Implementation of “My hand is my mouth” (SOI-IT-441)

Author: Ripamonti Elisa; Rubertà Ilaria

School/Organization: I.C  Koinè , Monza (Italy)

We are Ripamonti Elisa and Rubertà Ilaria two primary teachers from I.C Koinè , Monza (Italy). Our school has a project called ”Inclusion Space” and for this reason, we have many pupils with special needs. We found this learning scenario on Teaching with Europeana and we think it was perfect for our students to show that differences could be resources.
This learning scenario focuses on language and communication, we decided to use it to introduce Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and coding as universal communication tools.

Our School is in Monza(Italy), in a suburban area strongly influenced by immigration. We carried out a project called “Inclusion space”  in collaboration with our local council to support students with special needs and foreing students. We use the AAC to facilitate communication, we teach students how to write AAC String and how to handle this type of language. In addition, we also use coding and educational robotics as communication tools. The pupils involved in the implementation are used to collaborate and cooperative learning methodology and coding, but it was the first time using digital cultural heritage ad Europena. The disciplines involved in the activity were: Italian, Technology and Art.

The Europeana resources used in the original learning scenario are in English and the text are too long for our student English skills. For this reason we created a poster with artist and scientist photos mentioned in the scenario including some sentences about them. The poster have been transformed into a jigsaw and the pieces distributed along the class together with ACC strings, braille paper and sign language images. We organize a treasure hunt to let the students collect all the jigsaw along the class.

Once they collected all the pieces we ask them to recognize the “intruder pieces” from our poster. We asked the students to recognize the artists and scientists represented on the jigsaw pieces and we start to discuss about their life, their disabilities and their success stories. We used the other jigsaw pieces to introduce the students to other ways to communicate.

We show to students the AAC web site from Aragona Governemt, which is translated also into Italian. Supported by AAC book we support our students how to search for pictograms on the website and create communicative strings. 

We discuss with our students about how many languages and communication ways exist and then we ask them to draw comics to represent them. All the comics have been collected and used to create a poster to be displayed in our inclusion space.

We introduced our students to another communication language: coding and we presented them with the educational robots we have in our school. We showed the different ways to communicate using the robots changing sound and colors and how to program it.

Thank to this activity our students learned “how to”;

  • carried out research on Europeana;
  • work with copyright ;
  • write and communicate in AAC;
  • code an educational robot.

They also learned about famous Artists and Scientis with disabilities and their stories and achivments. We are very proud that, thanks to this learning scenario, we were able to focus on AAC, something that our students seen every day in class, but this activity allowed them to know how to use and write AAC string.

After our experience with Europeana and Teaching with Europeana we would love to leave some suggestions to other teachers:

  • Do not be discouraged, There are so many resources, you just need time to search and find something you like or found interesting.
  • If you want to create their own learning scenario, describe the Europeana resources, so even if it’s not any more available it’s easier to find it on the website.
  • Europeana is an incredible website and helped us to think “outside of the box” and to work with new type resources.

Finally, we would love to stress the relevance of collaboration between teachers, main and special needs, in order to design activities suitable for every pupils, even if with different way, materials and strategies. We are used to collaborate starting and europeana was a great resource to support us.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? My Hand is my Mouth created by  Eleni Malamidou

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Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Nationalmuseet Sweden.

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