What child doesn’t enjoy cutting up paper, peeling off stickers, or stamping? Students of any age and ability level love every opportunity to work with arts and crafts. For this school year, try guiding some of your child’s creative spirit into scrapbooking and paper crafts. Scrapbooking is a wonderful way to spend time with your children, share a favorite activity, and reinforce skills learned in school. Scrap Chic Boutique, (www.scrapchicboutique.com), an independently owned scrapbook store located in Decatur, Georgia, was founded by four special education teachers who know the Georgia Performance Standards curriculum and know how to accommodate to meet individual needs. Kids and adults can take classes or get individual assistance on projects.
Typically, we think of scrapbooking as a way to preserve memories and tell stories through the use of photographs. However, with the variety of supplies and tools available in today’s scrapbook market, the possibilities are endless. Below is a list of ideas that will allow your young scholar, with or without special needs, to use imagination and develop their skills at the same time.
1. At any grade and ability level, students must learn vocabulary words whether they are matching pictures, spelling words, or learning definitions. Unique vocabulary cards can be a breeze to make, especially with die cutting tools in shapes of circles, tags, stars, and more. This hand-on approach is so much more fun than the traditional (and rather dull) index cards. Most scrapbook stores, especially independently owned stores, have a selection of die cuts that you can use in the store. Each set of words can be on a different color of cardstock or in a different shape; then, use a D-Ring to clip them together. TEACHER TIP: When they know the word independently, let your budding student add a button or a ribbon to the card to bolster their sense of pride. Add pictures from clip art or cut out of magazines to more difficult words to give your kids a visual representation of what the word means and a context for its use.
2. Kids need notebooks for every subject, and kids with learning disabilities tend to have poor organizational skills. Why not start the year by decorating the front of the notebooks using colorful patterned papers and stickers? It’s not a guarantee, but your child is less likely to lose something that they have invested time in making- and if they do misplace it, a decorated notebook is much easier to find in the lost and found stack! TEACHER TIP: Use a heavy cardstock to make a pocket to glue inside the back cover. Loose sheets of homework or papers that need to be signed can be put in the pocket.
3. Children with mild to moderate cognitive delays often need repetition and picture clues to help them learn new concepts. Cardstock can be cropped down and run through a printer which provides an added texture for kinesthetic learners. Students can trace words printed on the page, then re-write the word in several ways- stickers, stamps, pens, or markers. TEACHER TIP: Put the picture on a separate piece of card stock from the word to create a quick matching game or sequence activity. Let your student stamp the back of the card each time they get it correct.
4. Students with Autism or pervasive developmental disorders may prefer to point rather than verbalize their thoughts. Create an accordion book with photos of choices for activities. It is also a colorful way to display the daily schedule. Arrows can be used to point to the specific activity. TEACHER TIP: Have the student participate in making the display. If they like the texture of the glue, let them have a hand in glueing it to the page. Advanced students who prefer computer graphics can print on their own cardstock or use templates for digital scrapbooks.
5. To address speech and articulation problems, try making a mini-album with cut outs of pictures that go along with the skill being worked on. As the child shares their album with family and friends they will automatically be practicing- and thereby improving- on their learning objectives. A mini-album may consist of 8 pages that are just 4 by 4 squares. TEACHER TIP: Have a stack of pictures already separated into categories such as S sounds, R blends, antonyms, synonyms, etc. The student spends time working on the goal rather than looking for pictures.
6. For children who have quite a few service provides, make a special picture book with a scrapbook page for each teacher and therapist. Each page should include a photograph- even better if it can be a picture of the teacher and student together! TEACHER TIP: Leave space for a journaling block on each page so each person can include a positive message as your child makes progress. At the end of the year, it will be like a personalized progress report.
7. Often students with Attention Deficit Disorders have difficulty with multi-step projects. Ask the teacher if the project can be modified. Rather than completing a project on poster board which may be too big of a space, they might complete several pages in an 12 by 12 album to display their knowledge of the topic. TEACHER TIP: Ask your local scrapbook store about ways to make unique stickers- this way you can take any topic and make stickers from clip art or die cuts.
8. Although scrapbooking is primarily a visual craft, there are many textures that can be incorporated for students with visual impairments. Students may use textured papers, felt flowers, buttons, or raised stickers to create interactive projects. Cardstock and other papers can be embossed, too. TEACHER TIP: For younger students learning to count, use number stickers and buttons to assist with counting. Use pop-dots as an adhesive that will create a raised effect on the pages.
9. Celebrate success all throughout the year. Use an album with at least 10 pages- one for each month of the school year. Together, you and your child can decide what important lesson, event, or accomplishment to highlight on the page. Take pictures of completed projects, good test scores, friendships made, positive notes from the teachers, or school events. TEACHER TIP: Leave a space for your kids to journal; it will be interesting to watch how their handwriting changes from August to May!
The ideas presented can be modified for specific needs or learning outcomes. For specific questions, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, see the calendar of events at www.scrapchicboutique.com, or call 404-378-2115. Learning is about remembering- use scrapbooking to engage your child in “The Art of Remembering”- the results will last a lifetime.
Kelly lives with her five-year-old daughter, in metro Atlanta. Ms. Standridge is the co-owner of Scrap Chic Boutique, located at 906 W College Ave in Decatur, GA 30030. She has been a special education teacher for 10 years and holds an EdS in Teacher Leadership. Visit www.scrapchicboutique.com