2001 Conference Proceedings

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Appropriate Teaching Strategies and Scaffolds to
Teach Writing using PixWriter Software

Jean M. Slater, MS
Speech/Language Pathologist
Slater Software, Inc.
351 Badger Lane
Guffey, CO 80820
719-479-2255
Fax: 719-479-2254
www.slatersoftware.com 
jean@slatersoftware.com

PixWriter, the software that allows beginning writers to compose written materials by selecting pictured buttons, now has the additional feature of scanning built into the program. Participants will learn how to make and use the vocabulary setups with students who can direct-select buttons or need scanning. The presentation will include many examples of lessons and strategies on how to move students along the continuum of written language skills to become independent writers. Easy accessibility will result in your students discovering that writing is communicative and enjoyable.

As we acquire new technology to use with students with significant delays to improve their literacy skills, we search for new ideas to help us incorporate that software into the students’ instruction and accomplish Individual Educational Plan literacy goals and objectives. PixWriter, designed for students to use, allows them to select picture/word buttons and, therefore, be able to compose sentences and then hear what they have written. Some students have experienced success for the first time and think of it as “writing without really writing.” (We service providers know that they are writing--and that this tool helps us help them progress and become better communicators through written language.)

This presentation will give attendees many ideas on how to use PixWriter to teach new skills, provide practice and reinforcement for learned skills, increase the quantity and quality of their written work, and compliment the classroom curricula. Many examples of lessons using PixWriter setups will be shared which have been used by students with significant cognitive, physical, learning and/or language delays. Participants will learn how to use the program to move children along a continuum of written language skills. Mastery of one level of skill will lead to learning additional skills. Setups can be adapted for any student’s capability and level of instruction. Participants will learn how students can write one-word entries, expand to sentences, combine sentences using conjunctions and adjectives, write using story maps and other graphic aids, and help determine their own individual vocabularies for creative writing.

The educational lessons that will be shared do not focus on writing subskills such as handwriting or spelling. They do focus on purposeful writing tasks which lead to the student’s awareness that writing is communicative and enjoyable. Based on individual student needs, the level of assistance is determined and built into the activities. Now that PixWriter has scanning capabilities, accessibility is possible for all students. As students’ writing abilities increase, they are able to independently write complete sentences and stories.

All attendees will receive handouts describing the lessons’ goals and objectives, content and arrangement of the vocabulary setups, and expected learning outcomes.


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