LECTURES & INSTRUCTION
By: Carmen Willings
The student who is blind or visually impaired will need consideration to ensure they can participate fully in the classroom instruction. Teachers will need to collaborate and communicate with the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) to ensure that the students unique visual needs are met. It can be a challenge to arrange seating in the classroom to foster friendships particularly when the student needs to be positioned in certain locations in the room to allow for lighting, proximity and access to outlets. Efforts should still be made to place the student with other students, especially if other students in the classroom are positioned in clusters, to avoid social isolation.
Hands on Experience
During demonstration lessons, the student should be permitted to handle the materials before, during and after the demonstration. Additionally, when possible, vary the method of presentation by using concrete objects and descriptive language.
Proximity to the Board
If the board is located at the front of the class, the student may need to be positioned near the front of the class. Some students, however, will need to sit further back or to the side if they have a restricted visual field. In many classes, the instruction area may change from the front, to the side, to the back of the room. There needs to be flexibility in where the student is allowed to sit. Allowing a student to move throughout the room will typically be necessary.
Lighting & Glare Considerations
The ideal situation is for light to be distributed on the visual task in equal amounts from all angles with none of it reflected back toward the face. When possible, reduce glare from windows and lights as much as possible using blinds, shades, and curtains. Also, be aware of glare caused by shiny surfaces such as laminated materials, desks and blackboards. Some student will be extremely sensitive to lights and glare and may need to wear sunglasses or a hat with a brim indoors.
For students that need higher levels of lighting to see best, it may be necessary to provide the student with task lighting. When using task lighting, light directed on the task should come from opposite the dominant hand and directed only onto the task. Other students may be sensitive to high levels of light and the lighting will need to be controlled to assist them in using their vision. Lamps with controls to vary the intensity of light (a rheostat control) can provide the additional or dimmed illumination.
Encourage Use of Prescribed Low Vision Devices
If the student has been prescribed a monocular, binocular, or electronic magnification device that can view information at a distance, for distance viewing, encourage the student to use their device. The Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) can help determine the best position for optimal viewing. Keep in mind that these devices allow the student to view a small area at a time. Monocualars and binoculars are great for spotting information, but should not be used for note taking as it is difficult to locate the targeted area, look down to notes, and find the location again, especially repeatedly.
Copy of Notes
Taking notes can be difficult for students who are blind or visually impaired. Many students will need to be provided with a copy of teacher notes prior to instruction. These notes can be emailed to the student to allow them to access them on their iPad or iPhone or provide the student with a printed copy of the notes. If a student needs materials in braille, be sure to provide the TVI with the notes well in advance in order to ensure there is time to prepare the materials in braille. This is particularly helpful in math classes when a student would need to follow the step-by-step instruction.
Using screen sharing apps like Join.Me is another great way for students to access information on an interactive white board (e.g. Promethean Board, SMART board). The student can either use a computer with internet access or use a device such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod with internet access and the Join.Me app. The teacher simply goes to the Join.Me website, initiates the meeting and provides the student with the numeric code. The student goes to the Join.Me site OR opens the Join.Me app and requests to join a meeting. The student enters the code and has immediate access to everything presented on the screen! Feel free to preview, download, and print these directions for using JoinMe.
Provide an Auditory Description of what is Written on Board
Be sure to describe what is written on the board as you are writing it to allow the student to be aware of all that is presented.
We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred human responsibility."
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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