The Bridge School

Self-Determination Program

Activity 1: Time Capsule

Mentees reflect on things that are important to them.


Mentees share things they like and that are important to them using their speech-generating device and/or partner-assisted scanning.

Mentors begin to take the lead with a simple and fun activity.


  • PowerPoint with a time capsule image and text box answer fields
  • Large monitor to display PowerPoint
  • Jars (time capsule)
  • Arts & crafts – for time capsule (e.g. confetti, glitter, etc.)
  • Partner-assisted scanning worksheet (prepared in advance)

Mentor Preparation


  • develop a brief introduction to the activity
  • meet online to review and provide feedback to each other regarding the language used
  • role-play with Self-Determination Program staff, prior to Time Capsule session with the mentees



Mentors briefly introduce the Time Capsule activity to the mentees. Students are given a description and the purpose of a time capsule. They are encouraged to work together as a group to complete their individual worksheet, providing their own personal favorites within each category. These personal favorites are then placed in their time capsule, buried and opened at the end of the school year to see how their selections may have changed.

Text over image: My Time Capsule: Collin. Animal: CAT. School subject: MATH. Color: FLOURESCENT PINK. Television Show: HOUSE HUNTERS. Music: TAYLOR SWIFT. Room in my house: LIVING ROOM. Smell: SWIMMING POOL. Holiday: CHRISTMAS. Sport: BASEBALL. Clothing: COOL SHOES. October 4th, 2013

Students complete a survey that reflects their current interests and then place that document in their time capsule.

“A time capsule is a sealed container that holds memories and personal information that you can look at in the future. Together with Thanh and Tyson, you will all come up with information about yourselves. Thanh and Tyson will type your answers into the time capsule on the computer. We’ll then print out your information, put it in your time capsule and bury your time capsule in the garden. At the end of the school year, you will find your time capsule and check out the information to see if anything has changed.”

The Time Capsule worksheet has 10 categories to complete. At the start of the activity, mentors share their favorite things from their worksheet to provide an example to the mentees.

“Thanh or Tyson, do you have a favorite day of the week?”
“My favorite day of the week is Friday!” – Thanh

“Tyson or Thanh, is there a scent that you really like?”
“I like the smell of the rain.” – Tyson
“My dad’s cooking.”- Thanh

The mentees then work with the mentors to complete their worksheet using their speech-generating devices and/or partner-assisted scanning.

Using Speech-Generating Devices: 
“Job, do you have a favorite room in the house where you like to hang out?” – “My bedroom.” 
“Collin, do you have a favorite subject in school?” – “Writer’s Workshop.” 

Using Partner-Assisted Scanning: 
“Collin, what’s your favorite holiday? Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, something else?” – “Christmas.”
“Job, what’s your favorite sport? Football, Baseball, Soccer, something else?” – “Baseball!”

Thanh, a mentor, types the mentee responses into the document.

The group selects a location to bury their time capsule. Together, they determine a date to open their time capsules at the end of the school year.

Time capsules are buried until the end of the school year.


  • Select time capsule categories based on vocabulary that mentees have available in their device
  • Develop a worksheet with partner-assisted scanning choices in the event the mentee(s) do not have the vocabulary in their speech-generating device
  • Select time capsule items based on student interest (e.g., personal photos, objects, etc.)
  • Offer dictated writing strategy for students who do not have access to independent writing tools, in which the student communicates a response to someone who then writes/types it for them