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Access Guide: Students with Significant Disabilities > Literacy > Alternate Pencils (including video clips)  

Literacy: Alternate Pencils (including video clips)

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Title

Alternate Pencils (including video clips) 

Description

Many students with significant disabilities have very limited, if any, opportunities to write.  These students may have physical/motor impairments or cognitive challenges that present barriers to writing in a conventional manner. 

 

The Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (refer to http://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds/) has provided leadership in looking at multiple types of “alternate pencils” for these students.  These “pencils” provide alternate ways for students to access the alphabet and begin to engage in the writing process.  The Center’s website provides video clips of students with significant disabilities using alternate pencils.  Direct links to case studies (Jake and Matthew) are as follows: 

 

http://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds/projects/deaf-blind-model-classroom/jakes-story

 

http://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds/projects/deaf-blind-model-classroom/matthews-story

 

 

Louisiana's Alternate Pencil Initiative

Efforts are underway in several Louisiana school districts to support students in the use of “alternate pencils.”  Links to webinars related to this activity are provided below.  Images of strategies related to "alternate pencil" use are found in the chart below.

 

Video/Photo Image (click on titles)

Description

1- Minute Writing Context Checklist

Student’s use of an alternate pencil strategy to write a story, and use of the 1-Minute Writing Context Checklist to assess student’s progress

Adapted Alternate Pencil Keyboard

Use of an alternate pencil overlay that has been modified to further assist student with a visual impairment

Magnetic letters

Use of a cookie sheet with magnetic letters as an alternate pencil tool

Spelling and Math Tasks with Alternate Pencil Inserts

Alternate pencil use for more advanced tasks

Alternate Pencil- Writing Progression  (:48)

This video clip shows a student’s active progression in emergent writing skills using an alternate pencil. The student uses an Intellikeys adapted keyboard, modified with tactile alphabet stickers. The 1st opportunity is a teacher assisted, guided writing activity, while the 2nd and 3rd opportunities depict independent free writing. The clip spans an entire school year of multiple alternate pencil writing activities and shows the student’s increase in purposeful writing interactions.

Alternate Pencil- Alphabet Flip Chart (1:12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternate Pencil-Reading Back  (0:32)

 

 

Alternate Pencil-Requesting Finished

(0:28)

The student is engaged in a “free writing” activity using an alphabet flip chart alternate pencil.  The adult uses the partner assisted scanning technique.  Vocalizations by the student are recognized as the way of indicating which letter to write. The instructor shapes the behavior to build symbolic communication to use a single switch voice output device to indicate “that’s the one”.  Notice how the student is expecting the pattern of letter naming and engagement increases.

 

Student uses a single cell direct select voice output device to read her writing to others.  

 

Teacher acknowledges students choice to stop writing.  Eye gaze, gestures and symbols are used to confirm.

Alternate Pencil-Attributing Meaning

(0:47)

In first experiences with writing, the teacher is giving meaning to the students “reach” to the alternate pencil flip chart.  Teacher is shaping the student’s behavior/response by waiting for him to respond and verbally labeling that behavior. As each letter is written, the teacher gives meaning to the letter by stating words that begin with that letter sound.

Interactive board utilized as alternate pencil

 

(1:18)

The student engages and actively participates independently in emergent writing skills using the interactive board. Boardmaker Speaking Dynamically Pro (SDP) is used to showcase the alphabet in this keyboard format. He attempts to write his name and explores the sights and sounds of other letter writings as well.  The teacher uses some of the student’s chosen letters to model writing words and his name.  He enjoys hearing the letter sounds and words read back to him. He accesses the interactive board several times a day to practice his writing skills.

Alternate Pencils

Writing with Alternate Pencils: Scanning

(1:35)

Writing with Alternate Pencils : Direct Selection – Low Tech

(1:14)

 

Writing with Alternate Pencils: Direct Selection – High Tech

(0:35)

“Alternate pencils” provide access to writing with for students who are unable to hold a traditional pencil. All 26 letters of the alphabet are presented and students dictate their choices using scanning or direct selection. During each writing session, the teacher models use of the student’s alternate pencil, the student writes, and the student reads back his writing. Writing with alternate pencils allows students with significant disabilities to develop beginning writing skills in the same way as typical students at the emergent writing level. 

 

The videos show three different methods of accessing writing with students at the very beginning emergent stage of writing. Instruction focuses on the process of “scribbling” rather than attempting to spell or produce a specific product. Attaching meaning to students’ choices when possible increases engagement and highlights sound/symbol relations. Students use their communication devices to read back their writing.  In addition to developing beginning literacy skills, students have shown progress in intentional responding, switch use, cause/effect relations, attending to task, social interaction and communication skills.

 

Observe: 

Note in the first video, Writing with Alternate Pencils: Scanning, the teacher incorporates recording the student’s writing on the device into the teaching session.

 

In the third video, Writing with Direct Selection – High Tech, note the use of a tactile Braille overlay on the Intellitools board, the use of hand-under-hand modeling, and reinforcement of left-to-right fingering.

 

Additional information on "writing with alternate pencils" is available on the following links:

 

Emergent Literacy Interaction Inventory

Sample IEP Goals

Access Guide - Literacy View

Alternate Pencils

 

 

November 2010 Webinar:  Alternate Pencil - Why Bother? (Introduction) - (First webinar in a 3-part series)

In association with the Louisiana Department of Education's Alternate Pencil Project, Dr. Vicky Roy produced this webinar which provides an introduction to the use of "alternate pencil strategies" for students who cannot access the full alphabet in typical manners. 

 

In order to view this webinar, you must first download the AT&T participant software at the following website:  http://uc.att.com/support/download_attc_participant.html

Please note that this software is only compatible with Windows operating system at this point.  You will then be able to open and SAVE the webinar file to your PC for viewing by clicking on the following address:

http://sda.doe.louisiana.gov/ResourceFiles/Literacy%20writing/Alternate%20Pencil%20(Introduction)%20November%202010.vcr

 

The handout for the November 2010 webinar can be accessed by clicking here:  Alternate Pencil:  Why Bother? (Introduction) Handout

 

November 2010 Webinar:  Alternate Pencil – Getting Started (Second webinar a 3-part series)

In association with the Louisiana Department of Education's Alternate Pencil Project, Dr. Vicky Roy produced this webinar which provides information on basic strategies to use in getting started with the use of alternate pencils for students who cannot access the full alphabet in typical manners. 

 

In order to view this webinar, you must first download the AT&T participant software at the following website:  http://uc.att.com/support/download_attc_participant.html

Please note that this software is only compatible with Windows operating system at this point.  You will then be able to open and SAVE the webinar file to your PC for viewing by clicking on the following address:  http://sda.doe.louisiana.gov/ResourceFiles/Alternate%20Pencil/Alternate%20Pencil%20(Getting%20Started).vcr

The handout for the webinar Alternate Pencil (Getting Started) Webinar can be found at the following link:  http://sda.doe.louisiana.gov/ResourceFiles/Literacy%20writing/Webinar%202%20Alternate%20Pencils%20-%20Getting%20Starting.pdf

 

 

April 5, 2010 Webinar:  Alternate Pencils:  Advanced Strategies (Third webinar in a 3-part series)

In association with the Louisiana Department of Education's Alternate Pencil Project, Dr. Vicky Roy produced this webinar which addresses advanced strategies in supporting students' use of an "alternate pencil." 

 

In order to view this webinar, you must first download the AT&T participant software at the following website:  http://uc.att.com/support/download_attc_participant.html

Please note that this software is only compatible with Windows operating system at this point.  You will then be able to open and SAVE the webinar file to your PC for viewing by clicking on the following address:

http://sda.doe.louisiana.gov/ResourceFiles/Alternate%20Pencil/Alternate%20Pencil%203.vcr

 

Note that there is a "false start" to this webinar.  The webinar does not actually begin until one minute and 45 seconds into the session, and the screen image (PowerPoint slide program) does not begin until two minutes and thirty-one seconds into the session.

The handout for the April 5, 2010, webinar can be reached here:  Alternate Pencils" Moving beyond "Let's Write"

 

 

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Created at 2/5/2009 2:53 PM  by Nanette Olivier 
Last modified at 8/2/2011 7:33 AM  by Nanette Olivier