Monday, December 2, 2013

Balloonimals for core word practice

Balloonimals is a  basic app that goes far! The app is designed so that the person using it can select a color balloon, swipe to inflate the balloon.  Then, the user touches and moves around the balloon on the iPad in order to change it into the balloon animal.  The balloon can be changed in one long movement or in multiple, shorter movements. After it is created, the user can choose to take a picture or continue to inflate the balloon animal so that it will pop!

There are plenty of learning and language opportunities for this app. It is a great app to practice using CORE words (basic but POWERFUL words that can be generalized across multiple situations)  such as, "make," "do," and "more."

The opportunities I chose to focus are incorporated into the visual support below.  The visuals create guidance for both partially verbal students and ones who use AAC. This visual support can be found on or click here

Instead of focusing on requesting color balloons, I decided to work on creating opportunities to use core words and also to ask "what is it?"

This is how I use it: 
1. I allow the student to pick the balloon.  I model "I do" on the topical board as I inflate the balloon. 

2. Then, using the visuals and gestural prompts, I suggest the student say "I/ you do" or " I/ you make" or the expanded utterances "I/you do it," or " I/you make it."  Then, we can start making the balloon animal. 

3. After a few attempts to make the balloon animal, I move the iPad away from the user. This creates opportunity to practice " What is it?" or " Do more" or expanded utterance "make it change."

4. I model asking the question "What is it?"  The student can also practice making a guess what they thing it is with "it is + animal."  

5. After it is created, I model "make it big," or "make it pop."  It usually takes a few pumps at the end to make it pop, so I usually inflate it a little and work on the comment "it is big" or "make it big" or "do more."

There is a lot to work on with this app. For many of my kids it allows practice of some core words rather than the use of carrier phrases. Sometimes the hardest part working with this app is picking the language to practice!

Hope you have as much success as I do!

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