This year we took an in-depth look at using alternative pencils for students who need alternative tools for writing.
What’s an alternative pencil? Its a way for ANY student to write, even when they can’t use traditional pencil and paper. All students can write, we just need to find the right pencil!
For more information about alternative pencils as well as examples, see this post from Literacy for All, or this site from the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies.
Assistive technology can be used as an alternative pencil, quite successfully for many of our students. An app that can be used for emergent writers is Clicker Connect.
Clicker Connect is a word processing app that allows students to write with text and/or pictures. It allows for a scaffolded, structured writing process.
Generally students begin with writing within a grid, and then progress to using the keyboard. However, students can also go back and forth between a keyboard and a grid to write.
This is an excellent tool for early emergent writers, as teachers can customize and scaffold a writing experience for students with specific words and pictures, as well as sentences structures. Students with fine motor difficulties can experience much success with this app as they can select whole words instead of single letters to form a word.
For more information and tutorials, see the EMSB app overview for Clicker Connect.