Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education

Supports for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

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Teachers,

This resource is being provided to support teachers of students with significant cognitive disabilities. The lesson ideas are divided by grade-band from kindergarten through high school. Sections are divided into functional activities associated with time of day (morning, afternoon, evening). Parents should be assured that they are not expected to complete each activity with their child each day. The teacher and parent should work together to select activities that will help meet the needs of the individual student. When possible, multiple resources are provided for a task, both virtual and those that do not require that the child have access to technology. Here you will find a sample lesson schedule and blank template to go along with these activities for both students and parents with and without access to technology.

Grade Bands

If you would like to individualize this document, please click File - Make a copy.  You will have your own copy that you can revise and edit as needed.


Grades K-3

 This is a resource document for teachers to use to help create individualized daily/weekly lessons for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Parents should be assured that they are not to complete each activity with their child each day.  The teacher and parent should work together to select activities that will help meet the needs of the individual student.

Time of Day

Daily Activity

Subject

Skills

Virtual Activity

Technology-Free Activity

Morning

Hand Washing

Life skills, math

Sequencing, following directions, health and safety

Hand Washing video modeling

Hand washing sequence strip visual support

Hand Washing sample data sheet

Breakfast

Life skills, math, reading, receptive and expressive communication

Sequencing, measuring, reading a recipe, reciprocal communication, following verbal directions, etc.

Cereal breakfast video modeling

Making toast video modeling

Table manners animated video

Table manners realistic video

Prepare Breakfast Together a variety of recipes including visual supports.

Table manners Visual cues including non-examples

Getting Dressed

Life skills

Sequencing, requesting, weather-appropriate choices, attributes (long sleeve vs. short sleeve), color, fasteners

Dress for the weather interactive game

Dress for the weather video

Getting dressed choice board

Getting dressed picture schedule

Sorting

Math, life skills

Descrimination, sequencing, making requests, attributes

Color sort interactive game

Sorting socks video modeling

Color sorting video

Sorting items allows a student to develop discrimination and fine motor skills (depending on the level of the student, activity may need to start with placing one type of item in a container)

Make a sorting mat for the desired activity (placing mat in a page protector will increase its durability).

Calendar

Math, life skills, reading, writing, communication

Counting, patterns, weather, days of the week, months of the year

Let’s make a calendar interactive game

Calendar journal example (This activity could be modified to meet the needs and instructional level of the individual student.)

Share a story

Literacy

Reading aloud, either hard-copy or electronic stories, helps students develop early literacy skills, social skills, and life skills.

Parts of book video Take time to discuss parts of the book when appropriate.

Storyline Online stories read aloud

Concepts of Print teach parts of a book: cover, back, spine…

Reading left to right

Reading from top to bottom

Books with visual symbols imbedded in text

Movement Break

Physical education

Gross motor movement (Choose activities to fit the needs and ability of the child.)

Yoga video #1

Yoga video #2

Obstacle Course resource for how to construct at home obstacle course.

Gross Motor Activity choice board

Writing

Reading, writing, life skills

Making lists, writing invitations, signing name, writing letters to family and friends

I Spy Alphabet interactive game

Pre-writing interactive games

Pre-writing practice sheets can be used for writing or cutting. For reusable sheets, place them in a page protector and write with dry erase markers.

Write letters to friends/relatives, take writing outside with sidewalk chalk or a bucket of water and paintbrush.

Scavenger Hunt

Reading, writing, math, communication, physical education

Vocabulary, visual discrimination, measurement, parts of speech

Scavenger Hunt Song video

Home Scavenger Hunts can be designed for indoors or out. They can be individualized for the student’s specific needs and environment.

Example scavenger hunt form. This activity and form could be modified to meet the needs and instructional level of the individual student.

Afternoon

Lunch

Math, reading, life skills, communication

Sequencing, measuring, reading a recipe, reciprocal communication, etc.

Making a pizza video

All about measuring video

The Measured Mom activity allows students to measure different quantities. (Using two bins and rice makes this activity long lasting.)

Let’s write about it

Writing, literacy, communication

Create a story using apps and graphic organizers. Narrate a story to discuss characters, setting, events, and details of a story.

Story Maker interactive writing tool

Story Prompt Generator interactive way to generate story ideas

Graphic Organizers allow students to collect their thoughts before putting them together into a sentence or story. Modify this activity to best meet the individual needs of the student; does he need a scribe, to work on sentences, to work on single words?

Story time

Reading

Read aloud or independent reading of electronic stories helps students develop early literacy skills.

Tarheel Reader provides opportunities for assisted and independent reading.

On-line books read aloud with signing

DLM guidance document to assist with the Tarheel Readers

Select books by topic, ask guided questions using storyboard for students with limited oral communication skills. This is only an example of a storyboard.

Example of a story with symbols for students with limited or no consistent mode of communication

Movement Break

Gross motor, science, physical education

Movement, exercise

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes dance video

Hokey Pokey dance video

Taking a movement break allows the student to reset her brain. Try dancing to a favorite song or playing outside.

Fine Motor Movement

Fine motor

Manipulate small objects to complete a task, hand-eye coordination.

PBS Kids, ABCya, Starfall all contain interactive games that will allow a student to practice his fine motor skills.

TheraKids provides ideas for fine motor activities within the home environment. Provide families with a list of selected activities that best meet the needs of the student.

Feelings and Emotions

Social emotional

Explore various feelings and emotions through games, songs, movement, and additional activities.

Identifying feelings interactive game (no sounds)

The Feelings Song video

Feelings directions for the game

Cards  in pdf for playing the game

Feelings story simple to read feelings book

Evening

Dinner

Cognition, life skills

Following directions, directionality (left/right), attributes (big/small), reciprocal communication

Food facts animated video

Setting the table video modeling

Set Table for Dinner visual sequencing chart

PrintableTable Setting Placemats are a great way to provide a visual to assist a student with this task.

Field Trip Time

Cognition

World/community exploration, vocabulary acquisition, directionality (left/right), attributes (big/small)

With Virtual Field Trips  students can explore the world. From zoos to art museums, these trips allow the student to interact with the world.

Provide a scavenger hunt to guide the trip.

Arkansas Field Trips provides a guide on things to explore in Arkansas.

Nature Walk journal provides the opportunity for students to engage in conversation about what they see. This is only an example and should be individualized for the needs of your student.

Sensory Adventure:  Outside Exploration  ideas on how to build guiding questions into a nature walk

Take a Walk

Language, physical education

Expressive and receptive communication, directionality (left/right), attributes (big/small),

Take the dog for an evening walk. Get some exercise and play a game of

I Spy.

Brushing Teeth

Fine motor, life skills

Sequencing, health and safety, following directions

Tooth brushing video modeling

Tooth brushing visual schedule

Process the Day

Cognition, social emotional, language arts

Creative writing, expressive language, process feelings, communication

Taking time to reflect on the day will help the student learn to reflect.

This Social Story/feelings and this Daily Journal are both tools to help students reflect on the day.

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 Grades 4-8

  This is a resource document for teachers to use to help create individualized daily/weekly lessons for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Parents should be assured that they are not to complete each activity with their child each day.  The teacher and parent should work together to select activities that will help meet the needs of the individual student.

Time of Day

Daily Activity

Subject

Skills

Virtual Activity

Technology-Free Activity

Morning

Hand Washing

Physical education, health

Sequencing, following directions, health and safety

Hand Washing video modeling

Hand washing sequence strip simple visual support

Hand Washing advanced steps with visuals

Hand Washing data sheet sample

Breakfast

Math, English language arts, life skills, transition skills

Sequencing, measuring, reading recipe, reciprocal communication, following verbal directions, etc.

Making oatmeal video modeling

Making oatmeal visual recipe

Making oatmeal visual recipe (multiple options; free to download)

Hygiene

Science, physical education and health, life skills, transition skills

Sequencing, following directions, healthy and safety

The Importance of Good Hygiene video lesson

Using the restroom visual support

Brushing teeth visual support

Getting Dressed choice board

Sorting

Math, life skills

Sorting laundry allows a student to develop discrimination skills (Depending on level of the student, the activity may need to start with placing one type of item in the basket.)

Sorting Laundry video modeling

Sorting utensils video modeling

Sorting pictures interactive game (requires free account)

Sorting by size interactive game with closed captioning

Sorting can be an activity completed at home guided by the individual needs of the student. Sorting coins, laundry, letters, colors, and mail are all functional ways that sorting can be incorporated throughout the day. Make a sorting mat for the desired activity (placing mat in a page protector will increase its durability). How can this activity be designed to meet the student’s transition needs?

Share a Story

English language arts

Reading aloud and reading together, either hard-copy or electronic stories, helps students develop literacy skills, social skills, and life skills.

Parts of Book video discussing parts of the book

Storyline Online stories read aloud

Just Books stories read aloud

Concepts of Print teach parts of a book: cover, back, spine, reading left to right, and reading from top to bottom.

Books with visual symbols imbedded in text

Movement Break

Physical education and health

Gross motor movement (choose activities to fit the needs of the child)

Adaptive yoga video for kids

Exercise video for kids

Sitting exercise video animated

Obstacle course ideas with examples of visual supports

Scavenger Hunt

Math, English language arts

Vocabulary, visual discrimination, measurement, parts of speech

Hidden Picture Game interactive game

When developing a scavenger hunt, think about the area of need you would like to target; also think about the related skills that will be important for the activity. Does the student need to develop expressive communication, does she need to work on “wh” questions, or attributes… the possibilities are endless.

Scavenger Hunt ideas for home

Neighborhood scavenger hunt template

Color scavenger hunt template

Afternoon

Lunch

Math, English language arts

Sequencing, measuring, reading a recipe, reciprocal communication, etc.

Measuring for cooking video

Measuring liquids video modeling

Making a PB&J video modeling

Making grilled cheese video modeling

Prepare Lunch Together and Look n’ Cook are examples of cookbooks with visual recipes. Find a recipe specific to your student's needs and develop a lesson around that activity. Consider measuring, fractions, counting, and nutrition as instructional areas to target.

Literacy

English language arts

Create and narrate a story to discuss characters, setting, events, and details of a story.

Video for adults on how to lead this discussion.

Picture Story Cubes provide a fun way for students to get motivated about writing a story. Remember to use symbols the student is familiar with.

Story map - sequencing of events

Story map - parts of the story

Movement Break

Physical education and health

Movement, exercise

GoNoddle: Jump, Squat, Turn Around

(Following Directions)

GoNoddle: A-Moose-Ta-Cha (Following Directions)

Provide an opportunity to play a game. Simon says, hide and seek, red light/ green light are all great ideas to get movement in while working on following single and multi-step directions. Make this type of  visual board so students with limited communication can participate fully in the game.

Literacy

English language arts

Read aloud or independent reading of electronic stories helps students develop early literacy skills

Tarheel Reader provides opportunities for assisted and independent reading.

On-line books read aloud with signing

DLM guidance document assists with the Tarheel Readers. Select books by topic, and ask guided questions using storyboard for students with limited oral communication skills. This is only an example of a storyboard.

This is an example of a story with symbols for students with limited or no consistent mode of communication. This story would need to be adjusted based on individual student needs.

Fine Motor Movement

Computer science

Manipulate small objects to complete a task, hand-eye coordination, and typing

Activities for engagement in an educational environment

ABCya 4th grade

ABCya 5th grade

ABCya 6th grade and up

Learn to Type modeling and practicing typing

TheraKids and Learning4Kids both provide ideas for fine motor activities within the home environment. Provide families with a list of selected activities that best meet the needs of the student.

This article provides examples of fine and gross motor activities in the home environment specifically for older students.

Feelings and Emotions

Behavioral skills, social/emotional skills, life skills

Behavioral, communication

The Feelings Game interactive game to identify face expressions

Identifying emotions in others interactive video

Explaining feelings video

Using Emotion Faces or Anger Management Skills visual cards could help students to communicate their feelings. Remember that students must first understand what the visual means before they can use it.

Small Talk Discussion Cards provide discussion prompts to get students talking about feelings.

Evening

Preparing Dinner

Life skills, transition skills

Following directions, directionality (left/right), attributes (big/small), reciprocal communication

Setting the Table video guide

Set Table for Dinner visual task list

Table setting cue card

Field Trip Time

Math, English language arts, science, history

World/community exploration, vocabulary acquisition, directionality (left/right), attributes (big/small)

With Virtual Field Trips students can explore the world. From zoos to art museums, these trips allow the student to interact with the world.

Provide a scavenger hunt to guide the trip.

Go on a nature walk and look for animals native to Arkansas.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Free Resources (multiple resources are available including informational pamphlets, recipes, and a section for  students resources)

Take a Walk

English language arts

Expressive and receptive communication, directionality (left/right), attributes (big/small),

Hidden Pictures Digital Play interactive game

Highlights Kids Hidden Pictures interactive game

Take the dog for an evening walk. Get some exercise and play a game of

I Spy.

Sensory Adventure: Outside Exploration  ideas on how to build guiding questions into a nature walk.

Brushing Teeth

Physical education and health

Following verbal (Video Modeling) and/or visual (Visual Task List) directions to complete a given task. Sequencing, health and safety.

Video Modeling step- by-step modeling of how to brush your teeth

Visual Task List basic visual steps to brush your teeth

Visual task list complex steps to brushing your teeth

Step-by-step guide to brushing your teeth

Process the Day

English language arts, behavioral skills

Reciprocal communication, answering what/who questions, providing information with supporting details

Visual Dictionary interactive tool to assist with writing and word finding

Taking time to reflect on the day will help the student learn to reflect.

This Social Story/feelings and this Daily Journal are both tools to help students reflect on the day.

Talk with the student about her day. Create an individualized storyboard (example) to facilitate this conversation using some of these guiding questions.

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Grades 9-12 

 This is a resource document for teachers to use to help create individualized daily/weekly lessons for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Parents should be assured that they are not to complete each activity with their child each day.  The teacher and parent should work together to select activities that will help meet the needs of the individual student.

Time of Day

Daily Activity

Subject

Skills

Virtual Activity

Technology-Free Activity

Morning

Hand Washing

Math, reading, life skills, science

Sequencing, following directions, health and safety

Video Modeling Hand Washing instructional video on how to wash hands

Hand Washing Data Sheet  Data tracking chart for hand-washing procedures

Hand Washing steps with Visuals picture sequencing of hand-washing procedures

Preparing Breakfast

Math, English language arts, life skills, transition skills

Sequencing, measuring, reading recipe, reciprocal communication, following verbal directions, etc.

Cooking Waffles video modeling

Waffle recipe  visual recipe (multiple options, free to download)

Visual recipe for pancakes visual recipe

Communication board example for students with limited communication.

Getting Dressed

Math, reading, life skills, science

Sequencing, requesting, weather-appropriate choices, attributes (long sleeve vs. short sleeve), color, fasteners

Dressing Weather Appropriately interactive game with scenarios

Getting Dressed choice board

Skills that could be addressed during this time: dressing for the weather, temperature, dressing for the activity, left/right, inside/outside, etc.  Individualize this activity to meet the needs of the student and the home environment.

Sorting

Math, life skills

Sorting household items allows a student to develop discrimination skills (Depending on the level of the student, the activity may need to start with placing one type of item in a container.)

Seasons Suitcase Sort, Sorting Waste and Break the Bank are all interactive sorting games

Sorting coins video modeling

Sorting items allows a student to develop discrimination and fine motor skills (depending on the level of the student, activity may need to start with placing one type of item in a container)

Benefits of functional activities is an article explaining life skills.

Reading Time

All

Reading aloud, either hard-copy or electronic stories, helps students develop early literacy skills, social skills, and life skills.

Tarheel Reader provides opportunities for assisted and independent reading.

On-line books read aloud with available signing.

DLM guidance document assists with the Tarheel Readers

Books with visual symbol text provide an opportunity for students with limited  communication to share in the reading.

Select books by topic, and ask guided questions using storyboard for students with limited oral communication skills. This is only an example of a storyboard.

This is an example of a story with symbols for students with limited or no consistent mode of communication. This story would need to be adjusted based on individual student needs.

Movement Break

Physical education

Gross motor movement (choose activities to fit the needs of the student)

WheelChair Yoga interactive video

Exercise Part 1 and Exercise Part 2 are videos designed for teens and young adults with disabilities.

Activity Choice Board provides the opportunity for increased communication and choice for students.

Scavenger Hunt

All

Sorting colors, vocabulary, visual discrimination

Design a scavenger hunt where students take pictures of the items they find, place them in a google doc and submit it to you (Directions to Flippity).

Create a scavenger hunt for your students using google forms; here’s how!

Riddle scavenger hunt #1 and Riddle Scavenger Hunt #2 are examples of scavenger hunts that can be modified to meet the needs of the student.

Afternoon

Preparing Lunch

Math, reading, science

Sequencing, measuring, reading a recipe, reciprocal communication, etc.

Balanced Meals Video educational video

Food Nutrition interactive game

Making a PB&J video modeling

Take this Grocery Store Bingo to the store or shop virtually; either way, this is an activity that builds functional academics. Remember to consider the communication needs of the student. Does she need a communication board to accompany this activity?  

Meal time communication board example for students with limited communication.

Writing Time

Writing, literacy, language

Create a story using apps. Narrate a story to discuss characters, setting, events, and details of a story.

Story Maker interactive writing tool

Story Prompt Generator interactive game to help develop story ideas

Develop writing activities based on the needs of the students. If engagement is a need, use Story Prompts to motivate the student. If the student is writing simple sentences, use Sentence Stretching to increase complexity. If the student is ready for a paragraph, build the activity using the paragraph Graphic Organizer. Remember to allow for the student to write using whatever mode is most beneficial for them (a scribe, voice recording, communication board, drawing, typing, etc.)

Movement Break

Gross motor, science

Movement, exercise

Move and freeze interactive video

Have a dance party movement break, try Rollin’ the Moves

Fine Motor Movement

Physical education

Manipulate small objects to complete a task and build hand-eye coordination

Activities located on these links technology engagement in an educational environment.

Fine Motor Technology Brain Break interactive games

TheraKids and Learning4Kids both provide ideas for fine motor activities within the home environment. Provide families with a list of selected activities that best meet the needs of the student.

This article provides examples of fine and gross motor activities in the home environment specifically for older students.

Feelings and Emotions

Social skills, life skills, health and safety

Functional life skills, emotional regulation, social skills, communication, behavior

Robbie the Robot interactive game

The Feelings Game interactive game identifying facial expressions

Emotions Video animated video modeling scenarios

Emotions Choice Board, Emotion cards, and Emotions Check-in are all tools that could be used to support the student in learning and expressing emotions. It is oftentimes easier for students to recognize emotions in others before they are able to identify them internally.

Evening

Preparing Dinner

Math, reading, science

Following directions, directionality (left/right), attributes (big/small), reciprocal communication

Washing Dishes video modeling of washing dishes by hand

Washing Dishes with Dishwasher video modeling of loading a dishwasher

Prepare Lunch Together and Look n’ Cook are examples of cookbooks with visual recipes. Find a recipe specific to your student's needs and develop a lesson around that activity. Consider measuring, fractions, counting, and nutrition as instructional areas to target.

Skills that can be reinforced around dinner time: washing dishes (visual task list), setting the table (visual task list), or cleaning up after the meal are all areas to think about incorporating into activities.

Field Trip Time

All

World/community exploration, vocabulary acquisition, directionality (left/right), attributes (big/small)

With Virtual Field Trips students can explore the world. From zoos to art museums these trips allow the student to interact with the world. Provide a scavenger hunt to guide the trip.

How to plan a virtual field trip? Think about guided activities for the virtual field trips. How can these activities be connected to the student’s post-secondary goals? Try developing a lesson around virtual job shadowing.

Take a walk

Physical education

Expressive and receptive communication, directionality (left/right), attributes (big/small)

Hidden Pictures Digital Play interactive game

Highlights Kids Hidden Pictures interactive

I Spy Shapes animated interactive game

Get some exercise, take a walk and play a game of I Spy or go on a nature walk scavenger hunt ideas on how to build guiding questions into a nature walk.

Remember, communication is key. Does the student need a communication board for this activity?

Brushing Teeth

Physical education and health

Following verbal (Video Modeling) and/or visual (Visual Task List) directions to complete a given task. Sequencing, health and safety.

Video Modeling video modeling 

Visual Task List basic visual steps to brush your teeth

Visual task list - complex steps to brushing your teeth

Process the Day

Reading, writing, functional skills, life skills, social emotional skills

Reciprocal communication, answering what/who questions, providing information with supporting details

Visual Dictionary interactive tool to assist with writing and word finding.

Taking time to reflect on the day will help the student learn to reflect.

This Social Story/feelings story and daily journal are both tools to help students reflect on the day.

Talk with the student about her day. Create an individualized storyboard (example) to facilitate this conversation using some of these guiding questions.

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Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, April 2020