I am a teacher at Gorseland Primary School in Ipswich. I work in a Specialist Support Unit (SSU) that is attached to the school where we support children with moderate learning difficulties and complex needs.
We had been using Clicker in our school for a few years but recently we have been able to upgrade to the latest version of Clicker. My colleague updated me on some of the new features that worked for her Year 5 mainstream class, and I felt there were specific features that would work well for our SEND Key Stage 1 and 2 classes.
We were hoping Clicker would support our reluctant writers and pupils who struggle to write simple words and the correct graphemes. We were looking for a resource that would support these areas but also would not hinder the children’s imaginative ideas in their subjects because of the barrier to their learning.
We have seen many positive outcomes to using Clicker, including a more positive attitude towards writing, as well as improved punctuation, vocabulary and grammar.
For our more able pupils, we were looking for Clicker to help develop sentence structure, vocabulary and punctuation.
Our learners in the SSU have very poor fine motor skills but are very technology driven. Some pupils are sight-readers but have very poor phonics to segment and blend words. They also have poor letter formation skills and difficulty writing the correct graphemes. Clicker was able to offer the scaffold for these areas of weakness.
We use Clicker across the SSU and in Key Stage 1 and some of Key Stage 2 in our mainstream school. Certain pupils have really taken to this style of learning. We use Clicker regularly, especially in English, foundation subject lessons and any activities which require forming sentences. For example, diary writing in History, labelling in Geography and writing a scroll in RE. We have really embraced the benefits of Clicker across the curriculum.
We have used all three of the writing grids in our class for different pupils, depending on their preference of the writing frame’s layout. I usually use the Word Banks to build vocabulary, Sentence Sets to order two or three key word sentences and the Connect Sets for sentence structure. Each bank offers opportunities for the children to build their own sentences and ideas.
Clicker is a fantastic resource for children who are reluctant writers or writing is a barrier to their learning. It is also a great way to build children’s knowledge of sentence structure and their vocabulary.
I like the way you can adapt the banks quickly and effectively by adding brackets to reduce the amount of word choices and the ability to add images with Picturize to help the children identify the correct word.
For those who can write simple sentences phonetically, I encourage the use of Clicker to improve their spellings and enhance their sentences with adjective suggestions or sentence starters, as an example. For children who we are working with to develop their independence with writing, we have found using the speech feedback tool to listen to the words in the bank and select the next word in the sequence has built up their self-esteem.
We have seen many positive outcomes to using Clicker, including a more positive attitude towards writing, as well as improved punctuation, vocabulary and grammar. In some pupils, we have also seen an improvement in their imaginative language to build stories and their own ideas. We are now observing that some pupils are able to write without the scaffolds where they have previously needed the scaffold for support.
For us, the best thing about Clicker is that we can adapt and differentiate the Clicker Grids so easily. For example, in our class some pupils are working towards two or three key word sentences. We are able to quickly adapt the word banks during the lesson, by adding brackets to reduce the number of words in the sentences the children have orally created.
We have seen a great improvement to the children’s sentence formation and written work since beginning of October 2020 when we first implemented Clicker. I spent some time reflecting on the progress in writing since using the Clicker banks and I would definitely recommend this to another school.
Clicker is a fantastic resource for children who are reluctant writers or writing is a barrier to their learning. It is also a great way to build children’s knowledge of sentence structure and their vocabulary. Clicker is easy to implement into classroom learning and it develops independence skills including, reviewing writing, learning spellings, and structuring different sentences.
Clicker has developed our children’s confidence in their own abilities to write and we have been able to share many proud moments with them through their achievements of using Clicker.