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    Occupation Card Perspective-Taking

    Topics: Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans, Elementary (4-12), Teen (13-17), Lesson Plans

    Occupation Card Perspective-Taking

    Lesson Overview

    Students will infer how professionals feel at work by verbally elaborating on visuals from occupation cards.

    Download Lesson Plan:



    • Expressive language
    • Verbal syntax
    • Occupation identification and vocabulary
    • Perspective-taking


    Stages Learning Materials Occupation Picture Cards 


    This lesson is designed for 1:1 instruction with a teacher or therapist.


    In this activity, students use sentence stems to infer how different workers might feel on the job. For example, a teacher may show students a picture of a firefighter. Students would fill in the blank, "She feels ________ when she gets called to put out a fire". More advanced students can explain their responses, "She feels ________ when she gets called to put out a fire because ________".

    Before the lesson, select several occupation cards in advance that would lend themselves well to focusing on emotions and perspective-taking. Decide which of the following two sentence stems are most appropriate for your student, depending on student needs:

    • "He/She feels ________ when ________.”
    • "He/She feels ________ when ________ because ________.”

     Finally, write the sentence stem you will be using on a piece of paper that your student can reference. 


    1. Hold a card up so the image is facing the student.
    2. As the student looks at the card, ask the student: How does he/she feel at work?
    3. Allow students to see or listen to the sentence frame to help with their oral response.
    4. Repeat with all of the cards you pre-selected before the lesson.

    Additional Suggestions for Support 

    • Visual sentence frames - Before engaging in the activity, create an “anchor chart,” or referenceable visual aid, with sentence stems that students can use to respond to your questions. Remember to review the sentence stems and model correct usage before engaging in the activity!

    • Provide choices - Should students struggle to identify what is taking place in the photo (emotion, occupation, noun, situation), remember that choices can provide additional support without “giving away” the answer. For example, if a student is unable to identify an emotion as “happy,” consider asking the student, “Is the person in the picture feeling sad?”

    • Echoing answers - If students are struggling to generate language to respond to your prompt, consider having students echo the correct answer by repeating after you. State the correct answer in 2-3 word phrases and ask the student to repeat after you. To increase difficulty, extend the length of repeated phrases. Remember to celebrate successes!

    • Meaningful motion - Incorporate physical gestures and movements to help students understand and generate language. Encourage students to mirror your movements in their responses.

    • Pre-teach vocabulary - Before your activity, don’t forget to pre-teach essential vocabulary to ensure students are equipped with the language required for success. Show students a visual image that represents the word and ask them to say the word after you. This support is especially important for language learners.

    • Response drawings - Invite students to draw their responses instead of speaking them aloud as a way to help initiate the process of communication. After students have produced a drawing, prompt them to explain their creation by asking probing questions.


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    Marysa Sheren, M.Ed. Technology, Innovation, and Education

    Written by Marysa Sheren, M.Ed. Technology, Innovation, and Education

    Marysa Sheren, M.Ed. Technology, Innovation, and Education, is a literacy teacher, former instructional coach and current graduate student in Technology, Innovation, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After graduating from Tufts University in 2012 with a degree in Philosophy, she joined Teach For America Miami and began her career in education. She is passionate about designing for how people learn as well as strategically supporting the implementation of new technologies in traditional and non-traditional learning environments. Her work is driven by the belief that learning is a natural human state and that all learners have tremendous potential.


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