7th Circle of Friends

We met for our 7th Circle of Friends.  The plan was to make a video clip demonstrating how to play the card game “Uno”.   Although the adults knew what they wanted to accomplish, we had difficulties with the execution.  Earlier in the week our autism specialist warned us she wouldn’t be able to come because of another training obligation.  We knew from the beginning she would  help get our group started, but would then fade out because she does cover more than one site.  This caused the first difficulty because she was the person with the flip video camera.   Her camera  easily made video clips that could be manipulated on the computer to a 3 minute segment.  No worries, we signed out the library video camera.  Well the library video camera was the old cassette version.  My how technology changes in times  of  limited funding.   The video clips would be harder to manipulate off this camera but we figured we would deal with that later.  We plugged it in because of course the battery was dead.

We had a snow day on Thursday.  I found a video flip camera at home that my husband had purchased last month on a whim.  Aren’t husbands nice?  At the time I wondered what I would be using this for.  I guess he anticipated my need better than I did.   It’s a very basic camera that doesn’t have lighting or zoom  ability.  The only person who had it figured  out was the teenager at home.  I put  it in my pack just in case.  I wasn’t sure it would operate on my computer at work.  Our  district is very strict about software from outside sources.

Friday school resumed.  We just couldn’t stretch that snow into one more day.  As many of you know, a day off in the middle of the week throws the students off so that my speech therapy schedule was not working quite as well.  A lot of my students didn’t know what day it was and I had to keep getting them for their speech times.  A “Circle” student captured me in the hall and asked if we would have circle.  No one had received a pass yet.  Ah, another glitch.  I track down the person with the passes, who has forgotten to pass them out.  A good thing the students are keeping us in line.

Lunch time arrives.  I managed to find a few minutes to plug my flip camera into my work computer and erase all the practice clips from home off it.  My daughter had filmed my husband cooking.  In hindsight, I should really have kept that one. Anyway, it looked like it would work.  The “Circle” students arrived.  The counselor arrived with the library camera. It turned out the battery had not charged properly, so not much could be done with it. Thankfully we had the flip camera after all.

I grabbed the flip camera and the students did an initial greeting while they started their lunches.  I’m thinking that this may actually work.  Then the dreaded low battery light came on.  This meant a quick trip to the office to be saved by the secretary.  It’s true.  Schools would not function without a  great school secretary.    Amazingly she pulled out 3 triple A batteries from her desk. We were back in operation again.

Meanwhile the students  had  finished their lunches so we  had time for some serious filming.  At first I thought I would just film them playing and insert some dialogue.  This actually didn’t work very well.  The play was too fast to follow the directions.  I also found I couldn’t jump from the student’s faces to the cards being played on the table.   It was enough to make you seasick.  We settled for stacking the deck and demonstrating a few plays using wild, reverse and skip cards.  I switched to filming their hands and the cards.  The student’s explained why they were placing a card.  The flip camera enabled  on the spot viewing which helped considerably.  Now  I think we have 5 minutes worth of usable video.  We will let  “D” see  the video this week in preparation for the big game this coming Friday.

For those people who actually made it to the end of this post, I have a reward.  I posted a new therapy activity  in  the expressive language section.  It’s called “Sentence Flip Book” .  I made a book similar to this , when I first started out.  Some of my students wanted to know if they could make one.    The original one was made  before clip art and required the cutting  and pasting of  pictures.   I thought it would be great to have one I could print out and make available for  a student project.

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