I got my start as an art teacher by working as the 2-d art director at a fine arts summer camp. One of the persons that I "managed" was a retired veteran teacher with 30+ years of experience. I can't even remember her name, but I CAN tell you that I remember nearly every bit of advice that she gave me. Mostly, this is because throughout my experience it has proven to be spot-on.
One of the things she demonstrated for me -with students- was creating speciality papers by allowing students to finger paint/design texture with hands on huge, heavy pieces of paper. It made a big mess. I was really skeptical. I didn't see the value in just junking up a bunch of paper to keep around for later.
You know, sometimes I really need to shut up my inner know-it-all-voice and turn on my listening ears, 'cause I gots LOTS to learn.
Last year, (my 5th year teaching) I decided to design some units around actual and applied texture. And, as such, we made some huge speciality papers using finger paints and what I call "texture makers." A texture maker is just a piece of cardboard that I've cut along the edges in order to create interesting lines when dragged through paint. The papers are were so beautiful. I was stunned. We used them to create our Mr. Seahorse projects. . .But so much paper was left over that I've been able to use some this year too. And, I allowed the students to do it again this year in a wider variety of colors! Once dried, I separated the colors out into boxes and now we have some of the most incredible paper for collages and other assorted projects. SCORE!