Structured teaching adds visual clarity to a task. Many alphabet toys can be turned into structured teaching activities. In this activity, the LeapFrog Letter Factory toy was given visual organization as a structured teaching task.
- Use 1-to-1 correspondence to move objects
- Use fine motor skills to place letters in the slot
- Exposure to letter names and sounds
- Letter Factor toy top with 4 letters
- Empty egg carton or tray
- Flat box with edge
- Bowl or other dish for completed letters
Visual structure of the LeapFrog Letter Factory activity:
The lid to this toy is the part that reads the letters. The top is placed in the box with 4 sections of an egg tray to hold individual letter pieces. This can be easily changed out to hold more or fewer letters as needed. Place a bowl on the right side of the tray for completed letters. If you examine setup, the layout visually clarifies how much work has to be done and when it is finished.
The child will take a letter, place it in the device and push it in. After listening to the brief song, the completed letter is placed in the bowl. This is repeated until all of the letters have been placed in the bowl. The process can be modeled by the teacher live, or through a video model (see below).
Video modeling can also be used to demonstrate a structured activity. The video model does not need to be complex. In this demonstration, I use point-of-view modeling to show the steps required to complete this activity.
Ways to expand the Letter Factory activity:
For this example, I randomly selected 4 letters from the toy. I would suggest selecting letters strategically. If your sole goal is exposure, keep a chart of which letters you cover each time the activity is completed to ensure all letters are used. If you are interested in teaching letter names and sounds with this activity, start by selecting the letters you want to teach first. You can change the teaching sequence to try to say the letter name or sound prior to pushing the letter in. The visual organization will be the same,; however, you may change the video model. For example, before placing the letter in the device, the model would say the letter name. Then the sequence would continue as previously described. You can asses progress by presenting the letter and seeing if the child knows what it is. It is important, particularly for children with autism, to use a variety of toys and fonts when teaching letter names and sounds for generalization.