I like to use crafts with my students as a way to give them practice following directions (oral, large print, pictures or brailled) and making the connections between the craft and tactile graphics. It's also a way to have some fun during our lessons.
As one of the activities for the 4th of July for my students attending ESY (Extended School Year), we used the Handprint Patriotic Eagle Craft Kit from Oriental Trading. I love to go to Oriental Trading for many of the crafts projects I do, as I can buy in bulk for a reasonable price. I hang on to the extra kits so they are there for me if I want to repeat them or if students have to do a craft for school. Having the extras on hand have helped my students numerous times!!
Learning About Eagles
We began by learning about eagles, and discussed that they are the national emblem of the United States. We used the Live Science website to learn about them. We listened to what bald eagles sound like using this video.
Adapting the Craft Project for Students Who Are Blind
I needed to adapt the craft for my two students, as they have light perception or no vision.
I looked at the pieces. What to do? First they had to trace their hands. Hmmmmm….I used a tracing wheel from APH’s Tactile Graphics Kit to trace the hand on the foam to make the eagle's wings. This enabled the students to feel their handprint and to cut out their own handprints!
We also used the tracing wheel to trace the lines of the feathers and the claws to add a bit of texture to them. I also used the tongs (circle point symbol) from the Tactile Graphics Kit to make the eagle’s eye "pop". With these adaptations and a brief introduction to all the pieces and directions, we were ready to go!
Cutting with scissors is always a challenge in the beginning. While we do have an OT working with us during the summer, she only comes one day a week, so we went ahead and did this project without her. I did note some things that I obseved that I wanted to share with her when I see her next. One student did comment that the tracing wheel lines made it easier for him to follow.
Glueing is not a preferred activity with either student, but they persevered through it. I kept a paper towel handy so they could immediately wipe their fingers if glue got on them…and it did!
These crafts have become a favorite activity. It's amazing to see how much they remember from year to year about the different holidays!