Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Learn About Community Partners Using the Expanded Core

a graphic that reads the title of this blogpost
I just completed my latest ECC kit, Community Partners and I am so excited about it. One of my preschool teachers wanted a kit to help with teaching about community partners. Let me show what I came up with!
First, let me go right to our assessment tools and resources from the Expanded Core Curriculum. This way I can infuse skills in every aspect. I always go to my ECC tools first so I can have a clear picture of what skills, concepts, etc. I need to teach. I hit up the Independent Living Skills Assessment (ILSA) and Elementary Concepts from TSBVI (see earlier posts on using Elementary Concepts). There was a whole unit on community partners in Elementary Concepts so I copied the section for my teachers to use. Lots of good ideas for both core and Expanded Core learning (with art, music, writing, etc ideas). I also found some fun color and cut headbands from (I signed up for free and they have all kinds of things). 
A picture of the Elementary Concepts community partners unit and the templates for the cut and color headbands
Next I hit up Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers to find some ideas and resources that general education is using. Remember, we always want to be in alignment with core and general education because it keeps our students included in their classrooms. Plus, TPT has GREAT finds that are pretty cheap. I love TPT!

Four of the movement community partners cards. For example: brush your teeth like a dentist
I found these awesome movement cards for $3.00 on TPT. They are available in large and small sizes (or in large print as I like to think of it...). Look at how great these cards are!! I had my intermediate grade students do all the Braille for me (bonus ECC instruction as we discussed as they brailled...). *You can't see the Braille labels very well but they are on there!*
I also went and found the props that go with each card. For example, a newspaper, wrench, toothbrush and cut up hose. Now we have meaningful tactual items for the movement. 
Screen shot of the Teachers Pay Teachers store where you can buy the movement cards
I happen to have some preschool items that I purchased for my early thoughts with dramatic play with community partners. You can easily hit up a Kid to Kid or other kids consignment shop for some items. I also purchased some from Lakeshore. Kids love to dress up for dramatic play (plus it's another ECC bonus because you can work on dressing skills!)

a picture of a doctor kit

an image of the mail carrier dress up outfit with Braille label
We added Braille labels to all the print labels on the dramatic play clothes. Add a little super glue (carefully!) so that the Braille labels stick long term. 

a picture of the back of the construction workers vest with Braille label on it

a photo of some of the community partners dress up outfits.

a photo of all the contents in the community partners kit
We packaged up the costumes into large ziploc bags and logged the contents. I like to do this to keep track of things. We are not done yet! We still have more items in our ECC kit. 

I also found this fun idea from Pinterest to build a photo town. Here's the link:
There's lots of good ideas in this post! There are accessibility settings on phones (iPhones for sure) that allows students with vision impairments to take pics with feedback. Go around your town and take pictures of your town to build your photo town. See the post for more ideas. There are so many good ones that are totally doable for our students! Extend your ECC learning by visiting these places and taking your pictures there OR it can be ECC homework for students to do with their families. 
a photo of the blog post for the photo town
I decided to have some starter photos for our town so I Googled some free pics of things and made labels (with Braille on it--can't see in picture). It was easy peasy to make the board. Bonus ECC instruction: you can work in spatial skills directions because you can discuss top/botton, left/right and count squares and use systematic search patterns. 
a stack of photos from places around the community

a photo of the community partners kit
The last part of our kit has to do with signs in the community. We included a number of directional signs and this real working stoplight to talk about navigating around our community. This stoplight totally works! I found it at Hobby Lobby on sale for $40! It's got metal on it so it has an authentic feel. Plus it's great for students who have no vision who always hear people talking about a stop light but have never 'seen' it before. 
a photo of the toy street light from the kit
There is SO much learning that you can do with this ECC Community Partners kit! Other ideas include: asking members of the community to come to your classroom OR scheduling a visit to their location and build an experience book based on the community partners you learned about. Just make sure you hit up our ECC resources to see all the skills from play to compensatory skills that can be included. ILSA is a great tool for this! 
See you in the community!!