Goldilocks and the 3 Bears Go To School book


IMG_2464It was Teddy Bear Appreciation Day on September 9 so we decided to have our theme based on the story, Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.  The book features some of our awesome students who are have things that are too big/small, long/short, hard/soft, and of course, juuuuuust right.  This week, the repetitive line is not the same as the title of the book.  Our students had to ask the question, “what did they see?”  We are SO excited about this book because it is the first time that some of our older students are included.  Very exciting for us all :)  Please enjoy!


IMG_2382Here is a link to the book: Goldilocks and the 3 Bears

Goldilocks and The 3 Bears Go to School


IMG_2536National Teddy Bear Day is September 9 so we thought Goldilocks and the 3 bears was a perfect theme to celebrate the occasion! We loved putting our own twist on the story and having our students be a part of the book. We had lots of fun textures for the sensory group to explore and the fine motor group made Goldilocks AND the 3 bears art projects. The language group explored opposites which are a big part of the story.

Some of our students even dressed for the theme :)




IMG_2621IMG_2586This box contained some bright yellow basket filler——we thought all those strands looked just like Goldilocks hair! We included some school supplies like a pencil and miniature backpack. There were 2 cupcakes—–one that was big, soft, and SQUEAKED. The other was little, hard, and did not squeak—–guess which one the students preferred :)




IMG_2376There were also 3 cute little bear puppets which our students had a blast with! They were really super cute playing with them.

Hearing, vision, touch—–the access point use senses to recognize objects is addressed with this fun box!


IMG_2451We included some oatmeal as a nod to the traditional tale. Oatmeal is a great fun texture to explore with hands and the students really enjoyed playing with it. We also include 2 different size spoons for scooping practice.

Recognize the larger of two objects, in this case spoons,  is a science access point that can be addressed in this activity.







IMG_2684The 3 bears came to our school so this box contained rice in our school colors—–yellow and blue! There was a fun picture of the bears to discover at the bottom of the box and THREE 3’s to find :)

The science access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is addressed here. In addition, the math access point associate quantities with number names is addressed.





IMG_2413IMG_2360“Opposites” was the theme of this box. We had a lovely soft pompom ball and some colorful hard pop beads for the students to explore. Of course, pop beads are also great for promoting bilateral coordination and hand strengthening. We really enjoyed seeing each of the students preferences while some of them loved the soft ball, others had a fun putting the pop beads together!

The math access point solve simple problems involving putting together and taking apart small quantities of objects can be addressed with this activity.



IMG_2644We made our teddy bear play dough with wheat flour and added some cinnamon which gave it a very nice aroma. Of course we reminded our students that although it smelled yummy it was not supposed to go into the mouth!

The science access point recognize a change in an object is addressed as the cookie cutter is used to cut out teddy bears—–which can, of course, be counted!




IMG_2426IMG_2582Our teddy bear box was so much fun——who could resist this adorable little bear, the students loved him!







IMG_2454We also included a piece of “fake” bear fur for additional tactile exploration or to wrap around for cuddly fun.

The language access point select a familiar object to explore is addressed with these items.


IMG_2479There were 2 measuring cups in our Bath and Bodyworks country apple scented water. We chose the apple scent because our 3 bears came to SCHOOL——apples/school get it :)

As usual, the scoops were great for practicing scooping skills. They also help address the math access point recognize differences in sizes of containers that hold liquids.





IMG_2488The students found the apple scented lotion really appealing this week. It was pretty universally liked by all of them and a lovely light scent to help them remember all the fun things they explored during group.

Recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is addressed here.









IMG_2509On Tuesday we made 3 bears! We started by counting out 3 bears for each student. They were cut out of brown paper on the school Ellison machine.

The bears were glued on a rectangular piece of paper—–and counted of course! We also discussed the shape of the paper and counted the sides. Then we glued a circular piece of fake fur on the tummies of each bear.

Recognize common objects with 2 dimensional shapes—-circle AND rectangle  in this case—-is a math access point.


IMG_2524After we counted the bears we found the number 3 using our communication symbols. We started with numbers 1 through 5 and then removed numbers as necessary to support our students success.









IMG_2531IMG_2553Ta Teddy Da!

Adorable :)









Well we made the 3 bears on Tuesday so Goldilocks HAD to be our art project on Thursday!

IMG_2884We started by asking the students to find their own eyes, nose, and mouth. Then we picked out facial features that had been precut from magazine ads and glued them onto a paper lunch bag. Goldilocks fabulous yellow hair was made out of yarn and attached to our bags by one of our volunteers—-thanks Sarah!

Matching an object to a designated space shows one-to-one correspondence and is an access point. Some of our students were able to do this independently while others needed a little help.





IMG_2914For our students with a visual impairment, our vision teacher placed the features on a solid background to make them more visible.

Love how this student is showing us his mouth while looking at the picture. Do our students rock or what!

Recognizing external body parts is a science access point.







IMG_2906IMG_2875Despite the fact that Goldilocks obviously needs a visit to the hair salon, the students were pretty  tickled with their puppets :)









For the language group, we worked on, you guessed it, OPPOSITES!  We gathered up several items that were big/small, long/short, and soft/hard.

IMG_2714We began with big/small.  When it was a student’s turn, they were presented with something big and something small.  They were also presented with PIXON picture symbols indicating big/small that were taped to pencils.  We would point to one of the objects and our student had to indicate whether it was big or small.  Once they indicated, they had to put the object in the appropriate container, each labeled with the same big/small PIXON picture symbols.

Communicate information about objects using non-verbal expressions, gestures/signs, pictures, symbols, or words.


IMG_2736IMG_2768We went around the room the same way with the items that were long/short and soft/hard.

This was a great learning activity because our students were able to compare the differences between the items and also sort them in the appropriate place.



IMG_2777While other students were taking their turns, students who were waiting were allowed to explore the objects already sorted.










IMG_2640Hope you enjoyed our twist on Goldilocks this week! We will be back next week with more fun and learning——Group by Group!

Labor Day book


IMG_1926We are celebrating Labor Day this week by looking at some of the different jobs that are seen around the community, such as police officer, custodian, and firefighter, to name a few.  After reading the first line on each page, we asked our students, “what do we do on Labor Day?”  The repetitive line answers, “on Labor Day we celebrate people who work.”  We tried to tie in some of the different working positions seen in a school in order for our students to be able to relate.  We hope you had a fantastic day off and enjoy the book!



IMG_1868Here is a link to the book: On Labor Day We Celebrate People Who Work

Labor Day


IMG_1735After enjoying our national Labor Day holiday, the students had fun learning about different jobs in the community. This unit was also tied into our Unique curriculum unit related to following rules.  From shaving cream “firefighter” foam in the sensory group, to making and playing with props in the fine motor and language groups——a blast was had by all.

Read along to see all our different activities AND cute pictures!





IMG_1663Our first box was filled with green paper shred  and topped with grocery and restaurant play food items—-places with lots of jobs in the community. We also included items representing other jobs such as firefighter and police officer miniatures, a variety of vehicles and a toy hammer.

IMG_1673People get paid to do jobs—– so we mixed in some play money and coins. We also put some more coins in a  discovery bottle which was lots of fun to shake and roll around!

Recognizing the differences in the appearance of coins and recognizing coins as money are social studies access points.





IMG_1570IMG_1798School resource officers help teach us about safety and following rules. To represent our police officers we used these blue lighted hammer toys (purchased at Target).   The flashing lights on the police cars are very eye catching and exciting to our students.  To add to the fun we all took turns trying to mimic siren sounds—-some of us were better at it than others :)

The science access point recognize sources of light is addressed with this activity.



IMG_1615We put 2 construction vehicles in our mixed bean construction site. When there is construction going on at our school the workers put up signs and tape so that we stay safely out of the area—-another rule that is important to follow!

The students had fun pushing and moving the beans around with the vehicles—-hands were pretty effective also and the only rule was to try to keep the beans inside the box :)

This activity addresses the science access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move.





IMG_1819L is for Labor Day! We put 2 different letter L cookie cutters into our moon sand. In addition to letter recognition, a great activity for hand strengthening.

The science access point apply a push to move an object is addressed as our students learn about forces and changes in motion.








IMG_1830Our students love when our local fire fighters come to visit and teach us about fire safety. To represent them we used shaving cream “fire fighter” foam which was a hit as usual. Some of the students just dipped fingers in while others went elbow deep! Either way it was super sensory fun as always!!!


The science access point recognizing that pushing and pulling makes it move is again addressed here.






IMG_1575IMG_1850Our Doctor/Nurse box was a total success with our students! Included with the hard tongue depressors were some soft cotton balls and medicine cups. These made for great pincer grasp practice as they put the cotton balls in and out of the cups. Of course, the toy stethoscope was a huge hit—-they loved listening to their “heartbeats”.

The science access points use senses to recognize objects and recognize a model of a real object are both addressed with this fun box.


IMG_1678Bath and Body works sunriped raspberry scented bath gel was used for our water play this week. We picked this scent in honor of our cafeteria workers who make sure we eat our fruits and vegetables. They also help us follow the rules in the cafeteria!

An apple sponge added to the splashy, fruity fun :)

Distinguishing between items that are wet and items that are dry is a science access point that can be addressed in this activity.





IMG_1648As usual we presented the lotion to our students and gave them the opportunity to indicate where they wanted the lotion applied. The sweet, yummy scent was rubbed on hands, arms, and necks leaving the students smelling like delicious little raspberries for the rest of the day!

Recognize one or more external body parts is the science access point addressed here.









For our art project on Tuesday we made a fun police hat from paper plates. The hats were pre-assembled by cutting a small paper plate in half and stapling it to a larger plate for the brim. The template  for the cap part is here: cap template

IMG_1715We started by showing our students a blue marker and then asked them to show us the color blue using the communication symbols.


The science access point identify classroom objects by one observable property such as color is addressed here.

IMG_1741Then it was time to COLOR! Our students are emergent writers and they are working on increasing the amount of time they spend scribbling. They are really doing a great job and making progress!







Next we glued on a police badge——using this template: police badge and……….

IMG_1757                                                                      TA DA!!! Our own Officer Friendly :)


Community Based Instruction trips are important in helping our students learn about places in their community. It also gives them a chance to use money to buy things. On Thursday we used some powdered drink containers to make CBI boxes that parents could use to send in money—–rather than an envelope that might get lost at the bottom of a backpack.

IMG_1944First we looked at the paper we were using for our project and discussed its color and shape. Then we used our cutter to trim the paper to size.

The science access point recognize a change in an object is addressed as the paper is cut.

The math access point recognize an object with a 2 dimensional shape is also addressed.







IMG_1967IMG_1994The paper was then taped around the drink container and decorated with stickers—–LOTS and LOTS of pincer grasp practice!

We also counted the stickers——addressing the math access point recognize quantities 1 to 3 using sets of objects, pictures, or number names.






IMG_1983                                                            A fabulous finished project—————Ta DA!!!!



IMG_1888Since we were talking about Labor Day and different jobs, we decided to have our students dress for the part!  We used an All-Turn-It spinner and added pictures of the 6 different jobs that were talked about in the book.  Our students took turns activating the spinner to find out the job that they were going to have.

The language access point respond to basic production elements in media messages ex. motion, sound.





IMG_1898Once they landed on a job, they were given the choice of 2 different props for jobs and were asked to choose which one was the appropriate item for the job they landed on.  The props we used included: police hat for police officer, firefighter hat for firefighter, hard hat for construction worker, stethoscope for nurse, pot holder for cafeteria staff, and broom for custodian.  We have found that, especially for our students with vision difficulties, real items instead of pictures are much more effective.

Communicate information about objects using non-verbal expression, gestures/signs, pictures,, symbols, or words is a language access point.





IMG_1910IMG_1892Some of our students needed a little bit of help, but overall, they were able to choose the correct item for the job they landed on!

And look how CUTE they are!






We had a blast turning Labor Day into a week long event! Please join us again next week for more fun and learning………Group by Group!

World Cup Book


IMG_0929Although the excitement about the World Cup has died down since this summer, it’s starting back up at our school.  We are taking a look at some of the teams that participated in the World Cup this year in Brazil.  We asked the question, “what do people think about the World Cup,” to which the repetitive line answered, “the World Cup is exciting!”  We are so proud of our students this first week back in the groups.  They all participated with minimal prompting and remembered the typical flow of the groups.  Which is SO NICE!!!



We hope you enjoy the book and have a wonderful school year!

IMG_1013Here is a link to the book: The World Cup is Exciting!

World Cup Soccer


IMG_0956Like everyone else around the world we became soccer fanatics this summer! The games were so exciting and we were so proud of our team USA :)  Although the World Cup is over now, we still thought it would be a perfect theme for our first group of the school year! In the sensory group we learned about some of the countries that competed and dressed like soccer fans! The fine motor group made some cool soccer related art projects. We had tons of fun playing soccer in the language group. Read along to see all the fun activities we did this week.





IMG_0966We started with our red, white, and blue team USA rice.  A fun soccer picture was taped to the bottom of the box for the students to find as they pushed the rice aside.

The letters S and F were also hidden in the rice because what we call SOCCER, the rest of the world calls FOOTBALL!

The students explored concepts of forces and changes in motion while addressing the science access point apply a push to move an object.





IMG_1223IMG_1019Soccer fans wear wild hats and scarves so we included some in our friendly fan box. Lots of fans also bring noise makers to help cheer on their teams so we HAD to include some in our box! The students had fun trying on the hats and scarves but THE favorite item had to be the noisemakers—–they had a blast with them!

The science access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is addressed in this activity.

The social studies access  point recognize differences in clothing from other cultures is also addressed—-if you consider soccer fans a different culture :)


IMG_0960Germany won the 2014 world cup in a very exciting game! Their cheering fans wore the colors of the German flag—–red, black, and yellow. Coincidentally pompoms are round just like soccer balls!

We asked the students to sort the pieces by color—-matching them to 3 puzzle pieces we included. Most of the students needed help with this but some of them were able to do it independently.

Properties of matter were explored in this activity with the access point identify objects by one observable property such as color.

The math access point recognize 3 dimensional objects such as balls is also addressed.


IMG_1186While the Dutch flag is red, white, and blue, however the fans wear the color orange!??? We found out that the reason they do this is because orange is the color of the Dutch royal family—–mystery solved :)

Our students used a round cookie cutter to cut out soccer balls in our bright orange play dough. Orange koolaid helped make it this perfect color—-and gave it a pretty nice aroma also! We did remind the students, however, that although the play dough SMELLS nice it definitely does NOT taste nice!

As circles are cut into the play dough, changes in matter are observed—-addressing the science access point recognize that the appearance of an object or material has changed.


IMG_1169IMG_1188The World Cup took place in Brazil which is home to some amazing rain forests. Our rainforest umbrella is always a hit with our students so we always jump at the chance to pull it out again :) There were lots of leaves, flowers, vines,  butterflies, and a soft plushy parrot to touch and explore. With rainforest sounds recorded on our voice output device it really does feel like you are in the middle of the amazon!

Explore, observe, and recognize objects in the natural world is a science access point addressed in this activity.

The social studies access point recognize differences in climates or vegetation can also be addressed.


IMG_1022We tinted our oobleck to this beautiful shade of blue which is similar to the blue worn by fans of Team Argentina! Their team got all the way to the final game!

The students had so much fun watching the way the colors swirled around as the oobleck reacted to their touch. Such fun stuff!

Tracking the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled is a science access point related to forces and changes in motion.





IMG_0933In addition to having a great soccer team, Belgium is famous for its chocolate—-YUM!!!! Our water play was scented with Bath and Bodyworks vanilla sugar scent which made us think of some yummy chocolate. We really needed to rinse our hands—–that blue food coloring we added to the oobleck had us all looking a little like Smurfs!

The science access point observe and recognize that people need water was addressed in this activity :)





IMG_1239We finished our group with some chocolate scented lip balm which we applied to our students WRISTS. This delicious scent was a great way to end our first sensory group of the year and to help the students remember all the fun things they learned about World Cup Soccer!

Recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is the science access point addressed here.







IMG_1076On Tuesday we made paper plate soccer balls! We started by discussing the shape of the plate and counting out how many we needed.

Next we discussed the color of our ink pad and asked the students to show us the color “black”. Then we discussed the shape of our stamp—–a pentagon! We also had a large pentagon cut out of craft foam for our students to explore.

The math access point recognize objects with 2 dimensional shapes is a math access point.




IMG_1123The pentagon stamp was cut out of some craft foam and attached to a kitchen scrubber with double stick tape. We have done this before and it works really well. The students stamped 5 pentagons onto their paper plates. They really did a great job pressing the stamper down to make impressions on the plate!

The science access point recognize a change in an object is addressed in this activity.





IMG_1082IMG_1115These turned out really COOL—-they look just like soccer balls!

IMG_1103                                                                                        Let’s play ball!


IMG_1321On Thursday we made a group art project. First we discussed the color of the paint we were going to use and asked the students to show us the color “green” using our communication symbols.


The science access point identify objects by one observable property is addressed here.





IMG_1328They all took turns painting the green grass onto the poster board and did a really great job, showing good retention of skills from last year—-way to go!

Forces and changes in motion science concepts are explored with the access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move.




Time for our little soccer players to take to the field! We added the students faces to figures we cut out of poster board which they then glued onto the field. Our goalies were just free coloring pages we found on the internet.

IMG_1357                                                                                      Ole—-ole,ole,ole!!!



IMG_1258Last year, we figured out that the Language Group was more of a get-up-and-go type of group who seemed to do better with more gross motor activities——-so we started the group out this year by doing just that! It made it easier since our topic for the week was the World Cup!  Time for a soccer game!

After reading the book, we went around the room and asked the students to show us their feet since we would be using them to kick the ball.  We also talked about the action used when playing soccer, KICK.

The science access point recognize one or more external body parts is addressed here.




IMG_1277We used a big therapy ball rather than a standard soccer ball—-to make it accessible for all our students. We also borrowed a soccer net from P.E.

Since it is still pretty hot here we set up in a nice shady spot outside!  Everyone had a chance to KICK the ball IN the goal.  Some of our students needed some assistance with the motion of a kick while others needed some prompting to not use their hands :)

IMG_1273Even our students in wheelchairs participated by using their chairs to help get the ball moving.

The science access points recognize pushing an object makes it move, track objects in motion, and recognize an action as fast or slow are all addressed in this activity.






IMG_1268All of our students seemed to have a pretty good time playing soccer.  We think they’re ready to play in the big leagues!









IMG_1025We had a great time learning about soccer this week and are looking forward to another exciting year of fun and learning. Please come back and see what we are up to——Group by Group!

The Sensory Cart


IMG_9161Each week on Monday morning, a cart filled with the previous week’s sensory boxes is placed in our media center and available to the entire school. Our teachers can use it in their classrooms referring to the posted blog. They can follow our lesson plan OR just use it any way they chose—-pretty great!

It has been a very popular item, used by teachers from the pre-k to post secondary.


Since the older students are not regularly featured in our blog, we thought it would be fun to include some of their photos. Thankfully we had lots of parents who signed permission forms!





IMG_0252IMG_0351Colored rice is always one of our most popular items. The color makes it so inviting to explore, young or old it is kind of irresistible, you just have to put your fingers in!







IMG_9151Another popular item is our colorful homemade play dough.  We made some of this bright blue dough a few times during the year—–that color is just so pretty and eye catching!








IMG_0296Mardi Gras beads are another favorite of all our students—–if you couldn’t already tell by this fabulous smile!









IMG_0243IMG_0262We have used a variety of lighted items in our groups. Recently these fascinating, super cool pool toys were part of one of our units.






IMG_0340IMG_0320We always have lots of fun textural items to touch and explore. This pompom yarn and the vibrating massager have been used in different units throughout the year.









photo copySometimes we have props included in our cart. The students had fun posing with this hat during our Dr. Suess unit.










IMG_0325We have also included sunglasses in different units—–as you can tell, our students can really rock a pair of sunglasses!











IMG_0300IMG_9160Scent is used every week in our sensory groups.

Our students really enjoy exploring the different scents each week and feeling the lotion rubbed on their skin.








IMG_8544IMG_8537Ms. Christy, one of our teachers takes the cart to the next level and adds worksheets for her students to complete while they explore the boxes—–we think that is pretty cool!






IMG_0285Fun AND learning—–that is what we are all about!










IMG_0247Hope you enjoyed seeing our older students having fun with our sensory cart.