In search for emotions cards to use as part of my social skills programs and the article I wrote on Emotional Literacy, I found Do2Learn.com, a great resource for emotions, but with a range of other offerings. Not everything on offer is of equal quality or value, but the unique quality of the free games and social skill songs make the whole site worth adding it in your "favorites."
In an effort to make a full offering of activities as well as their super interactive games, the publisher put up some kind of lame art and writing activities. They are overly simple, lack much specificity and replicate things that are free on other sites. The interactive games, on the other hand, are super for children with disabilities, especially students with poor skills and an interest in computers. They are also great for classrooms with Smart Boards or Promethean Boards, as these boards act as giant touch screens, and students with poor motor skills get a bit of gross motor activity in as well.
A Mix of Free and Inexpensive Games and Resources
The free computer games and songs come with some companion activities, which are generally sold as inexpensive digital files delivered to your email.
Resources for Emotions
I stumbled on the site in search of emotions cards. I have a set that was already in my classroom, but I wanted to find other resources to recommend to my readers. I stumbled on the feelings cards that you can print on your color printer. It uses the faces of real models, faces that reflect diverse ages, races and ethnic backgrounds. And when I found the Feelings Game, another free resource, I was delighted. I have been using it with my class on the Smart Board in my classroom. My students take turns tapping the "sad" or "angry" person on the nose. It also has three levels, from matching the face to the emotion, moving on level 2, where you read a scenario, and choose how a person would feel, and finally reading a scenario and naming the emotion you see on the person's face.
There is a second free activity is the "Facial Expressions" game, which allows children to manipulate facial simulations to mirror human facial expressions. In some ways they seem kind of creepy, but students on the autism spectrum love the computer, and it does help them isolate specific aspects of facial expressions, from the direction of the eyes to the shape of the mouth.
The Do 2 Learn site includes a fairly expensive software program called "Faceland" which offers a whole range of activities to teach facial recognition. It has some of the features of the "Feelings Game," and some interactive features to draw your students into the activities.
A Cursory Survey of Disabilities and Disabilities Terms
It seems that the creators of Do2Learn are attempting to create a comprehensive special education website, but the informational pages are cursory at best. The disabilities sections offer both definitions of the disabilities and an adjoining page that lists strategies. And List is the right word: the strategies are dense and don't provide the logic behind choosing specific interventions. They are not written with enough specificity to inform the novice, nor enough structure to help professional plan interventions.
Worksheets and Activities for Students with Disabilities
The Do 2 Learn team also attempt to provide a broad range of activities, activities for students from a range of ages, disabilities and challenges. I work in the same field, and know the challenges of creating attractive worksheets and materials to support the range of needs for children. They include fine motor activities like cutting, letter recognition and Math activities. I find the activities they create worthwhile, but with poor production values. By all means, feel free to use them, but they are not the reason for a trip to Do 2 Learn.
Do2Learn has created their own pictures cards to be used for Picture Exchange. They seem pretty comprehensive, and may work as a suitable substitute for PECS, Boardmaker symbols or Pogo Symbols. They claim to have over 2,000 symbols, but without access to their picture making system, it's hard to gauge the range and readability of the pictures. Still, I'd check them out before purchasing one of the other two systems.
Do 2 Learn - a Destination for the Feelings and Emotions Resources
Put Do 2 Learn in your favorites, if you are doing social skills and emotional literacy activities. These are outstanding. The color and math "Mahjong" games will be fun for your students, as well. Put shortcuts on the computers your students use, especially for young students or students with emerging skills. They will enjoy them.
The other activities that make it worth the trip are the social skill songs for safety. Not songs you will want on your IPod; still, paired with short videos they are catchy and will help young students with disabilities remember important steps to guarantee personal safety.
By all means, make the trip. Check out Do2Learn and see if they have resources you can use.