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Lessons and materials

Crafting for Independence

It’s a great time to work on our own independence through fun activities as we celebrate our Independence Day on the fourth of July in the USA!

Painted wooden red, white, and blue stars

Whether you call it “Independence Day” or “Fourth of July,” it’s already right around the corner, AND it’s a great time to work on our own independence through fun activities! To our students with visual impairments, what exactly does this mean? My students hear the fireworks, join in the festivities with their communities and families, but I often wonder how they interpret what we are celebrating. I decided to explore Britannica Kids and found a nice, brief Independence Day Explanation that I used with my students.  

After discussing the meaning of this special holiday, we listened to actor John Wayne reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and then explaining what the pledge meant to him. This opened up discussion about unfamiliar vocabulary. The students then reread the Pledge of Allegiance in large print or braille. We finished our discussion by sharing what the words and the holiday meant to one another. While all three of these students are in high school, they all agreed it was about family, food, and lots of noise. 

Independence Day Craft 1 – Patriotic Wood Bead Garland

Student beading beads onto a string.

This craft was purchased as a kit from Oriental Trading. The Wood Bead Garland Kit makes 3 crafts. All the materials you need are included. Stringing beads is difficult, so I had my students use large-eye plastic sewing needles (available at craft stores or on Amazon) to help stabilize the jute for stringing. I brailled the directions for my students to follow along. The directions weren’t as detailed as I liked, so I added the pattern for the students to follow. We used a small sticky note to keep track of where we were in the directions. This is a helpful strategy for test taking or researching in long passages of text. 

Student using a hot glue gun

We also made labels using Braillable Labels from APH to put on the tag of the garland. I used a drop of hot glue to help secure the ends of the jute. One student had never seen a hot glue gun, so I had him explore my cordless one before it had been charged and turned on. During this time, I was also able to review safety when using this tool.

Student stringing bead onto string with braille directions on their table top.

Independence Day Craft 2 – 3D Patriotic Stars

This kit also came from Oriental Trading. The Patriotic Stars Kit makes 12 stars. The following materials were needed to complete this craft:

  • Paint (I used red and blue per student request)
  • Paint brushes
  • Table cloth to protect the table we worked on
  • Painter’s tape (to hold the star in place)
  • Disposable gloves (for the student who doesn’t like to get things on their hands)
Student painting wooden stars

We worked on many skills while making this craft, and the benefits here are many:

  • Develop hand and eye coordination 
  • Develop finger and hand muscles  
  • Experience making 3-dimensional objects
  • Solicit assistance appropriately
  • Follow directions (braille and auditory)
  • Work from left to right, top to bottom
  • Put on gloves and remove them
  • Express feelings and ideas
Student showing their completed 3-D painted wooden stars

Happy Crafting!!!

More ways to celebrate by making a braille art design in the shape of a flag

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