Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Making Accurate Measurements

Does your VI child have a dream of becoming an engineer, architect, scientist? Do they wonder how they will make  accurate measurements? This year I have had the pleasure of working with a teacher who had the solution to this problem.

Below is a picture of a digital caliper with an extra-large LCD Screen. This tool allowed my student to make accurate measurements big and small. He adjusted the tool until the screen read the measurement he needed and then used a ruler to mark the line.  

I purchased the Neiko 01407A Stanless Steel 6-Inch Digital Caliper with Extra-Large LCD Screen and Instant SAE-Metric Conversion from eToolscity at Amazon. com 

If the screen is not big enough for your child, he or she could alway use it along with their CCTV or hand held magnifier. Now if they would only come out with a talking caliper!

One of the most exciting parts of my job is working with and sharing ideas with other professionals. Some of my best classroom modification ideas are borrowed from colleagues who have no background in vision. 

Feel free to comment and share you favorite modification ideas! : )

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bring Bookshare To Your Tablet!

Is your child a Bookshare member? Do you have a tablet? Now you can bring Bookshare to your child's tablet!  I have had multiple parents tell me that their child no longer fights them to read. These applications below allow your child to access books in the learning media that best fits their needs whether it be Braille, Large Print or Audio.

Tablet: IPAD
Bookshare Application: Read2Go

Tablet: Android
Bookshare Application: GO Read

Tablet: KindleFire
Bookshare Application: Darwin Reader

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

CCTV Reading Fun

Introducing a CCTV to a young or old child can be intimidating.  Below are some games I enjoy playing with my students to help them become more comfortable with their CCTVs.

1.) Buy Memory at the store and play it under the CCTV. Have the child practice using the zoom function by exploring the small details on each card.

2.) Give them their favorite children's book and have them go on a scavenger hunt for certain pictures in the book.

3.) Print a hidden picture and let the students complete it under the CCTV.

4.) Draw different sized lines horizontally across a page one under another. At the end of each line, put a surprise.(I often use small edible items such as a goldfish or skittle.) Have the child practice using the CCTV to track each line to the surprise. Repeat this activity with vertical lines. 

5.) Have the child read jokes, complete word searches or play Mad Lips under the CCTV.

6.) Have the child color pictures with small details.

What games or activities does your child or student enjoy using with their CCTV?

Coming Soon: CCTV Distance Fun and CCTV Writing Fun

Monday, May 6, 2013

Pre -Braille Games

As we all know, toddlers and preschool students learn best through play. When working with a student who is blind, that is the key age to get in those pre-braille skills. Below, I listed a few of my favorite pre-braille games/activities. Feel free to comment and share your child's as well! 


Make Candyland tactile by assigning each color its own texture. Now your child can participate in game time with his or her peers AND is learning to match and identify textures.  (I can't take credit for this idea because I stole it from my amazing supervising teacher during student teaching.)


A couple years ago, my grandfather asked me to go through his game closet and take anything I thought my students may enjoy. I was lucky enough to come across Pavilion Games: Double 12 Dominoes. These dominoes pieces are actually tactile which make them perfect for practicing Pre-Braille skills! 

Go Fish

Create a tactile Go Fish game by attaching a tactile shape to each pair. Now your child can participate in a game of Go Fish with his or her friends and is working on identifying and matching tactile shapes.


Glue textures onto index cards and create a game of Memory. As your child's Pre-Braille skills improve, create a memory game with Braille symbols and eventually Braille letters.

Scavenger Hunt

Attach 2 of each shape in APH's Feel 'n Peel Point Symbol sticker packs to index cards. Attach a magnet to the back of 1 of each pair and tape to the other. Put the taped index cards on the wall in a hallway. (You want to put them at arm level so that your child will come in contact with them when trailing the wall.) Put the magnet cards on a small magnetic white board. (You can find these in the office/school supply section of Walmart) Have your child trail the wall and find matches.

Touch and Match Boards

I purchased this Touch 'n Match board through a teaching catalog when I first started teaching. A simplified version is available in APH's catalog.

Lucky Duck

Lucky Duck happens to be mine and my students favorite Pre-Braille game. Instead of matching colors and shapes, we attached textured shapes to the bottom of each duck, giving each shape a different texture. We now match shapes and textures instead of colors and shapes! For my students with multiple disabilities, we concentrated on one of those skills at a time.

Fish for Braille

At the end of last school year, I purchased  Lakeshore Magnetic Fishing Set. Using contact paper, I attached a Braille letter to each fish. I start by using a couple letters and have my students match them. As their skills advance, I have them identify each letter as they catch a fish. If they correctly identify the letter, they will get to keep it. If they incorrectly identify it, we discuss the right answer and then throw it back.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Money Reader

This weekend, I had the privilege of attending New Jersey's Division of Parent's of Blind Children Conference: When I Grow Up. I met many incredible families and VI professionals who had much valuable information to share.

Today I would like to share an Apple application that I had the opportunity to experience at the conference.

For years, individuals with visual impairment have had their own ways of insuring they received the correct change when in the community. Some always used their credit card or wrote checks to avoid the need for change. Others requested their change in all $1 dollar bills so that they could count their change back to themselves.

Now, with the LookTel Money Reader Application, individuals with visual impairment can easily determine if they received the correct change. The LookTell Money Reader uses an Apple devices's camera to instantly identify currency and speak its value. 

When looking for a video of the application to share, I found that LookTel has an entire line of awesome applications for Individuals with Visual Impairment. Check them out and let us know what you think! LookTel Demo

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fun Ways to Teach Braille to Partially Sighted Students

As a TVI or a parent of a Braille reader who is partially sighted, you may find that it can often be difficult to convince your child/student to read Braille. Below are some games/activities I use to make Braille fun for students who are partially sighted.


Players: 2-4 
Twister Board
Twister Spinner
High Contrast Tape
24 BINGO Chips or Math Counters

How to Make TWINGO:
1. Use black tape to box off 4 Braille cells on a Twister Board. (The picture above shows 1/2 of a TWINGO Board)
2. Put at least 25 BINGO chips or Math counters in a zip lock bag.

How to Play TWINGO:
1. The teacher/parent assigns each player a contraction and a section of the TWINGO board. 
2. The teacher/parent spins the spinner and calls out the color it landed on.
3. If a player need that color to build their contraction, they should put a chip/counter on their board.
4. The teacher/parent should continue calling colors until a player is able to build their contraction. The first player to build his or her contraction calls out TWINGO and wins.

Mega Braille Slam

Players: Unlimited
Black Paper
White Paper
2 Buckets
12 Wiffle Balls

How to Make Mega Braille Slam:
1. Glue 12 white circles onto the black paper to make 2 Braille Cells.
2. Put a cross of Velcro on each circle. (This picture shows just a square of Velcro. I found that a square was not enough and expanded the  squares to crosses that run the length and width of the circle.)
3. Put a strip of Velcro around each ball.
4. Attach the entire board to the wall.
5. Put all the balls in a bucket.

How to Play Mega Braille Slam:
1. The teacher/parent assigns  player 1 a contraction. 
2. The student throws each ball in attempt to make that contraction.
3. If the student makes the contraction before running out of balls, he or she receives 2 points. If the student does not make their contraction, he or she may place the balls on the board to form the contraction. If they get it correct, he or she receives 1 point.
4.  Steps 1-3 are repeated for each player.
5. You may play as many rounds as you like.
6. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Braille Dots

Which Braille games or activities do you enjoy to play with your student or child who is partially sighted?