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Media Accessibility Information, Guidelines and Research

Summertime Cool: Ideas to Enrich and Teach

Children stand in a circle and place their hands together.

"What did you do on your summer vacation?" This was a familiar writing assignment for many peole when they were growing up. I remember, don't you? The end of school is around the corner, and summertime fun will be here before we know it. Let's support students and their families in their building of great summer vacation memories with new ideas that inspire, as well as teach.

Inspiration comes from the Described and Captioned Media Program, a curricular resource for teachers, families, and orientation and mobility instructors. DCMP has numerous free-loan media items that support all nine areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) for kids who are blind, have low vision, or are deaf-blind.

The ECC component of the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities is seen by many school districts and agencies as a key area for building effective teaching practices for these children. It is a set of skills that are intended to assist the students, birth to 22 years of age, in becoming an independent, confident, capable member of his or her community. It goes beyond the reuglar core curriculum (such as math, reading, and science) and focuses on skills that are disability-specific (Pugh & Erin, 1999).

The nine areas of the ECC include: Assistive Technology/Technology, Career Education, Compensatory or Access Skills, Independent Living, Orientation and Mobility, Recreation & Leisure, Sensory Efficiency (auditory, tactual & visual), Self-Determination, and Social Interaction, (Hatlen, 1996; Lohmeir, Blankenship, & Hatlen, 2009).

As you plan for additional activities to keep your students' skills at their highest level, look to the DCMP resources and this Summertime Cool Lesson Calendar for ideas. When your students return to school, prepare to read and hear enthusiastic tales of cool fun.

Summertime Cool Lesson Calendar

The ECC Lesson Chart is a sampling of ideas and resources to build additional fun opportunities for teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). Many of the resources support several ECC areas and may be used in different ways throughout the curriculum. The ECC Lesson Chart is meant to inspire you to continue your search for additional resources to build an ECC teaching portfolio.

Week Sensory Efficiency Compensatory/
Access Skills
Social Interaction Orientation & Mobility Career Education Recreation and Leisure Independent Living Self-Determination Technology & Assistive Technology
week 1 Attract birds to your schoolyard or home.
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Increase opportunities for communication skills through drama.
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Discuss the importance of friends and family in their lives.
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Start an orientation & mobility Jeopardy game.
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Here is a career exploration opportunity--get to know community workers.
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Discuss steps to plan a day trip to a community museum, art gallery, or park.
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Get out the measuring cups and spoons, pick a recipe, and enjoy cooking together.
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Increase opportunities for making choices and decision making.
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Keyboarding is an essential part of literacy programming.
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week 2 Play I spy.
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Have your students watched any good books lately?
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Discuss the importance of "looking your best."
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Make a mobility story book.
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Develop a survival kit for college.
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Think of ways to record fun sports or indoor/outdoor recreation memories.
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Limit the number of sedentary activities.
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Discuss and practice good telephone manners.
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Children first learn to listen and speak, then use these and other skills to learn to read and write.
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week 3 Work on improving their skills with their low vision devices.
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Build vocabulary with meaningful stories and experiences.
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Discuss how to make and be a friend.
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Plan for a rainy day retreat.
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Promote both volunteer and paid work opportunities.
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Set the stage to entice and motivate students to want to travel.
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Kids need to learn responsibility, self-esteem and self-worth.
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Encourage reading about successful people who are visually impaired.
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Building competent writers is important.
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week 4 Play mystery voice game.
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Practice letter-writing skills.
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Good body posture is important to making a good impression.
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Go on an adventure.
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Support development of mentorship opportunities with adults who are blind or have low vision.
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Encourage outdoor activities.
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Dress for success.
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Provide opportunity for imaginative play that focuses on sharing.
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Work on setting goals.
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Resources

  • Hatlen, P. (1996). The core curriculum for blind and visually impaired students, including those with additional disabilities. RE:view, 28, 25-32.
  • Lohmeier, K., Blankenship, K., & Hatlen, P., (2009). Expanded core curriculum: 12 years later. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 103(2) 103-112. New York.
  • Pugh, G.S., & Erin, J. (1999). Blind and Visually Impaired Students; Educational Services Guidelines. Watertown, MA: Perkins School for the Blind.

About the Author

Mary Ann Siller, M.Ed., is first and foremost an educator of children who are blind or visually impaired, ages birth through twenty-one. Siller has vast experience developing and leading national education initiatives and advocating for access to instruction and information. She is most at home when she is working with families to inspire their young children to dream big and find their special path to adulthood. She continues to address the most critical issues impacting the field of blindness and works as an advocate and curriculum designer. In previous career positions, she oversaw educational programming, curriculum development, and professional training at a state and national level for the Texas Education Agency and American Foundation for the Blind. Additional experience includes teaching/consulting for students with visual impairments and liaison with school districts to implement Federal and State laws. Mary Ann resides in Dallas, Texas.

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