I spent a bit of time this morning going through long and forgotten folders on my computer (sad, I know, but a bit of housekeeping was in order) and came across a few things I remember downloading long ago when working with pupils with Special Educational Needs. Some of them are quite old and some of them may still be available online but I thought someone, somewhere might find them helpful so…here we go.
The first thing I came across this morning was a game/activity simply called Road. I remember downloading it so it could be used as a free time activity by a child who loved trains. I have a feeling I found it though SENTeacher.org but can’t see it listed there today so I’ve placed a link to a zip folder here. With a little investigating I’ve found a similar, more modern equivalent on HelpKidzLearn but this doesn’t have the same flexibility or options as Road which still seems to run okay on my newer system(although the one on HelpKidzLearn is switch accessible). It does look dated but might still be fun for the child who loves to play with trains and roadways. Another free time activity I came across and downloaded (possibly for the same child) was John’s Funny Face game: pointless fun for those with a few minutes spare.
Another couple of great downloads I remember finding via SENTeacher.org were called Tunes and Chimes: simple musical activities that worked brilliantly on a touch screen. In this day and age of apps and interactive content they are looking a little tired and dated but still might be fun to try out. Chimes is very simple and I first used it just to get a particular child engaged in touching the screen but Tunes is quite funky in its own way and might be a nice alternative to some of the newer interactive music things about (such as Incredibox), especially for younger pupils. It’s worth mentioning at this point that many of the downloads I found via SENTEacher.org are still there (some newer and updated) and could be useful in any classroom setting: not just one set up for pupils who need that little bit extra. A few of the mathematics downloads are particularly useful and it’s definitely not just a website for practitioners and facilitators working within the Special Needs sector! Another great place with free general classroom downloads is the Primary Resources online activities section. The activities run online but are also downloadable and there are some really useful things there, including an activity for ordering numbers that I have flagged up to many people over the years.
Returning to Special Needs, I came across a few downloads this morning to support the use of sign language in the classroom. These came from ET Resources and are still available (Windows platform only). The downloads can be run in a demo mode (without purchasing an activation code) and include a range of simple signs that have a picture prompt and supporting text alongside the sign. You can search through the signs available and click on one to view. A small flashcard then pops up in the bottom right of your computer screen. The sets don’t include endless numbers of signs but it is a good way of checking a sign you’re not sure of or picking up a new one. The signs would be particularly useful when supporting a signing child in a mainstream setting – especially for those who were not confident in their signing as it is always good to have back up.
I have to say I came across endless downloads to support literacy when sorting things out today but, unfortunately, many of them will not run on anything newer than Windows XP. I have fond memories of using RnR spelling ( Look, Cover, Write and Check activity where you could add your own lists) with lots of children but it just doesn’t work on newer computers (although I’ve still got it if anyone does is still running XP and would like it!). There are similar things available to use online, they just don’t give you the same amount of control (although they are excellent). My pick would be the Doorway Speller but there are also versions from Ambleside Primary and ICT Games (among others). I also had a huge collection literacy of resources from Grey Olltwit - the site still going but has different activities and it would seem you know have to register – that no longer work but most of those activities (missing letter, hangman) would be available elsewhere on the web I am sure. You might wonder, with all this talk of literacy, why there is a picture of a calculator above this section. It’s just because I was going to mention it. I downloaded a stand alone version of it a long time ago and it’s still available online via Crickweb - a site with loads of great activities for different areas of the curriculum (and it also includes links to other worthwhile sites). And for those of you who don’t want a Big Blue Calculator; here’s a big red one – just in case.