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Shoe Box Art Centers

Creating Convenient Alternate Activities

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Shoe box art centers are one way to provide students with alternate "non paper" activities that will support reading, fine motor skills and following directions at the same time creating freedom for you to teach individuals or small groups that need your support. If, a special educator, you partner with a general education teacher, as a team you can create these centers to use as a means to support instruction and give you both the freedom to collect data, do individual assessments (such as Running Records) while giving your students real choice about how they use their time when their assigned work is completed.

1. Creating the Shoe Box Centers

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Learning centers can be effective tools for classroom management, as your centers can become preferred activities that students can pursue independently. By using art activities, you can generate compliance as well as encouraging independence and following direction. Providing centers for students who complete assignments relieves you from needing to create "busy work" while also freeing you to do individual instruction. You will also find that these shoe box centers will be popular with older children (middle school and above) who seldom get to do simple art projects that require them to follow directions.

2. Cupcake Paper Poppies

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This Art Project uses two sizes of cupcake paper, water color paints, a leaf template, scissors, glue and construction paper. All these items can be tucked into your shoe box with brushes and perhaps a cup for water, as well as the free printable pdf of directions, which you may want to print on card stock and laminate for protection.

Like many art projects, this one will support following directions as well as building executive function.

3. Tie Dye Flowers

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Using water color markers, coffee papers, pipe cleaners and tape, your students can create these fun flowers, which gathered in a bunch, might make a nice gift for Mom. Step by step directions are provided in the pdf, so your students can create the flowers independently.

Your students will start by making a pattern on the coffee papers with water color markers. Next, they will make the colors bleed together by spraying the coffee papers with a water bottle. Once the paper is dry, your students will wrap the paper around a pipe cleaner stem.

4. A Duck Project

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This simple project uses hand prints and templates for your students to follow through. This project would be popular with students through the 4th grade. Students with disabilities often find projects we may find childish challenging, and they enjoy creating a product that looks just like the teacher's.

You will want to pre-cut each of the parts so your students won't waste a lot of paper. A lack of executive function means that students will often plop it right in the middle of a 9" x 12" piece of construction paper.

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