People and Pet Partners come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. This was never more true then the day that our friend the Louis the Hermit Crab visited the classroom. Louis is no ordinary hermit crab. He has a special shell unlike any of those you run across on the boardwalk or in beach towns. Louis who is named after "Louis Braille," has a full braille cell on his shell.
Using the program Switch It Maker 2 a social story was created and shared with the students on the interactive whiteboard. This was used during a group language time to introduce the topic of moving. Photographs of the student's current classroom were used along with photographs of the student's future classroom.
Students were able to read a long with the story with either an individual braille/print copy or a switch activated copy on the interactive whiteboard that was also made using Switch It Maker 2.
Louis not only addressed the social and emotional issues that he felt when moving from "shell/home to shell/home," he also helped introduce some great descriptive words (adjectives.) The students were very happy to investigate all the different textures of the sea shells.
Students selected from cards that described their shell. Using the card reader with a tactile graphic the student was able to feel and hear their selection.
Once the student decided which texture, rough, fancy or smooth they had the opportunity to "color" their own personalized hermit crab. The outline of the hermit crab was raised using Pictures in a Flash (PIAF) tactile graphics creator.
Lines from the story book were recorded on this voice output device paired with a textured picture symbol created in Mayer-Johnson's Boardmaker program.
Extension activities were created by making our very own Hermit Crab out of felt and placing that on top of a switch toy that we already owned. One student activated the switch to have the hermit crab move, push, knock-over the boxes.
Hand held optical devices were used to investigate Louis' spectacular shell.
Who knew one small hermit crab could be the ambassador to all those wonderful learning opportunities. Having an animal pet partner encourages the students to be active participants in their learning experience.