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Lessons and materials

Mia’s Mix: An Integrated Approach to the ECC

Ideas to incorporate the ECC, literacy, and numeracy into an integrated series of lessons for students with visual impairments

While working on ECC (Expanded Core Curriculum) skills, including Independent Living and Self-Advocacy, we planned a series of lessons for our student, Mia.  She is a 13-year-old with low vision. She picks and plans the activity every other week then goes and gets the items the next week and we make the projects. Sometimes it’s cooking and sometimes it’s a craft or activity. We try to make it relevant to either a holiday or something she’s doing in one of her academic classes. 

These lessons are a collaboration between the O&M specialist (Lee Ellen Whitefield) and myself (a TVI).  The lessons incorporated literacy (reading and writing shopping list), numeracy (money skills), O & M, visual efficiency (using telescope in store), self-advocacy (seeking assistance in store), and independent living skills (shopping, cooking, using the phone).

  • Cheerios and Cheez-itsShopping list in preferred format
  • Ingredients for cooking lesson.  In this case for the trail mix, the ingredients were:

    • Cheerios
    • Cheez-Its
    • Bugels
    • M & Ms



  1. Present the student with several options of crafts and recipes to choose from.  Our student, Mia, chose to make a fall-themed trail mix.
  2. The student makes a list of ingredients in the appropriate format (braille, print, voice recording, pictures, packaging, etc.).  These can be collected in a larger book of recipes or lists.

List of ingredients to make trail mix  Book of lists

  1. Plan where to purchase the ingredients. 
  2. The student calls the store selected to check on availability of items.  This a good opportunity to work on self-advocacy, so that is why she needed to call and ask for assistance.
  3. The student can travel to the store with the O&M specialist.
  4. Practice using low vision devices, if appropriate, in the store.  In this case, Mia used a telescope to read aisle signs and search for products.
  5. The student locates all of the items on the shopping list, requesting assistance from a store employee, as needed.
  6. The student follows the shopping list, and pays for items.
  7. Make the mix or prepare whatever recipe the student has chosen. Mia and I followed the recipe to make the mix and she even gave some away to the schools office staff, which she loved to do.

Trail mix

There were many ECC pieces to this series of lessons. We have also done crafts projects and other recipes, and there are many different ways to address the same set of skill areas.  Our student has created a book of lists with the items needed for each activity. 

There are many ways to make this easier or more challenging, depending on the needs of the individual student.  For example, students can research recipes online or in a cookbook.  

Tiny box with a sun attached to a switch

Love Little Rooms? Try a “Little Gym”!

PB crackers, peanut butter, and a plate in a 3 sectioned calendar/routine box.
Activity and strategy

Literacy, Snacking, and Learning

Dump truck

Dump Truck Braille Drawing