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Entering the Twilight Zone: Table Top Tools:


Tabletop tools refer to physical technology tools that can assist students with reading and writing. These tools help reduce students’ reliance on instructors and give them the confidence to do assignments independently, without human reliance.

In season 5, episode 26, “The Masks,” a family celebrates Mardi Gras with their grandfather. However, he is on his deathbed. His last wish is that they celebrate this holiday with him. He has these custom masks made for each of his four family members, including one for himself. Each mask represents the “opposite” trait of the person wearing it; the only catch is that they must wear it until midnight. Close to midnight, everyone is complaining about the masks, calling him humane. He calls them out for the selfish people they are and explains that they will receive everything after he passes; just do one selfless act. Once it hits midnight, he passes away, and everyone is stunned to see what they look like after they take off the masks. You see, these masks were to expose them for what they are. Just as tabletop tools are to help you.

Which Students Benefit:

There are many students, such as those with ADHD and kinesthetic learners, who benefit from tabletop tools. ADHD causes individuals to experience an ongoing pattern of inattention, which causes them to have difficulty paying attention. Associated symptoms include hyperactivity and impulsivity. Processing disorders are deficiencies in a person’s ability to effectively use the information gathered by the senses, which affects their learning. Kinesthetic learners require hands-on learning rather than visuals or hearing a lecture. All of these types of students will benefit from tabletop tools since they are hands-on and will reduce the risk of distractions.

Transparent Sticky Notes:

The first tool is transparent sticky notes. These are precisely what the name implies: transparent sticky notes. They can be used to annotate. They come in different colors and can be used as a legend for various categories of what you annotate, for example, using green sticky notes for definitions and a red one for short summaries, etc. They can also be used for other things such as to-do lists. They allow you to see what exactly you are writing on and you can even trace certain images without the complexity of having something blocking some or all the words. As a warning, these will smear if using water-based pens, so I recommend ballpoint pens.

Reading Guides:

Likewise, many students will benefit from reading guides. They are strip overlays that help navigate students when reading. It ensures students stay in place or skip lines as you can place it directly on top of what you are reading and slide it downwards as you read. Something a little extra is you can use it as a bookmark and it actually saves the exact spot you left off on. As Foster has presented with the masks, they will help guide who you are, just like these reading guides guide readers as they read.

Where to Find:

Both of these tools are inexpensive and can be found at Walmart or any discount store, such as Target, Dollar General, etc. If you do not feel like leaving your house, you can even find them on Amazon.

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