Students Make Their Own Books with Special Education Grant

Through PVF’s Special Education Grant program, grants of up to $500 are available to Alameda County and Contra Costa County teachers and therapists to serve special education students.

Susan Walton, an art teacher at Montera Middle School in the Oakland Unified School District, working with a classroom of 23 mainstreamed special education students and visual arts students, requested funding for bookmaking supplies.

Her idea was for this project to foster team-building and collaboration through assembly line activities. She envisioned students supporting one another in the process and hoped that the “calming effects of art” would help the mainstreamed special education students in the class.

During our visit to see the impact of the grant first-hand, we observed students truly engaged in the bookmaking process, from punching holes to sewing pages together to designing their own book covers.  Students with special needs were virtually indistinguishable from the other students, as they were focused on the project at hand and excited to share their plans for their personal book creations.  One student was making a photo book for her father; another was going to give the book to his mother.  Yet another wanted to create his own comic book, something he had never tried before.

Susan was excited to receive the resources to make this project a reality.  “I do want the students to have the ‘ownership’ of making and having a book. It truly is becoming a lost art form,” she wrote.

We are out of Special Education Resource Grant funding for the 2016-2017 school year, but we will have funding for this grant program again in the fall. (Please keep an eye out for the announcement of renewed funds on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.)

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