You probably won't ever really hear me talk about my job, however, this post does pertain to something we have done in my classroom.
This year I have made the switch from an LD (learning disabled) Special Ed. teacher at an elementary school to an ID (intellectually disabled) Special Ed. teacher at a high school. I must say that I enjoy being at the high school level so much more, for so many different reasons.
I work with a specific population that focuses on life skills/job training, rather than AP courses and college bound students. One thing that I have learned from my classroom full of boys, ranging from 8th-12th graders, is that they are very hands on. They love welding, wood shop, cooking and everything else in between.
I have learned that the shop teachers are absolutely WONDERFUL. They donate things to my classroom whenever needed. I came across a great tutorial for a Valentine's Day craft using perfect square 4x4's. I went to the shop teacher with the idea and he donated the wood (cut by his students), the sandpaper, and some spray paint so that I could do this project without having to use a lot of my own money. Yay for free stuff, kind hearts and talented youngin's! You can view the original blog and tutorial here: http://www.brownpaper--packages.com/2011/01/conversation-blocks.html
I gave students their blocks (3 each) and they sanded them blocks nice and smooth. Please note that the wood we received was in pretty bad shape and there was only so much we could do to salvage some of the blocks. I tried to tell my students that it just adds character. They believed me :)
Each block was then spray painted red. After the blocks dried, one block stayed red, another was spray painted pink and the last block was spray painted white. They are doing such a great job and I am really proud at how seriously they are taking this activity. Here is a picture of a students spray painted blocks in progress:
When students were officially done coating the blocks, I had them rough the blocks up with sand paper. The pink and white blocks have some of the 1st coat of red showing through to give it a sort of vintage look. The red block has the wood show through. Below is a picture a students sanded blocks:
The next step was to add sticker letters to represent the conversation heart candies that are sold for Valentine's Day. Here is the final result:
I am so proud of their hard work and how awesome these came out! The main difference between what we did and what the original tutorial did was that we sanded by hand. The original tutorial used a power sander. I would highly recommend using a power sander...they sanded until their hands were burning! I just didn't trust them enough to use a power sander :)