CREATING TACTUAL GRAPHICS
By: Carmen Willings
Revised October 28, 2017
The ability to read tactual graphics and charts is essential as part of a braille student’s literacy program. Explicit instruction in the reading and interpretation of tactile graphics is critical for students who are tactile learners. The student cannot fully participate in the core curriculum when presented with lessons or assessments involving charts and tables if the student is not able to read and interpret tactile graphics.
Common Methods of Producing Tactile Graphics
A collage tactile graphic can be created using a variety of craft materials that can be found in craft stores or recyclables. Possible materials for creating the area include braille paper, cardboard, Handi wipes, textured paper, fine sandpaper, needlepoint backing or fabric. To create lines, you could use string, wire, candlewick, thread, or puff paint. To create point symbols, use materials such as cork, felt, circle from hole punch, glue-ons, stick ons, or foam shapes. Labels can be created using commercially available clear labels or laminating sheets.
A tooled tactile graphic can be created using materials such as paper, aluminum diagramming sheets, or overhead projector sheets. Tools such as an embossing wheel, embossing tools from APH kits, stencil tools, etc. are used to mark papers and aluminum sheets. Some methods require the producer to traces on the back of the paper to reverse the image while other methods allow the producer to create raised lines using specialty paper. A combination of tooling and collage provides a graphic that is tactually different and easy to read.
Microcapsule Paper and Heat (Swell graphics)
Microcapsule paper is a special paper onto which thermally-foamed microcapsules have been uniformly coated. These microcapsules of wheat-flour-like form will instantly expand to hundreds of times as much as the original volume upon absorbing the energy of light or heat. Any material in black and white such as a line drawing, map, graph, illustration, photograph and chart can be three-dimentionalized when printed on specialized paper and fed through a specialized machine such as the Picture in a Flash or Swell form graphics machine.
Thermoforming is a the process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mold. Equipment and supplies are available through American Thermoform Corporation.
More Information on Tactile Graphics...
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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