'Tis the season to be doing holiday activities. Frequently students with a visual impairment don't understand the big picture of an activity. Take for instance the Christmas tree: they only know the part of the tree that they can reach. This year we explored the Christmas tree on our campus and then decorated a mini one.
Exploring Full-Size Christmas Tree and Comparing to Model
We started off exploring the campus tree from the ground up as far at they could reach. I had a mini Christmas tree ready to explore immediately following exploring the bigger one. Standing with both trees within reach, we compared what we were touching. I shared how far their hand went up the larger tree by using the mini tree. Once they were thoroughly satisfied with their knowledge of the tree, we went back to our work area and explored the ornaments available to put on their trees.
Decorating Mini Trees to Give to Others
Each student decorated multiple trees. They gave trees to the front office at their school, the superintendent of the school district, their families, their O&M instructor, and the district's special education department.
We had lots of laughter and conversation while they decorated the tree. I let them know to check their tree to verify they're not clumping the ornaments together and that there are no bare spots on the tree. Once finished, they used a pipe cleaner to secure a note (Merry Christmas from the VI department) to the tree.
When possible, the students delivered their own trees. When not possible, I delivered the trees and sent a follow up email with pictures of the students working on the trees.