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Why I Love My Paper Cutter – A Special Education Teachers Best Friend

Why I Love My Paper Cutter

Why I Love My Paper Cutter

As a papercut artist and a special education teacher, I would list my paper cutter as one of my most useful tools. My second most used tools are a computer with a printer and a laminator.

I teach children who are differently-abled. I try to teach to my students’ strengths and to their best mode of learning. 

Which paper cutter to use? 

I found this paper cutter review excellent for helping anyone choose which paper cutter might be right for them.

What Are Learning Modalities?

Why I Love My Paper Cutter

I have children who are auditory learners, visual learners, tactile (touch), and kinesthetic (moving) learners. We also take in information by smell and taste. Learning modalities are the sensory channels or pathways through which individuals give, receive, and store information.

Perception, memory, and sensation comprise the concept of learning modalities. 

That is why when you smell cinnamon and nutmeg it may trigger your Grandma Tillie’s apple pie and give you a warm cozy feeling.

When I can I try to teach to each child’s strong learning modality. That does not mean that you can’t learn in any other modality but individuals have preferences. 

A hearing-impaired child may not be strong in auditory teaching techniques but singing may help because it uses a different part of the brain. 

Not all, but many children who experience Down’s Syndrome are visual learners.

When teaching a concept I try to use at least two modalities.

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Why I Love My Paper Cutter

For example, when teaching how to write numbers, I have my students draw the number in the air using their whole arm if possible and then trace the number with a finger on a card with the number cut out in sandpaper. 

I may have them pick a plastic number out of a bag and without looking have them guess which number they are holding. I have laminated cards of printed numbers and plastic counters for the child to touch and match with the number. 

The cards are made using printed numbers that are laminated and cut out.  I use my paper cutter for that. 

When my students first come to class I give them a pre-printed and laminated name card on a string. The card is strung upside down so the child can lift it toward himself and read it. The card has the child’s picture and name. 

I use the same picture and name card on their coat hook, chair, desk, workbox or cubby, and above their coat hook. I make sure the coat hook is at the child’s level so that she or he can hang up their coat by themselves. 

Children love to learn about their world and love books about themselves. I make individual books for each child made out of printed pictures and short sentences. 

The paper cutter, printer, and laminator make my work much easier. I punch two holes on the side of the page and use metal rings to bind the books. 

Start with very short books and add pages as the child masters reading the words. The words are learned globally. 

Let’s say I am making a book for Ben. The cover page would have a picture of Ben with the printed title “Ben’s Book.” 

The second page might be a picture of Ben’s dog Shadow with the word “Shadow.“ The third page might be a picture of Ben hugging Shadow, with the sentence “Ben loves Shadow”.

My students love these books. They go home with them and parents can help the child read the book.

Parents are very cooperative in sending more pictures of family members or favorite foods. I don’t make the books too long.  The second book may be about Ben’s family or what Ben likes to do. These are very personal.

When I set up a lesson I try to keep in mind how my students learn. I try to make learning fun and plugin as many senses as I can. 

Teaching numbers? There are cookie cutters in the shape of numbers or bake bread in the shape of numbers.

Are you teaching the letter L to a child? Bring in a lemon and have them taste and smell the lemon. You are teaching them about their sense of smell and taste. 

Have the word lemon printed on a laminated card with the “L” printed in a different color. I tend to teach individual children letter concepts as they are ready so I may bring in a lemon every time I teach a different child the letter L.

The other children get to learn and reinforce their learning each time they smell and see me with a lemon and my coworkers and students benefit that day with fresh lemon for our tea.

I have developed over the years different letters that I can supplement with taste and smell. I reuse my letter cards each year because they are the perfect size to keep in a storage box and laminated thanks to my paper cutter and laminator.

Later in the school year, I like to have my students write storybooks. For example, if I was teaching the story of the three little pigs I might have three students dressed up like pigs and my teaching assistant as a wolf. 

It does not need to be too elaborate, flat noses, and different hats for the pigs, with a wolf-like snout and tall hat for the wolf. I do not use full masks because I want the children to play the characters and some children may be afraid of full masks.

I use real straw and sticks and a shoebox painted brown or covered with brown paper for the brick as props. Two chairs can represent the door to each house with a towel being the door. 

The children would act out the story (auditory and kinesthetic learning ) and we would take pictures of the students to create a class storybook (visual learning) that the students could choose to read. 

Why I Love My Paper Cutter

The words would be simple sentences. Each sentence would follow a picture.

Again the effort is worth it, and using a paper cutter and laminator helps cut down on my workload (no pun intended). My students love these little books and once they master the words you can either add more words or make a new book.

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I hate waste so I use my paper cutter to make bookmarks out of old cardboard cereal boxes. The cardboard is a perfect weight.

I also use the cardboard to make great coloring paper for crayons or markers. You can make little recycled memo books as well.

Cut a rectangle shape of cardboard for the back of the memo pad and the empty backside of old bills or mail as writing paper, all cut the same size using my paper cutter and hole punched at the top, then using a string to keep it all together. 

Enjoy and know the effort you put in pays off.