Friday, January 18, 2019

Playing with Geography

Geoguessr is a web-based game that plops you into an unknown place so that you can attempt to guess where you are. The game incorporates Google Street View and allows you to "drive" around by clicking the arrows; you can also click and drag on the screen to take a "look" at the surroundings.


Students then use a map interface to zoom in on a continent and country and make a guess. The game then reveals the location and how far off you were in terms of miles.

This game can be used to work on academic language and a number of other skills:
-recognizing geographic features, continents and countries
-distance concepts and measurement
-"thinking with the eyes" (looking for clues ala Social Thinking®)
-pretending together via taking roles in "driving"
-persistence and self-talk

Many locations don't feature a ton of context so it is helpful to find a sign and perhaps use a web search to get some information about where one might be.

A participant at a workshop asked today if you can restrict yourself to say, the USA or important landmarks. No, but that gave me an idea. This game uses Google Street View which is accessible via Google Earth (via Chrome browser or the iPad app, just click on the little person icon and drag onto the map). You can certainly structure your own version of the game by placing students in Street View into a location that is more contextual or near a landmark, and instructing them that they can only use the arrows to figure out where they are!

Friday, January 11, 2019

A Story of Shapes

Last year, I started using the new Navigating the Zones kit with some of my groups, an extension of the Zones of Regulation curriculum. This interactive tool focuses on matching situations to feelings/Zone changes and- what I have always felt was the whole point of the curriculum- tools to regulate oneself given a challenge during the day. This is framed as a "Zones Pathway." Around the same time I started working with a HSer I had previously had in a group, this time with more of an academic language focus. I like to think I am not extremely boring, so was somewhat flummoxed when he nodded off 3 sessions in a row. It turned out this was happening across the day, due to an exhausting transition to a new school and involvement in sports. Google Slides came to the rescue as a venue to work this out by interactively creating a visual support and transfer the Zones Pathway concept to a venue engaging to him. Particularly the Slides feature of shapes was useful. Use the toolbar at the top to choose a rectangle, drag it out, and color code it using the paint can. The cool thing about shapes in Slides and Drawings is that you can double-click in them and they become a text tool:



My student enjoyed taking the reins in this activity and quickly creating the shapes himself and added text as we discussed. The tools came from an article we quickly searched for: "strategies to stay awake in class." He evaluated each and decided which ones might work for him to try.

An additional tip: if you locate a graphic organizer you like to use, if there is an image of it, you can insert it in a Slide, place shapes over it and the image/graphic organizer becomes typable. Of course working in Google Suite offers all kinds of opportunities to create and share templates with students and groups.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Happy 2019!

Hi Folks- hope all had a wonderful holiday and I wish you Happy New Year. Just wanted to recap here some of the most popular (viewed/shared) posts of 2018. I look forward to sharing new ideas in the new year!

Book Creator in Chrome

Teaching in Social Media Contexts

Book Creator as a Consult and Individual Therapy Tool

Using Google Slides as a Visual Support and "Workbook"

3 Ways to Motivate and Add Narrative Complexity through Emoji 

Building Context Through Technology

I've also been recapping my ASHA Presentations on the Mindwing Concepts Blog- part 1 here and part 2 (slightly delayed!) coming soon.

Image Credit Leland Francisco via Flickr (CC license)

 
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