In a past post, we described the many uses of Google’s new Jamboard tool, available to anyone with a Google account. Jamboard lets you create a collaborative “whiteboard” for co-creation and is easy to share and therefore work with students in a school setting or via teletherapy.
Over the past months, I have been working with students online and finding new ways to use this tool...the sky’s the limit! One effective way is to integrate methodologies like Story Grammar Marker® into the use of Jamboard as a visual support to elicit and scaffold language. We have mentioned that MindWing’s Digital Icons are perfect for this purpose; just Copy and Paste icons from your downloaded file into a Jam.
A couple of tech tricks in this regard: 1) Speaking of Copy...placing all your digital icons in one Jam, or selections from them, will save you time in getting started with new lessons in different contexts. 2) Name the Jam such that you can use it as a template later, since all you need to do is make a copy.
Similarly, within Jams you can have icons ready to go on multiple frames by Duplicating frames in the frame browser. This would then allow you copious space to represent narrative elements with post-its, text boxes, drawings, or images, all available from the left side toolbar.
So, another lesson idea. I have been working on story comprehension and general language comprehension with students recently by using Epic! Books for Kids audiobooks feature (recall that Epic! is a free resource for educators).
Audiobooks can be chosen for short segments or chapters that make for a zone-appropriate lesson blending auditory comprehension with narrative language intervention.
You may not be willing to go to bathroom-humor-lengths to engage your students at this point, but I am! So, since they asked for Captain Underpants (Dav Pilkey), I checked it out, and delivered!
So, think “same but different” in choosing your content, as there are many series available in Epic!, but the Captain Underpants intro chapters are short, funny, and a great context for language work within Jamboard.
Take the following example and a number of therapy activities within it!
The chapter introduces Harold and George, the main characters of the series. One option you can pursue is visualizing the characters and their actions and the chapters through use of sketches or, in this case, an image search.
- The left sidebar of Jamboard allows you to search Google Images, but a restricted set of options appear when you do so. If you open a new tab and search Google Images itself, you will have more results to work with. Simply click on a desired image and Copy/Paste into Jamboard (secondary click and then use keyboard shortcut to Paste into Jamboard). Remember to consider copyright and fair use guidelines and don’t widely share (say, on your website) images from Google Images.
An additional trick with images is to search for PNGs, which have transparent backgrounds, which the Harold and George picture has here. This gives a clean look and can put on top another background image and look like they are part of the scene (see the last post referenced at the beginning of this article to see how to work with background images)
Icons then come in handy and provide a strategic scaffold. This chapter introduces the characters with attributes recalled by my students here, which we typed into a text box. You can, of course, include your students in adding to the Jam by Sharing it with them (either add them directly or make editable for anyone with the link, and share the link)
You can represent Actions in a chapter to promote visualization of language. In this case, the chapter describes how Harold and George decided to play a funny trick with a sign they saw in their neighborhood. This was represented above with both the Kick-Off, Plan, and Action icons and Post-its for the signs themselves.
Finally, with these students we have used elements of the Visualizing and Verbalizing® program, which uses structure words (e.g., what, color, size, shape, where…), and, later in the program, colored squares (added with the Shapes tool on the left) to represent chunks of language that students have visualized and can now recall (like a comic strip with the images in your mind). These were placed in the Jam to have students recall the events of the chapter.
I hope you’ll find more ways to use Jamboard as a great language/play space!
Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Needham, MA, and consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (www.speechtechie.com), looks at technology "through a language lens." Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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