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Inclusion/Special Needs Art Projects

Art projects for Inclusion Students

Art projects for Inclusion Students

By on Apr 10, 2011 | 18 comments

I’ve received a few letters asking me about projects best suited for inclusion kids. While I’m not anywhere near qualified to answer this question on a professional level, either as an art educator or inclusion specialist, I will take a stab at trying to address what I find is helpful in my art room. First of all, I’ve taught many ability ranges in my classrooms. The school where I currently teach, has an inclusion program for K and 1st grade, but the school where I used to teach, offered the other grade levels 2-6th. So I have experience with all grade levels in elementary. It’s probably best to describe what I identify as inclusion children. These children have a learning or physical challenge such as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome or other such conditions. The degrees of abilities varies so only the children who can adapt into a mainstream classroom join the homeroom classes for art. Some classes may have 2-4 inclusion children join the art class and they always have aids. They either sit at their own table, or amongst the other children. Wherever they chose. So how do you teach an art lesson to a 6th grade class with 2-3 inclusion children with varying abilities? For me, I teach the exact same lesson to everybody, but the expectations are different. My art lessons progress in difficulty so by the time a child reaches 5th or 6th grade, I expect them to know basic art techniques. After all, I’ve helped them develop these skills over the years. But when a child is no where near the level of being able to even hold a pencil, this expectation is unreasonable. For these kids, just being in the artroom with their peers is enough. I remember one boy with down syndrome who listened intently to my instructions and then when the class embarked on the project, this little boy picked up a pair of scissors and cut, cut, cut. He loved cutting. I suggested that he apply some glue to a piece of paper and let the pieces fall randomly. This was his art. His work. Didn’t matter if it wasn’t the “paper-cut flowers in a symmetrical vase” that everyone else...

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Painted Bunny Art Lesson

Painted Bunny Art Lesson

By on Mar 30, 2011 | 17 comments

Paint and sponge your way to a very easy bunny art lesson for kids. Painting the bunny only involves a simple line drawing, sponge painting and a few embellishments. My first graders did this lesson in one 40-minute session. Afterwards, I realized that we forgot to add bunny teeth. And wouldn’t a cottonball look adorable stuck on Bunny’s bottom? Maybe you all can add the forgotten details. Here’s what you’ll need: Colored piece of sulphite/drawing paper 12″ x 18″ Light colored chalk pastel for drawing White, pink, green and black liquid tempera paint Small sponges and small brushes Buttons for eyes and white school glue (optional) Cotton ball for tail (optional) How to sponge paint a bunny: Draw a bunny outline using white chalk pastel. If you don’t have chalk, just use a pencil. Draw a sideways oval for the head Add two long bunny ears Add a large oval for body. Ask the child if the bunny is standing on his hind quarters or munching grass on all fours? Place the oval either vertical or horizontal depending on the bunny’s position. Add a front hind leg by drawing two more ovals: one large vertical oval and one flat oval for the foot. Add small paws Paint the bunny by using an old kitchen stamp dipped in thick white tempera paint. I generally add water to my bottles of Crayola paint to achieve the consistency of cream, but if you don’t add water, the paint will be like greek yoghurt. This is what you want for this project. Dab sponge all over the bunny parts. Dip a small paint brush into black paint. If you don’t want the sharp contrast that black achieves, use a blue or even a grey. Add pink paint to the ears and nose. Glue a cotton ball to the paper for the tail. Add a decorative button for the eyes or paint using black paint. First Grade...

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Watercolor Jelly Fish Art Video

Watercolor Jelly Fish Art Video

By on Mar 20, 2011 | 16 comments

Here is another art video made during my last class with my fourth grade students. This is a super fast and fun lesson that involved drippy watercolors. Mistakes are encouraged and enthusiasm expected. All you’ll need is some watercolor paper, liquid watercolors (if you don’t have liquid watercolors, try food coloring. I hear it works!) and some chalk pastels. Brands don’t matter. Use whatever you...

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Mexican Unit: Sombrero Art Project

Mexican Unit: Sombrero Art Project

By on Feb 11, 2011 | 19 comments

My third grade classes are a creative and energetic bunch. They have a hard time sitting still. Instead of trying to reign them in, I take a different approach: offer a lesson as energetic as they are. For my Mexican Art Unit, I selected the sassy sombrero as my subject. The kids loved it and when I brought out the paints, these kids knew what to do. My art room was an explosion of color and style! Here’s what you’ll need: 18″ x 24″ bright colored paper (I used red, orange and yellow), black oil pastel for drawing sombrero, scissors, white glue, tubs of bright tempera paints, lots of brushes, pans of sequins or other embellishments, black paint, tissue paper and paper scraps. The students followed a simple directed line instruction for drawing the sombrero. Afterwards I brought out paints and placed six tubs of paint per table. My solution for keeping things relatively under control is to provide one brush per paint color. If that color is being used, a child must use another color. I rarely have more than 5 students at one table, so it seems to work. At this point, we set the sombreros on a rack (barely fit!) and allowed them to dry. The next class, children added more paint details and then outlined all of their patterns with black paint. Set a tray of sequins or embellishments, yarn and some paper scraps on a table and allow the children to decorate according to their tastes. This was a fun project. I didn’t work too hard trying to enforce standards, although we did look at the color wheel. Couldn’t find a picture book with a sombrero theme. Anyone know of one? Third Grade...

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Painted Paper Hearts Art Project

Painted Paper Hearts Art Project

By on Feb 7, 2011 | 13 comments

Laura at Painted Paper is my go-to source for inspiration. No one can teach color theory like she can! So when I saw her Picasso-Inspired Hearts, I knew I had to give these a try. I had one more Kinder class left in my rotation, so a one-session project was required. To aid in the expediency of the project, I pre-cut large hearts from 18″ x 24″ paper before the kids came to class. Of course, it would be an easy lesson to show the kids how to fold the paper and have them draw and cut their own hearts, but time was not on my side. I placed various colors of tempera paint on the tables, plus white. My goal was to have the children think about colors and how adding white affects them. These are Kinders mind you, and sometimes the mixing got a bit out of hand. That’s okay. It was really a fun process for them. I also encouraged them to paint whatever designs they wished. I anticipated an explosion of color but strangely enough, many kids were very, very careful with their paints. Some kids attempted to outline their designs with black paint, while others balked. Either way was fine by me. This was a fun project and super easy. Thanks, Laura! Kinder hearts…...

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Poncho Art Project

Poncho Art Project

By on Feb 3, 2011 | 2 comments

I began a unit on Mexico this week, celebrating the vibrancy of the Mexican Culture. For first grade, we made ponchos, a variation of a Painted Paper project that created Mexican blankets. Starting with a 12″ x 18″ piece of colored paper, first grade students cut a 5″ slit down the center of the paper. Then, they cut a triangle from both sides of the slit. This creates the neck opening. Next, cut another skinny triangle from each corner of the paper to form shoulders. The fringe was next. The students snipped the paper to create a fringe. If you have more time and want to elaborate on this project, a fringe made from snipped yarn would also be cool. Using oil pastels, kids drew lines across the poncho, making some plain and others decorative. Then they cut strips of old painted “placemats” and glued them to the collars. Time for  the paints. I keep pre-mixed tempera paint in pint sized plastic containers (with lids). I set 4-5 various colors on the table. For many kids, painting the poncho with the actual poncho in mind was rare. Most kids experimented with mixing, spreading and reveled in the joys of painting. For first grade, this is exactly what is expected. Although some kids indeed painted stripes and decorations with serious consideration. For the kids who finished the painting, we stapled yarn at the neckline for a tie. When I see these kids next week, I might have them outline the stripes with a black oil pastel and give them an opportunity to add a string closure. But if we don’t have time, I won’t worry about it. The process was so much fun and the art room was awash in color! This lesson took forty minutes. First Grade...

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