Ideas from the Field: Materials
Materials do not need to be expensive or fancy, and not everything needs to be ordered from a specialty catalog. There are many great options available at local stores, such as hardware stores or garden centers. We invite you to share examples of Active Learning materials that you have created for the students you work with!
We welcome your ideas! Please email us if you have something you’d like to share.
Brochure to Share
Crushed Water Bottle
Vision teacher Iris Maxwell from Thunder Bay, Ontario shares this simple, but fun idea of a crushed water bottle with small beads inside Elastic Board Tray.
Elastic Board with Lip
Vision teacher Iris Maxwell made this simple elastic board with the directions found on this site. Using a wooden tray with raised edges, she drilled holes along the sides and strung elastic cords across the tray. Items such as beads, hair curlers, and buttons were placed on the elastic cords and secured for the child to explore.
This vertical elastic board shows another design. Straws, beads, bells, and other small objects can be strung on the elastic for students to explore.
A student uses a horizontal elastic board on her wheelchair tray.
Position Board with Black Background
Iris Maxwell created this position board to attach to the student’s wheelchair tray using C-clamps. She didn’t have polypropylene pegboard available, so she used regular pressboard and spray painted it black.
A variety of materials are attached to the board, including a sponge, strings of beads, and mylar crinkle paper.
Sand and Water Tray
This tray is a plastic container is zip-tied to a pegboard and can be used for sand, leaves, snow. The possibilities are endless! Vision teacher Iris Maxwell, who made it, notes that they don’t trust it with liquids, but there are lots of other option.
In these photos a student in a wheelchair plays with small toys in a sand tray. The other children love to come up and play with this student when she has these or other toys on her tray.
Another teacher of student who are visually impaired, Liz Eagan, utilized a sand tray with shells and fossils in it for a science unit on fossils.
Position Board for a Table
Liz Eagan made a free-standing position board for a table that can be used by a child in a wheelchair without a tabletop. She used cable ties to create a triangle of three pieces of pegboard. This allows for different materials to be placed on each side of the position board.
CVI Tray Liner
This tray liner was made by Iris Maxwell from flooring tiles for a student who has a clear wheelchair tray that is clear. It was easy to cut with tin snips, and has a slightly rough texture which the child loves to scratch with her fingers.
This bead curtain was made by vision teacher Iris Maxwell using necklaces from the dollar store. She used dental floss wrapped around the dowel to keep them in place. The rubber bands allow for some “bounce” if the beads are pulled and allow them to use the toy bar for other toys.
TVI, Liz Eagan, added texture to these rubber mat puzzle floormats to encourage a child to move and explore while on the floor.
See also Ideas from the Field: Activities.