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Previous winners (videos and lesson plans)

Do you see your students or child having conversations on a variety of topics,actively welcomed into peer groups, in the hallways of school talking and laughing with others? Maybe you do, but most often teachers and parents say children with visual impairments are not ready for many social situations. Lack of vision may affect their ability to model others’ social behaviors and learn common social skills through incidental learning.

Lights, Camera, Action ---The 2nd Annual Social Skills: Putting the C in Cool Video Contest is ready for your creative entries. The Texas Advisory Committee for the Education of Students with Visual Impairments is challenging teachers, parents, and students with visual impairments to submit a short video on the theme, “Social Skills: Putting the C in Cool.” This contest is a perfect opportunity to show your colleagues a favorite lesson that you use to teach social skills at home, school, or in the community.

Think about lessons that address the following areas (but not limited to these):

  • Understanding and using nonverbal cues and gestures
  • Knowing ways to make and keep friends
  • Knowing about appropriate hygiene skills, fads and styles of clothes
  • Meeting and greeting people when attending social events, polite conversational skills

These topics and others show us why social skills are critical through the lifespan. Social skills are an important component for all children to learn and apply in the “real world,” but most children with visual impairments require specialized instruction to become socially proficient.  Social skills programming is one of the nine key areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).

The sky is the limit in which social skills lesson you decide to film. The top video selected in each category (birth to 5, elementary, middle school, or high school) by our subcommittee of the Advisory Committee will be premiered online at TSBVI. You will receive special recognition in a number of ways for your ingenuity and creative look at how to teach a social skills lesson: Top videos from each age category will be highlighted on TSBVI’s webpage, DCMP website, DCMP You Tube site, featured in the TX SenseAbilities magazine, shared with your district administrators, and premiered at the 2013 TAER conference. Lights, Camera, Action --- We can’t wait to see your fabulous social skills video and lesson and share it with others!!!!

Official Contest Rules:

  • Contest is open to teachers who teach students with visual impairments and parents of children with visual impairments throughout the United States. Age range for studentsshould be birth to 22. The video should target a social skills lesson for one of these four age categories (birth to 5, elementary, middle school, or high school). Lessons maybe for students on any academic level, including those with multiple disabilities.
  • Entry form, video, and written lesson plan must be submitted to TSBVI by April 11, 2012.Announcement of winners will be sent by the end of May, 2012.
  • Your video must have a maximum length of four minutes.
  • When showing the lesson, use descriptive language to explain what is being seen on the video so that it will be more accessible for all audiences. Described Captioned Media Program (DCMP will include audio description and captions to the winning videos.  Please leave a few seconds of silence at the beginning and end.
  • There is no entry fee.  The video may be submitted on DVD, flash drive, or uploaded and sent through a free Internet Web Service, such as at
  • Person submitting the video must have written permission from all individuals appearing in the video, including the permission of parents or guardians of minors, to use their names and/or likenesses. The attached written permission forms must accompany the video for adults and children appearing in the video.
  • Submission of an entry constitutes teacher’s/parent’s agreement that TSBVI and DCMP may use the person’s name, school, grade, image, and likeness on TSBVI’s or DCMP’s website for public awareness or promotion or by the Texas Education of Blind and Visually Impaired Students Advisory Committee for educational purposes. Submitted materials will not be returned.
  • With your entry, submit a written lesson plan. See Suggested Components of a Good Lesson Plan below.

Best regards,

Texas Education of Blind and Visually Impaired Students Advisory Committee, Social Skills Subcommittee

  • Virginia Haas,
    Administrative Supervisor of Low Incidence Populations, Austin Independent School District
  • Alaine Hinds,
    Parent and Community Organizer, Arc of Texas
  • Cyral Miller,
    Director of Outreach Programs, TSBVI
  • Rona Pogrund, Ph.D.,
    Associate Professor, Special Education, Texas Tech University
  • Mary Ann Siller, M.Ed.,
    Education Consultant for Blind and Low Vision Services

Components of a Good Lesson Plan

  1. Name(s) of student(s)
  2. Age and grade level
  3. Goal from IEP connected to lesson
  4. Objective from IEP connected to lesson
  5. Specific purpose of lesson
  6. Steps to use in teaching skill(s)
  7. Materials needed
  8. Progress notes/comments/modifications
  9. Data collection method and evaluation plan to monitor student progress
  10. Next steps/lesson


Teacher’s or Parent’s name, address, and phone number must be clearly marked on the DVD or flash drive cover, or clearly stated in an email. By April 11, 2012 submit your completed application form, copy of your video and written lesson plan to:

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
C/O Cyral Miller
Director of Outreach Programs
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756

Or email your entry to Cyral Miller at TSBVI at

Technical Note: The Committee members and DCMP are here to assist you with technical points. Please contact us before you shoot if you have questions. It is easier to manage these technical points ahead of time versus after shooting your masterpiece.

Please submit the best available quality video. If compression is required, we recommend using the H.264 codec. For standard definition footage the bitrate should be at least 3Mbps. For high definition footage the bitrate should be at least 8Mbps. If using editing software that has an export option for an "OMF" file (Open Media Framework) please send this as well. OMF files assist the describer from DCMP in adjusting audio levels."

OMF files are only an option in professional editing systems. It is not required for the contest. But, if you're using Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Express, or Sony Vegas –please send export and send an OMF file so that the audio describer may have all available files to properly mix your audio with our description." You may want to get assistance from your school or district technology staff on more options for submitting your video.

For more information, email Cyral or call her at 512-206-9242.