Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments
Winter Unit Introduction
Interaction with real materials is critical in developing an understanding of concepts for the student with minimal or no vision. Possible materials for this unit include but are not limited to:
boots, carrot, coal, coat, disc sled, earmuffs, gloves, hat, hockey stick, hot cocoa mix, ice skate, log, long underwear, mitten, portable heater, quilt, saucer, scarf, shovel (snow), skis, sled, snowball maker, snowboard, snowflake, snow goggles, snow pants, snowshoe, top hat, and toboggan.
Winter Time Vocabulary
Possible vocabulary words for this unit include but are not limited to (select words appropriate for your student):
arctic, ashes, black ice, blanket, blizzard, boot, brisk, carrot, chill, coal, coat, cold, cough, cozy, dog sled, earmuff, fire, firewood, flannel, fort, flu, flurries, freezing, frostbite, frosty, frozen, glove, hat, heater, hike, hockey , hot chocolate, hypothermia, ice, ice skate, icy, Jack Frost, January, jingle, knit, log, long underwear, melt, mitten, nippy, nose, overcoat, parka, pine cone, polar, popcorn, quilt, radiator, saucer, scarf, shiver, shovel, skate, ski, skiing, sled, slippery, slush, smoke, sneeze, sniffle, snow, snowball, snowboard, snowflake, snowman, snow pants, snowplow, snowshoe, snow, shovel, snowstorm, snowy, socks, stick, storm, stove, sweater, thaw, thermometer, warm, wind chill, winter, wool,
Winter Time Concepts
Objective: The student will gain knowledge and understanding through topic discussion.
What is winter? Discuss with the students that winter is one of the four seasons of the year. What are the other seasons? Winter is the season after fall and before spring. Discuss that winter is not the same everywhere. In some places it doesn’t snow, in other places there is snow all the time. Days are
Discuss winter clothes. How do we dress differently from the other seasons? (sweaters, long pants, heavier coats, warmer hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, snow pants, turtlenecks, etc.) Why? (because it’s cold!!) Tell the student that you brought in a bag with a variety of clothes. Have them help sort the items by season. Then sort the items by type (hats, shoes, outerwear, shirts, pants, etc.)
Discuss recreational activities that people do in the winter (sledding, skiing, skating, snowboarding, etc.) Have the student explore recreational equipment. Touch it, stand/sit on it, try it on, etc.
Discuss unique chores that you have to do when it snows. (shoveling, scraping/brushing snow off car) Provide different shovels and scrapers to explore.
Discuss other ways that winter affects us and that some people like snow while others do not. (Sometimes have snow days or school delays; it takes longer to get places because the roads might be snowy or icy; have to let the car warm up, etc.)
Seasonal Clothing Sort
Objective: Student will classify pictures/objects into categories and identify if any objects go together using tactual or visual discrimination.
Provide the student with a variety of clothes that would be worn in summer verses clothing that would be worn in winter (shorts, short sleeve shirts, tank tops, ball caps, winter coat, corduroy pants, sweater, winter hat, scarf, mittens). Encourage the student to sort them by season.
Expanding Ice Experiment
Objective: Student will develop an understanding that water expands when it freezes.
Demonstrate how water expands when it freezes by having the student fill a water bottle and label it with their name (Place a few drops of food coloring in the bottle if the student has low vision.). Place the bottles outside on a freezing day or in a freezer. After bottle freezes, have the student observe how the bottle has expanded.
Quilt Texture Match
Objective: Student will use textures to match, sort and name objects.
Create a small "quilt" using various textured materials and attach to a board. Provide the student with matching texture pieces to match to the quilt pieces.
Winter Clothes Match/Sort
Objective: Student will identify an object that is different from within a group of 4.
Have the student match or sort a variety of gloves, mittens, scarves, buttons or other winter items. Sort various size gloves and mittens or buttons by size (small, medium, large).
Color Concepts & Color Associations
Objective: Student will identify materials associated with a primary or secondary color.
Read the poem What is White from Hailstones & Halibut Bones by Mary O’Neill with your student. Prior to reading the poem, provide objects from the poem that are white (ex. container of milk, a bone, marshmallows, and white lace). As you read the poem, point out the words that rhyme. Provide the student with words from the story of things that are white. Reread the story and as you come to one of the words, have the student find the matching word card.
Literature Related to Winter Time...
Caps, Hats, Socks & Mittens - Borden
Frog and Toad All Year - Arnold Lobel
Froggy Gets Dressed – Jonathan London
Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan - Cynthia Rylant
Henry and Mudge in the Sparkle Days - Cynthia Rylant
I Have to Go! – Robert Munsch
Snow - Uri Shulevitz
Snowballs – Lois Ehlert
The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto - Natalie Standiford
The Hat – Brett
The Mitten – Brett
The Snowy Day –Keates
Thomas' Snowsuit - Robert Munsch
When Winter Comes – Maass
Winter Days in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Young Reader Books
A to Z Mysteries: The White Wolf – Ron Roy
Magic Tree House #32 The Winter of the Ice Wizard - Mary Pope Usborne
Magic Tree House #36 Blizzard of the Blue Moon – Mary Pope Osborne
Magic Tree House Research Guide Polar Bears and the Arctic – Mary Pope Osborne
Sugar Creek Gang: Lost in the Blizzard – Paul Hutchens
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
The Long Winter - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Books Older Students May Enjoy
In the Land of White Death - Valerian Albanov
South: The Endurance Expedition - Sir Ernest Shackleton
The Children's Blizzard - David Laskin
Touch the Top of the World - Erik Weihenmayer
A Patch of Old Snow - Robert Frost
Good Hours - Robert Frost
It's Snowing! It's Snowing! Winter Poems - Jack Prelutsky
Now Close the Windows - Robert Frost
Storm Fear - Robert Frost
The Wood-Pile - Robert Frost
What Is White? from Hailstones and Halibut Bones - Mary O'Neill
Wind and Window Flower - Robert Frost
Winter-Time - Robert Louis Stevenson
A Winter's Tale - Moody Blues
Hazy Shade of Winter - Simon & Garfunkel
I Am A Rock - Simon & Garfunkel
Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast – Michael Wojtech
Fandex Family Field Guides: Trees – Steven Aronson
Flyers from stores showing winter clothing
Store catalogs with winter clothing
Objective: Student will develop a more concrete understanding of unit and their world through direct interaction with their world.
After reading the poem, "Good Hours" from Poetry for Young People by Robert Frost with the student, discuss how in many of Frost’s poems he walks along a path and comments on what he sees. Tell the student that you are going to go on a winter walk. Instruct the student that as you are walking, you want them to pay attention to what they see, hear, smell, and feel. Go for a walk around the school campus. Bring a portable recording device to record sounds. If there is snow, collect snow to bring indoors to explore. Discuss changes in winter. Few or no leaves on trees; discuss how the sky may look different and the ground may look different. If there is snow, extend the activity by encouraging the student to use pine cones, pine needles, sticks or other objects found in nature to cream imprints in the snow.
Discussion Following Winter Walk
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 to class/indoors, 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.
Winter Walk Sequence
Objective: Student will sequence the occurrence of events.
Use recordings to help the student recall the sequence of events during the experience. Alternatively, use objects collected from the walk to sequence.
Winter Time Math
Objective: Student will recognize and match numerals 1-20 when they are presented.
Have the student place the corresponding number of buttons on three dimensional snowman with numbers brailled on them. Have the student compare sets to determine which set is greater than, less than or the same as the objects in another group.
Mitten Number Sequence
Objective: Student will sequence numbers from 1-10.
Create cut out mittens, or better yet, use real mittens and attach numbers 1 through 10 on them. Provide a taught clothesline (or a pretend but tactual mantel) and encourage the student to use clothespins to order them.
Hot Cocoa Number Sequence
Objective: Student will sequence numbers from 1-10.
Create a number sequencing activity for the student. Using a poster board cut lengthwise, write "Hot Cocoa Number Sequence" across the top. Create 10 cocoa mugs using tactual materials and equally space them across the bottom of the poster board. Attach a Velcro dot to each mug. Create a set of matching mugs with numbers 1-10 clearly brailled on them. Encourage the student to sequence the mugs from least to most.
Winter Time Writing
Objective: Student will practice forming letters.
Fill several spray bottles with water and food coloring. Bring the bottles outdoors and encourage the student to create designs or write their names in the snow.
Winter Time Worksheet
Objective: Student will complete a worksheet by reading the directions and completing multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, and written response.
Present student with simple sentences using winter words. Omit the unit words from the sentence and encourage the student complete the sentences by selecting the word that would complete the sentence. Incorporate true and false questions as well as multiple choice for students to gain experience completing worksheets.
Winter Experience Reflection
Objective: Student will write ideas and experiences related to the topic in various formats (ex. opinion, informative, persuasive)
When the student has had time to discuss the winter topic, have the student discuss their experiences related to winter. Scribe the student’s ideas and experiences or encourage them to write a paragraph or two about their topic.
Objective: Student will use monocular to visually attend to information and describe what is seen.
If there is an area on the school campus (or when you are on an outing) where the student can observe wildlife, encourage the student to sit outside and watch the animals. Encourage them to describe how they look. Attract birds and other animals by placing food out for them.
Objective: Student will examine objects and describe what is seen.
On a snowy day, place construction paper sheets in the freezer. When the paper is cold, have each student take a sheet of paper and a magnifying glass outside and attempt to catch two snowflakes on the paper. Using the magnifying glasses, have the student examine the snowflakes on their paper and compare/contrast the flakes.
Hidden Winter Picture
Objective: Student will visually explore pages of a picture book, identify pictures within a book, and locate specific pictures in a book.
Locate a winter I Spy book or picture, or create your own using a collage of pictures or stickers on a winter background. If you happen to own the game Scrutineyes: The Game of Closer Looks by Hersch, use the "Things Particular to Winter" picture. Encourage the student to scan with a magnifier to find the hidden pictures. If the student needs extra visual supports, create a grid on a clear piece of acetate and place it over the page. Provide the student with support in scanning from left-to-right and top to bottom.
Objective: Student will examine objects, compare to pictures and locate a match.
Obtain a bark identification guide book such as Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast by Michael Wojtech. Go for a walk around the school campus and have the student use the magnifier to examine trees and pine cones and to access the information in the nature guides
Objective: The student will visually discriminate objects.
Provide the student with various patterned mittens or create a set of mitten pictures with a variety of patterns. Vary the complexity of the patterns to match the student’s needs to ensure they are challenged but can be successful. Encourage the student to identify matching mittens.
Objective: Student will identify and sequence what is happening in pictures.
Using pictures depicting various stages of building a snowman, have the student arrange the pictures in the correct order.
Objective: The student will visually scan and locate partially hidden objects.
Obtain a variety of real mittens or mittens with various patterns. Depending on the student's abilities, scatter the mittens within arm’s reach or partially hide about the activity area. Encourage the student to visually scan and obtain the mittens and place in a container.
Quilt Pattern Match
Objective: Student will match patterns.
Create a small "quilt" using various patterned and attach to a board. Provide the student with matching pattern pieces to match.
Career, Vocational & Volunteering
Objective: Student will gain experience helping others without expecting to receive payment for service.
Help the student organize a clothing drive for a charitable organization or for a family in need. As the clothing comes in, have the student sort the clothing by type and by season. Have the student fold clothing and/or hang on a hanger.
Objective: Student will learn and practice job skills related to the unit of study. Students will gain experience performing a job or selling goods in order to receive payment for services.
Make a lap blanket for keeping warm, particularly if the classroom tends to be cold. Determine the dimensions the blanket needs to be and add 8 inches for a fringe. Measure two colors of fleece to this size and align both pieces. To create the fringe, cut strips four inches long by one inch wide along all four sides of both pieces of fleece. Cut out the squares of fabric at the corners. Tightly knot the top strips to the bottom strips on three sides of the blanket. Then tie the last side together. Consider making additional blankets and have the student set up a store to sell to fellow students. Determine the cost of materials and determine a reasonable price. The student can earn money toward a class activity, the purchase of devices, or to raise money for a cause.
Recreation & Leisure
Objective: Student will learn about and participate in activities related to the unit.
Have the student shovel snow into garbage cans or buckets. Pack the snow down hard to pack it down. Turn the bucket upside down and carefully lift it up to release the block of snow. Use various tools to carve away snow.
Objective:Student will listen/attend to story that is read and predict what will happen next in a story.
Show the student the front and back cover of the book and read the title with them. Present the student with pictures and objects from the story. Present a bag with the following items from the story: socks, boots, hat, scarf, mittens, pants with a zipper, shirt with buttons, coat with snaps, and underwear. Verbally describe the pictures for those with minimal or no vision. Ask the student what they might read about in this book. Predict the content, events and outcome using title, illustrations, and objects. Explain that predictions may change as you read and gather more information. Model asking questions you may have about the book/topic.
Read the Story
Objective: Student will attend to story and attempt to follow along in print or braille.
Read the story with enthusiasm and inflection (or present the story via electronic text). Provide the student with copies of the text. Reread the story with the student and encourage them to read along or to read high frequency or vocabulary words. Pause when you come to these words, prompting the student to fill in the blank.
Objective: Student will answer questions (ex. Who, what, where, when, why) and recall details and facts from information presented.
After reading the story, encourage the student to ask questions they may have about the story:
- Ask the student questions to demonstrate understanding of the text.
- Do you think you are similar or different to the character in the story?
- What was the intent of the author? Was it to inform, provide directions, or to entertain?
Recall items or key points of story
Objective: Student will identify the main idea of the story and evaluate if their prediction was accurate.
Provide the student with the clothing presented from the story. Challenge the student to identify the main object from the story (underwear). Ask students to recall their prediction. Were they correct? Were the student surprised that Froggy was too tired to play?
Objective: Student will demonstrate an understanding of emotions.
Ask the student how they felt when they read/listened to the story. Did you think it was funny or were you bothered by the events? Would you do what Froggy did in the story?
Similarities & Differences
Objective: Student will read other books by the author and discuss similarities and differences between other books.
Read another book by Jonathan London. Discuss similarities and differences between other books Jonathan London has written about Froggy.
Froggy Readers Theater & Sequence
Objective: Student will sequence events from the story.
Using the objects related to the story, have the student act out the story. Have the student take turns being Froggy and place the items on themselves in the correct order. Encourage the student to recall the sequence of clothing. This would be a natural time to practice dressing skills. Reread the story and have the student act it out, taking turns with each dressing/undressing.