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Teacher: Aziz Derori and Madeline Li who teaches at Eugene Wright Academy in Chelsea, MA. Aziz Derori and Madeline Li can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: "Emoji Ball" Inclusion

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To facilitate communication between teacher/paraprofessional and children with limited English proficiency and/or communication based disability (e.g. nonverbal autistic, selective mute, etc.)

Suggested Grade Level: K-12

Materials Needed: Activity specific ball, permanent markers to draw your emoji on the ball (see pictures below).

"Emoji Ball" Inclusion

We have many children in our school who are new to our country and have limited English proficiency. We are also a full inclusion program that welcomes children with communication based disabilities.

The "emoji ball" is an activity specific ball (i.e. a volleyball during a volleyball unit, a basketball during a basketball unit, etc.) that has a different hand drawn emoji on each side of the ball. For example, our volleyball has one side with a "happy" emoji, one side with a "sad emoji", and a side that displays an "angry" (although we use the word "frustrated" in class) emoji. The remaining side of the ball displays smaller emojis representing other feelings (e.g. "confused", "yuck").

Using the ball to facilitate communication, staff can check in with children using the ball they are using for the activity. Prompted by staff, the child points to the emoji on the ball that reflects how they feel with the activity, their group, etc.

Using the ball eliminates the need for our children with disabilities to carry a clipboard or key ring of Mayer-Johnson pictures. While these types of pictures are often used to support student communication, children need their hands "ready for action" in Physical Education. Carrying the pictures can be distracting and cumbersome.

Our children, and many children in the United States, are familiar with "emojis" because their widespread use in texting and social media. They are not considered "babyish" but rather are appropriate for use with all grade levels.



Emojis can be added to any type of ball without damaging the equipment or interfering with its intended design.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

Collaborate with your Art Department to find a student(s) who can add the emojis to the equipment.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Good Adapted Physical Education is, first and foremost, good Physical Education. The "Emoji Ball" is useful "as is" for children with or without disabilities.

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Posted on PEC: 3/7/2019 and has received 5 votes.

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