Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Texture Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks to awesome ideas on Pinterest, I was able to find a fun art project for my after school program students. It was easy peasy set up that anyone (even those of you that claim you are 'not creative' can do). All you need is some textured paper, regular card stock, stapler and wiggly eyes. 
Lucky for me I had a spare Carousel of Textures kit (from APH--it's a must have for your resource box). If you don't have the kit, don't sweat it. You can find texture papers at a Michael's or JoAnn Fabrics. You can use felt, foam, crinkle, sparkle, etc. paper. 

I did a quick draw of a large turkey feather and then went to town on cutting them out. One thing that helped me was that I decided to fold the paper (think paper dolls) when I cut out feathers. I was able to cut out three feathers in one cut. Major time saver! I then cut out our turkey body (I used the image of a bowling pin as my inspiration). Check out all the different types of feathers I was able to make (see below--all have a different texture, none are visually complex because we do have CVI students that were participating). 

I kept the feather line up as three on the left side of the body, three on the right. I did that because I wanted to keep a first, next, last sequence. Are you wondering why I had a stapler listed as one of the supplies? Glue works good, glue dots better but I like staplers the best especially for a project like this. Why? If you have ever glued before then you know how tricky it can be. Same story for glue dots. They are tiny and if you are working with tightly fisted kiddos, glue dots are your worst enemy! But the stapler allows a lot of nice partnering, sensory feedback and it gets the job done quickly. See below for my pic. The teacher lined up the feather and body for the student. She gave her hand (which you can see is still pretty fisted, tough for her to open for a flat hand). They linked hands and together they stapled. The student had instant feedback that something happened because the motion of stapling isn't subtle. I also like stapling because a lot of our students enjoy 'banging' and having that feedback. Stapling does the trick!

Here are some real life pictures of the turkey art project. I wanted to post them because I like it when it looks like the student actually did the work (and not as though an adult did it and scribbled the student's name on it). Plus, I am hoping that this is also a little inspiring for all my "not so creative" friends. I know it's a struggle to see perfectly made crafts on Pinterest. This one's for you!

The wiggly eyes I will admit are not stapler friendly. Put the glue dot on the back of they eye and then go in for sticking it onto the project. 

A few other thoughts on how we did this project: We did spend time before the art discussing what a turkey was. We talked about the difference between a live turkey and the turkey we eat (the turkey we eat has no feathers!). We discussed that length and feel of turkey feathers (kudos if you have real feathers for the kids to touch!). We had simple pictures of turkeys as well. I also wanted to play a game so we played "gobble, gobble FEATHER!". In case you have never heard of this, you are right--I made it up. But I have an age gap (10th grade down to 1st grade). It isn't socially awesome for a 10th grader boy to be making a turkey that a first grader was making. So here's what we did:  I spread out all the feathers in a square like arrangement. All the students (except the 10th grader) continually touched the feathers. I had the 10th grader (who is deafblind, just for FYI) call out "gobble, gobble, FEATHER!" When he said 'feather' (with exclamation in his voice), students picked up a feather for their turkey. We repeated until everyone had 6 feathers for their turkeys. It made the project a lot more interactive! 

Can you see how we taught almost all the areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum in this lesson? Think about it and see if you can identify all nine areas.  I really did touch on each area and the whole lesson took just about an hour. 

Happy Thanksgiving my friends! I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have to be in our field. I love our students, our teachers, our families and our community. Hugs!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

New Must Have Trays!

Dollar Tree logo

Hello friends! 
I was out on my usual rounds at Dollar Tree buying some calendar object and finished baskets when creativity hit me. I have already blogged about how to use a variety of baskets for sorting, sequencing, calendar box systems and finished boxes. Check out my older posts if you want a review of using these boxes.

Dollar Store trays for teaching blind kids
This Dollar Store tray is perfect for teaching sorting skills for blind kids 

I found five other trays that you have to go buy RIGHT NOW! Once Dollar Tree sells out, they can be gone forever especially with the holidays right around the corner. Stock up!

Above (black tray): Of course this is a great sorting tray! You could also do a little sequencing with it, too. The sequence can be following a clock face or just up/down or left/right. Lots of possibilities!

Below (red tray): I saw this one and was intrigued with what we could actually do with it. I thought you might able to use sequencing or sorting with cups. The three rows are really cool because you can use a top, middle and bottom sequence. You can flip it over, add velcro to the circles (in the middle of circle) and you can sequence that way, too.  These are just starter ideas. The sky is the limit!

Dollar Store trays for teaching blind kids
This Dollar Store tray teaching sequencing skills for kids who are blind
Below (red square tray): I loved this tray because I thought this would be nice to use with velcro. You could do some matching with it. The velcro would serve as a place holder.  I also liked the unique "walls" on this tray. The sides are unique to use. Lastly, I liked this tray because it is a square and not a rectangle. They are smaller in size than most trays as well. 

Above (silver tray top): The first thing to remember about this and all Dollar Store trays is that they aren't always make of thick durable material. That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy them. It just means that you should plenty for replacement and/or have reinforcements.  This silver tray is a tray top that I found in the baking tin section. I loved this tray top because of its color and the texture! How fun is this tray!? This is the kind of tray that you could just use alone--no texture, no sequence or anything. Just fun to use!

Below (red tray): This was also found in the backing section. The red is actually just an insert. It is very thin plastic but has potential nonetheless. This tray is a nice size. I like it for putting 1-2 simple items in for discovery or using it for sensory items. But then again, these are all just starter ideas! Have fun and be inventive!!

ps--I found these trays on Tuesday, November 10th. Hit up several Dollar Trees to complete your collection (that's what I like to do!)