Need help teaching writing to MR students

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by franny, May 29, 2008.

  1. franny

    franny Rookie

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    May 29, 2008

    I have no clue how to teach my cognitively impaired students how to write (not copy, but actually write their own) sentences/stories. Please help!
     
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  3. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    May 30, 2008

    Do these students already have the ability to read and write words?

    Something that you can try are CLOZE worksheets - these help students get the idea of where words go in a sentence (subject, verb, etc.) You can start out with basic ones and move forward to more challenging ones. This "fill in the blank" skill leads to beginning writing abilities. I have a book from Remedia that we use with some of my kids http://www.rempub.com/Details.cfm?ProdId=3657&category=0 and it has been successful in helping them with both reading comprehension and sentence structure.

    Another thing that helps my students is to have word banks for writing activities, with a "story starter" at the top... so for example:

    The page might say this:

    SUMMER VACATION SWIMMING CAMP POOL HOTEL TENT BALL FISHING FAMILY ENJOY FUN HOT CAR TRIP PLAYING RIDING AIRPLANE

    I spent my summer vacation........ __________________________
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Explain to the kids that they don't have to use those words, but they are there if they want to use them. Even better yet, give the kids the prompt, and then have them brainstorm some words that have to do with the prompt, and write them on the board so that they can add them to their papers.

    Another thing that has significantly increased my students writing/composition skills is the DAILY ORAL LANGUAGE exercises that we complete in class. I got a beginner 1st grade and beginner 2nd grade DOL book for my 3rd and 4th graders (moderate/severe disabilities). We started at the beginning of the year with me "highlighting" the parts that needed fixed, so they knew what was expected to be changed. We slowly phased out the highlighter and they had to find the errors on their own. Now, they are mostly able (with about 80% accuracy) to fix all of the errors on their own! I've been so impressed with them on that.

    If your students are unable to spell/read - you can look into some software programs such as writing with symbols and symwriter. These are "visual" writing programs, where symbols/line drawings pop up for each of the words. Symwriter even allows you to set it so you can only put grammatically correct words in the next spot, and it won't let you put a word that doesn't make sense.
    http://www.mayer-johnson.com/ProdDesc.aspx?SKU=M165

    http://www.mayer-johnson.com/widgit/symwriter/index.htm

    Hope this helps!
     
  4. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    May 30, 2008

    One way I helped transition my elementary EMD kiddos last year from dictating to writing independently was to teach them to "dictate" in a series of drawings and then caption what they had drawn. This helped them retain the storyline while worrying about the mechanics and motor skills involved in writing, and it motivated them because they were telling their own unique stories. It also served as a bridge from the security of dictating and having it read back to the independence of writing from scratch. I slowly faded the pictures and it seemed to work well.

    Another good thing to do is to write, write, write yourself and let them see you. Share your writing with them and let them watch you do it so you have a chance to model the process.

    Good luck!
     
  5. franny

    franny Rookie

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    May 30, 2008

    Thank you sarypotter and teachersk, I really appreciate your help.
     
  6. krisaustin

    krisaustin Companion

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    Jun 1, 2008

    For my students who are able to read and write, I give them sequential pictures. I have them create a sentence for each picture. Sometimes, I give them one picture and them have to come up with 3 sentences about the picture.

    We brainstorm words that would go in the story before we begin writing.
     
  7. franny

    franny Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2008

    Thanks Krisaustin. Where do you get your sequential pics from? Do you make them or are they from a book? I have some "sequence the steps" card games that I could use, but there are only 9 or 10 of those. I would run out of them pretty quickly.

    Anyone else have ideas on teaching writing to my elementary age MR students? I know with typically developing kinder age students, they begin by drawing pictures of ideas or events and then begin labeling their pics with invented spelling, right? Over time they learn to spell and apply that to their writing. I just try doing these things with my students and it seems futile because their fine motor skills are so weak they can't, or won't, draw pictures. In which case, using ready made pics, as suggested above, would be a good idea, but I would need a book or something that had lots of pics to provide enough material for daily instruction. Anyone know of a good resource for pics to write about? Pics that are not too busy or complicated to write about? Any other help with teaching writing?

    Thanks,
    Franny
     

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