On top of my k-8 classes I also teach two life skills classes. One is the higher functioning life skills, working at about a kinder level and the other is the low functioning where the kids function at a 8 months to 3 year old level. I find coming up with projects for the low functioning class really challenging because while several of the kids have no clue what is going on during class it is the teachers aid's that come with them that want to be entertained by the projects. No one reads this but me so I can say that. If my projects are too boring to keep their (adult) interest then they complain.
I'm torn. Do I do projects that the KIDS can do, or do a I projects that the adults can do. I try to find projects that are a mix of both. Because several of the students have very very low motor skills I find that cutting and drawing are basically out of the picture. Painting must be uncontrolled and gluing must be done with large glue sticks and a hand guiding little hands. The one thing we discovered that makes both parties happy is bleeding tissue paper. The kids can "paint" on the water that makes the paper bleed the color and the end result is a nice water color effect.
However, really how many times can you paint with bleeding tissue before you get tired of it. I see the group every week. Last year we did blot painting and string art and a myriad of other things and I am running out of ideas. Oh yeah and of course the kids stay in the same class year to year so I basically have to find a whole new set of projects each year. I have yet to find any other art teacher that teach life skills classes or provided life skills art projects. When I get this together enough I think I'll make a e-book of project ideas. These are my plans so far for this year.
1. Use the bleeding tissue to fill a paper with color and then have the kids help roll the dye cut machine to cut out the first letter of their name. Paste the letter in the center of the painted paper. Here is a image of this project. I also want to do this with Kinder.
I believe these were done by using the paper letter as a resist but we are not going to bother with that. We will just put the letter on top.
Next it is time to bring out marble painting. You know this one. Dip the marble in paint, put a white piece of paper in a shoe box, throw in the paint covered marbles and tilt, roll and shake the shoe box. Take out the painted paper. Ta-da. One website suggests golf balls instead of marbles. This might be easier for the kids to grab.
On to car paintings! Take any toy car or truck, hopefully with different size wheels, matchbox cars to Tonka trucks. Roll the wheels in paint and then roll the paint covered wheels on paper. The fun part now is that a auto maker did this with a real car for a add campaign so I can show that first to set the mood.
Then we have good old dipping a marker in water and then drawing on a coffee filter and watching is spread and then using a clothes pin to make a butterfly.
Good for Halloween, also good for kindergarten. Paper plate owl with only a little cutting and fun gluing. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/animals/owl/
Balloon painting. Get some water balloons fill with water or air. Dip in paint. Dip on paper.
I would love it if we could manage something like this http://www.makingfriends.com/sculpture/sculppaper.htm
I just found these pouches with paint and oil in them to squish around on dick blick. We can make 20 pouches for $4. I think this would be great!