Friday, December 6, 2019

Teach the Expanded Core Using Nutcracker Dolls

 I'm baaaaaaccckkk!! I technically never left. I've just been more on 9MoreThanCore on Instagram. But I've missed my regular blog posts because I have so much to share and talk about. Back to regular posts so keep checking back. I've got a lot of fun stuff to share over the next few months.

A group of a variety different types of Nutcracker dolls sit on a table.
Now onto our topic: Nutcracker dolls. Every year I see Nutcracker dolls and I admire them. This year I was admiring and thinking. How fun would it be to use them for an Expanded Core lesson!? I realized that I could have a fun activity that infuses Expanded Core skills and specifically focuses on career education. Yes!

 As many of you know, these dolls aren't always cheap. They are about $20 each and I had a lot to buy so yikes! No fear here. I bought these at Michael's while they were half off. Then I used my 25% off coupon. Winner, winner chicken dinner! 

There's many different options for teaching.
Here's some ideas:
You can simplify it for younger students and just focus on the key characteristics.
Match the Nutrcracker dolls to pictures of real people.
Give characteristics of a career and allow students to choose the right answer by selecting the correct doll. 
Find real life objects that coordinate with the Nutcracker. 

Remember, use your tools (EVALS and ILSA) to help with identifying skills to infuse that are appropriate for your students. 
A teacher Nutcracker doll with the game sign "What is a school teacher?"
My Nutcracker activity is fun for campus students or around the house at home. I made a game of it. I start the first week of December. Each week I "hide" (in plain sight!) the dolls around my campus with Braille/large print labels so students can learn about a new career. There's a main Nutcracker with a basket. Students find them and write the name & career in whatever mode (Braille, LP or audio) and sign their name. Students put their answers in a basket and I pick winners each week. 

a large traditional Nutcracker doll with a basket and a game sign on how to play the game behind it.
Check out my first four that I "hid" on campus. Note: by hid, I mean they are totally available to be found pretty easy. The objective isn't to have my students randomly feeling everywhere hoping to find one. Each doll has a large print and Braille version (I used my embosser). 

A police officer Nutcracker doll with a Braille and print sign.

A chef  Nutcracker with a game sign in Braille and print.

A doctor Nutcracker doll  with a game sign in Braille and print.

Here is a close up of some of the dolls that I bought. I also bought dolls to teach about recreation & leisure activities.
An army and firefighter Nutcracker dolls

A professor and pizza chef Nutrcracker dolls
 This part is important: pre-teaching is a must! Below is a picture of my high school students exploring the Nutcrackers. Students are invited to check out the features as well as read the information cards. The objective of this game is to explore careers and recreation opportunities.
A female teen and male teens tactually explore two Nutcracker dolls.

Below is a close up of some of the game cards (they are full size 8.5 x 11). 

The game card for Chef Bakewell, the chef Nutcracker doll.

The game card for Doctor Gurnee, the doctor Nutcracker doll.
Okay, I have an idea if you don't have 10-15 Nutcracker dolls. Plan a community based instruction trip to a place like Michaels and have fun there! 
There's so much that you can do. Use your imagination!
Want a copy of my game cards? Send me an email:

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