In Texas history we summed up several of our units using GoAnimate. This project had the students choosing one major concept from the unit, creating a story board/script and then creating a Go!Animate video based off of that storyboard/script. Every student seemed to enjoy the project a great deal and they were eager to begin each day. This basically gave the students an outlet to use to teach the teacher which also presented me with concepts which they were weak in or just did not have a complete understanding. “Building the Branches” is a great example of this as the video demonstrated that the student definitely had difficulty understanding that the branches of the government where not specifically the buildings in which those branches occupied – a conceptual misunderstand that I never would have caught using traditional means of testing.
As far as using GoAnimate to communicate to my students I began integrating GoAnimate into the social skills curriculum this year. This experimenting began with one student with whom social stories has been very effective with in the past. Anyone who has created a social story the old fashioned way knows that all that cutting and pasting (by hand), or whatever other “old school” method you might use, really takes a good amount of time. Go! Animate allowed me to create a video in minutes that I was able to download and play whenever is seemed needed for that student.
The social skill lesson involved was relating to inappropriate language and so this was a particularly difficult one to write (especially without using any inappropriate words). While the student in question is verbal they are extremely self-involved and difficult to communicate with because of this. With this in mind we integrated this video into a multistep intervention plan in order to communicate the inappropriateness of the language they would use at times and tracked at what point they would choose to refrain from using the inappropriate language. Step one was a picture cue of a sad face accompanied by a verbal cue stating “This is how those words make me feel.” Next was the use of the video which the student nearly always watched attentively. The last step of the plan was removal from the classroom to a cool down room and the student was required to earn their way back into the classroom.
The use of inappropriate language was never extinguished through the school year, yet the data speaks for itself. After using the picture/verbal cue the student’s behavior altered 12% of the time, while following a viewing of the video social story the student’s behavior altered 71% of the time. So, we are looking at a 59% increase in compliance over the traditional picture/verbal cues.
-Jason Markulin, Danny Jones Middle School, 7th/8th Grade Students with Autism, TX
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