Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lesson plan ideas - Letter c

The Letter C

When introducing a new letter, it is always important to begin with exploring the different sounds the letter can make. This way your child will get a head start on letters that sound the same. The soft "c" can sound like a /s/ and a hard "c" sounds also like the /k/. However since you are teaching this letter first, you may feel it not as important depending on the background of the child. My daughter has been very familiar with all the sounds of the letters for quite some time now, so I chose to address the multiple sounds of the letter "c" by giving examples of words that sound the same but use letters s and k instead of c.

Main Activity: Object identification to build vocabulary and meaning for understanding. Try finding the items in their own places in the environment, too. Go outside to find a life size car and also explore a toy car inside. Search the refrigerator for a carrot or even the grocery store and garden! Sometimes this is more but can over stimulate some children if they are not familiar with being outdoors or the cool feel of the fridge. It is always great to explore new places but sometimes doing so freely without another motive is less stressful!

Also try this: Place all the items in a pile or box 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 (or before if additional hints are needed) 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 "c" words

Corn (cob)
Cell (Braille)
Cotton candy

additional objects: can, cord, color, candy

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: Use a variety of objects including paper and cloth materials to contrast coarse versus smooth textures. Sort the objects into two groups. For younger children, encourage sensory exploration by moving the textures down their arms and legs, and gently on their faces if they permit. Don't force this however!

You may also use the same idea contrasting "soft" cotton with something "hard".

PE/physical therapy: "c" ACTION words: climb, crawl, carry, catch, cuddle
Personally, I don't agree with the idea that a child must crawl before she can walk, but even as we work on walking skills I still encourage my daughter to crawl when we are playing on the floor. She never learned to crawl when she was younger however she is doing a fine job learning to take controlled steps. (However, some disagree that this is a good idea.)

Encourage climbing using stairs and playground ladders. Madilyn likes to climb the stairs up to the slide on the playground or at Gram's house, but I often have to remind her to slide her hands up the rails BEFORE she takes the step forward or she gets off balance and could fall backwards. Like most things I teach her, there is a method. For the stairs, it's "slide hands first, then step." Of course I stay behind her to catch her just in case! One day soon she will be doing it all on her own. I'll be sure to post pictures of this day :)

The skills of balance and coordination come into play when a person carries something, whether it be a book or a bag, there is some sort of give and take throughout the body. Play grocery baskets and produce items are great for this! The handle is easy for little hands to hold and you can also get in a 'touch, feel and name' game in when you decide which fruit to take with you. Let children practice carrying individual items as well. You can make a game out of it by having races. Have children move all the objects from one side of the room (or yard) to the other, one at a time. Whoever moves all the objects first wins!

Catch can be a little tough for visually impaired kids, but it is possible. Use a medium soft ball and play sitting on the ground. Whoever is tossing the ball to the vi child, just be careful and aim to throw it at her lap. Counting "1,2,3" to lead up to the the throw is always helpful. Have the child get her hands ready to catch and guard her face just in case! This may sound a little scary, but using a ball that will not hurt is what makes it okay. Think about a soft cloth ball with a chime inside!

Cuddling is a great way to bond with your child. Hold her tight and snuggle up with a blanket. Even if it is only for a few minutes, the security and emotional response is great!

Music activity: "c" music words: choir, chorus, cello, clarinet, cymbals, middle c piano, click

Speech: hard "c" makes /k/ sound, soft "c" makes /s/ sound, practice the /ch/ sound

Listening activity: Lots of free iPad and iPhone apps have listening identification. Look for some that have categories, like "Transportation" sounds including car, train, ambulance, airplane and more! However, most will require assistance from a sighted individual. Note: There are lots of apps for the animal category as well.

Braille writing: complete a Braille "c" worksheet. Practice writing a couple lines of the lowercase letter c and then try capital C, then try a pattern of "ac" 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 c (dots 1,4 - fingers 1,4). 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. The Braille capital sign is formed using dot 6 in front of the first letter of the word.

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

Braille Reading: Here is a list of great braille books with many letter c's:
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type
Cuddle Puppy (infant/toddler)

Imagination & play activity: Be a superhero with your own cape (and cane!)
Creepy crawl like a caterpillar
Pretend to go camping in your room or backyard

Math:  Counting Cheerioes (fine motor skills)
Hi Ho Cherry-O! Game

Shape: Circle goes around and round; no corners/points. Give examples of a circle in the world - car tires, cookies, (recommend option using real objects that can be traced with a circle, not a sphere)
Use shape flash cards

Science activity: Cooking - check out our recipe for braille dot cookies

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.

Geography - Learn more about your city and country. Use raised line maps or make your own using dimensional paint or dimensional tape.

Art activity: Caterpillar Craft! Learn more about bugs and fill out a report sheet to make this fun wall art caterpillar for the classroom. Tell the bug's name, color and texture, what it eats, and more fun facts! Use 3D bugs to explore, then use removable adhesive to adhere them to the bottom of your report. Scroll down to see Madilyn's caterpillar with a bee, butterfly, ladybug, ant and praying mantis.

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

Crayola Beginnings Color Me a Song
Crayola Color Wonder Sound Studio
Nickelodeon Dora Talking i-Crayons

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

C is for Cookie! Braille Cookies!

For a breakout lesson from the Letter C Lesson Plan, try a fun sensory activity that is both educational to prepare and yummy to consume! Check out this recipe for fun - braille cookies!

Sensory Exploration - all senses
Math Skills - parts/fractions, counting, time
Daily Living Skills
Cause and Effect
Learning to follow written/verbal instructions
Safety Skills (kitchen/home, fire, food)

Candy Dots (we used Necco Candy Buttons)
Sugar Cookies (we used this EASY SUGAR COOKIE recipe from
Royal Sugar Cookie Icing (this recipe hardens with a smooth, glossy finish)

The benefits of this activity are more widely seen with the more time you take and let the child really explore! Start from the very beginning with gathering the recipe, reading what ingredients you need, hunt them down in the kitchen or make a braille shopping list (check out our grocery store lesson, too!) if you still need to make purchases.

Go into detail on what ingredients are one by one as you add them to the bowl. Explore and discuss what they feel, smell, and taste like individually (when appropriate). Feel the egg. Describe how it feels - smooth, rounded like an oval, hard. Now crack it open. That sounded funny! Carefully feel the edges of the egg where it cracked. Touch the gooey whites and poke the yoke. Just be sure to wash your hands immediately afterwards to avoid contamination and don't taste raw eggs!! Feel the powdery flour as you sift it into the bowl. How does it feel different from the sugar? How are they alike? Taste them! Take your time and do this for each ingredient. For younger children, count the scoops when measuring out the ingredients. Compare the size of the teaspoon with the 1 cup measuring scoop. Which one is bigger? Which one holds more flour? You're already on the path to a new way of learning math!

Now, how do the ingredients change when you mix them together? What tool do you use to mix them? Touch the dough after it is all mixed up. Smell it! Doesn't it smell sweet and delicious? Don't taste it yet though! Now get your hands in and mix it up, pull some out and play with it. Swirl it around between your palms to form a ball. When it is just right, place it on the pan. Hope you (the adult, of course!) remembered to preheat the oven! If not, do it now :) Count the dough balls that can fit on the baking sheet. When it is full, place it in the oven and set the timer. Depending on the age and abilities of the child, have her participate in the more dangerous parts accordingly. Teach about safety first! All children must learn safety in the home, and that includes the kitchen. Just please be careful! We don't want anyone getting burned or hurt.

When the timer announces the cookies are finished, take them out and after they cool let the child feel them, count them, smell them, and of course taste one! Yes, taste one now before you decorate it. Then compare to how it tastes AFTER you decorate them. Which one is better?

Now it's time to decorate! If you need to make the icing, go ahead now. You can incorporate all the lessons from the cookie recipe with your child again. You can use a plastic knife to ice them if you don't have a decorator's bag and tip. Just make sure you place the candy buttons on top before the icing dries! Place the candy so a variety of braille letters are formed. Make a cookie for each letter of the child's name. She will have fun feeling each cookie after the icing dries, rearranging them on the table to build her name and other words! Can you spell "cookie"?

Additional Resources:
Buy Necco Candy Buttons