COMMUNITY BASED EXPERIENCES
By: Carmen Willings
Updated February 26, 2016
Community outings are a perfect way to provide students with hands-on experiences and opportunities to touch, taste, hear, see, and smell within their natural environments and are important components of the student's educational program!
Not only do field trips provide direct experience with real places and enforce concepts, but they also provide students with basic community and transportation skills including use of public transportation specific to your area and exposure to ways of navigating throughout unfamiliar buildings through the use of building maps and elevators and escalators. Field Trips, or community outings, should have advance preparation (group time discussions) and follow-up activities incorporated into the various curricular areas. As part of your preparation, have students think about what they want to learn and help the students prepare a list of possible questions that they could ask.
Prepare in Advance for the Visit
When visiting a theater, museum or any other exhibits, you may want to notify someone on the staff that a student with a visual impairment will be attending. If they are told in advance, the staff may be able to make arrangements for the students to go beyond the museum barriers or to touch some of the exhibits. Be considerate and provide the staff with ample time to prepare for your visit. This will also provide time for the staff to develop unique experiences and opportunities for your students.
Explore Environmental Braille
For future or current braille readers, be sure to point out and explore braille signs found in the community. Direct contact with environmental braille is important in becoming familiar with where signs are typically located and also helps the student to transfer their skills to other environments (Braille on elevators, bathrooms, braille menus). This exposure to ADA signs is equally important to students who have remaining vision. They are uniform signs that provide all people with understanding and access to information. Print and symbols are in good contrast and simple font.
Record the Experience
During some experiences, you may want to record an account of your adventures onto a cassette tape or other electronic device. These can be kept on the bookshelf and listened to whenever your students choose. Make an “auditory experience album” by recording events and experiences on cassette tapes; review the album occasionally as you would a book or picture album.
During the community visit, talk with the student about the experiences and encourage items and sounds to talk about and compare them, such as: the car motor is quiet and smooth; the bus has a high step, and is noisy, and can make you bump around; the counter is high and smooth. Provide opportunities for the student to have many experiences over time and variations of those same experiences, such as: tactual experiences with all kinds of chairs; rides in all kinds of cars, buses, subways, trucks, tractors, trolleys, and boats. In the community, use tactile, auditory, olfactory, and visual exploration accompanied by meaningful verbal descriptions. This will help them make sense of the world around them.
Encourage students to use their vision as they scan to locate items, buildings, and people. Scan a map to determine where places are located in a city or within a building. Scan to locate and identify street names, building numbers, and bus numbers. Encourage tactual discrimination and fine motor development by having the student push open heavy doors, push buttons on elevators, activate features in a museum, etc. Provide opportunities for the student to read a variety of menus in the appropriate medium (print or braille). During your visits, be sure to take pictures, obtain any related objects, and record sounds.
Possible Community Outings
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings