Tactile alef-bet flashcards
Posted 5 October, 2014on:
When I started teaching Hebrew alef-bet, I decided to make myself a set of tactile flashcards. A teacher friend suggested cutting letter shapes out of sandpaper, but I wanted something more visually stimulating to complement the touchy-feely aspect. Above you can see a few of the cards I’ve made. In actual fact my class has mostly used them visually, but occasionally I ask them to close their eyes and feel the shape of the letters with their fingers, just to involve another sensory pathway as they learn.
They are a little time consuming to make, but it’s a resource I can keep using for a long time so I think it has been worth the effort!
First I purchased a packet of pastel A5 card and laminated them, to make them more durable.
Next I made paper templates of the letters using the font Gisha at size 600pt. I chose Gisha because of its simplicity – I thought it would be too difficult cutting thick material like corrugated cardboard if I used a more ornate font. Also I figure it’s good for the kids to learn to recognise letters in a variety of fonts.
Lastly I used a selection of tactile materials to make the final product, which I attached using double sided adhesive tape.
Felt comes in many colours, is easy to cut and doesn’t fray.
Ribbon is pretty, and this velvet ribbon feels amazing – but it’s not so easy to make it curve neatly, and you need to take care of the ends so they don’t fray. (I folded mine under.)
Textured paper is easy to cut but quite delicate, and not as rewardingly tactile as some materials.
Corrugated cardboard, on the other hand, feels fabulous but can be a bit of pain to cut.
Thin foam sheets are easy to cut out and work with, and give a good raised edge even if they are fairly bland to touch.
Glitterboard looks fabulous, feels good and is moderately easy to work with, but will shed some glitter. It is also a great way to blunt cutting machine blades (not that I used a cutting machine for these cards.)
I’m not sure what this sort of material is called – I had a small piece I salvaged from around a boxed floral arrangement. It looks great and is certainly quite different from the other materials, but the kids cannot help themselves and are constantly pulling it apart! I wouldn’t use it again for that reason alone.
Here I used a smooth paper but edged it (alas, not especially neatly) with a thin line of glitter glue, which dries to a lovely hard ridge and gives a 3-D feel quite different to just the paper by itself.
The kids learn “Bet has a belly button” and my Bet card has a button too.
They also learn to distinguish Chaf from Kaf with “Kaf catches” (hard k sound) so my Kaf caught a ball.
For me, the joy of making my own cards is ending up with an useful resource that I like the look of (and feel of) and feel inspired to use!!