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RE: [teacherartexchange] Docents for the Blind


From: Sears, Ellen (ESears_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Sep 28 2005 - 11:08:09 PDT

When my two older sons applied to a HS Visual Arts Magnet - their writing
piece was to describe a VanGogh to a blind person. I can see if we still
have their writings. One year I was hired to help a visually impaired woman
pack her National Board box. For those of you that thought our binder was
big - I don't know how she was able to keep track of her Braille edition.
One of the questions on the National Board assessments had to do with
describing a painting to a VI person - assuming the person taking the
assessment could see, but taught students that were visually impaired. She
had a colleague describe the painting to her so that she could answer the

I just finished reading the book 'See the Ocean' by Estelle Condra to my LA
classes. See below if you are not familiar with it -


Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Despite an overwrought climax, this debut effort for author and artist
manages to distill some truths about growing up blind. Nellie enjoys her
family's annual trips to the ocean. She feeds crumbs to the seagulls, tosses
pebbles into ponds, handles seashells and driftwood. There is no explicit
reference to her blindness until the end, when she claims to be able to see
the ocean through a thick mist. For three precocious paragraphs, she
rhapsodizes: "The ocean is an old, old man born at the beginning of time....
When the sun shines, he laughs and gurgles and prattles in the rock
pools...." One of her brothers complains about Nellie's report ("She can't
even see!"), but their mother concludes: "Though your sister's eyes are
blind, she can see with her mind." However ham-handed the dialogue, this
title's tone of normalcy, its realistic family dynamics and its moody,
streaky oil paintings may be enough to win over readers curious about life
without sight. Ages 5-8. 
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-A gentle story about a little girl and her family and
their annual visits to the beach. It is there where Nellie plays in the
water, learns to walk, and is told stories about the sea. Her brothers
always have a contest to see who can see the water first, but not Nellie.
Why? Readers discover the reason when one year it is very foggy and the boys
cannot see the ocean, but Nellie announces that she can see it and describes
it as a man with a white beard and feet made of shells. Their mother tells
the boys that their blind sister can see with her mind. The story is
beautifully done as well as nicely illustrated with oil paintings of the
seaside and the family, always hiding Nellie's eyes with a hat. The little
girl may seem overly romanticized, but her activities at the beach and her
lovely description make up for it.
Margaret C. Howell, West Springfield Elementary School, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Subject: [teacherartexchange] Docents for the Blind
If anyone out there has information on
describing paintings to the blind or resources I could
check on please let me know.
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