Curriculum Connections

This section provides lesson plans, links to lesson plans, and a collection of recommended books for people of all ages.

October is "Disability Awareness Month" so it makes sense to offer a few lesson plans for the topics we've covered in "Discovering Assistive Technology." Educators develop lesson plans with learning goals and objectives. There are curriculum standards by grade and subject. Here are sample school lesson plans, with references to California curriculum standards:

Recommended reading: Here is a link to books featuring characters with various disabilities. These books have been recommended by members of the California School Library Association. Books are listed by title, author, date, and tagged by type of disability. The recommended reading link is also available on the right hand column of each page of the tutorial. Just CLICK on the "LibraryThing" button.

Lesson Plan #1, Grade 7
  • To understand the challenges that persons with disabilities face in everyday situations.
  • To effectively conduct research.
  • To effectively use information, and creativity to develop a solution to a problem.
  • To deliver a presentation describing the research process and product created.
Standards covered: CDE Grade 8 Science:
  • Plan and conduct a scientific investigation to test a hypothesis.
  • Evaluate the accuracy and reproducibility of data.
  • Distinguish between variable and controlled parameters in a test.
Standards covered: Grade 8 English /Language Arts:
  1. Deliver research presentations: a. Define a thesis. b. Record important ideas, concepts, and direct quotations from significant information sources and paraphrase and summarize all relevant perspectives on the topic, as appropriate. c. Use a variety of primary and secondary sources. Distinguish the nature and value of each. d. Organize and record information on charts, maps, and graphs. Deliver research presentations.
  2. Tasks: Students will learn about a variety of disabilities using library resources – print, online databases and specified Internet websites. Each student will choose a topic from the following list: Spina bifida; muscular dystrophy; blindness; Polio; deafness; etc.

    Students will research these disabilities answering the following questions:
    a. locate the disability in one resource as provided by your Teacher Librarian.
    a. how does one “acquire” this disability?
    b. what are the impacts of this disability?
    c. what are the treatments for this disability?

    Answer the same questions above using one more resource.
    Using the websites your Teacher Librarian gives you about Assistive Technology, choose one that fits in with the disability you are researching.

    1. In one paragraph for each activity, describe how a person with this disability can do the following:
    1. ride a bike
    2. walk to school
    3. eat dinner
    4. use the computer
    5. dance at the school dance
    6. run around the track
    7. read a book
    8. use their cell phone
    9. play video games
    10. do a cartwheel

    2. Choose one activity from the above list and create a brainstorming chart to develop an invention that might assist a person with this condition in completing the activity. Begin with a circle. Inside the circle write down the activity. Draw a bigger circle around the smaller circle. In this circle write down all the ideas you have about what you could make that could make this activity easier for this person. Now draw a bigger circle. In this circle, choose one from the previous circle and add all the things you’d need to make this thing work. One more circle: draw out some ideas of what it would look like.

    3. Take your favorite drawing from the last big circle and reproduce it on a piece of poster paper. Label it. Create a list of things you’d need to build it. Write a 2-3 sentence paragraph describing how it is to be used.

    4. On the back of the poster, list the scientific principles we’ve learned in class [force, motion, etc] that will be used in this invention.

    All the above could be done online with a wiki: create a page for each condition to be researched and have all students look up all conditions. Then have them add their ideas to each page, building upon the previous suggestions made by other students. Collaborate as a class on one invention. If possible, build it.

Lesson Plan #2 - READ IT! Meets California Language Arts Standards in Reading/k-12 [includes a bit of math standards also]

  1. Choose one book from the list supplied to you by your Teacher Librarian [begin your list with the ones provided with this tutorial].
  2. Read it.
  3. Prepare a report to the class by following these steps:
    a. make a circle about 7-9 inches in diameter
    [teacher: manilla folders can be used for this activity]
    b. divide this circle into 6 sections: pizza style
    c. fill the squares with this information: title of book, author name; main characters; plot
    [1-3 sentences max]; setting.
  4. Create a metaphor that describes main character ["Stacy is a turtle - she moves slowly, but she never quits"]. Draw it and put the caption underneath or next to it in the pizza slice.
  5. Describe the secondary characters and how they help/hinder the main character.
  6. Decorate the pizza in a manner that "shows off" your understanding of the story. For example if you used the metaphor of a turtle... draw a series of turtles going around the edge of the pizza. Or decorate each section in a way that visually explains the section. For younger grades: you can have them divide the pizza into two squares: one side author/title the other side can be the metaphor. Even very young children can understand the concept of metaphor [or use a similie if you prefer - it's easier for little ones to understand].

Fun Activity: See if your school's website is accessible to screen readers.  Plug your school, city, or library URL into the WAVE web accessibility evaluation tool at

Additional resources: Knowledge Quest magazine by the American School Library Association has a series of articles that address special education and what it means to teacher librarians. "What is Special Ed" provides an overview of the laws that address meeting the needs of special education students.

Now that you have completed the Discovering Assistive Technology tutorial, we invite you to answer a few questions. Write to a member of the California School Library Association so we can improve our tutorial. Send comments to: info at
  1. What one thing did you learn, and what will you do differently as a result?
  2. Do you plan to recommend this tutorial? If so, how?
  3. Do you plan to read or recommend some of the Recommended Reading books or add them to your collection? Will you link our LibraryThing list to your blog? If you have a book recommendation or have read one of the books that does not include a review, please send us your own review so we can share it.
Thank you and best wishes.

Special thanks to the dedicated team at TransAccess and the many California teacher librarians who read and recommended the incredible collection of books. Thanks also to Borel Middle School 8th grade student Winston for providing link checks, recommendations for new books to add to our LibraryThing collection, and promotional ideas. Thanks to TransAccess contributor John Cavano for his 2012 module evaluation and updating of the California School Library Foundation's tutorial, Discovering Assistive Technology.