Meeting Individual Needs
Adapting Art Lessons Is a Learned Skill
Marisa J. Main
One of the many challenges of teaching art is adapting your art lessons for special needs students in a mean- tion and keeps them from getting frus- trated with small details or cutting. Adapting a Scarecrow Lesson depth and texture, the use of colored pencils allows them to create detail can also be extended by adding the
without frustration. This lesson plan
ingful way. Sometimes, the easiest
Sometimes, lessons need to focus on
element of perspective drawing in the
way is to simply change the art media only one concept instead of the two
used, but often this doesn’t truly meet or three in the original plan. The fol-
Keeping with the theme of fall and
each student’s individual needs.
lowing lessons share the subject of fall scarecrows, try a more vivid lesson
By the nature of the elementary
scarecrows, but each are unique and
using markers. These bold scare-
school, art specialists teach many
can be used in a variety of situations.
crows were designed for a third-grade
grade levels and are very aware of
developmental stages—both mental
and physical. When adapting a les-
designed for a
son, go beyond thinking in terms of
kinetic, visual, and audio learners.
By looking at each art lesson from a
teach many con-
physical and intellectual perspective, cepts including
class, but can be
By looking at each art
adapted by using
watercolor paints lesson from a physical and
or adding back- intellectual perspective, you
By keeping a can adapt lessons in a much
more effective way.
you can adapt lessons in a much more theme, overlap-
but being open to
ping, mixed-media, balance, and
new methods and media, you can cre-
Visually impaired students learn
texture. This same concept was sim-
ate meaningful, quality lessons that
through sense of touch and spatial
plified and taught using soft modeling you enjoy teaching as much as your
awareness, and this method often
clay for a fifth-grade visually impaired students enjoy experiencing them.
works with many other special needs student. By pre-cutting some of the
students including students with
shapes, this lesson can also be used for Marisa J. Main is an art educator who
autism and students with little hand
students with more severe needs.
lives in Huntington, West Virginia.
coordination. Using soft modeling
For students who have difficulty