While I was preparing to come to teach at a school for the visually impaired, I visited a school in Chicago for the blind. I had an opportunity to meet with a few of the teachers there and learn some of the techniques they use to teach, as well as some materials.
Not knowing really what to expect coming to the Wa School for the Blind, I packed an entire, 50lb suitcase full of teaching materials. I brought a long things like; thick pens, frames to write in Braille, wicky sticks, play dough, clay, moon sand, ruler, some games, cards, pom-poms, felt, foam paper, pipe cleaners, paper that rises when written on with markers, paper that can be written on with Braille that can be a sticker, some books in Braille, beads and string, ect.
Most of the materials are new to Wa. I have used all the materials in my teaching. It has been great to think of new and interesting ways to make learning hands on and fun. I have realized I am not only teaching the students but the teachers as well. The students are learning the basic concept and the teachers are expanding their teaching methods with the new teaching aids.
For the lower functioning class they have been matching different textures together, sorting out things, putting things in order, playing memory games and working with clay for fine motor skills.
At Bible study we used felt to make a Joseph’s coat of many colors but of course we made a coat of many textures We made cross necklaces which was a big hit with all the students at the school.
In math there are a lot of pictures the students must see/feel to understand; shapes, lines, angles, measurements, charts, graphs. With the paper that rises I was able to teach the different types of lines. I cut out different shapes from the foam paper and labeled them. These shapes not only helped the students recognize the shape but they were able to label with the proper name of the shape, measure it and label the different line segments. We also worked on creating angles by using the wicky sticks and raised protractor.
Sometimes you have to be a little creative for the students to be able to understand without having to see it with their eyes, but it is really fun to think of new ways to teach and to learn.