Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Looks Like Christmas, Exploring Sight

Cathy Burgess
Bay District Schools


In this lesson, students will explore their sense of sight, learn about the eyes and how to keep them safe, and become familiar with how to help blind people become a part of their world.


The student identifies safe and unsafe behaviors.

The student knows and accepts the differences of people with special health needs.

The student understands that illustrations reinforce the information in a text.

The student knows patterns of sound in oral language (for example, rhyming, choral poetry, chants).

The student knows rhymes, rhythms, and patterned structures in children's text (for example, repetitive text, pattern books, nursery rhymes).

The student knows that the five senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight) allow us to take in and respond to information in order to learn about our surroundings.


-"The Five Senses of Christmas" song from [Early Years Thematic Notes Christmas]. Frank Schaffer Publications Inc. (see Associated file)
-Braille alphabet (see Weblinks)
-Empty shoebox
-Branch of a Christmas tree
-String of Christmas lights
-1 Ornament
-1 Blindfold
-Diagram of the eye (See Weblinks)
-Santa Fingerplay, Jean Warren, Christmas for Tots, 1995 (see Associated file)
-[Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?] Martin, Henry Holt & Company Inc.1983
-[Sight (The Five Senses)] by Ruis, Barrons Juveniles 1985 (or any other book about sight)
-[The Secret Code], by Meachen Rau, Children’s Press, 1998 (or any other book about being blind and handicapped)
-Pictures of visually impaired people
-Chart paper
-Red and green markers
-10 Index cards
-Word bank chart (from lesson 1, Give Me Five)
-8” x 11” Green construction paper (one for each student)
-Hole punch
-Various colors of tissue paper
-Glue (enough for a table of students to share)
-Christmas tree shape (see Associated file)


1. Gather shoebox, Christmas lights, branch of a Christmas tree, an ornament and a blindfold. Put these objects in the shoebox.

2. Download a diagram of the eye and the Braille alphabet. Put dots of glue on the black circles of the Braille alphabet, so students can feel the raised part. (See web links)

3. Write The Five Senses of Christmas Song on chart paper. (I have each verse written separately so I can hold up that verse as we talk about each sense.)

4. Write the Santa Fingerplay on chart paper.

5. Have the book [Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? The Secret Code, and Sight (The Five Senses)] out ready to read.

6. Gather 10 index cards. Students will want to add words to the word bank and Word Wall activity #8 in procedures.

7. You need to have the Santa Bear, Santa Bear, Use Your Five Senses books ready to pass out for activity #3, on day 3.

8. Cut 10-inch Christmas tree shapes out of green construction paper for each student. (Use pattern in Associated file)

9. Use the hole punch to randomly punch holes in the tree shapes.

10. Cut various colors of tissue paper into small 1” x 1” squares. (yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and white are good colors to use.)

11. Duplicate parent letter outlining classroom Christmas activities for each student.


This is lesson 2, day 2 of A “Sense”sational Christmas unit. Duplicate and send home parent letters outlining Christmas activities for the month of December. Remember this is an integrated unit, if time becomes a problem.

1. Review the song "Singing The Senses" from day 1. Sing and read together. Be sure to point to the words to reinforce concepts of print. Ask students to think back to yesterday’s lesson. Ask: Who remembers what we talked about? Yes, it was the five senses. Review what they talked about with the words from the word bank: see, hear, taste, touch, smell, senses, and observe. Be sure to relate them to the picture clues so that when students are at the writing center, they can recognize and use the words.

2. Tell students we have a collection of items (branch of a Christmas tree, Christmas lights, and a Christmas ornament. Do not show or tell students what is in this shoebox.) Ask for a volunteer to come up and describe what they see in the box to their classmates using their sense of sight only. (Have them describe the string of lights. Do not take it out of the box yet.) See who can guess what that person is describing. Now take that item out of the box.

*Do it again with the second item in the box (ornament). See who can guess what the person is describing.

*Do it a third time with the tree branch, but this time put a blindfold on the person doing the describing. Ask students: How can a person describe what is in the box when they are blindfolded and can’t see?

*Get that volunteer to use the sense of hearing. Shake the box. Does that give enough information?

*Have that student smell what is in the box. Does that help?

*Have that person feel what is in the box. Can they now describe it? See if the volunteer will taste the object. What does it taste like? They should describe the branch by now. (long, prickly, smells like pine etc.). The students should be able to guess what they are describing, but if they can’t, this is a good time to stress how important the sense of sight is.

Tell them their sense of sight is the most highly developed of the five senses and the most important to their bodies. Ask that person how they felt trying to describe the branch to the class. Discuss how difficult it was to identify what was in the box without their eyes. Discuss how they relied on hearing, smelling, and feeling to help them when they couldn’t see.

3. Introduce and read [Sight (The Five Senses)]. Show the diagram of the eye at the end of the book (or the diagram from the associated file). Tell students about the various parts of the eye. Tell them sight tells us things that are outside of our bodies. Our eyes give us pictures, or images of the way things look. You can see to read, to tell where you’re going, to play games or to find friends. Your eyes show you light, color, shape, and size. They take in information and send messages to your brain. Your brain tells you what you are looking at.

4. Tell students it is important to take care of your eyes and keep them healthy and safe. Say: I have some frequently asked questions about the eye. I am going to read the question and if you think you know the answer raise your hand and I will call on you to tell me the answer. Otherwise listen carefully to what I have to say.

*What should I do if I get something in my eye? If you get something in your eye NEVER EVER rub your eyes! Eyes are sensitive and can be scratched easily. Always ask an adult to help you.

*Why should I never look directly into the sun? Your eyes are made to see only certain kinds of light, and the sun is just too bright for your eyes to handle. You should never look directly into the sun, because its brightness will damage the light-sensitive part inside your eye called the retina. (Show that part on the diagram.)

*Will my eyes be affected if I don’t get enough sleep? Eyes need lots of rest to work their best, so be sure to get plenty of sleep every night. Have your eyes ever felt tired when you are trying to read or follow directions? That can cause eyes not to work properly if they are tired.

*Is it ok to read in bed at night when the light is not good? No, that puts a strain on your eyes and can cause your eyesight to be strained.

*Is putting sharp objects near your eyes or lighting fireworks safe?
Definitely not! You should never put any objects around your eyes or light fireworks. They are too dangerous. It is very easy to put an eye out. You can only imagine how difficult your life would be without your eyes.

*Do I really need to visit the eye doctor? Yes, the eye doctor is very important because he can let you know how your eyes develop as you grow or see changes in them.

5. Now, let’s talk about being blind or visually impaired. Being blind is a handicap; it means without sight. Handicap means being physically disadvantaged or different from other people. People who are handicapped have special needs. A blind or visually impaired person has special needs like how they get around, how they learn to read, etc. Talk about a blind person's handicap.

6. Some people are born blind and others may have had some kind of accident that caused them to go blind. Ask students: Do you know anyone who is blind? Remember how difficult it was to describe the object in the box with a blindfold on? Read the book [The Secret Code].

*Talk about difficulties people who are blind or visually impaired face.

*Talk about how sighted students can help those with special needs.

*Show students the Braille Alphabet. Let them feel the raised dots. (see Preparation) Tell them this is how they learn to read and write.

*If you had a blind friend, what could you do to help them or make them feel like they are part of your group? How would you play a game like Red Rover with a person who is blind? (Listen to student’s answers or make suggestions like: Have a friend stand on both sides and link arms. When the visually impaired person’s name is called, run with him to the other side.

*How could you describe things to a blind person like fluffy or hard? (Add some of your own suggestions to student’s answers like: Have them feel a cotton ball for fluffy or a rock for hard.) (You may have a visually impaired student in your class or school that can talk to your class about his/her life.)

7. Tell students: Now let's talk about how happy we are to have our sight and how we must remember to take care of our eyes. Introduce the first verse of the song Five Senses of Christmas, Looks Like Christmas. Sing, read, and do the motions together. Emphasize concepts of print. For example: Which way the print goes, where to start reading, where to go next, word-by word matching, distinguishing between a letter and a word, and punctuation.

*Ask: What is the sound pattern in this verse? (d) Ask a volunteer to point to the sound pattern and recite it together as a group again. Make the letter d in the air with fingers; have students think of other words that begin with d.

8. Make a list of things they can see with their eyes at Christmas on chart paper. (Students can draw symbols next to the words on the chart at the art center during center time for visual clues.)

9. Introduce the poem "Santa Fingerplay." Read it to students, first showing them all the motions. Then practice the motions and perform it until students become familiar with it. Ask: What sense do they refer to in this poem? Give me an example. (Peeking, looking, and what do I see?) Some formative feedback may include: I like the way John is learning this poem and the motions are wonderful! Yes, those are good answers. This group is wonderful!

10. End lesson by asking:

What parts of the body do we use to see with?
How can you tell what an object is if you can’t see it?
What are some things you can see at Christmas?
How do you care for your eyes?
Why is it important to take good care of your eyes?
Are there any new words we talked about that we want to add to our word bank or Word Wall? (If students don’t mention sight, blind, handicapped, or Visually Impaired bring them up and add them.) Review what they mean and how they can help people with those kinds of handicaps.

Lesson 2, day 3 of the “Sense”sational Christmas unit.

1. Review day two’s lesson about sight with the first verse of the song "Looks Like Christmas." Talk about how the eye receives pictures and images and that information is sent to the brain. Then the brain tells you what you are looking at. Tell students to look around the room and give examples of what they see. Then have students tell you about taking care of their eyes. Also recall the difficulties blind or visually impaired people face. "How can we accept their differences?" By being a friend, figuring out ways they can play out games, etc. Review the words on the Word Wall.

2. Show the students the book, [Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?]
Ask the students to predict what the story is about. Ask: What part of the body will the bear use to tell what he sees? Read and discuss story. Talk about the pattern and predictability of the words. Read it a second time; pause on several different pages to allow students to use rhyme, repetition, and rhythm throughout the text. Stop and show them how the words match the illustrations. For example, on page 15, “White dog, white dog, what do you see?”, there is a picture of a white dog. Ask: Would it make sense to put a picture of a bike here? No, the words must match the print.

3. Pass out the Santa Bear books. Turn to page 4. Read this page to the students. Then ask students to point to the words and read it with you. Ask if this sounds familiar? Complete the sentence: I see___________.

*Tell students: Think of the words in your head and write the sounds you hear or dictate your words to your teacher.

*Next, draw and color a picture of something you see at Christmas. You must draw a picture of something other than Christmas lights. There is also an eye in Santa Bear’s sack. What do you suppose that is for? Yes, it is a picture clue! Picture clues help you figure out words on the page. Now make sure the picture and the words you write match.

*Remember it is very important to do your best on these pages because when you complete the book in a few days I will be looking to see how much you have learned in these lessons. It is also important to do your work by yourself and not with a friend. I want to see what you have learned. (See assessment instructions for more information.)

4. After completing the Santa Bear pages, students will make lighted Christmas Trees to hang in the classroom so their room “Looks Like Christmas." (You can choose any Christmas craft you wish to make to decorate your room so it looks like Christmas.) One idea is to pass out Christmas tree shapes to students. Give them many colored squares of tissue paper to glue over the holes on the backs of their tree shapes.(See Preparation) Let the students “light up” their trees by holding them up to a window. Tape them to the window or hang them up around the room.

5. End the lesson by asking: Does our room look like Christmas now? What sense are you using? What does it tell you about our world? Some positive feedback would be: Wow, what a great listener you are! The sense of sight is what we use to tell how Christmassy our room looks now! (For more information see Assessment section.)


Day 2
The teacher will formatively assess the student’s knowledge of the five senses and how they allow us to take in information to learn about our world. Also assess how the student identifies safe and unsafe behaviors of the eyes and knows and accepts the differences of people with special health needs by listening to the answers students give in activity #9 in the procedure section. Specifically look for:
1. You see with your eyes.
2. If you couldn’t see, you could use your sense of hearing, smelling, touching, or tasting.
3. You care for your eyes by not rubbing them, going to the eye doctor, not putting sharp objects near them, and not looking directly into the sun.
4. It is important to take care of your eyes because you only have one set. If something happens to them you may never get your eyesight back and you could become visually impaired. Blind means having no eyesight, visually impaired means little sight, and handicapped means being different.
5. Things we see at Christmas with our eyes are Christmas trees, candles, stars, poinsettias, wreaths, Santa, elves, reindeer.

Day 3
Formatively assess the students’ knowledge of the five senses and how they allow us to take in information to learn about our world by listening to the answers students give on #5 in the procedure section. Specifically look for an answer like: We use our sense of sight to tell us about the world. Our sense of sight tells us Christmas is coming because we see Christmas trees and ornaments etc.
Also assess students’ ability to use repetition, rhyme, and rhythm in oral and written texts and understand that illustrations reinforce the information in a text by listening to oral answers in activity #2 & 3 in the procedure section. Look for the correct response any place you stop and wait for an answer.


The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files, (if any).

1. Play the game: What is missing? Your students can play a very easy game that reinforces the understanding of sight. Put several Christmas items on a tray (stocking, ornaments, candy cane etc.) Have students look at everything on the tray. Then take one thing off and have them try to solve the mystery —what is missing? Reinforce how they use their eyes to play this game.

2. Art Center: Illustrate the list of Things We See At Christmas words on the chart.

3. Science Center: Have students make their names according to the Braille alphabet. Do this by punching a pen through the dots on the bottom of worksheet page 5 in the associated file. Turn the paper over and let students feel the raised dots of their name. If possible, put a copy of a Braille book in the science center for students to explore.

4. Contact someone your community who trains Seeing Eye Dogs, or has one. Invite that person to come talk to your class about what the dogs do and how they help visually impaired people.

5. Check your media center for models of the eye and ear for more hands on experiences.

Web Links

Check out the Braille alphabet.
Braille Alphabet

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