Functional "Around the House" ESY Theme

Are you teaching a virtual ESY this year?

A distance learning Extended School Year is a perfect time to work on basic household vocabulary for students who are learning to communicate and identify basic household items. They are already in their homes, so focusing on these words is SO FUNCTIONAL and APPROPRIATE!

You can teach a room a week for however many weeks your ESY goes for, starting with the most essential/common areas: kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, dining room, office, and garage.

Each week you can have students do activities based on the room you are focusing on. I picked nine vocabulary items for each room, which works out to about two items a day.

Teaching a distance learning ESY? Teach functional vocabulary that your students need to use in their homes this year!

You can either prep packets to send your students so that they can complete worksheets on paper OR you can send everything digitally! (I love writing on PDFs with chrome extensions like Kami or Lumin or if you use SeeSaw, their PDF writer is great too!)

Here's some of the activities that your students can do around their house!

Label Items in the Room of the Week

You can send your students the labels to use or you can ask parents to print if they are able.

Another option is to have families write out the labels on index cards and draw their own pictures to label the items in that room!

Depending on the level of each student, you can determine whether you want them to use the picture label, the word strip (which has more of a focus on the word than a picture so they can also learn the word), or only the word.

Play Bingo!

Playing bingo can be a fun activity to do on a Zoom video call!

If you aren't doing live video calls with your students, you could even record yourself as the bingo caller and students can follow along. If you play to fill the whole board, everyone will get bingo at the end since each card has all nine vocabulary words ;)

You can play bingo a few different ways for various levels of students. You can read the description, show the word, or show the picture. You can even do all of these during the same bingo game by starting with the description, then the word, and finally the picture. 

Writing Activities

Each day students can be given the opportunity to write about the items they learned.

Throughout the week students can write their book about the vocabulary items they learned each day. For level 1, students will color in the picture of the item they learned about that day and then trace the word. Level 2 also has students color but then they can write the word (or stamp the word) or write a sentence about the item on the line below. Level 3 is blank so that students can draw their own pictures and write their own sentences.

Then for another writing activity, there are two levels of journals. Level 1 includes tracing the word and then copying below (if students are able). After writing, students will color and draw then item.

Level 2 journals have students draw their own picture and then they can write the word below or a few sentences about that item - whatever they are able to do.

Task Card Practice

Both the paper and digital task cards include 4 levels: errorless, identical matching, non-identical matching (real object to clipart), and then word recognition.

Paper task cards can be printed and sent/dropped off to students. They can then practice cutting by cutting them out. They can answer different ways such as: clipping clothespins or paperclips on the right answer (great option for reusing cards), they can circle their answer, or point to their answer when working with a parent.

These task cards are also included digitally! The digital task cards are hosted on Boom Learning (New to Boom learning? Read more here) and they include audio! All of the same four levels are available and all of the rooms are included in the same deck. So students can do one room and then choose to be done or they can practice another room.

The digital task cards were created to be used easily with students who use eye gaze with two options on either the left or the right.

Interactive Books

I love these printable books because in the same book students can either match the pictures on each page, or while they read each page can take the picture off the page and match to the word on the end page. 2 levels in 1!

The digital version (hosted on Boom Learning) is also awesome because it is read out loud to students. Students will then drag and drop to match the item on each page and will get immediate feedback on their responses.

Worksheets for Language Arts and Math

Most of these worksheets are vocabulary based and have students identifying the pictures or words either by circling, drawing a link, matching, tracing or writing. But there are also a few math worksheets snuck in there that practice on counting and graphing the vocabulary items.

These worksheets can be printed and sent to students to complete as a packet OR you can upload the pages you want each students to complete to your online classroom.

Curious how to upload only the pages you want students to complete? First open the PDF in your PDF reader, go to print, and select/type in the pages you want to assign to that student. (I use Preview and select all the pages I want to save before going to "Print")

Then you will choose "Print to PDF" as your printer. Save the file and then upload that file for your student!

When sending these worksheets digitally, I like using the Kami extension in Google Classroom so that students can write on the PDF and save to send back to you, but there are other options too such as Lumin or using your online classroom like SeeSaw that already has a PDF writing tool built in.

Zoom Calls

How fun would it be to do your zoom call in the room you are learning about! You could have students take turns and give a tour of the room they are in or show an item they are learning about that week (*If this would be something your students and families would be comfortable with - you know your students best!)

I'm sure students would be interesting in seeing the various rooms in your own house as well if you just wanted to do videos of your own house! For more ideas on how to engage special education students during video calls, check out this post here.

Looking for ideas for your virtual ESY? Extended School Year while distance learning is a perfect time to work on real life vocabulary around the house!

Are you ready for a functional "Around the House" ESY?

You can grab everything you need HERE!


  1. I'm curious about Kami--did you use it before the schools closed? I looked into it after our school had closed and wasn't sure that I could teach my students (or parents!) how to use it. Any tips?

    1. I haven't tried it prior to schools closing. But it's relativity easy to use. Parents will need to download the Kami extension (you can send a link), then when students open they need to click to open with Kami. Here's a Kami tutorial that might help:

  2. So if I were to purchase the ESY theme bundle on TPT, I can then download it to my computer and print off as I see fit? Yes, I am still learning to use all of these digital resources. My kiddos are young and do not always have the patience or time or help to use a computer, so thinking of borrowing and using this theme for my ESY program.... ANy adivce would be wonderful.

    Thank you!!

    1. Yes, you can download and print whatever you need, whenever you need it! Hope that helps :)


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