Using Boardmaker (BM) in the Classroom...


1. Using BM to support Organization/Executive Function Skills:
Executive Functioning Skills are skills that allow us to plan, organize, sequence, prioritize, shift attention and manage our time. These skills are often extremely difficult for students with special needs, especially students with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders). For these students, these very important "life skills" are directly related to self-confidence and are rarely directly 'taught.' Using BM software to create visual supports for students who struggle with executive function skills can prove extremely beneficial.

2. Using BM to Adapt Curriculum:
Teachers and related service providers can use BM to structure the environment, to support instruction, support text and faciliate acquisition of new information.Integrating symbols into the classroom can assist in recall of new information, aid in teaching of new vocabulary, or new concepts, which may decrease the complexity of some vocabulary and can create a link between the picture symbol and the word.

3. Using BM in Articulation Therapy:
SLP's can use BM software to supplement intervention with the use of pictures for students that struggle cognitively or simply for reinforcementers. BM templates are available for articulation activities such as BINGO, minimal pairs, barrier games and the like.

4. Using BM for Transitions:
Transitions can be as complex as moving from one class to another within a building or as simple as changing your frame of mind (i.e. putting away your pencil and getting prepared to watch a video). Transitions occur many times throughout the day and across all environments. Many students struggle with transitions across multiple environments. BM allows teachers to create visual supports for students who struggle with transitions.

5. Using BM to create Behavior Charts:
Effective behavior management is an on going process within the classroom. BM provides important visual representations of expectations and reinforcements to assist students in learning to manage their own behavior.

6. Using BM as Self Regulation Tools:
Many students struggle with the ability to maintain specific classroom expectations throughout their day. Teaching self regulation is an important part of social/emotional development. BM simplifies this process for students by providing symbolic meaning through pictures to help them identify what is needed to self regulate.

7. Using BM to create Task Strips:The basic intent of a task strip is to break a "task" down into smaller steps. BM allows educators to provide pictorial representation of each individual step towards the completion of a task. For example, a student must hang up their coat upon arrival at school. Dependent on the student's needs, the "task" strip can contain a few to multiple pictoral steps to guide the process of hanging up their coat. Another common use of the task strip is when utilizing the TEACCH method of instruction in the classroom. This task strip is developed to help the student move through their activities with independence.

8. Using BM to create Social Stories:
Carol Gray tells us that, "A Social Storyâ„¢ describes a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format." BM provides the tools to create entire stories to meet your individual students' needs.

9. Using BM to create Power Cards:
The Power Card strategy can be paired with the use of a social story. Utilizing the high interest aspect embedded in the social story, a single card is created to visually represent the intent behind the original social story. This card can be used as a visual reminder for the student to look at or for the teacher to refer to.

10. Using BM for Independent Work Tasks:
BM software is the 'go to place' for the development of visual academic work tasks.

11. Using BM to create "Me Books":
BM software provides templates for teachers and therapists to use with students who may have cognitive or communication impairments. These books allow students to pictorially express important personal information to share with others. This is a social skill that many special educators commonly address. This type of tool can also be used to help students learn about their peers and share special information about themselves.

12. Using BM in Speech Therapy for Fluency:


Check out Boardmakershare.com to find a multitude of boards donated by professionals.**

During our workshop, one participant shared a new way to removable/reposition manipulatives for activities created in Boardmaker. "WackyTac Adhesive dots" can be purchased at Archivers, Hobby Lobby, etc. You can also use a "xyron" machine (less then $20) in order to create reusable or repositional stickers. So cool! Thanks for sharing Joan!!!!