Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Literacy Fun with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

We have a long walk from our classrooms to certain areas such as the cafeteria or library on our campus. One of our preschool teachers had a difficult time herding her class back and forth. I saw an idea she tried where she put items for the students to touch on their walk. This gave some anticipation, hurried those little feet along and provided some exploration experiences. I thought it was a great idea and decided to add some literacy fun. I selected the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom because it is one of the best children's books! It has great rhythm. It was one of my favorites when I was a classroom teacher.

It didn't take me long to create a walkway with the story. The book walk begins with the coconut tree. I had a cardboard box that was the perfect length and width for the base of my tree. I also had this awesome leather fabric that I hot glued around the box. The palms were made out of cardboard (I peeled the layers of cardboard apart. I didn't have anything that was similar to palm leaf that would be as sturdy as cardboard) and spray painted it green. I used plastic balls (like from sensory play ball bins) and used them as my "coconuts".
literacy for blind kids

I didn't want to get carried away with the design. I wanted to keep it simple and accessible for students. Keep that in mind: your textures, items, etc. shouldn't become a distraction. My focus was the story. I also wanted to include some pre-Braille and something for our kiddos with multiple impairments.
I typed everything in Arial bold large print. The letters are highlighted in different colors. I also made Braille letters (so if you see the letter B, you can also feel the Braille letter B on top). I used the standard Braille label paper. I also put Braille on the words "coconut tree". I used tactual symbols for the parts of the story that mention coconut tree. I did that because the goal is that the student starts with touching the coconut tree. I then took the same tactual pieces (leather and ball aka tree and coconut) and placed them on the signs. The leather and ball were consistently placed on every sign. This was specifically for our children who have multiple impairments.

 Braille literacy project

Braille literacy project

Braille literacy project

There is also Braille on the "chicka chicka boom boom".

Something to consider: glare factor. Can you see some glare on the signs? I used our roll laminator but the down side is the glare factor. What to do? I redid some of the signs that got hit hard with light with non-glare laminate. I bought mine from School Specialty but you can look it up anywhere. You can also look for matte laminate to help with this. I also considered the placement of the signs.

Lucky for me that I was given a large print copy of the book. I used it at the beginning of the walk.
This hallway doesn't really have much going on so there aren't too many areas to explore. Literacy is all around us and for kiddos with vision impairments, we have to create opportunities to access it. Can you see how this book walk is an expanded core lesson as well? Hints: think of it's location (orientation and mobility), reading the Braille or symbols (compensatory), recreation of the reading the story (recreation and leisure), discussion of who writes a story (career education)....and the list goes on and on! 

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