Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Toons.Tv- a resource for visual contextual teaching

Toons.TV (on the web, accessible through Safari on iPad, free) is an engaging source of short animated videos useful for building narrative and social cognition skills. The website houses several seasons of the "Angry Birds Toons" series as well as spinoffs such as "Piggy Tales"--it also has selections from one of my favorites, "Shaun the Sheep." All of these series are wordless, and their language-neutral nature gives much opportunities to elicit storytelling from our students, as well as focusing on critical skills such as inference and identifying nonverbal cues, while in the context of topics of interest such as Angry Birds.

I have never floundered to find a quick "lesson" in an Angry Birds or Shawn the Sheep video; in addition to being a context for developing narrative skills such as setting description or retelling, a few I liked from Angry Birds specifically included (along with social cognition or specific Social Thinking® concepts):

Piggies from the Deep- use of humor, the 5-Point Silly Scale
Gate Crasher- flexible thinking, "thinking with the eyes" and "making a smart guess"
Gardening with Terence- talking about physical presence and what it means, making impressions
Do as I Say- "own plan vs. the group plan," humor, emotional vocabulary such as impressed, respectful
Just So- "important vs. unimportant," "Inner Coaching"
Hide and Seek- 5-Point Scales of Problems and the Social Thinking around hide and seek (perspective taking, cause and effect)
Treasure Hunt- "smart guess vs. wacky guess"

Videos such as the above can easily be followed with contextual play activities practicing the concepts or within the theme- for example, after the Treasure Hunt video we conducted an actual treasure hunt using verbal clues placed in different locations, which additionally allowed us to work on keeping our body in the group and other collaboration skills.

A resource I have found very useful in expanding my thinking about using video is SLP (and Ph.D) Anna Vagin's Movie Time Social Learning- she also has a book about using online videos called YouCue Feelings. Also see Tara Roehl's Pinterest boards around motivating contexts such as Angry Birds. I hope you find these resources helpful, too! If you discover other alignments between the videos on Toons.Tv and language or social concepts, please let us know in the comments.

I will be presenting in the Washington, DC area in September for the Center for Communication and Learning, LLC- hope to see some of you there! Click here for details.

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