Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Using eggs and an egg carton to teach braille and Other Skills

Sometimes teaching the concept of the Braille layout to a group of students can be a challenge. But a half-dozen eggs and a six-egg carton can make the teaching process much easier. I bet I have you wondering how!

The six-egg carton can be used as a braille cell and the six eggs can be used as the braille dots. The letter A is formed by putting one egg on the top left corner. The letter B is formed by putting an egg on the top left corner and a second egg right underneath, and so forth. Once the students learn the alphabet, you can also show them how letters are formed when writing on a slate. Letter A is written by putting one egg in the top right corner. Letter B is written by putting an egg in the top right corner and another egg right underneath.

Using these materials will allow you to easily take a look at the combination of dots every student is forming.

By using these over-sized materials, you can easily check each student's progress. And if the thought of raw eggs and mischievous kids seems like a recipe for a mess, substitute the real eggs with plastic Easter eggs. Just in case!

You can also use egg cartons as an introduction to numbers. Take empty egg cartons and label each compartment with a number, 1 through 12 in braille and print. For the low vision folks, a permanent marker works, but you can get really fancy and do stickers or computer printouts. The children have to find one of something, two of something else and so on. You can provide things like counting bears, paper clips, buttons, pennies, or small pebbles, it's a great way to teach children number concepts.

The labels you use don't have to be numbers. You could use letters and have the children find small pictures or household items that start with that letter. You could also use shapes and have the kids sort through blocks or precut paper shapes. I think it would be a great way for low vision students to learn colors, for younger children you could color the inside of the compartment. For the older students who are learning to read, you could label the compartments with the actual color words. The kids could put marbles, colored chips, counting bears, tiny toys or pictures of things in their compartments.

Who knew egg cartons could be so much fun?

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