Thursday, March 31, 2016
The Donors Choose acquisition of an iPad and Osmo system have had a profound impact on my students in speech-language therapy.  Having these valuable resources has opened doors for my students to access learning in a fun, relevant manner that excites them while targeting their speech-language goals.  Here are just a few of the countless ways that the Donors Choose donation has come to life in our classroom.

First of all, the addition of another iPad to our classroom has been ever so valuable.  I was fortunate to have one original iPad that my district had provided; however, we had outgrown its minimal storage capacity.  Having a second iPad facilitates learning that is differentiated, allowing the students to break into smaller groups which lowered the student to iPad ratio.  This allows for 1 to 2 students to be assigned to each iPad and also allowed me to expand the applications that I could utilize to meet more student needs.  My students are now able to use the iPad to its full potential and engage in multiple repetitions of their targeted goals.

The Osmo is a learning tool that is so very powerful.  The impact that its addition is to my classroom is profound.  We utilize the Words, Tangram, Newton and Masterpiece applications with the Osmo to incorporate the classroom curriculum into our speech-language sessions in a tangible, interactive, and engaging way.  Each student creates their own profile within the Osmo apps which allows their learning to be designed to specifically meet their needs and tracks their use.

The Words app is certainly a favorite among the students.  Using the Osmo Words app paired with the letter tiles, the students can team up to work together or participate in a friendly competition against one another to determine pictured items, concepts or attributes.  We have also created our own libraries to use within the app by taking photos around the school of items that contain our targeted articulation sound or descriptive attributes.  In addition, we can program vocabulary or spelling words into a library to utilize within our therapy session by taking a photo or using clip art that represents the word's meaning.  Another library that we created helps us learn the meaning of Latin roots to assist students working on determining word meaning through context clues.  From preschoolers that use the app to match letters with sound production to sixth graders competing against one another to determine their targeted classroom vocabulary, all are excited at the prospect of using the Osmo and frequently request to use it.  To have fifth and sixth grade students ask to play Words at recess or bring a friend along to speech to show off what they can do is invigorating and extends their learning beyond our four walls.

The Tangram app is one where students manipulate the different shapes included with the Osmo to form objects.  The app increases in difficulty and is ever evolving to add new items for the students to duplicate.  This app helps incorporate math and geometry standards into our learning while providing a fantastic opportunity for students to work together as a team to solve the puzzles as they increase in difficulty, targeting turn-taking, problem solving, following directions and descriptive language skills. The Tangram app gives students that struggle with social skills, yet are incredibly skilled at visualizing how to create the objects the opportunity to be leaders who are turned to by their peers for help.  It fosters social skill development in a natural context.

The Masterpiece app is another app that excites the students.  Its simplicity allows us to use it to target just about any goal that a student is working on.  The app is designed for students to learn to draw different pictures by tracing what appears on the screen onto paper and video recording their progress.  At the end, it takes a snapshot of the final product and shows a speedy video clip of its creation.  I have utilized this app in several ways that extend beyond the "drawing" aspect.  My preschool students use it to learn how to write their name.  It provides a great record to view their progress! My third grade students have used it to take photographs of curriculum vocabulary lists and use each word in a sentence. The excitement that they show simply watching the video of their sentences being created is remarkable.  We can even email the video to their teacher!  Students that struggle behaviorally with task completion have used the Masterpiece app to record themselves completing their classwork in class.  They show pride in their completed work and are rewarded for their positive behavior as they watch themselves in action.

The Newton app incorporates physic (yes, physics!) into our speech-language sessions as students try to solve various puzzles by bouncing balls into the targets using real life objects or drawing on the surface below.  How does physics apply to speech? The students use articulation cards, photos of mouths producing sounds or items containing targeted sounds/concepts to guide the balls into their target.  Each time the ball hits their object/picture/line, the student must produce the targeted word.  This elicits numerous productions that are also paired with a motor activity to increase the difficulty of the task.  We do not produce speech in a vacuum while sitting still so it is essential that once my students start to master a sound, they are given the practice to do so while simultaneously performing another motor act.  It simulates real life outside of the four walls of our speech room yet provides students with the feedback of correct vs. incorrect productions.

My students and I are so very grateful for the contributions that our donors, Melanie, Kaci, Cards Against Humanity and Gymboree, made towards our project to give us this opportunity.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  The excitement and joy for learning that the Osmo and iPad provide warm my heart each and every day.

Would you like more information on the Osmo System? Access the Osmo site through this link and receive a $5 referral discount when you check out (we all love a discount don't we?).  

Are you thinking that you would like to submit a proposal to Donors Choose?  Here is a link to my project Bringing Words into Our Communication Masterpiece that I described above.

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