Looking ahead to more ways to support learning with Clicker6

Jen Salinas writes:
We have been busy on the new computers since the Christmas break, and with our many challenges we have seen some great successes as well.

Both schools started new terms, so students and EAs spent time updating their Clicker course schedules. Depending on their need, students use their schedules in different ways. Miranda, a grade 12 student who attends regular classes, has a weekly schedule posted on the Skills room wall. Tyler, a grade 12 student who has different activities every day, has a printed visual schedule for every day of the week. Wyatt, a grade 10 student, has a weekly schedule posted by his desk and also uses the online Clicker schedule, which he uses to organize his visual schedule for each day. Alex, a grade 8 student, will be using the same set up as Wyatt as soon as we have time to create it. Other students do not need visual reminders for their day and so do not use the Clicker schedule.
Daily Journal Activity
Our main focus since January has been to personalize students’ daily journals so they can be writing about their school activities on a regular basis. Currently at NPSS, Wyatt and Tyler’s journals are edited and they both write a daily journal every afternoon. Miranda and Devon’s journals are mostly edited and they write a daily journal 2-3 times a week. Kennedy writes a daily journal when she can; however, computer and equipment issues have plagued her this year, making it difficult. At Dr. Kearney, Alex, Amanda and Callie write a school journal every day. Amanda and Callie still need updates and editing to their programs, but they make do and write about what they can.
Daily Calendar Activity
Wyatt, Alex, Callie and Amanda do the calendar activity every morning. This is a great activity for students to gain a better understanding of the days of the week and how time relates to their activities. Wyatt is learning about sunrise and so I have incorporated these into his calendar activity. Wyatt has to use the internet to look up the time that the sun rises, and we will be charting this to see the trends once school resumes.

Other Clicker Activities

Canucks News
Wyatt has been writing about the Vancouver Canucks using a Clicker program I developed. He uses stats from a hockey site on his iPad and a Team Roster word bank in conjunction with the Clicker program to write about things like who they played against, who won, who scored, how they played, and what their standings are.

Noun verb adjectives
When the grade 9 students from Dr. Kearney came to NPSS for two transition visits, we took the opportunity to have Clicker classes with all of the students participating in the project.
In the first class, we used Clicker programs to help teach a lesson introducing the concepts of nouns, verbs and adjectives. First, we had a class discussion on these terms. Next, students used a Clicker sorting grid to further strengthen their understanding of these terms.
Finally, students used a Clicker word bank to generate simple Noun Adjective Verb Sentences. We will continue to use clicker to reinforce these concepts, and students will have the opportunity to write silly adjective stories using a Clicker program I am creating.

For the second combined Clicker class we did a Valentine’s project that combined the noun verb adjective lesson plan with an art project. I created a Clicker grid so that students could write a modified cinquain poem and then create a background. The project was very well received, and several students went on to make more on their own.

Another Clicker grid students used was called Valentine’s Word Maker, where students were asked to make as many words from the letters in Valentines day. I found this on Learning Grids site and there are similar grids for other special occasions.

Successes and Challenges


We have finally arrived at a point where all students involved in the project can write a daily journal, which was the main focus of this project. There are, of course, tweaks and adjustments to make, but this is an ongoing process.
Students’ Home Pages are slowly being adjusted from the general template to a more individualized selection of grids. Again, this is ongoing.
Students have the new term schedule finished and are using them as needed.
Students and EA’s are getting more familiar with how the program works, how to properly save and access their work, and how to make simple edits to change words and/or add pictures.
Two EA’s, one at each school, have invested their own time in building their Clicker knowledge. Their students use Clicker every day and it is an integral part of their school routine.

What strikes me as the biggest success of this project is the engagement and enjoyment of the students using Clicker. Every student in the clicker project is so proud of the work they do and many students like to share their writing with the class. Daily journals are printed off and brought home to show their family. To be able to produce written output is such a powerful tool and should be seen as a tremendous accomplishment.


We have certainly had many challenges that have arisen with the project this year; however, we view these as learning tools on how we can better implement Clicker in the future.

At NPSS we have two Clicker classes per week, which greatly helps students learn about Clicker; however, this is the lunch break for many of our EA’s and so there are only two EA’s in the class to support 4-5 students. Dr. Kearney cannot arrange a Clicker class due to student scheduling and the fact that I can only come to Kearney on my lunch hours, when most students and staff are not there.
Peer mentors: We have two great peer mentors at Dr. Kearney; unfortunately, they are very busy with their own classes and extra curricular activities, and it has been very difficult to schedule time for them to learn and to help students. Our two peer mentors at NPSS are also busy and can only help out sporadically.

Students are busy with other courses and don’t always have the time to learn and use Clicker. Also, EA’s have little to no prep time, so even if they know how to edit their students’ programs, they have no time to do so.
We are so fortunate to have the new computers which work so well, so technological issues are minimal. The exception is one student who, in the past, was a big clicker user. She uses her head rest of her wheelchair to control her computer. Both her chair and her computer have had many problems this year and she hasn’t been able to use Clicker very much because of this.

The amount of time it takes to teach students, EA’s and teachers how to use and edit Clicker, combined with the time it takes to create meaningful programs that will help students write, is far more than one can do while working a position in the school district. It could easily be a full time job, and if we want to see students using technology to improve their writing skills there really needs to be a position dedicated to this. We have the software, we have IT support, yet we do not have support at the student level to implement and teach the software beyond a general understanding.

Goals for April-June

continue to write daily school journals, tweaking and personalizing as needed, working towards independent writing production
continue to work on other Clicker writing programs with a focus on nouns, verbs, adjectives and creating simple proper sentences
continue to support Dr. Kearney by going over on my lunch hours when I can
continue the poetry lessons with a mother’s day/father’s day activity
continue to explore other clicker programs that students can use to further their writing skills
plan more full group sessions with transitioning students on their visits to NPSS.

Group project with Clicker6


The Life Skills’ students at Dr. Kearney Middle School enjoy creating stories and illustrations with the help of Clicker6. The assignment this week was to write and illustrate a story about a stolen easter egg. Drawing and colouring an easter egg with Clicker6 was the easy part. Writing the story to go with the egg took a little more effort and assistance from EAs. This lesson provided practice in the use of paint tools and document creation. Students in the photo above were excited to show off their easter eggs. This would not be possible without the new laptops and Clicker6 software that we received earlier in the year from SETBC. The more we use this technology the more we realize its potential. The greatest hurdle to expanding our program with Clicker6 is finding the time to build a bank of Clicker6 lessons and resources to suit the needs of our students. On the upside, team members know that the time investment now will pay off down the road with future students. Adapting ready-made lessons to suit the individual needs of Life Skills’ students is quick and easy with Clicker6. Especially if you have Jen Salinas for your assistant!

Christmas Cards with Clicker6

Students from NPSS made Christmas cards for their family members during one December Clicker class using Clicker Paint. Clicker Paint is a versatile tool that is fun to use. It is embedded in Clicker 6, so you can combine it with other activities to facilitate learning and artistic expression. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 10.49.16 PM

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Foods Class routines by Gavin

Foods 11 Lab Duties CoverFoods 11 duties dish drier

Gavin is a student helper for our Clicker project at NPSS. He attends a Foods 11 class with two students from our skills room. To give Gavin practice with editing and using Clicker, we had him develop a Clicker set that outlines the kitchen job duties. Gavin learned how to edit text in cells, change cell colours, use the spell check and link pages. He printed a hard copy that is laminated and displayed in the Foods room for all students to refer to if they need a reminder of their duties. Also, any student who needs help reading can access it on one of our new computers and have it read to them. Next, Gavin will be adding picture support to the pages. Great work Gavin!

January 31st, 2014 ProD Day at Dr. Kearney Middle School

We met this week for a ProD conference focused around Clicker 6 applications for emerging readers and writers. Originally the intent was to meet solely as a project group in order to review our SetBC mandate and make sure that we are working towards year end goals. As host, I suggested opening the day to other teachers and EAs who perhaps had an interest in learning about Clicker6 and how our group is using it to enhance communication, independence and transitioning for students with PDD. In total, there were about 25 participants from across the district. Some participants needed an introduction to Clicker6 (facilitated by our SETBC consultant Sharilyn Hunter), while others were there to work with Jen Salinas on individual tasks related to their student’s (in progress) use of Clicker 6. The day was a mixed bag of activities with a few participants questioning the efficacy of Clicker6 in comparison to other more user friendly apps. With new education apps coming on the market daily, this is a reasonable question. Our SETBC consultant answered questions related to other types of educational software and demonstrated Clicker6 apps for educators who use tablets in their classrooms. In the afternoon, student volunteers from both the High School and Dr. Kearney joined the group to provide assistance with Clicker6 programming and to learn more about their role in the program as it continues to unfold.

Time Away for Musical Interlude

A peer mentor assisting a student with Clicker journal writing.

A peer mentor assisting a student with Clicker journal writing.

Story time with Clicker involving Life Skills' students and a volunteer/peer mentor.

Story time with Clicker involving Life Skills’ students and a volunteer/peer mentor.

Our peer volunteers, pictured above with students from the Life Skills’ classroom, needed a break from volunteering as both had parts in our school musical performed Jan 16th-18th. Fortunately, both girls were back the following week ready to resume their duties i.e., learning and assisting with Clicker6. The above photos show the girls helping our Life Skills’ students with journal and calendar activities. One volunteer also found time to read parts of the C.S Lewis story, “Chronicles of Narnia”, (adapted for Clicker) to our Life Skills’ students.

Differentiated Instruction using Clicker6

Bobbi, an EA from Dr. Kearney Middle School, shows how she makes a lesson work for two students with different learning needs. Both students are learning about Science and writing about what they are learning using Clicker 6. The difference is that one student can read and write independently while the other student independently uses Clicker6 and MacBook Air to first listen to the text in a PDF (scanned in by Bobbi) and then write her responses to comprehension questions into a Clicker 6 document using “voice to text” dictation. The questions were inserted into the Clicker6 document through cut and paste editing after attempts to simply drag the PDF into Clicker 6 did not work. Amanda, Bobbi and Callie are participants in our Clicker6 project sponsored by SetBC.

Haiku with Clicker

Haiku poems created by students using a forced order grid set. Students made these as Christmas gifts for their parents. Wonderful job!

K Haiku T Haiku W Haiku Wyatt & Jen