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Stella Castro
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lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

 I am a Special Education teacher; I teach students who are severely disabled. They are non-verbal, non-ambulatory; they use wheelchairs/adaptive beds, and are unable to push themselves. Some are hearing impaired as well as being visually impaired. Others are intellectually disabled. They require adult assistance in all aspects of their daily living skills, such as feeding, and toileting, as well as in their academic abilities. Some students also utilize G.I.  Tubes, to get fed, however; some are able to eat. Some also have mobility issues with their arms and fingers; basically they are unable to do much for themselves. Some also sleep the majority of the day, and when awake rarely have/make eye contact or any type of interactions with the adults in the classroom. Their means of communicating is basically just by crying when they feel uncomfortable. So I have a very varied group of students, who require lots of assistance all around.  In trying to develop lesson plans that are appropriate and accommodating to my student’s abilities, sometimes it’s hard because of their varied levels of abilities, and this in turn at times make my lessons look and seem too easy. However easy these lesson may seem, they are, at the students levels, and sometimes are still way difficult for them. Although, the students may not understand or comprehend a lesson, as an educator I am obligated to expose them to a number of things in the world, whether they understand or not, they will still have a chance of doing many lessons most other students have the chance and or abilities to do so. With that said below are my lessons, in bringing and teaching about Asia into my classroom.


 I use the Alternate Curriculum Guide for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities, as their standards. These standards are way different than those of the general education population. For this fact, and since I teach 6-8 grade, (secondary) students I am unable to aligned them with the general education population core grade level standards I did attempt to align the standards o the core curriculum, but the that closest I can get to connecting the standards at my/the student’s abilities, were to use the pre-kindergarten general education content standards. . So I will just use the Alternate Curriculum content standards.


As much as I would like my lessons to be a thematic unit, they are not going to be, as my students work and do best on one thing, one subject at a time. So I will repeat the lesson/s a couple of times for the students benefit/s just so that they can get the feel of the learning, as stated before my students require lots of repetition, and assistance. I will however, try to make them differ a little bit just so the students can learn, practice and participate in, (of course with maximum assistance). So my lessons will be individual lessons.

Lesson 1- Huntington Library/Gardens

 Visiting the Huntington Library Gardens was such a delight and a very beautiful place to visit.  I am sure my students would love to admire this beautiful place. Since it is late in the year and no more field trips can be arranged school wise, (maybe next year), I decided to bring the idea of the Huntington Library gardens to my students.

Alternate curriculum Content Standard:  Visual and Performing Arts Alternate Curriculum standard 41 Creative Expression, FPI- Students will demonstrate beginning skill in the use of tools and processes, such as the use of scissors, glue and paper in creating a three dimensional construction

Anticipatory: students will be shown puzzle boxes/pictures of beautiful picturesque gardens, (Japanese and Chinese) such as the ones at the Huntington Library gardens, and the Earl Burns Japanese Garden at Cal State University Long Beach. Students will then be asked if they would like to make a puzzle by creating a replica of a nice garden using the photos available on the internet, and /or brochures. The students will create a puzzle of such a place.


Copies/photos of varied Japanese and Chinese gardens taken from the internet and/or brochures.






Lesson: students will be directed to use the computers  and research for photos of  Chinese/Japanese gardens and read information on or information will be read to them about these places from the brochures, internet resources, and books,(if available). Students will be asked to print a picture of such a place. Once they have printed a picture of the place, the teacher will demonstrate the process of making a puzzle by gluing the picture into a piece of card board. Then the teacher will outline squiggle lines on the picture and proceed to cut it out. The teacher will then demonstrate the process of putting the pieces together making them fit by advising the students to pay attention to the outlines of the pieces so that the contours of the puzzle pieces match and fit together. Once this is done the teacher will fit together all the puzzle pieces and voila, a puzzle is created.

*Depending on the students’ abilities, the puzzle will be cut into, 4, 8, or more puzzle pieces*


The assessment will be conducted on, if the students are able to piece together the puzzle pieces and thus making a puzzle.


Extension Activity: Because my students need more than one day to process information, on Day 2 we will make another puzzle, but this time we will use a map of China, so that way it would be another way of introducing Asia in the classroom as the students continue to develop and utilize  their fine motor movements



The more able students will be left to work on their own; the visually impaired students will be assisted in the outlining and cutting process by hand over hand assistance and verbal steps. The students with motor disabilities, will be assisted with hand over hand assistance,


*The photos/pictures/images taken from the internet and if used by the students were taken from available sites, where I specifically Google, “Available photos of Chinese/Japanese gardens not subject to copyright infringement”.*

Still fearing copyright infringement, I resorted to using my own personal photos I had taken of The Huntington Library Gardens and Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden I had these photos enlarged and then preceded with the puzzle making process.  I recommend one does the same


Lesson Plan Number 2-Kabuki Masks

Another way of bringing and teaching about Asia, into the classroom, I decided that since some of my students lack  a sense of emotions and feelings I would teach them about emotions/feelings but with and through the use of the Kabuki masks, (as we spoke about Kabuki in some of our sessions). Since kabuki is an art form of drama, and my students are visual learners I thought it appropriate to utilize these types of masks to show them about feelings, emotions and expressions.

My lesson plan will consist on teaching my students about feelings and emotions/facial expressions. Most of my students are mostly non-responsive, they do not comprehend many things, and so teaching them about feelings, emotions, and facial expressions is vital for them. However I do have a group of students that are not as severe, this second group of students are rude and have no sense of empathy or emotions. They also lack judgment when it comes to hurting people’s feelings. So in my lesson plan, I will include teaching them a little sense of compassion and/or empathy by showing them the facial expressions of excited, upset, sad, frustrated and happy through the use of kabuki masks.


Alternate Curriculum Standards:

Health Skill 1 -Develop positive relationships with peers

FPI 1.14 Students will act accordingly to social rules in work and lay situations

Health Skill 2- Develop and use effective communication skills

FPI 2.6- student will display appropriate expressions in response to situation

Health Skill 3- Identify and share feelings in appropriate ways

FPI 3.5-Student will identify feelings of others

FPI3.6 –Student will express feelings in a socially appropriate manner

FPI3.7 –Student will express or demonstrate concern/sympathy towards others

History Standard 17-Identify the purposes of the people and events honored in, commemorative holiday, including the human struggles that were the basis for the events

FPI student will identify a picture of a person associated with a holiday or event


Materials: pictures/paintings, Kabuki masks depicting various emotional states, (e.g., happy, sad, angry, confused, scared, etc.), vocabulary flash cards, glue/glue sticks poster board, scissors, magazines, markers, pencils,


Anticipatory: Students will be shown various pictures/flashcards depicting different persons emotional status, (e.g., angry, smiling, frowning, upset, etc.) and asked what do you think this person is feeling”, “Why do you think this person is feeling that way”? What do you think happened that made this person feel that way?


Lesson:  I was so intrigued with the reading of “Images, Memories and Lives of the Sent-down Youth in Yunnan. I decided to make my lesson on this reading. Students will be read a very condensed version of the article, “Images, Memories and Lives of the Sent-Down Youth in Yunnan. They will be told of some facial expressions that may be seen and encountered when these Sent Sown Youth first:

1. Go up the mountain-excited

2. See that what they had envisioned is not true-upset

3. See their living quarters- sad

4. Told and made to do hard labor-angry

5. Fighting for their rights-determination

6. going back home-happy

 I know this may too much for them, but this part of Asian History must be told.



Students will be shown pictures of different people’s feeling/emotions, and facial expressions and asked to match the correct facial expression of the kabuki masks to match the feeling.


 Extension Activity: Students will make a poster of different feelings, emotions and facial expressions.  Students will be given a poster board and magazines and asked to cut out pictures of the certain feelings/emotions they see. They will label the poster with the various vocabulary words, (e.g., happy, sad, exited, afraid, etc.) and will arrange the pictures into the correct categories.


Accommodations/Modifications: Students with motor movement challenges and the visually impaired will be assisted with hand over hand assistance, with the cutting of the magazine pictures. The intellectually disabled students will be given repetition of instructions and the more able students will be assisted as needed.


Lesson Plan Number 3- Vegetable Fried Rice

 - On our last session of the seminar, Professor Yamashita spoke to us on the art of making sushi. While I am sure my students would not like to eat raw fish, they do like to eat Chinese food so I am sure they would like and enjoy making a simple recipe. So we will be making vegetable fried rice as a way of bringing Asia into the classroom, and also as a means of teaching the students about measurement, and also introducing the measurement tools.


 Alternate Curriculum standards

Health skill #6 Develop basic food Preparation skills

FPI 6.1 Student will wash hands before preparing or handling food

FPI 6.2 Student will use utensils for intended purposes

FPI6.6 Student will follow a recipe

FPI6.7 Student will use measuring utensils


2T vegetable oil                                              4C cooked rice

1C chopped carrots                                         2T soy sauce

1C chopped onion                                           skillet

1 C frozen pea’s                                              spoon

  Measuring cup, measuring spoon/s, skillet, picture icons of a knife and scissors for

2T vegetable oil                                              4C cooked rice

1C chopped carrots                                         2T soy sauce

1C chopped onion                                           skillet

1 C frozen pea’s                                              spoon


Lesson – teacher will ask student if they like to eat Chinese food. The teacher will ask students to name foods that they know, (e.g., egg-roll, steamed rice, show mein, etc.) Teacher will write down the student responses on whiteboard. Teacher will show students pictures of certain Chinese foods, (e.g., egg-roll, steamed rice, show mein, etc.) Student will be shown a finished product of vegetable fried rice recipe and asked if they would like to taste it.  Teacher will then ask students if they would like to try to make some of it. Knowing the students, the students answer will be YES!


First teacher will I introduce and name the measuring utensils. Teacher will demonstrate how to measure using a measuring cup.  Then teacher will explain the steps of making Vegetable fried rice. Then teacher will demonstrate the cutting of the vegetables.  Next teacher will demonstrate the actual process using the actual ingredients. When recipe is done the students who are able to eat, will be allowed to consume the product

Vegetable Fried rice

2T vegetable oil                                              4C cooked rice

1C chopped carrots                                         2T soy sauce

1C chopped onion                                           skillet

1 C frozen pea’s                                              spoon


Put oil on skillet and heat on medium temperature

Put carrots and onions into skillet

Cook until soft

Put peas into skillet

Cook 2-3 minutes

Pour rice and soy sauce into skillet. Stir.

Cook until rice is warm

Eat it.

*Because my students have multiple disabilities as well as motor disabilities, and using a knife and hot oil can pose a danger to the students, the teacher will do all the actual cooking, but guiding the students along the way on the process of making vegetable fried rice*



 Assessment will consist of sequencing the lesson. I will have and give the students a plain sheet of paper with the numbers 1-7 on them, and sentence strips with the steps written on them. Then the

Students will be asked to correctly sequence the recipe

The students will also receive a recipe review page with four questions and asked to review the recipe

  1.  What was in it?
  2. Was it easy to make
  3.  Was it healthy
  4. How did it taste

Extension Activity: Students will be given picture icon cards and word cards and asked to match the picture to the corresponding vocabulary word card, (e.g., carrot, skillet, oil, etc.

Accommodations/Modifications: Students with motor movement challenges and the visually impaired will be assisted with hand over hand assistance, with the cutting of the magazine pictures. The intellectually disabled students will be given repetition of instructions and the more able students will be assisted as needed.


 *Above recipe taken from the Unique Learning System Alternate Curriculum, as that is the Curriculum I use and am supposed to use to teach my students.


 I decided to include 2 extra lessons, just in case the above lessons do not meet the China Institute guidelines and which do pertain to the seminars teachings/learning and our teaching about Asia in the classroom.


Lesson 4 Recycling

The next 2 lessons have to deal with pollution as China is facing and faces a great deal of pollution, whether it is air, water or soil pollution.  I feel the two lessons are appropriate to the seminars topics.

During the Memorial Day weekend I went to the beach.  As I was walking around I saw lots of plastic bottles and cans and trash/garbage strewn about the place, although trash cans were visible and put into place. This made me wonder why people would do such a disgrace.  I know for a fact that some of my students have never been to the beach. I decided to make my lesson on collecting garbage from the beach and also on recycling the things the students could pick up.

 My lesson would focus on recycling I thought this was a perfect way to correlate, beautifying the earth, and helping the environment and help reduce pollution in general. Something China is working on and has spent lots of money on in trying to clean up their state


Alternate Curriculum Standards

 Science Standard 5-Compare and sort common objects according to two or more physical attributes

FPI 5.1-Students will sort two different types of objects

Earth and Space Science-students will identify ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle that will benefit the environment



 Butcher paper, tape, paint, paint brushes, pictures from magazines/newspapers of trash/garbage, and recyclable goods, (aluminum cans, plastic bottles, plastic bags, etc.), tape two column papers with the words trash/garbage on one side and recyclables on the other, and glue/glue sticks.



I will show pictures of a littered beach to the students and I would ask them if they would like to picnic on this beach. I also would ask them if they would like to sunbathe at this beach. I then would show them pictures of a nice clean beach and ask them if they would rather go to this beach.



I would explain to the students that people sometimes are careless and do not think about polluting the earth.  That people litter for many different reasons, sometimes because they don’t care about the earth, sometimes because they want to be nuisances, and sometimes because they do not think.

The teacher will put a mural of a beach painted on the whiteboard. The mural will have pictures of trash and recyclable items taped on it, (e.g., paper, diapers, aluminum cans, etc.) The students will be wheeled along side of the mural and asked to pick out the items, (this mocking a beach clean-up scene). The teacher will then ask the students if they know which item can be recycled and which items should go in the trash. The teacher will then demonstrate picking out the recyclable items from the garbage pictures collected from the mural.   The teacher will sort some the items into two piles, trash and recyclables. The students will then be given a chance to do the same.


Assessment: Students will be given various pictures of garbage/trash items and recyclable items and asked to sort the items out accordingly. Students will glue them on a two column paper titled Trash/Garbage on one side and Recyclables on the other side. Students will then glue/tape the pictures accordingly.


Extension Activity: Students will be allowed to create their own mini beach mural.


Accommodations/ Modifications- The students who need the most help will be assisted accordingly, (e.g., gluing of pictures, the hand picking of the pictures from the mural, assistance with the pushing of their wheelchairs, etc.) For the visually impaired the pictures would be enlarged and/or be described to the students. For the intellectually disabled the students will be told of the items that they are.


Lesson Number 5-Diorama

Session 8 of our seminar had to do with the pollution China/Asia is facing and faces. In this session there was an article on hairy Crabs, and the high levels of cancer causing chemicals

  Found In their lakes with polluted water. I thought it would be a good experience to have my students do a diorama of an ocean with clean water and with the sea life living in it, as opposed to looking at a sea/ocean with floating dead fish in polluted waters.

Since many of my students have never been to the beach, and some of them do not even know what a seal is, much less a crab. I would love to take them on a field trip to Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific where they can actually see the beach, and then they would enjoy looking at all the different types of sea life that exists. They would be in awe of some of the creatures, like the octopus, or sharks. I know my students would really love this place.

The Lesson will consist of a hands-on project that will involve all of the students. We will make a diorama with an ocean theme that is clean without any sickly forms of sea life. The project will allow for the students to practice using their fine motor skills, as well as becoming creative and decorative and also learn about pollution.


Alternate Curriculum Standards

Science Standard 13: Student know both plants and animals need water, animals need food, and plants need light

FPI 13.1 Student will identify animals

FPI 13.3 Student will sort animals from plants

FPI 9.2 student will maintain contact with object

FPI 9.3 student will maintain grasp on object

 Visual and Performing Arts standard- Creative expression

41. Demonstrate beginning skill in the use of tools and processes, such as the use of scissors, glue, and paper in creating a three dimensional construction



Shoeboxes, glue, scissors, miniature plastic toy sea animals, crayons, marine animals cut outs, plastic  toy coral plants, tissue paper, paint, ( various colors), vocabulary word cards, pictures/flash cards of various sea life/marine life animals, sand, paint brushes.


Anticipatory- Students will be shown a finished product of an ocean themed diorama and asked if they would like to make one. Knowing the students they would love to make one.


Lesson: This lesson can be a simple compare/contrast lesson.  Teacher will show students pictures of the pollution China now faces, (water, air and soil pollution problems), with a focus on the contaminated/polluted waters. Teacher will then show the students pictures of places with nice clean water.  The teacher will then ask the students where they would rather live. Teacher will explain to the students that it is everyone responsibility to help keep the earth and our waters clean.  Teacher will then show the students a picture of a diorama with contaminated water and Dead sea-life, and then will be shown the diorama of the clean ocean


 Since the theme is ocean water Teacher will show the students flash cards of different sea/marine animals and ask them to identify them. Teacher will sort the known ones from the unknown ones. Teacher will then tell the student the names of the unknown sea creatures and pair the picture to its vocabulary word, (s). After doing this the a couple of times teacher will ask the student to identify the sea animal and pair it to the vocabulary word. Students will then proceed to make their dioramas that will include miniatures of the sea animals the students just identified and named. The teacher will explain to either paint the background first a blue color to represent the ocean water, or to glue the box with different shades of blue tissue paper to represent the water levels of the ocean. Teacher will then demonstrate how to glue coral reefs and the miniature plastic toy sea animals to the walls of the shoe boxes and on the ocean floor.  


Assessment: teacher will ask the student to pair/match the vocabulary words to the corresponding sea animal, (s). teacher will assess the students finished products, the dioramas.


Extension Activity- Students will be given coloring pages of different sea animals and ask to color them accordingly. (E.g. gold fish= orange, octopi=purplish/bluish. Whales=black, Etc.


Accommodations/ Modifications- Student with motor disabilities will be assisted with hand over hand as stance. The intellectually impaired will be given repeated instructions, the visually impaired students will be given enlarged photo copies of the sea/marine animals, and the more able students will be allowed to work on their own. Images for dead fish in chinas polluted waters
Sandra Soltero-...
Topic replies: 32
Topic Posts: 3
Lesson Plan

Hi Stella, 

     Your lesson plans were awesome!  I am not familiar with working with students with such severe special needs.  It seems that you have been very specific and your lessons plans were differentiated to meet the needs of your students, while still giving them access to learning about East Asia.    I teach elementary school and I like how your lesson plans were based on activities that are also accessible for my students to learn and accomplish.  My favorite was the Kabuki masks.  Last year my school hosted Chinese teachers and stuents.  One of the teachers did a lesson on Kabuki masks with my students and they absolutely loved learning about China while making their own mask.  They were excited to take the masks home and share the information they learned with their families.  I will definitely be referring to your lesson plans to try them out with my srudents as well.