak to the hamster on the screen[or kitten or puppy] and they will repeat it back in a silly squeaky voice. I was delighted when one of my students really understood he was actually affecting the hamster with his sounds and became more vocal
  6. Koipond , you can ripple the water by touching it , hear the splashing sounds and if you keep your finger still in one place the fish all come and nibble it , which actually feels like a little vibration.
  7. flashlight, which is simply that, for tracking and attention work in the dark room and you can change it to colours for a slightly different experience .
  8. I have also added old booth and fat booth for my own amusement. You take a photo of someone and you can change that persons hairstyle to look from the 60s or 70s . similarly fat booth makes you look FAT, in my case like someone in a sitcom wearing a fat suit !
I have also added the"hallelujah button". You press this big yellow button and get a short burst of The Hallelujah Chorus. How very cool is that?
So leave me in a room with any young or older child who needs entertaining and I can not only play them music , I can get them laughing at the hamster , creating fireworks , pressing scream ,witch and fart sound effects. I can make them fat or unrecognisable, and if the battery doesn't die this can go on for hours .

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