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Making Trail Mix Using Preferred Literacy Formats

Making Trail Mix using a talking photo album and a braille recipe

Two of my braille students made “Happy New Year” Trail Mix last week. Basically it’s just trail mix with the message of  “Happy New Year” said as the student hands out their bags. 

Researching Recipes

We started off by researching what items are typically found in trail mix.  We created our own list, based on our research. One student brailled his list of what he wanted in his trail mix. The other student is a life skills student still learning to spell/braille words, so she gave me her list verbally. 

List of ingredients in print and braille
List of Trail Mix ingredients in print and braille

Trail Mix

(Note that original spelling and formatting has been transcribed below.)

  • banana chips
  • butter scotch chips
  • m-m
  • pretzels
  • marshmellows
  • peanut butter chips
  • peanuts

Food Safety

The day we made the trail mix, we learned about food safety: 

  • Having clean surface for preparing food
  • Washing hands
  • Wearing gloves when handling food for others
  • Wearing hair nets (we didn’t) or tying longer hair back
  • Securing food in a bag/container for storage
  • Following a recipe

Following the Recipe in an Accessible Format

While making the trail mix, one student followed his braille recipe that was put on Permabraille. The sheet was cleaned with a sanitized wipe prior to cooking.

The other student used a talking photo album, as her braille skills are still emerging.  I secured a sample of the food item to each page and then recorded the message.

Using a talking photo album to follow a recipe
Using a talking photo album to follow a recipe

In the video you’ll see me assisting her in accessing the information. Next time I will put an indicator dot on the play button to assist her in finding the correct place to press, as there is a specific spot on the bottom of the page that activates the voice.  This was our first time trying it and, despite the initial difficulty of finding the play button, she did really well! After the first couple of pages, she was able to locate the play button more easily.  This process enabled her to be more independent in making her trail mix, which is a huge win for her!

Video of Using Talking Photo Album to Follow a Recipe

Transcript: Trail Mix 

SPEAKER 1: Thank you. 


SPEAKER 3: Add one bag peanut butter chips. 

SPEAKER 4: Peanut butter chips! 

Measuring and Scooping the Trail Mix

Once the trail mix was made, they used a 1-cup metal measuring cup to scoop the mix up into quart size ziploc bags.  I used this size to make it easier for the students to pour their mix into the bags. The zipper bags are easier for them to close than the that need to be pinched to close. 

Adding peanuts to trail mix
Adding peanuts to trail mix
Scooping trail mix
Scooping trail mix
Scooping trail mix into ziploc baggies
Scooping trail mix into Ziploc baggies

The students then went about their campus delivering their goodies to their teachers, principal, paras, etc. and told them all “Happy New Year”. This was huge for one student, as he is typically very quiet. One of the groups he delivered the trail mix to was a class of students who are deaf and hard of hearing, so he really had to speak up in order to be heard.

Collage of making trail mix using preferred literacy formats: braille recipe and talking photo album
woman blowing confetti off of a book

Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library’s annual Accessible Community, Culture, and Technology Fair

Lit magnifier over a book enlarging the word visually.

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