on May 6, 2012
I was excited to be given a set of these Talk Blocks to try out and review about a month ago by the good folks at Learning Resources! Talk Blocks are blocks with a removable cover and a little recorder inside, so that you can record anything you want on it! Then, all you have to do is push the button and listen to it!
I decided to use my Talk Blocks for language arts instruction; specifically, I used them at the writing table as a supplement to my word wall! I just printed out some words that the children were likely to need, and cut them to the correct size of the top of the block. Then I recorded my voice saying the word by changing the slider button in the back to "record" and pressing the button down. You continue to hold the button down as you speak, and then let go when you are finished. Then slide the button back again to "play" and then listen to your recording! If you like it, you're done! If not, then just slide that button back to "record" and try it again! No erasing needed; the recording automatically erases when somebody slides to button back to "record."
My kids really LOVED to record their own voices, so I had the whole class say the word that I had written on the top of the blog! Then we all listened to it to check and see if it was alright. The only thing I found out that was necessary was to cover the slider button on the bottom with duct tape, because if the students start to "explore" the unit and sliding buttons around, the recording is instantly erased! I found this out the HARD way, LOL!
We used the Talk Blocks for several different lessons, but my favorite use so far was in conjunction with a writing project. I recorded and wrote on the tops of the blocks several words that I thought would be useful for the children, and laid them out on the table and let them use the Talk Blocks in conjunction with the Word Wall. If they weren't able to tell the difference between the words "they" and "that," for example, they could press the button on the Talk Block and listen to the word! Lots of children used the blocks for this purpose, and it really did help them complete their writing.
I created a Sight Word Dice game, and had them roll a sight word, push the button, and color in a box for each time they rolled the word! They had a good time with it, but on that particular day, my class was very rowdy and would not cooperate with playing the game nicely and sharing the blocks, so they unfortunately had to be taken away from some groups. :(
We also used the buttons to record the children cheering, and then let them press the button when they turn in their homework for the week! It's very motivational, and the uses are really only limited by your own imagination. But watch out! To keep the noise level low, just make sure that your recordings are a bit "soft spoken," because if you have the children all shout something, then it will be recorded and play back VERY LOUD!!!!!
I think that these blocks could also be used for dictation practice in a learning center. You could record some sentences and have the children try to write them exactly as they hear them. They could also be used to record the directions for a learning center, so that the children could hear the directions that they cannot read! They could also be used for reminding kids of letter sounds, or the name of a number, etc. Basically, you are really only limited by your imagination here! Really, the only drawback to them is that the children just LOVE to push those buttons, and so they may choose to continually push the button rather than complete their work. If so, you will probably hear it in the classroom and will need to have them bring you the block so that you can remove it.
This is a nice tool to have in your classroom or home school! The children love it and it's a fun addition to nearly any lesson. Just remember to save some money for batteries, because each Talk Block needs THREE AAA batteries! And because of that, I always turn the buttons to "off" when we are not using them.
on March 3, 2012
From the moment I first saw Talk Blocks by Learning Resources I knew the possibilities for using them with young children were endless. I came up with several ideas for using Talk Blocks in classrooms with young children (preschool-kindergarten) focusing on skills such as letter/sound association, motivation and engagement, and even interactive writing. These little technology tools are tons of fun and can be used in many different ways to enhance instruction in the classroom. They are so simple and easy to use anybody can use them with the touch of one button, even if you're not a tech whiz.
on October 15, 2013
My daughter has a very condtion called Pitt Hopkins Syndrome. She is non-verbal, and probably will be for the rest of her life. We have these blocks positioned throughout the house so that when she is hungry, thirsty, has to go to the bathroom, all she has to do is push the button! She used to wine or cry when she wanted something. That was very frustrating for us and for her because we had to try and figure out what she needed. I've already showed her school the success we have had with these, and they also recently purchased a set.