Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lesson plan ideas - Letter b

So why am I starting with "b" instead of "a" you ask? Well this is just where I happened to be working with Madilyn this week. But have no worries, as I will come back and post the "a" lessons we worked on soon! And for all you OCD people, like my sister, I'm very sorry for posting this out of order! If it makes you feel any better, I won't necessarily be teaching the letters in alphabetical order either because some are just harder to learn in Braille! Here are some ideas for PreK - Kindergarten aged kids. Now let's begin...

Main Activity: Object identification to build vocabulary and meaning for understanding. Place all the items in a pile in front of the child. Let her explore and pick out an object to examine. Encourage her to feel it with both hands and all her fingers.( Please use discretion when she may try placing it in her mouth.) Ask how the object feels, and if she knows what it is. After figuring out the object's name, discuss what the object is used for and how it functions. Most of the objects listed below are things you probably already have in your house.

List of "b" words

Book with braille
Blocks with braille
Bubble wrap
Bumpy Ball

additional objects: blueberries,box, bat, bucket, bag, bubblegum, basketball, box, bug, bracelet, button, brush, balloon, banjo, beans, beanbag, belt, bone, boot, bed, bath, bike, bear.

"b" objects

Sorting activity: after you have completed the object identification activity, try sorting the objects by category- uses of objects (mealtimes and food, objects that hold other objects, things you play with), physical traits of objects (soft or hard, light or heavy, etc)... Feel free to come up with your own ideas and see if the child can too!

Matching activity: use Braille flashcards and have the child match the objects with its name printed in Braille on each card.

Sensory activity: place the smaller objects in a tub filled with dry beans. Have the child search the beans with both hands to find all the objects!

Go outside and blow bubbles! Try coloring the bubble mix with nontoxic food coloring so the bubbles are easier to see for low vision kids. Also try the project "bubble art" listed at the end of this article!

Strengthen finger muscles and coordination skills by letting the child pop the bubble wrap! Great auditory feedback and maybe even a physics lesson in there, too.

PE/physical therapy: get moving with batting practice using a baseball tee, beeping ball, and a freshly mown yard! If the child is completely blind, work with her by standing behind her with your arms around her, helping get the feel of the swing and learn will the ball will be sitting each time. Let her place the ball on the tee to get a better understanding of the object of the game- hit the ball OFF the tee! Learn 'off' and 'on' as well =)

Bad weather? Then check out the local bowling alley for a fun game of 10 pin. Ask the associate at the counter to put up the bumpers on the sides for the child's turn and use a lane ball guide (the contraption that you aim, sit the ball on, and then push). Want to play at home? Then check this game out ELECTRONIC TALKING SILLY 6 PINS by HASBRO- it has pins that talk, cheer, and even tease, making the game much more fun for everyone- especially VI kids!

Ride bikes. Try a tricycle for little ones or training wheels for balance. Be sure to help guide the biker and make sure the rider always wear a helmet! Many visually impaired cyclists tandem bike, however finding a tandem bike for purchase may require a little research before a purchase.

Cover a soccer ball in plastic gift wrap like what is used to cover gift baskets. Crinkle it and scrunch it so it makes lots of noise when it is kicked or caught. Play a little game of kickball or just roll it back and forth between the two of you.

Soccer ball covered in cellophane for sound

Music activity: play bells! All kinds of bells! Try chiming along to "Jingle Bells" or make up your own songs. Explore the different sounds and pitches or different bells. Even try out your door bell.

Listening activity: listen to clips of different birds singing and tweeting. Click here to find a few good sound clips. Does your zoo or park have a bird sanctuary? Go out and hear the real thing live! Maybe even pack a picnic, too.

Braille writing: complete a Braille "b" worksheet. Practice writing a couple lines of the letter b, then try a pattern of "ab" repeating down the line. It is often easy to find the correct finger placement one time, but more challenging to have to switch it up each time when switching from the letter a (dot 1 - finger 1) to b (dots 1,2 - fingers 1,2). Check out our ideas for learning finger placement on the Perkins-style keyboard and the number associations of the dots within the 6-dot Braille cell.

Miss M pressing the 'b'

Braille reading: for a simple book with braille and bunny finger puppet, has a great Braille/print/texture book "Bedtime Bunny" by Sandra Magsament.

Make or buy flashcards (or touchcards, as I like to call them) with all the "b" words to practice. Buy simple braille/large print touch cards from us and save time!

Play Braille bingo! We have adapted a regular kids alphabet bingo game with Braille. Make your own or save time and buy Braille Bingo Game from Sensory Sun.

Imagination & play activity: put the braille cards with animal names in a bucket and take turns drawing a card to act out. Pretend to be different "b" animals. Buzz like bees, fly like birds, move your legs like a butterfly, get on all fours and growl like a bear. Also encourages Braille reading!

Science activity: learn cause and effect with bubble wrap. Explain how bubble wrap is used for protecting fragile items. Demonstrate by wrapping a cookie in bubble wrap, tape it up, and place in a small box, again taping shut. Let the child shake, rattle, and toss the box around. Open it up, carefully removing the still intact whole cookie (hopefully) and then, try it again with the cookie in the box NOT wrapped in bubble wrap. Show how the cookie doesn't hold up so well this way. Oh well! You may as well eat the cookies now. Also try our ideas for taste tests for letter b foods!

Taste test! If you used real foods for the object identification activity, further explore the items by tasting them. So the next time your child hears the word, she will recall it using all four (or five) senses- taste the food, smell it, feel it and mash, shake or squeeze it to make a sound. Yeah it may be a little messy, but isn't it worth it?! YES! Your child will love it too.

Art activity: using the colored bubble mix, a few straws and watercolor paper, make bubble art. Squirt a little bubble mix on the paper, then use the straw to blow bubbles, letting them pop to make fun tie-dye looking pictures.

A great occupational therapy idea is to practice stringing beads. Make this a fun art project the child can keep by using craft beads and string to make a bracelet.

Here are a few other products your child might like, too.

Beep baseball - Visit the website for the National Beep Baseball Association at

Fisher-Price Singing Soccer Ball

Character Sports Talking Basketball Set

***Always check age appropriateness of products for safety, especially when small items are involved like the beads and beans!

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