Many of my blind students have never written a letter and sent it in the mail. Many had never received a letter from a friend that they could read for themselves.

How much do we all love getting personal letters? I certainly do. Yes, I love a good email note, which all my students do with ease, but a note in the mail makes me smile. I use this idea for my students to get them motivated to braille on a brailler and use a slate n stylus.

They first take the braille paper and put it in the printer, and learn the format on the computer to print out all their information. When they print it out, they then learn where to begin brailling their letter.

The next part is the actual mailing of the letters. Most have never touched a mailbox or gone to a post office nor know where to even mail a letter. That becomes an orientation and mobility lesson. We plot the course, and then head to the mailbox or post office. They feel the mailbox all around and see how a driver can pull up and mail a letter also, and then they find the slot for the person who walks up to the box and pop in the letter.

The true joy comes when they get the mail, walk into school and announce this. It makes them want to sit down and braille out another letter, just so they can get more mail. A great motivator and a great way to make friends!

Lessons to help you

Writing Braille Letters with computer and Brailler

Beginner Drawing of Pictures on a Brailler

and article Beginner Drawing of Pictures on a Brailler

Watch this video of a student uses her Braille Note to calculate math problems and insert answers into her processor, checks problems on abacus, then emails lesson to teacher.
There are quick methods to hop around your Braille Note to complete math problems and insert the whole problem into a Word Processor.

Abacus is used due to state testing and the state not allowing calculators on portions of tests. The abacus is like doing the problem out on paper with pencil.

Lessons and articles to help you

Braille Note Lessons to take you through the Basics to more advanced skills

Braille Note Made Easy

Braille Note-APEX BT-Braille keyboard layout-Getting to know the Braille Note

Jaws-connecting the Braille Note to the computer for a Braille Display

Starting in high school, students are required to create their first professional letter to introduce themselves to potential employers and a resume to be attached to the professional letter. More and more, potential employers are asking for these documents to be sent to them through their websites or to be emailed to them. After graduation, people need to be able to update the resume and professional letter as they acquire skills.

Your Cover Letter or Letter of Inquiry needs to be concise containing your information, including correct spelling, grammar and format.

Depending on how your resume LOOKS will determine whether that potential employer will even LOOK at the documents. Your experience and education will determine whether the employer will even give you an interview. Both are important.

Lessons and article to help you:

Professional Letter of Inquiry and Writing a Resume-Office 2003

Professional Letter of Inquiry and Writing a Resume-Office 2010

Office 2003-Word- Writing a Professional letter of inquiry or for a job

Office 2010-Word- Writing a Professional letter of inquiry or for a job

As the holidays approach and throughout the year with parties, classes make cards for their families and friends. My students need their own fancy way to make the most beautifully decorated cards too.

All this can be accomplished using WORD. Students can insert beautiful pictures, change them to a very light background then type the fanciest script to type words directly on top of the picture.

As soon as the sighted students see how beautiful my students' cards turn out, they too want to learn these tricks, which is great for expanding their social circle. Giving tools like this to any student is a huge self-esteem builder because they know they have the knowledge that others want, so people seek them out for help.

Lessons to help you make those beautiful cards

Creating BEAUTIFUL cards in WORD-Office 2003

Creating BEAUTIFUL cards in WORD-Office 2010

12 Office 2003 Lessons that teach you how to make your papers look BEAUTIFUL

12 Office 2010 Lessons that teach you how to make your papers look BEAUTIFUL

Twitter is very accessible with JAWS talking software. It will just take many keystrokes to get to where you want to go.

However, to make a Tweet, just hit E for your edit box, enter for forms mode on and type those 140 characters, then TAB to Tweet and ENTER to send. That fast and that easy. However, reading all the content is a bit different…that is where all the keystrokes come in.

For an incredibly accessible Twitter, download Qwitter. It makes everything very accessible in Twitter, just like m.facebook.com does for Facebook.

A wild fire is raging toward you and your family as you walk along some very steep cliffs. There is no way out….What do you do?

Never say something is impossible or there is just no way. You must think outside the box…something different. The answer is out there, it is just seeking it out.

Answer for fire: The father took out a match and started his own fire, making a completely burned out area for he and his family to stand in while the wild fire burned out before even getting to them.

There is always a WAY!

The answers to your problems for education, especially for blind/low vision children, are in this site. Just click on a link and find the answer. If you cannot find it, just request it on the contact page.

CHIP-Children's Health Insurance Program is children's medicaid.

Every state has some form of CHIP, so check into your local service

If you have a child that needs medical attention BUT you do not have health insurance, every child is eligible if you earn under $45,000 a year. Check into this program to get their needs met and pass this information along to other parents who need to get eye exams, dental appointments or any other type of medical care.

Today, you no longer have to have just 1 operating system on 1 computer. Since I am writing lessons for people who use XP and Office 2003 and Windows 7 and Office 2010, I have both operating system on one machine. Windows 7 is my main machine and I have XP running virtually. With 2 monitors, I run XP on one monitor and Windows 7 on the other and can quickly write the lessons needed by having both operating systems on 1 computer.

Mac is the same way. You have Mac OS on one side and with a Command Tab you switch to Windows 7, which operates virtually. This way you can use as many features as you want. You download products according to which side you are using.

What I suggest to people who really want to switch to a Mac but have always been PC users, is…get both. Buy the Mac and put the virtual Windows 7 on it too, so when you just can't get something done while learning the Mac, you can switch to the PC side.

Same thing for switching from XP to Windows 7. Have both and when you just can't figure out how to do it on the Windows 7 side, switch back to the XP side.

Just more options for getting work done.

Little fingers can easily press the keys on a Mountbatten brailler–watch YouTube Video. Learn quickly and easily so by kindergarten blind children can read and write just as much as their sighted peers.

Lessons and articles to teach skills

First Steps in Great Braille Readers

Beginner Braille Reading

Braille Instruction begins at 3 years old

Braille Cheat Sheets

How to STOP scrubbing While reading Braille

Fast Braille Reading

Tricks to Learning Braille in your Teen Years or Later

Free Braille Books-Where to go to get Books

The Synchronicity of Braille & Technology

Braille Rap Song Lyrics

Rap Song to Learn Braille

 

Anyone who has elementary students most likely knows about AR tests. Accelerated Reader (AR) is a program where children read books and then take tests on a computer system called AR. Each book is assigned a certain amount of points depending on their difficulty. Children in class compete to see how many points they can earn within a certain time period and by the end of the year.

Accelerated Reader (AR) tests can be accessed with JAWS 12 and above and a Braille Display. I had to laugh yesterday as I was teaching one of my students how to move through the pages. She has incredible listening skills and her JAWS works at about 400 wpm. Her fingers cannot read that fast, so she would bypass the braille display and quickly listen to each page and take the test. She could finish 3 tests before a sighted student even finished their first due to the speed at which she operated the site. For full instructions on how to take AR tests with talking software, go to Accelerated Reader (AR)

Where once upon a time, a sighted reader had to read these tests to our blind students, it is no more, which is true for so many areas of their lives, due to technology.

Lessons to help you

Jaws-connecting the Braille Note to the computer for a Braille Display

Refreshabraille 18- brailling in Word using this display with JAWS

Setting up the RefreshaBraille 18 with JAWS talking software

APH Refreshabraille Braille display, JAWS and Word #1

APH Refreshabraille Braille display, JAWS and Word practice #2

Refreshabraille-JAWS 12-brailling a lesson in word

Refreshabraille-JAWS 12- adding typing mode for 1 hand users

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