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  • Setting the Scene with Clicker


    We have recently published a series of Clicker resources that are designed to help students use adjectives to create oral descriptions of people, places, or objects from traditional stories. The Adjective Options – Places set is ideal for students developing settings for stories.

    I have created a short video to demonstrate one way to use the set with your class.

    Be sure to visit LearningGrids for many more adjective resources and descriptive writing activities.

  • Back to School with Clicker


    It’s the start of a new school year – time to get to know your new class. Younger learners can use our latest Clicker Board Set This Is Me to tell you all about themselves. Students can also use the Clicker Custom Set Interview Me to record a personal profile to share with the class.

     

    The Myself Word Bank provides key vocabulary under the headings of Family, Home, School, and Spare Time to help students write an introduction about themselves. For older writers, the Clicker Set Autobiography provides a more extensive word bank to support their writing.

     

    The start of the new school year is also a great time to set goals for the year ahead, and we have a variety of resources to tackle this task. The Connect Set My Goals provides beginnings, middles, and endings to create sentences about what students need to work on at school. The Word Bank Personal Goals supports more independent learners to write about their targets. The Clicker Custom Sets My Goals One, Two, and Three provide different levels of support to help students of all abilities record their personal goals and review their achievements. And don’t forget to use the Connect Set Our Classroom Rules to write a collaborative list of classroom rules for the year.

     

    Be sure to visit LearningGrids for many more autobiographical and school-related Clicker resources.

  • Talk Sets for Science


    A useful way to enable children to show their understanding in science is to use Clicker Talk Sets. A set to look at on LearningGrids is Reversible and Irreversible Changes – Talk, which looks at six materials and how they might be changed. Students consider whether the changes shown are permanent, or whether the materials can be returned to their original states.

     

    The activity is open-ended – some children might describe what they can see in the pictures while others might give detailed interpretations of what has happened. Some may recognize, for example, that the candle represents both a reversible and an irreversible change. As such, the activity is suitable for a range of abilities.

    Having recorded their ideas, children could use the set as a prompt for writing.

    For other Talk Sets, use the quick search on LearningGrids.

     

    To view all of the science sets available on LearningGrids, click on Science in the Categories section.

  • Listen and Say with a Twist


    At a recent training session, a teacher showed me a really interesting way that they are utilizing Clicker to support new students at their school.

    They had created a Talk Set in Clicker, but with a difference!

    The Talk Set was populated with photographs of the staff. Each teacher right-clicked on their picture and recorded a little message about themselves, including their name, the class they teach, and some of their interests and hobbies.

     

    They use this at the start of the year, or when a new child arrives, to make the experience less daunting, and a bit more fun!

    To see how you could do this yourself, take a look at our training guide.

    I have used pictures of some of the Crick team in the examples here so you might recognize some faces…

     

  • LearningGrids and the Human Body


    Whether you are using Clicker to learn about the parts of the body or DocsPlus to write about the skeleton or Clicker Communicator to talk about the five senses, LearningGrids has something for you. Just search for human body and you’ll find all sorts of resources to support your students’ reading, writing, and speaking.

     

    There are also Clicker Board activities about the senses and skeleton labeling sets. Younger students can use Clicker to match parts of the body. Pulse Rate Investigation is a writing frame and word bank that helps students write an outline of an investigation into the effects of different activities. They can then use the Talk Set Exercise and Pulse Rates to record their results.

     

    Older writers can use a DocsPlus Wordbar to write about the circulatory system or human physiology. Skeleton – Quick Words provides the key subject-specific vocabulary for writing about the human skeleton.

     

    Visit LearningGrids for more resources on the human body and many other science sets.

  • DocsPlus has Arrived on LearningGrids!


    You may have noticed new resources on LearningGrids for DocsPlus, our latest tool for secondary school students. Offering writing support, we have Wordbars covering science, history, geography, literature, and more.

    As a cross-curricular tool, DocsPlus can be used to support writers in all of their subjects. So whether you want to provide access to topic-related specialist vocabulary, offer suggestions to encourage the use of a more adventurous and varied vocabulary, or scaffold genre writing styles, have a look on LearningGrids.

    We will be busy over the summer creating resources to offer broad coverage for the secondary curriculum, so make sure you visit the LearningGrids site regularly to see what’s new.

     

    Use Wordbars for writing in all subjects.

  • DocsPlus' Standout Features!


    We at Crick Software are so happy about the launch of DocsPlus. DocsPlus is designed specifically to support older students.

    Recently the sales team has started doing tailored demonstrations for schools and districts to show how support for students in middle and high school has changed with DocsPlus. Right away we noticed certain features as clear standouts for these teachers seeing it for the first time.

    The first standout being the Workspace feature and all the ways this tool can be further manipulated in DocsPlus. Workspace is essentially a graphic organizer built into the program that allows users to create their own visual aids for learning.

     

    These aids can be turned into an outline or a Wordbar, one of the most useful and handy elements of DocsPlus. This means that a teacher can build a graphic organizer with a student in a way that is most meaningful for them and turn those words into a Wordbar, used for more extensive writing.

     

    Not only does the Workspace make the creation of graphic organizers possible, it makes it even easier than ever before to make Wordbars to support students with their writing.

     

    The other standout feature is the DocReader, which makes it possible for PDFs to be read aloud to students. This means that students can work independently on worksheets, read longer texts with support from DocsPlus, or even use DocReader during exams if they are allowed. The DocReader enables students who struggle with being able to read a longer piece of text to be able to break it into more manageable, speech supported sections.

     

  • Colonial Jobs


    We have recently published some new Clicker resources for students learning about life in Colonial America, with a specific focus on jobs. The resources, incorporating beautiful new graphics, enable students to read, write sentences, and talk about colonial jobs.

    As well as the main reading book, we also have a simplified “Read It Yourself” version of the text, designed to encourage independent reading. In this version, the book pages don’t include a sound button so that students are encouraged to read the book for themselves.

     

    Students can make their own Clicker Books about any of the individual jobs or use the Connect Set to write with more support about all of the trades. More confident writers can use either Jobs in Colonial America A – Z or the tabbed word bank Colonial Jobs to write about the topic.

    In a related activity, students can use Clicker’s integrated paint tools to design their own Colonial Shop Sign. And our Clicker Communicator set enables all students to join in with discussions about different jobs during colonial times – responding to questions such as “What did a wheelwright do?” or “What did cobblers make shoes out of?”

     

    For more history resources like these (including the recently added Find Out and Write About history resource extracts on Ancient Egyptians), head to LearningGrids!

  • Clicker 7 for Older Learners


    When I first began working for Crick Software last summer, I was instantly impressed with how customizable Clicker 7 is. Although used mainly in elementary schools, there are so many ways to tweak Clicker 7 to suit older learners.

    I realized that Clicker 7 would be perfect for my older sister, Aoife. Aoife has Down Syndrome and although she has done many remarkable things in her life (winning a gold and two bronze in the Special Olympic World Games being one of them!), literacy is an area that has always held her back.

    When Aoife began using Clicker, mainly for writing college assignments, there were several changes I made to ensure Clicker was more suitable for her.

    Clicker has two children’s voices – Rosie and Harry in the UK version. Two adult voices, Rachel and Graham, are available from our website. I downloaded these voices for Aoife to use. Both are available to download here (Sharon and Will are available for North America): http://www.cricksoft.com/support/voicedownloads.aspx

    Secondly, when Aoife began to use Clicker it became apparent that the speed of the speech was a little too quick for her to listen back to and process.

    In the Options ribbon tab, I selected Preferences. Within the tab marked Speech, I set up Rachel as the voice and slowed down the speed of speech as indicated below.

    Clicker 7 - Preferences - Speech options

    Another change I quickly made was the font size and style. Clicker comes with a pre-set font of Sassoon, which is an elementary school font. In Options > Accessibility, I changed the font in both the Document and Clicker Sets as shown below.

    Clicker 7 - Accessibility - Display options

    Here is an example of what Aoife’s word processor now looks like. It is set up to be both age-appropriate and level appropriate for her. She is currently in college completing a module on human biology.

    Clicker 7 - Human biology word bank & document

    The stand-out feature for Aoife has been Voice Notes. As she has a poor working memory, allowing her to capture her ideas before the mechanics of writing has made a huge difference. Until Aoife began using Clicker, she would sit with my mom and talk about what she wanted to write about. Voice Notes has allowed my mom to take a step back and let Aoife work more independently.

    All of us, including Aoife, did not think we would find a resource that would make a real difference to her writing, particularly as she is now an adult, but we were wrong. Clicker helps Aoife every day to demonstrate her knowledge in a more clear and coherent way.


  • Talking to schools recently, it’s obvious that there is an increasing mixture of student devices now being used in classrooms.

    Technology can be very engaging for students and, when used effectively, can have a big impact on their learning.

    This is particularly so for students who, for a variety of reasons, may be struggling to write.

    Schools who have a range of devices are very pleased to learn that Clicker 7 and our apps for iPad and Chromebook all work in the same way, and documents and resources can easily be shared between them. Plus, all platforms have access to LearningGrids, our website for free resources!

    I illustrated how this works for a school recently using the Clicker Board diagram below.

     

    In the classroom, the teacher can use Clicker Board to both present to, and gather ideas from, the class. When it is time to do some writing, a Word Bank can easily be created from the Clicker Board that the class has helped to create.

    The Word Bank could then be distributed and used as required:

    • In the classroom by individual students on laptops, iPads, or Chromebooks

    • In the computer lab where all students can access Clicker’s writing support

    • In the resource room where Clicker 7 can be fully personalized for individual students

    • At home to help with homework tasks (home user access is included if the school has an Unlimited OneSchool License of Clicker 7 or a site license of either Chromebook App)

    This means that students get consistent support, such as talking word prediction and spell checking, regardless of where they are working.

    No matter if they completed their work in Clicker 7 on a computer, or with Clicker Apps on an iPad or a Chromebook, the file format of the document will be the same and so it can easily be read by the teacher.

    So you can decide which students will benefit most from Clicker and where it is best for them to use it. You can then make it available on the most appropriate device, whether that is a computer, an iPad, or a Chromebook.

    In these examples a mixture of Clicker 7 and Clicker Apps for iPad and Chromebook is envisioned.

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