Friday, March 24, 2017

Cheat Sheets for Teachers on the ECC

Hi friends, This week I am talking about some Expanded Core handouts that I made for my teachers. I spent a lot of time with a variety of teachers from outreach (or itinerant) to our deafblind teachers and listened to how they explained the Expanded Core. I noticed that they had a grasp on the ECC but seemed to have trouble with having the ECC points quick to say. I spent time with our support staff and realized that they also had the same issue. I am so proud of all my colleagues because they have been working so hard at learning the Expanded Core. I thought about how I could continue to support them and viola! I created some cheat sheets that they could use to explain the Expanded Core and have as a quick reference. 
I have two cheat sheets. One has points about the ECC such as why we need it, how to implement, how others can teach ECC areas and a bit about the nine areas. The other is dedicated to a synopsis of each of the nine areas of the ECC. I spent time on all our great sites such as Paths to Literacy, ECC Advocacy and TSBVI to create the best synopsis of each area. 
These handouts are also useful for sharing with education teams and families. Our TCVIs (teachers for children with vision impairments) must be able to convey why we must teach the ECC to parents and education teams. I find that many good teachers can't express it successfully and as a result, there's not much support for ECC instruction. I hope my cheat sheets help our teachers and support staff continue to develop their understanding of the ECC and help them get everyone else on board. I am happy to share my cheat sheets. You can email me at and I will send you a copy. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Resource for Teaching Both Core and Expanded Core Curriculum

Hello friends, I bet you thought I quit posting because it has been so long! But have no fear, I am here and have lots to blog about! I will have regular new blog posts every other Friday (starting right after this one...).
I am SO excited to share this resource with everyone. Many of you probably know about the Texas School for the Blind (TSBVI) Elementary Concepts Curriculum but if you haven't, have no fear! I a sharing it with you now. I L-O-V-E this from TSBVI! In fact, we have it implemented in all of our classrooms on our campuses. 
The TSBVI ECC is designed for elementary age students and students with multiple impairments. It's awesome because it is a curriculum designed specifically for children with vision impairments. Teachers can easily implement this curriculum with general education core standards. 
 Each unit has academic support units such as reading and writing activities (see picture above). It does come with an assessment and a full overview of how to use it (see picture below). The curriculum does not specifically spell out which of the units are Expanded Core (the only flaw). However, take out your cheat sheet of the nine areas of the Expanded Core while selecting activities. You will be easily be able to label Expanded Core areas. It's a win-win for teaching both Core and Expanded Core.
 I can't say it enough---I love using this curriculum!! It is also very supportive for our kids who are just under grade level or require a lot more hands-on experiences. It is my favorite for our classroom teachers (who have classrooms that consist of children with vision impairments).
 I divided my TSBVI Elementary Concepts Curriculum into three binders because it just enormous! It also makes it easier to share with our general education teachers. There are goals and objectives within each unit. These goals and objectives make it easy to help with potential IEP goals too.

Here is the description from the TSBVI website:
This curriculum is written for students younger than twelve years of age who have visual impairments and are not yet reading, writing, and doing math at a first grade level. It is based on a thematic approach to teaching. Specific units of study have been included because an understanding of these topics gives students a foundation in their ability to understand themselves, their world, and how it functions. Unit activities include concept development, math readiness, reading and writing readiness, music and games, arts, cooking and eating, pretend play, story time, and extended discussion or activities.

The major themes are:
Description and Use
Self Theme
Happy Healthy Me Theme
Environment Theme
Where I Live Theme
Holidays Theme
Cycles Theme
Transportation Theme
Safety Theme
Recreation Theme
Animals Theme
Work Theme
Tools Theme
Others Theme
Community Helpers Theme

In addition, the curriculum includes an Assessment and Ongoing Evaluation that includes infused skills in cognition, communication, sensory and motor skills, readiness, work skills, and music skills. These skills are identified as a need through the assessment and then taught through the themes.

It's also a steal of a deal at only $105! (If you have ever purchased curriculum before, you know that this is a great price especially for what you are getting. I promise you that I do not get a cut of sales. I am just eager for teachers to have a curriculum that is specifically designed with the needs of children with vision impairments in mind.).

Check back to my Valentine's Day post and you will see ideas of where to use this. I also will keep posting lessons that are based on this curriculum. See you next time!