BUILDING CONCEPTS ACTIVITIES
By: Carmen Willings
Updated February 26, 2016
Students who are blind or visually impaired experience a loss in the range and variety of experiences; restriction in the ability to get around; and restriction in interaction with the environment. To minimize these restrictions, students need concrete and unifying experiences and need to be a part of the action by “doing”.
Apps for Communication
Create Tactual Books
Braille Instruction Activities
Creating Tactile Graphics
Cranmer Abacus Instruction
Concept Building Activities
Cause & Effect Apps
Organization & Study Skills
Note Taking apps
Signature & Handwriting
iPads as Instructional Tools
Making iOS Device Accessible
Accessing Audio Books
Navigate Computer w/o a Mouse
Word Processing and Shortcuts
Video Magnifier Instruction
Encourage Use of Vision
Vision Skills Apps
Attend, Shift Gaze & Pursuit
Tracking & Scanning
Visual Motor Skills
Discrimination & Sequencing
Visual Closure & Figure Ground
Visual Association & Memory
Optical Device Use
Developing Skillful Hands
Responsibility & Independence
Hygiene & Grooming
Dressing & Clothing Management
Icebreakers & Mixers
Group Builder Games
Proper Guide Techniques
Orienting Student to Environment
Navigation & Location Apps
Learn to Play
Career & Vocational
Preparing for College
Recreation & Leisure
Recreation & Leisure Resources
Objective: Students will describe object characteristics (ex. Big, cold, etc.) using at least 3 different words to describe the object for the purpose of building general concepts.
Present the student with materials from the unit of study (ex. winter clothes, sporting equipment, tools used for cleaning, school supplies, etc.). Encourage the student to manipulate and explore the objects and describe their characteristics. How are they similar and how are they different? Move through the subsequent activities, as appropriate for the student to extend learning and building of concepts.
What's the Function?
Objective: Student will demonstrate an understanding of the function of tools associated with the unit.
Present the student with objects and/or pictures (if the student has enough usable vision) of tools from the unit and demonstrate or discuss the function of the various items. Ask the student if they have had experience using or interacting with the item before. How was the tool used and by whom? When possible and appropriate, provide the tool for the student to explore and provide assistance and demonstration in how to use it (ex. cooking tools, power tools, writing tools, medical tools, etc.)
Objective: Student will classify pictures/objects into categories and identify if any objects go together using tactual or visual discrimination skills.
Provide the student with materials related to the unit. Encourage the student to sort the items in various ways, depending on the goal of the student. Have the student sort by color, texture, weight, shape, size, use or category. Then ask the student to sort in a different way. Incorporate items related to the current class unit, include rough, smooth, hard, soft, scratchy, bumpy, crispy, hot, cold, warm, tepid, freezing, and hot items. Unique materials include:
Using a variety of objects and containers is a wonderful way to teach students a variety of skills. By adding variety and pairing objects and containers with units, the students are able to practice transferring their skills. It also provides them with opportunities to interact with real materials from the topic that encourage them to explore. Finally, using containers with different lids encourages the students to problem solve and use different hand skills.
Possible Containers to Use: Drawstring bags, baskets, bottles, boxes, boxes with hinged lids, buckets, pencil boxes, cups, fast food containers, holiday candy containers, ice cube trays, jars, jell-o molds, jewelry boxes, margarine tubs, measuring cups, metal lunch boxes, muffin trays, pill boxes, pitchers, plastic bowls, Pringles can, purses, wallets, soap dishes, travel containers, zip top bags
Objective: Student will demonstrate an understanding of spatial concepts and body image by following directions.
Have students place unit related objects in relation to another object or self: top/bottom, front/back, sides, over/above, under/below, inside/through, away from, across from, next to, beside, to the right side, to the left side. Extend the activity by encouraging the student to carry out a series of directions incorporating the positions in sequential order.
Objective: Student will name objects when named, when the word is presented, when described, the function is described, or by its texture.
Present the student with a selection of objects, pictures or words from the unit. Help the student develop familiarity and understanding of the materials and vocabulary by presenting the student with questions or riddles. Encourage the student to touch or tell the object: by name; when presented with the print/braille word, matching the word to the object; by description; by function; or by texture.
I’m Thinking of Something…
Objective: Student will play a verbal reasoning game and identify objects that are described.
Play the thinking game “I’m Thinking of Something…” with your student. Use physical characteristics, or the function of a variety of objects from the unit, to challenge students to infer what unit related object you are thinking of.
What’s Missing Memory Game
Objective: Student will identify missing objects.
Test your student’s memory skills by playing a memory game. Present the student with a variety of unit related objects, pictures, or words from the unit. Allow the student to study them, then have the student close their eyes while you remove one object. Encourage the student to identify what object is missing.
Color Concepts & Color Associations
Objective: Student will identify materials associated with a primary or secondary color.
Encourage the student to identify the colors of objects presented in the unit. Are those objects ALWAYS that color? Can they be in other colors? Hailstones and Halibut Bones is a great book to incorporate into units throughout the year.
The Shape of It
Objective: Student will find/touch/identify geometric shapes on request and names shapes which occur in the environment.
Identify what shapes objects from the unit are similar to. Alternatively, encourage the student to create shapes using a collection of objects. Are the objects similar in shape to cubes, rectangular prisms, cones, cylinders or spheres. Provide models for comparison. Classify two dimensional shapes by their attributes (quadrilaterals, triangles, number of sides and angles)
Community Based Experiences
Objective: Student will develop a more concrete understanding of unit and their world through direct interaction with their world.
Make every effort to take the student out into the world in order to experience it, or bring the world to the student. Not every school system permits regular field trips. Provide parents with guidance in arranging trips and suggestions for embedded concepts during the trip. Instruct the student that during the experience, you want them to pay attention to what they see, hear, smell, and feel. Bring along a portable recording device to record sounds to recall the sequence of events within the experience.
Discussion Following Experience
Objective: Student will reflect on their experience and communicate what they are able to recall (demonstrate memory) including what they heard, saw, smelled, felt, etc.
Upon return from the experience, encourage the student to discuss what they saw, heard, touched and experienced during the experience. Encourage the student to provide details and describe people, places and events during the experience. Play back audio recordings from the experience. As you listen, pause it to have the student identify the sounds. Encourage them to communicate feelings or ideas related to the experience. Make a list of these items/experiences, write a short story about it, or just retell the experience.
Objective: Student will sequence the occurrence of events.
Use the recordings from the experience to help the student recall the sequence of events during the experience.