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Letting the Student Lead

Letting students who are dual media or braille learners take the lead in a lesson or project often helps them to be more motivated, while also making it more meaningful.

Sometimes the trigger to help my student who is a dual media learner to become more positive about learning braille is to let her use her handwriting, pictures, or large print in her writing. This boosts her confidence level and she is more apt to try harder, I’ve found. 

Back in September, we had a day where nothing motivated her to want to work. She came up with an idea about writing about nature. I felt we needed to go outside to help her with her descriptions. While outside, I handed her my camera…and the rest is an amazing journey we took!

Once the camera was in her hands she became animated. She was the one driving the lesson and I followed taking notes. The next day I had the photos developed at a local business and brought them with me to class to review. She had to determine which ones to use. Then she had to determine the order in which to use the images. She used a hand-held magnifier to see the detail of the photos.

Student examining photos with a handheld magnifier
Student examining photos with a handheld magnifier

Once the photos were in order, she then had to write her story. She did not want to do this in braille just yet as “braille makes it permanent”. She worked on spelling the words as she sounded them out. Once she finished with the writing of the story, she then went back with an orange highlighter to underline any of the words that had a contraction in them.

One would think I’d be nice and type the story for her…I wasn’t. She had to type her own story on the computer using assistance from me in inserting the picture into the document before she started typing the text for that page. This was VERY informative to me as she didn’t know very much about the computer. Using the keyboard was a tad foreign, but she quickly got the idea. After discussing this, we’ve determined that at her annual ARD (IEP meeting) we will be adding keyboarding to her objectives!!

girl with glasses using computer
Student typing story on the computer

She learned how to edit her document as well before I printed it at the office on card stock. 

Now the book is brailled and bound. She’ll be taking it home later this week. She is thrilled to be an author having done every step along the way with her story minus the actual printing. If we had a printer in the room, she’d have done that as well!

Cover of "The Mystery of Nature"
Cover of “The Mystery of Nature”
lined paper with picture and text
Page 1: “Click!” I took a photo of the nearest bench.

The bottom line for me with this activity was allowing her the creativity to take a simple story idea and turn it into something grand.  This was truly a labor of love for her and held her interest from the beginning to the end. 

letting student lead collage


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