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Re: Teaching art to a legally blind student

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CHRISTILEETHOMAS_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Sat Oct 06 2001 - 23:00:33 PDT


Last year I unknowingly taught a workshop on Egyptian Art with a 5 grade
student who was more than blind in one eye, she was unable to see at all.
The teacher who requested my workshop did not want me to alter my lesson
plans and did not tell me that she had a blind student in the class, until I
asked how much the girl could see. It was obvious she was visually impaired.
 I think I lucked out with the project though, it was as follows....

We were using metal aluminum 40 gage weight ( which if you haven't used it is
40 times the thickness of regular aluminum foil) to draw with a wooden stylus
or blunt pencil, popular ancient Egyptian images, scarab, ahnk, hieroglyphics
etc. The softness of the metal make a relief of sorts, then the students
used permanent markers to fill in with color.

But, the project itself is O.K., however what was extraordinary, was the
teacher paired the little girl up with another student, who to put it nicely
needed to have his time well occupied by assisting. She tied two stylus'
together with a piece of string approx. 12 inches long and both students drew
at the same time. The little girl, of course, following the movement of the
boy assisting. When she was finished she was able to feel her work.

I received letters later from the students, one in particular from the little
girl in Braille, and hand translated. I was just putting it away today, I
plan on framing it. I cry and am deeply touched when I read or look at that
letter, it reminds me why I teach art to every child, even those who cannot
see. The letter goes as follows:

Dear Ms. Thomas:

Thank you for visiting our school. I really like the Egyptians and now I
want to become an archeologist when I grow up. I really like art now, much
more than I did before. Because this was the first thing I ever did that I
could feel what my art looked like. Thank you for letting me see.......

The letter goes on for two pages, but I cry every time. That's the stuff,
the good stuff in life. I know that your looking for something else, but
maybe some part of my story you can use in some way to get the perspective
lesson through to the girl, maybe by pairing her up with someone.
Here are some art supply links which I am sure you are aware of, but they
have the aluminum, if you need it. Good Luck to you.

 <A
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77%1f">S&S Worldwide - Arts & Crafts, Recreational Activities, Sports
Equipment, Thera</A>

<A
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8b%eb%3e%54%04%e3%dd%b0%e9%51">Discount School Supply</A>

Christi Thomas
City of Cerritos, Ca
Recreation Services Division, Art Instructor

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