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Media Accessibility Information, Guidelines and Research

Summertime Cool Lessons

By Mary Ann Siller

This activity list supports DCMP's Summertime Cool Lesson Calendar in the Summertime Cool: Ideas to Enrich and Teach Learning Center resource for educators of students who are blind and visually impaired.

The term Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is used to define concepts and skills that often require specialized instruction with students who are blind or visually impaired in order to compensate for decreased opportunities to learn incidentally by observing others. In addition to the general education core curriculum that all students are taught, students with visual impairments, starting at birth, also need instruction in the ECC.

This 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.


Sensory Efficiency

Sensory efficiency includes instruction in the use of vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. It also addresses the development of the proprioceptive, kinesthetic, and vestibular systems. Learning to use their senses efficiently, including the use of optical devices, will enable students with visual impairments to access and participate in activities in school, home, and community environments.

Week 1

Attract birds to your schoolyard or home. Set out a bird feeder. Use a monocular telescope on a walk to find various birds. Cut out magazine pictures of birds that are found locally and use descriptive language to describe the features of the birds. You may also use your good listening skills to identify different birds’ songs and test your listening skills with friends. See how many different songs you can detect.

Week 2

Play "I Spy." Hide toys and objects around the classroom or at home. Support eye-hand coordination and low vision skills with monocular telescope training. And use landmark cues and then ask your students to describe what they find. Have them gain localizing and focusing skills with the monocular aid. Toss darts at a Velcro board and use the monocular to tally the score.

Week 3

Work on improving their skills with their low vision devices. Teach the use of magnifier skills during a nature hunt. Look for bugs, rocks, leaves, etc. While on their nature hunt, encourage your student or child to collect small items and put them in a bag or attach them to a masking tape "bracelet" to hold on to them. Examine the items with the child, save the bracelet as part of the story, and invite them to tell or write a story about the items. Also, collect nature specimens and create a picture using the Sun Art Paper Kit. Have identification books handy and enjoy the fun.

Week 4

Play "mystery voice" games. Have students record well-known teachers, family members, and friends using an easy song of choice. The students then get to guess. Have them write down who they think the person is singing.

Resources to Cultivate and Nurture Curiosity and Imagination in Children

DCMP Resources

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Compensatory/Access Skills

Compensatory skills include skills necessary for accessing the core curriculum including concept development; communication modes; organization and study skills; access to print materials; and the use of braille/Nemeth, tactile graphics, object and/or tactile symbols, sign language, and audio materials.

Week 1

Increase opportunities for communication skills through drama. Drama is a method that involves students in imaginary, unscripted, and spontaneous scenes. Locate a children's theater and experience acting while learning about different emotions that go with facial gestures. Trying on costumes and acting in a short skit is a great way to encourage communication skills and enhance self-esteem.

Week 2

Have your students explored new titles of stories or videos lately? Exploring new subjects with multimedia using description or captions are great tools for building literacy in new and experienced readers, and the DCMP has a growing collection of children's literature titles to help foster an enduring love of reading in your students. Click here to browse a complete list of children's literature videos.

Week 3

Build vocabulary with meaningful stories and experiences. Don't forget to increase reading and writing fluency in Braille and/or print and emphasize the enjoyment received from reading books. Find a story time venue at the local bookstores and library. Make an event out of registering at DCMP and also getting a library card. Use a treasure hunt focused on finding and reading new books.

Week 4

Practice letter-writing skills. Discuss systems used to send correspondence, such as the Internet and U.S. Postal Service. Take a trip to the post office. Have the students buy stamps, mail their letters, and learn about other services from the U.S. Postal Service. They will be practicing their conversation skills, too.

Resources to Cultivate and Nurture Curiosity and Imagination in Children

DCMP Resources

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Social Interaction Skills

Social interaction skills include awareness of body language, gestures, facial expressions, and personal space. Instruction also includes learning about interpersonal relationships, self-control, and human sexuality. Almost all social skills are learned by visually observing other people. Instruction in social interaction skills in school, work, and recreational settings is crucial. Having appropriate social skills can often mean the difference between social isolation and a fulfilling life as an adult.

Week 1

Discuss the importance of friends and family in their lives. Also discuss the differences among family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Make a family and friend tree with photos. Have your students talk and write a short story about a memorable adventure with a friend or family member.

Week 2

Discuss the importance of "looking your best." For the teens, go to the beauty counter or men's section of a local store. Girls can schedule a free makeover. For the boys, have the clerk help with sampling men's colognes. Discuss why looking your best is important to them.

Week 3

Discuss how to make and be a friend. What are positive behaviors among friends? What are examples of friendship activities? Encourage interest in others, complimenting the performances of others, and seeking their opinions. Have them invite friends to play. Talk about good manners and turn taking. Have them plan and give a BBQ/picnic with their special pals.

Week 4

Good body posture is important to making a good impression. Have your students observe role models on video or by observing other people. Good options for teaching nonverbal skills is through the DCMP described and captioned curricula.

Resources to Cultivate and Nurture Curiosity and Imagination in Children

DCMP Resources

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Orientation and Mobility

O&M instruction enables students of all ages and motor abilities to be oriented to their surroundings and to move as independently and safely as possible. Students learn about themselves and their environments, including home, school, and community. O&M lessons incorporate skills ranging from basic body image, spatial relationships, and purposeful movement to cane usage, travel in the community, and use of public transportation. Having O&M skills enables students to acquire independence to the greatest extent possible, based on their individual needs and abilities.

Week 1

Start an orientation & mobility Jeopardy game. Categories to get you started: "Name that Sound;" "Cane Techniques;" "Guide Dog Techniques;" "Electronic Aids;" "Specific Cities;" "Body Concepts;" "The Cane;" "Watch Out for Traffic;" and "Have You Lost Your Sense of Direction?"

Sample ideas that go with: "Have you Lost your Sense of Direction?" (Opposite of Northwest? Direction the sun rises? Between landmarks and clues, the one that is permanent and unique?)

Week 2

Make a mobility story book. The goal is to get to know the neighborhood. Make a game at saying their addresses, learn the names of some neighbors, and have your students tell three things they like most about their neighborhood. Also, learn more about maps. Make a map of the streets around the school or their homes.

Week 3

Plan for a rainy day retreat. Play "Twister," "What's that sound? bingo", "traffic sign bingo", and play different sight and sound books.

Week 4

Go on an adventure. Have students locate garage sales in the paper and buy "in-games" and toys that build turn-taking and interactive conversation. And while they are in the community, encourage them to greet five new people, too.

Resources to Cultivate and Nurture Curiosity and Imagination in Children

DCMP Resources

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Career Education

Career education will provide students with visual impairments of all ages the opportunity to learn through hands-on experiences about jobs that they may not otherwise be aware of without the ability to observe people working. They also learn work-related skills such as assuming responsibility, punctuality, and staying on task. Career education provides opportunities for students to explore and discover strengths and interests and plan for transition to adult life.

Week 1

Here is a career exploration opportunity: Get to know community workers. Contact local people in different jobs. Interview local workers about their jobs and talk about the similarities and differences between jobs. This will be a good start to the career portfolio.

Week 2

Develop a survival kit for college. Move beyond doing the trouble shooting for your students. Set up situations for them to take over management of things and being independent. For example, think about local numbers for bus routes, register for Learning Ally and Bookshare, add all the technology-related contacts for repair and support needs, look into a refillable credit card for supplies and emergencies, and connect with reader services and online news services.

Week 3

Promote both volunteer and paid work opportunities. Have students make a list of local organizations they may work with during school and in the summer. Script the call with them. Have them talk about themselves, what skills they may offer, and why they want to help the organization. Call the organization and follow up with a letter.

Week 4

Support development of mentorship opportunities with adults who are blind or have low vision. Ask students to think of questions that they may ask visually impaired adults, such as, "What role did your family play in making you an independent adult?" or "What adaptive tools supported your education program?" For older students, encourage them to mentor younger kids, too.

Resources to Cultivate and Nurture Curiosity and Imagination in Children

DCMP Resources

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Recreation and Leisure

Being unable to observe others reduces awareness of recreation and leisure options. Instruction in recreation and leisure skills will ensure that students with visual impairments will have opportunities to explore, experience, and choose physical and leisure-time activities, both organized and individual, that they enjoy. This instruction should focus on the development of life-long skills.

Week 1

Discuss steps to plan a day trip to a community museum, art gallery, or park. Have the students pack their lunch and make all the arrangements. Students should ask about descriptive language tours by docents at local museums.

Week 2

Think of ways to record fun sports or indoor/outdoor recreation memories. Use videotape, picture albums, post cards, newspapers, and journals. Have them decide on a theme and make a story around a favorite sport or recreation activity. At the same time, save those memories in a scrapbook. Include self-drawn pictures, pictures of them in action with the activity, new vocabulary words that match the lessons, and brochures about community areas.

Week 3

Set the stage to entice and motivate students to want to travel. Use tactual maps to build location and direction skills. Start local with trip planning and build to a full blown road trip or camping trip.

Week 4

Encourage outdoor activities. Open the door to a magical discovery tour of the outdoors. Kids need at least one hour of play a day. One way is to run a nature scavenger hunt. Hand out an egg carton and a list of 12 items to collect, e.g., natural items which are: soft, spiky, blue, strong, beautiful, old, fragile, yummy, sharp, smooth, closed, open, wet, dry, from an animal, etc. Have fun!

Resources to Cultivate and Nurture Curiosity and Imagination in Children

DCMP Resources

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Independent Living

Independent living skills include the tasks and functions people perform in daily life to increase their independence and contribute to the family structure. These skills include personal hygiene, eating skills, food preparation, time and money management, clothing care, and household tasks. People with vision typically learn such daily routines through observation, whereas individuals with visual impairments often need systematic instruction and frequent practice in these daily tasks.

Week 1

Get out the measuring cups and spoons, pick a recipe, and enjoy cooking together. Your students will build skills for following directions and reading. The best part is eating the end result. A fun option could be making white cane cookies and share with the O&M instructor.

Week 2

Limit the number of sedentary activities. Take advantage of a warm summer day to spruce up the class or home. Use the time to wash the car, patio, or bike.

Week 3

Kids need to learn responsibility, self-esteem, and self-worth. Turn chores into a fun game. Turn chores into a fun game. Add steps to be outside and take part in gardening and be part of nature.

Week 4

Dress for success. Take the opportunity to have students talk about styles in clothing. Discuss styles that are appropriate for school, special occasions, sports, sleeping, etc. Use an O&M outing to encourage students to use their allowance funds to buy a needed clothing item. Remember, bargain shopping is fun.

Resources to Cultivate and Nurture Curiosity and Imagination in Children

DCMP Resources

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Self-Determination

Self-determination includes choice-making, decision-making, problem solving, personal advocacy, assertiveness, and goal setting. Students with visual impairments often have fewer opportunities to develop and practice the specific skills that lead to self-determination. Students who know and value who they are and who have self-determination skills become effective advocates for themselves and therefore have more control over their lives.

Week 1

Increase opportunities for making choices and decision making. Have students plan the day's activities, where to go, what to pack for lunch, etc. Use the time to experience new places.

Week 2

Discuss and practice good telephone manners. Have students list their favorite stores and items. Talk about their favorite stores and what they need to know to purchase items. Ask them to list the phone numbers to their favorite stores and call to ask about the items they want to buy.

Week 3

Encourage reading about successful people who are visually impaired. There are many stories available to encourage lively discussions. One example is having students read short stories about women in history who were blind, have low vision, or deafblind. After reading the stories, discuss their accomplishments, courage, creativity, role in history, etc.

Week 4

Provide opportunity for imaginative play that focuses on sharing. Find props around the house or at garage sales.

Resources to Cultivate and Nurture Curiosity and Imagination in Children

DCMP Resources

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Technology/Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive and adaptive tools as well as instructional services that can enhance communication, access, and learning. It can include electronic equipment such as switches, mobile devices, and portable notetakers; computer access such as magnification software, screen readers, and keyboarding; and low-tech devices such as an abacus, a brailler, Active Learning materials, and optical devices.

Week 1

Keyboarding is an essential part of literacy programming. It leads to self-confidence with access to technology. You may want to modify the keyboard with color-coded stickers (with the letters and characters) for a more manageable display. Make practicing keyboarding interesting, so include fun prizes.

Week 2

Children first learn to listen and speak, then use these and other skills to learn to read and write. Help students know about technology tools to accessing print, communication through writing, and producing materials in alternate formats (such as audio, Braille and large print). Connect with adult mentors who are blind and use various technologies for fun and work. Invite curiosity and interest/ have a show and tell session.

Week 3

Building competent writers is important. Support their use of technology with both reading and writing. Enjoyment of reading is important and fosters good writing skills, too. Don't forget word-processing skills are important to practice. Help students realize word-processing skills will help them finish written assignments. Work on creating, editing, saving, and printing text files. Competency in written language is what students need for academic and vocational success. And technology makes this goal much easier to reach.

Week 4

Work on setting goals. Have the students write a list of what they "can do." They will be working on writing, spelling, and chart-making skills in a fun way. Make a chart and discuss how well they do the task. Discuss the frequency, and the technology they may use, too. Then look at what they find and move ahead to what they would like to do.

Resources to Cultivate and Nurture Curiosity and Imagination in Children

DCMP Resources

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Tags: educators, blindness

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