2000 Conference Proceedings

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ADAPTING THE THEMATIC PRESCHOOL UNIT

Jo Meyer, President
SoftTouch
4300 Stine Road #401
Bakersfield, CA 93313
Phone: 661-396-8676
FAX: 661-396-8760
Toll Free Orders: 1-877-SoftTouch

Thematic teaching provides preschool children an opportunity to learn through the magic of play. This presentation will demonstrate how to you can use SoftTouch's "Old Mac Donald's Farm Deluxe" to begin your thematic unit. Various ways to adapt your curriculum with off computer activities will be demonstrated using Overlay Maker(R) and Print, Play and Learn #1 --Old MacDonald.

This workshop is perfect if you want to:

For the special education teacher, thematic teaching can be very effective, because it organizes thought processes and gives a coordinated language base. The challenge special education teachers have, is not finding curriculum, it is adapting the curriculum to a wide variation of students placed in the classroom. Most classrooms have a variety of students with many different cognitive levels as well as different physical challenges. Materials and software programs need to be adapted so many skills can taught.

This presentation will show how SoftTouch software can present the starting point for a thematic unit. The focus of this presentation is to provide teachers with not only multi-sensory accessible software but also the tools and materials that will empower them to create and adapt off-line materials to support their curriculum. The newly released "Old Mac Donald's Farm Deluxe" provides a variety accessible activities for students learning to use a mouse, switch and IntelliKeys. In addition to just enjoying the sounds and animation of the farm animals there are six major modules that have been developed to promote language development, fine motor skills and comprehension. Students learn to match animal mothers with their babies and with written text. They are developing fine motor skills as they master early mouse tracking skills. Several activities have additional sounds and animations to attract students who are learning to respond to simple sounds and colors.

Teachers, therapists and parents are finding that their students are learning skills that are transferring to off-line activities. Participants will receive a complimentary copy of the Print, Play and Learn #1. This will provide the opportunity for teachers to extend the skills being introduced on the computer. The off-line materials are presented on a continuum from easy to more complex. Using Overlay Maker(R) by IntelliTools(R), teachers can print out and laminate materials that give students many opportunities to practice the skills that meet their IEP goals.

Students begin by matching pictures and progress to matching words to pictures. Fine motor skills begin with simply drawing a line from a momma to a baby to tracing the path to help the momma and baby get through a maze. The graphics presented in these activities range from black line drawings, cartoon images and real photographs.

The off-line activities focus on areas several specific areas of cognitive and motor development. Using the materials presented in the thematic farm unit the participants will see how these materials have been used in preschool classrooms around the country to develop the following skills:

  1. Eye-hand coordination
  2. Visual discrimination
  3. Thinking skills such as deductive reasoning and observation
  4. Problem solving
  5. Pre-math skills
  6. Pre-reading skills
  7. Teaching worksheet skills
  8. Word puzzles
  9. Creative drawing

This presentation will give the participants the opportunity to see how to extend thematic units from the computer to off-line activities. Once teachers have printed the materials from the Print, Play and Learn #1--Old Mac, they will be encouraged to change the graphics and apply the same strategies to other curriculum based units. This is only the beginning and provides the tools and information to enhance many units within the preschool curriculum.


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