Tracking and Counting Using Emojis

It can be challenging to think of age-appropriate activities for students with CVI or for students who had additional disabilities. Jessica McDowell, TVI extraordinaire, shares how she has adapted the student's curriculum to better meet her student's needs. Her communicative but not so verbal 5th grade student is working on tracking skills, independent 1:1 correspondence (counting) and independent identification of written numbers. He's particularly motivated by basketball and cookies; however, the book template can easily be modified for other images. He has reduced fields due to CVI and his current baseline is two rows with three targets per row.

The emoji tracking book starts with this student's baseline - two rows with three targets - and progresses up to two rows with five targets. The first page has six circles: 3 basketballs, two softballs and a frisbee. The directions at the top of the page are, "Find the basketballs (image of the basketball emoji) and mark your answer." The bottom of the page says, "There are  5  3  2 basketballs."

Screenshot of page from the Emoji Tracking book; 3 of the 6 round objects are basketballs; number choices are 5, 3 and 2.

This student is able to point to the desired number; however, other students may be able to mark their answer with a pencil or writing tool.

Download and print the Emoji Tracking Book or open on a tablet.

Note: This book is designed to be a printed resource; however, it would be cool to have an iPad app that the student could touch and hear each item, and select the desired number!


This student uses emojis (images) for functional communication. An emoji is defined as a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion. Jessica explains that the general public acknowledges emojis as a way of communication; it seems relevant to expose and discuss emojis with this student. This student is learning gestures and finding things on the iPad. A similar book using app icons could be used to help him scan for and open a specific app. Fast forward this student to high school - he might not be texting many words, but he could use emojis to express himself.