Lesson for Time Management and Independent Living for Children With Disabilities
We need our Time and Space
In order to achieve success during academic life and beyond, obtaining knowledge about one’s immediate surroundings and managing time are essential steps for young children, including those with visual impairments. A teacher working with students with visual impairments must explore these topics in several ways. Primarily, a teacher must be aware of how the loss of vision has impacted the ability of the student to access the visual environment. In addition, concepts regarding time must be explained and discussed, moving from the concrete to the abstract. Finally, experiences which unify knowledge must be provided. For these reasons, special education professionals called Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) assist students with vision loss in grasping concepts through direct instruction.
One of my students asked an interesting question, motivating me to create this lesson. He inquired: “Mr. Truzy, I was watching a military movie on TV. One guy screamed the enemy was at three o’clock? I thought it was evening, based on what the other soldiers said. Was the sergeant not telling time right?” I saw an opportunity to teach about time management as specified in Compensatory Academic skills and Independent Living.
The lesson below focuses on areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) to address deficits in learning pertaining to Compensatory Academic Skills and Independent Living. These are two of the nine subject areas of the ECC. However, you may wish to conduct these activities over several class periods. Modify as appropriate for your students’ comprehension level and your time restraints.
Which of these instructional approaches will you apply?
Key Components of the Lesson
- Grades – Elementary school children.
- Materials –Materials for this lesson included: a plate with a fork and spoon, a book bag, and a notebook
- Vocabulary – The vocabulary words I included were: next, before, during, past, future, now, start, begin, finished, later. I also added: schedule, end, and priority.
- Inclusion of Technology – For this lesson, I used a braille watch and a computer.
Phase 1: What Time is It?
The goal of this activity was to increase my students’ knowledge of time management in accordance with the ECC area of Compensatory Academic Skills.
I gave my students the vocabulary above, inquiring: “How do you keep track of time?” Here are the responses I received:
- I check my watch.
- I use my smartphone or laptop.
- I ask someone.
I directed my students who had technology to show the class how they applied the devices to finding out about the time of day. They did. I showed my students how to use screenreader technology on a laptop by navigating to the clock feature. (Screenreaders are software packages which help people with visual impairments access text and other items on the computer. Many such programs are free on the internet.)
I invited my students outside, noting the day and sunshine. Historically, I explained the importance of the sun for measuring time i.e., seasons, time of day, etc. (Every opportunity to connect the ECC with the standard curriculum must be pursued, which includes discussing historical facts.)
I said: “How do you organize your day?" This brought on silence. I asked my students to return to their desks.
We explored some daily activities aloud. The students mentioned: playing, eating meals, going to and leaving school, watching movies and listening to music. We discussed how using notebooks, book bags, and electronic devices for organizing helps with managing time more effectively. I talked about schedules and priorities at this point, reminding my students buses, their parents, and the school had schedules and priorities as well.
I passed around a book bag and a note book for my students to examine, offering suggestions on organization and time management.
Questions to Ask
At this point, I wanted to check for understanding and review. I told my students to help me choose the best of two options when they heard my statements:
- I’m going to a movie, can’t homework wait?
- Hey!! There’s John. I’m going to chat with him before I get to the next class.
- Man, I'll listen to this new song by the Whatevers and then I’ll tune into the teacher. Mr. Truzy can wait. This song is a serious jam! (My students laughed at my ancient slang.)
- I can leave my notes on the desk and play this video game. I don’t have to put them away. Notes will take care of themselves.
- I’m going to read the Super Frog comic book, then I’ll do my homework.
- My students chose the right course of action each time.
Phase 2: Let's time it!
Next, I introduced the children to a large clock and a braille watch, like the one in the photo. The goal of this activity was to increase my students’ knowledge of managing time in accordance with the ECC area of Compensatory Academic Skills. I explained before clocks, watches, and smartphones could talk or were digital, people looked at hands on a clock or watch to determine time.
I showed my students how the hours and minutes were determined based on the long and short hands on the timekeepers. I let them explore the devices with their sense of touch. After discussing how time was measured on the devices, I asked them each to set a different time as I took the watch around the room. They were accurate with each turn.
We discussed how there was twenty-four hours in a day, divided into A.M. and P.M. I explained the military counts all twenty-four hours, with zero placed before numbers less than ten. My students kept saying: “At 3-30 P.M., or 15:30 hours, school is out.)
Phase 3: Give me Dinner on Time
Finally, I brought out a plate with utensils. The goal of this activity was to increase my students’ knowledge of living independently relevant to dining. I told my students to imagine the plate as a clock. I explained that sometimes people may use the roundness of the plate to help them find food applying the concepts of a clock.
I place the fork and spoon at different simulated times: 4 o’clock, 8 o’clock, and ten o’clock. Then, I allowed my students time to practice.
I asked: “What if I told you your potatoes were at 12:00? 6:00? 3:00?” They found the location of the imagined food each time.
After this exercise, I instructed my students to take the vocabulary words home and use them to write sentences. One student pointed out: “It’s time to go. Exit: two o’clock.”
The student who gave me the idea for this lesson walked up to me. He said: “Mr. T., The sergeant in that movie was telling his men the enemy was to the right. But I hope the food in the cafeteria doesn’t come flying at me at any given minute or hour.” Lesson learned.
Do you schedule time for discussion during instruction?
Lydon, W., & McGraw, M. (1973). Concept Development for Visually Handicapped Children: A Resource Guide for Teachers and Other Professionals Working in Educational Settings. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Lowenfeld, B. (1973). The visually handicapped child in school. New York: John Day Co.