[nobe-l] Writing on the board
missheather at comcast.net
Mon Jan 16 13:34:46 UTC 2017
Sorry this reply is late in coming to you since you're teaching this week.
Congratulations on following your dream to teach. I am a blind teacher and
I've been teaching for over 30 years with preschool and elementary age
children. So, you most certainly will be able to teach. Many blind teachers
do, all over the world. However, it's important that you remain determined
and develop your alternative techniques, and don't get discouraged by what
the sighted professionals say to you.
Student teaching is especially difficult since you aren't in charge of the
classroom. The resources aren't all brailled and the children aren't trained
by you to interact with a blind teacher. When you have your own classroom
everything will be organised and marked that way you like it and things will
work just the way you want.
Nevertheless, you can make student teaching work, but make sure you point
out this fact to your supervisor and classroom teacher..
When teaching sighted children, it is important that you teach as a blind
person, and not try to teach the way the sighted teacher does. Typically,
your supervisor or the classroom teacher will tell you that you need to
write on the board and they ask if you can write. However, this is not the
correct question. The correct question is "Can you present material in
written form in front of the class?
Yes, the sighted teacher writes on the board. But, she only writes on the
board so that she can show the numbers, symbols and letters which she wants
to display in written form. But, provided blind teachers can put letters,
numbers and symbols up that the students can read, it doesn't matter that we
don't write them. As a blind teacher, I use magnetic letters, numbers and
signs, which I put on the board. I don't need to write on the board since I
have an alternative technique that works just as well. I thing that the
wikki sticks idea is also good.
A company called Lakeshore has what they call a Classroom set of magnetic
letters which is very useful for displaying on the board, since the letters
come in a divided box with several of each letter. You simply use braille
label and mark the bottom of each section and it's quick and easy to find
each letter since the sections are alphabetically arranged. You can also buy
sets of plastic magnetic numbers. The letters in the classroom box are only
about an inch and a half tall. You can also get three inch high letters
although I don't believe they're available in the classroom box, so you'd
need to make up your own divided box.
Melissa and Doug manufacture sets of magnetic wooden letters and numbers.
They are around $10 to $12 dollars a set. They are available on Amazon.
However, for presenting material on the board, you may wish to purchase the
larger, plastic letters and numbers.
I believe these are available from Lakeshore.
If the board is not magnetic, it will be to your great benefit if you get a
magnetic board into the classroom. It's likely that the school will have one
floating round, so be sure to request it as soon as you can. Otherwise, you
should purchase a magnetic board. You can get ones that are big enough from
Costco or perhaps an office supplies store. A diligent search online will
also find you a reasonably priced larger board. Many are on wheels and are
also dry erase. Since this is all equipment which you need to pass your
college courses, Voc. Rehab. should pay for it for you.
I'll put some info about my favourite websites where you can buy lots of
great adaptable and/or accessible resources and materials below this e-mail.
If you'd rather prepare your resources ahead of time, you can purchase
adhesive numbers and letters which can be read using fingers, and you can
get assistance with sticking the various sums onto large cardboard charts.
This way you can present your lesson using premade materials and won't need
to use any time finding the letters or numbers which you need. You can put
braille under the numbers or letters on your large cardboard chart to make
presenting the lesson easy. You just label each chart and change it as you
move onto the next example.
The Parent Teacher Store often has these and they have a website where you
can buy things, if you don't have a store near you. It's also likely that
there would be plenty available on Amazon.
Furthermore, you don't have to present your lessons the way the classroom
teacher does. For example, you could bring the students onto the carpet
close to you in a group and you could present your lesson with them close
up, so that they could easily see the smaller letters or numbers which you
are putting on your magnetic board. This is such an important part of making
your student teaching practicum successful. Find out what it is that they
want you to teach and teach the lesson in a way that will make it possible
for you to be at your best and successful, not trying to present lessons the
way the sighted teachers do. Be sure to explain to your supervisor and
classroom teacher that this part of your teacher training is about you
finding what works for you as a blind teacher, and not about trying to prove
that you can teach like a sighted person, which you neither want nor need to
I hope some of this has been helpful to you, Tara.
Please don't hesitate to contact me to chat about ideas, suggestions etc.
Tara. I would love to help.
The Lakeshore website is fairly accessible but they have an extremely
helpful customer service department so it's often much quicker to call them
and tell them what you're looking for and they'll help you locate it.
Oriental Trading Company is another company which offers lots of magnetic
resources which are large enough to display on the board for a class, and
have plenty of room on them to affix braille labels. For example, I have a
frog life cycle set of pictures. I have brailled the info booklet so I can
easily present the lesson.
Discount School Supply is an extremely good company with a lot of very good
resources which are sold at an affordable price. However, the website is
truly awful and not accessible. They do have good customer service but, I
have found, that it's much better to sit down with a sighted friend or
colleague and explore what they have. I've discovered lots of neat resources
there by just looking by category. I wouldn't have found it talking with
customer service since I didn't know it existed.
I have several favourite websites where I buy all sorts of materials which I
use in my classroom.
From: Tara Abella via NOBE-L
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2017 4:49 PM
To: National Organization of Blind Educators Mailing List
Cc: taranabella0 at gmail.com
Subject: [nobe-l] Writing on the board
I am student teaching in first grade and next week I will be completely
taking over math and spelling. How does everyone handle writing on the dry
erase board at the front of the room? I will be teaching greater than, less
than, and equal to, so I need to be able to create problems and show
examples for the students to see.
Sent from my iPhone
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