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This lesson provided by:
Author: Ellen Anson
Lesson Plan ID: 6323

Let's Talk!!


This hands-on, inquiry-based unit combines language and social studies skills in order to encourage communication between verbal and non-verbal students. Students in early elementary classes are paired with students who are non-verbal and multi- handicapped and challenged to explore ways to communicate with and learn things about each other.

Content Standard(s):
CE(K-12) 6. Respect for others
CE(K-12) 7. Kindness
CE(K-12) 12. Compassion
CE(K-12) 21. Patience
TC2(K-2) 1. Identify basic parts of various technology systems.
TC2(K-2) 2. Identify applications and operations of various technology systems.
TC2(K-2) 3. Demonstrate correct posture and finger placement while using a technology system.
TC2(K-2) 4. Identify safe use of technology systems and applications.
TC2(K-2) 5. Practice responsible use of technology systems and applications.
TC2(K-2) 6. Identify uses of technology systems in daily living.
TC2(K-2) 8. Use digital environments to exchange ideas with individuals or groups.
TC2(K-2) 9. Identify digital tools used for problem solving.
TC2(K-2) 10. Design original works using digital tools.
ELA2013(K) 30. With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. [W.K.8]
ELA2013(K) 34. Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail. [SL.K.4]
ELA2013(1) 30. With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. [W.1.8]
ELA2013(1) 31. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about Grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. [SL.1.1]
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will present what they have learned about their new friends with special needs by creating a slideshow about them. Students will use digital cameras to take pictures. Students will create a communication book for their friends with special needs.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will become aware of a variety of ways that children with multiple disabilities can learn.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: Greater than 120 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

American Sign Language resource such as ASL dictionary, cards with facial expressions for feelings interpretations (photographs of students’ faces imitating various feelings may be used), situation cards for acting out a variety of situations using only non-verbal skills, pictures of people in various situations that students can view to interpret what is happening or has happened based on details of picture (magazine pictures are a good resource for this), grocery bag with two holes cut for eyes to see through when it is placed over a child’s head, voice-putput device with switch accessibility 5 ml. laminating film and portable laminator or photo album page protectors.

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with Internet access and switch access (optional), PowerPoint or other presentation software, Intellipics Player downloaded from, Intellipics program “How Do You Feel?” downloaded from Intellitools Activity Exchange found on the same site, publishing software such as Microsoft Word or Publisher, digital camera (standard camera or Polaroid camera can be used)


Collaboration between special education teacher and early elementary, general education teacher to schedule ample class time for students to interact. Teacher should learn some simple signs (i.e. good morning, how are you, thank you, you’re welcome) to demonstrate how sign language is used to communicate and is a universal language. Teacher should be familiar with websites that are incorporated. Teacher should download the Intellipics Player and the Intellipics Activity “How Do You Feel?” before lesson begins. (This site requires free registartion to download activities.) Group students at a ratio of 2-3 typical kindergartners to each child with special needs.

1a. Talk about how we use words – can we say the same words in different ways so that the words have different meanings? Have the children say the following phrases feeling sad, happy, and angry: “I don’t care,” “Let’s go home.”
1b. Let students explore "How Do You Feel?" Intellipics activity on computer. (Teacher should have previously downloaded this activity- see Background/Preparation.)
1c. Look at pictures with people in various situations and ask what they think the people would be saying based on the details of the pictures. Have students act out these situations using appropriate dialogue.
1d. Have one student place a grocery bag with eye holes cut out over his/her head. How would you know how this student is feeling without being able to talk or see his/her face? Whisper something (“come here”) for the student to say with his/her hands so that the other children cannot hear and see if the children can interpret what the child is saying. How can “come here” be expressed with hands only so that it has different meanings? (quickly moving hands would mean “come here, now”, bending index finger might mean “come here quietly”.)
1e. Connect to the web site and show students some simple signs online for “hello,” “thank you,” “good morning.” If time permits, let them explore some of the other signs on the website. Tell the students that in the next lesson they are going to be meeting a new friend who cannot use words to talk but whom they will get to know by using some of the ways that they have explored in Lesson 1.

2.) DAY TWO: GETTING TO KNOW A NEW FRIEND Assign students to their group with a student with special needs. Sing a good morning song of choice that includes students responding to their names. Have an appropriate response recorded into the voice output device for the non-verbal students to use. Teachers and/or adult staff should model how to appropriately greet a new friend- shaking hands, making eye contact, introducing oneself. Let the kindergarten student shake hands, make eye contact, and talk to the student to whom they are paired. Give the kindergartners time to visit with their special friend and learn some things about how the student reacts to a variety of activities. Ask the students what things they would like to know about the student that they might not be able to tell by interacting with them. Explore ways that answers to these questions might be obtained (ask the student’s teacher or parent, send home a questionnaire for the parents to fill out.). Have the students dictate questions that they would like to have put on a questionnaire to be sent home to parents. Students should think about activities that they would like to engage in with their student with special needs and come to next lesson with any materials, toys, supplies that their activity may need. (Some activities may include sharing a favorite toy or game, reading a special book or coloring together.)

3.) DAY THREE: SHARING AN ACTIVITY WITH A NEW FRIEND Gather as a group to begin this lesson. Share the information about each student that was returned by the parents on the questionnaire. Allow groups to divide up in different parts of classroom. Guide students in the activity they have chosen to share with their special friend. Encourage both talking and touching as a way of getting to know and communicate with one another. Ask each group to share with the class what things they have learned about their friend. Do you think your friend enjoyed the activity? How did you know? Interview the students and have each group share 3-4 things that they discovered about their friend from this activity. Write these down to refer to when creating the multimedia projects.

4.) DAY FOUR: BEGINNING THE MULTIMEDIA PROJECT Review with the students the things that they have learned about their friends. Help each group decide on 6-8 things that they want to share about their friend in the slide presentation and the communication book pages. Think about pictures that can be taken of the students that will show what they are sharing. Assist the children in setting up and taking digital pictures to be used. Refer to sample attachments included. For those pages for which a photograph is not available (family members, pets, etc.) help the students find computer graphics that would be appropriate. Save all pictures and graphics in a desktop folder with the group name on it to be used when making student projects.

5.) DAY FIVE: PLANNING A PRESENTATION Ask the students how the slide presentation that they are going to be making can be used to help others understand their experiences with students with special needs. Have them make suggestions about how they can make their presentations and to what group they would like to make it. (This might be another kindergarten class, the school principal, their parents, etc.) Have the students choose 4 of the things that they want to share about each of their special friends to use on a multimedia slide program. Allow them input as to where to place pictures and graphics and what to say about each thing they are sharing. Use the students’ own words as much as possible. Allow the students the opportunity to practice their presentations using the slide program. Arrange for the students to present their presentation based on suggestions made at the beginning of the lesson.

6.) DAY SIX: MAKING A COMMUNICATION BOOK FOR A FRIEND Ask the students how can what they have learned help others understand how their friend talks, and what things he/she likes or dislikes, and things about their friend that they have learned. How can the students let other people who meet their friend know these things when they are not with them? Guide the students into suggesting that a book with this information that is always with the child would help. Have them suggest ways that the student can display this book so that everyone can see it. Have the students choose 6-8 things that they want to share to make a communication book that will be attached to their special student’s wheelchair or book bag. Cut and paste graphics and photos from each group’s desktop folder into a Word or Publisher document – one item in each quarter of the page. Print pages, cut into quarters, laminate or place in photo album page protectors. Punch holes in one corner of each and hang on wheelchair or book bag using a clip ring.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. Evaluation Rubric - Communication Book.doc
Presentation Template.ppt
Communication Book
Evaluation Rubric - Presentation.doc
Assessment Strategies:

Assessment will be based on the multimedia projects completed. Use of pictures, how much each child learns about the child with special needs, the methods used to find out about them, and contribution to group presentation will all be considered in evaluation rubrics.


Allow the students to accompany a student with special needs to a school activity, lunch, program, etc. in order to help others understand what the student wants, needs, or how he/she is reacting to the activity. Encourage students to continue learning sign language phrases, teaching common phrases that can be used in class throughout the year.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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