Circus book


IMG_6464The FSU circus is in town, so that became the inspiration for our theme.  We used some of our students as models for the book, so get ready for an abundance of CUTENESS!  There are lots of different jobs within a circus, like a juggler, trapeze artist, and strong man.  We touched on a few of the jobs in the book.  Again, our students were so excited to see their friends all dressed up.  Since so many of our little students can be acrobats without even trying, it made photographing them so much more interesting :)  As always, Joy did a wonderful job posing them.  The art teacher, Judy, created the background that is used in each of the pictures.  It pulls the book all together and really makes it look like our models were in the circus!  Enjoy!

IMG_6980Here is a link to the book: We Have Fun at the Circus

The Circus


IMG_6500FSU High Flying Circus performs this month in Tallahassee and that inspired this weeks theme! We had a blast planning all our different groups—-with an emphasis on COLORFUL fun! Our book is fantastic and we are so grateful to all the people who helped us with the costumes (Ms. Kim and Ms. Robin), props (Mr. Noah, Ms. Harrison, and Ms. Christy),  and painted backdrop (Ms. Judy).




IMG_6443We filled this box with popcorn kernels and some colorful cornstarch packing “peanuts”. We added a variety of animals you might see at the circus such as lions, horses, and elephants. Also included were some clown figures and a ringmaster puzzle piece (an amazing find on the giveaway table!).  The big red pompoms——clown noses, of course!

It really was a fabulous box filled with fun! Our students had a great time discovering all the different items we had included.

Respond to new vocabulary that is introduced and taught directly is a language access point addressed here.

Apply a push to move an object is a science access point addressed when pushing the buttons on the animals.


IMG_6773IMG_6549Our next box was filled with our bright red moon sand. It has a great texture, soft yet firm enough to mold. Students used a cookie cutter to cut circle CLOWN noses in the moon sand. This was a nice big cookie cutter so they turned out really cool looking! Of course they also had fun just squishing it with their fingers.

Recognize common objects with two-dimensional shapes, such as a circle is a math access point addressed in this activity.


This fuzzy basket filler was so colorful and totally reminded us of cotton candy! Our students loved pulling it apart or waving and shaking it. We also put in two different size cups—-a “big” one and a “little” one for our students to fill up.

IMG_6679Solve problems involving small quantities of objects using language, such as enough, too much, or more.





IMG_6643Traditionally the floor of the circus tent is sawdust! We thought our yellow cornmeal looked a lot like sawdust—-especially when mixed with some potato flakes! It had a really cool tactile feel to which our students really responded. There was a letter C and a colorful clown picture to find as the sawdust was swept away. It’s always fun to see the smiles on the students faces when they discover the hidden picture.

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






IMG_6487Everybody loves the fabulous, colorful costumes that the circus performers wear. This box contained a piece of cool stretchy spandex that our students had a great time either wrapping around themselves……… or playing tug of war with a partner :) This was a last minute addition and we were so glad we decided to include it!

Recognizing that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is again addressed in this activity.





IMG_6670IMG_6748We also included 4 of our discovery bottles filled with sequins, beads, and glitter—-just like the costumes.  These were a huge hit——our students just LOVED them!


Track objects in motion is a science access point addressed in this activity.



IMG_6675IMG_6793Circus clowns do all sorts of silly things like throwing cream pies in each others faces :) As usual, the students had a great time playing in the shaving cream. Whether practicing pre-writing designs or just rubbing it around it’s always a hit!

Track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled is a science access point addressed in this activity.




IMG_6702Then we rinsed our hands in vanilla sugar scented water using bath gel from Bath and Bodyworks. A measuring cup and measuring spoon were included for scooping and pouring fun

Solve problems involving small quantities of objects or actions using language, such as enough, too much, or more is a math access point addressed here.






IMG_6817We finished with the yummy matching lotion, leaving our students smelling like delicious sweet circus treats! A fabulous way to remember all the fun we had!

The science access point recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli—-touch and smell—-is addressed as students smell the lotion and feel it rubbed on their skin.








IMG_6585This week we decided to do a 2 part art project—–a fun clown costume! We started on Tuesday by making clown shoes out of shoe boxes.

First we discussed the color paint we were going to use and asked our students to show us the color “red” using communication symbols.

Identify objects by one observable property, such as color is addressed here.






IMG_6606IMG_6602Then, we used a circle shaped sponge to stamp on our 2 shoeboxes. This sponge has a little handle which made it easier for our students to hold. Our initial plan was to stamp polka dots but it turned out our sponge was a little to big for most of the shoeboxes so it became a paint tool instead—–and that worked out pretty well :)


Recognize a change in an object is a science access point addressed. The math access points recognize a common object with a two-dimensional shape and associate quantities 1 and 2 with number names are also addressed.


IMG_6928IMG_6957On Thursday we made a clown collar using the rim of a regular size paper paper plate. We found this idea at

The collar was decorated with colorful pompoms——lots of pincer grasp practice! We discussed the colors of the different pompoms and counted how many were put on each one.




IMG_7002IMG_6969Then, it was time to clown up!

First we put the silly clown shoes on our feet, the collar around our neck, and either a hat or wig on our head—–this addresses the science access point recognize one or more external body parts.






IMG_7008                                                                                  Let’s send in the clowns!!!!



IMG_6882We have found that this group of students does well when there is more movement involved, so we like to include that as much as we can. This week we set up some circus games focusing on taking turns—-sharing objects with a partner is also a science access point.

For our beanbag toss, Joy drew a circus scene on a large piece of paper, taped it to a piece of cardboard and cut a hole in the middle.  When our students were at this game, we talked about throwing the beanbag IN the hole.  Some of our students were able to do this independently while others required some hand-over-hand assistance.

Track objects that fall to the ground is a science access point that can be addressed in this activity.


IMG_6917IMG_6869Next, we got on the balance beam to practice tight-rope walking skills!  We talked about walking ON the beam.  Even our students in wheel chairs were able to participate in this game by an adult pushing them OVER the balance beam.  We had them hold out their arms so they could maintain their balance :)






IMG_6870Another game the students played was bowling.  We had to adapt this with some of our students by using a mat so the ball could roll DOWN to get to the pins.  Our students had a blast with this, especially because the ball we used made noises when rolled—–perfect for our students with visual impairments.

IMG_6850The science access points track objects in motion and track the movement of objects that are pushed and pulled are addressed here.

Of course, we also counted all the pins and how many got knocked down!




IMG_6884For the last center, we pulled out a couple of the discovery bottles used in the sensory group as well as the stretchy material.  Our students loved looking at all of the SHINY colors in the discovery bottles.  They also enjoyed trying to see how LONG the material got when it was stretched—–recognize that pushing or pulling an object makes it move again addressed!

Although we didn’t get to see acrobats and gymnasts perform tricks, our students had lots of fun with the games.




IMG_6833Well, that wraps things up for this week! Be sure to join us again for more fun and learning—-Group by Group!



Springtime in Tallahassee book


IMG_6090The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and spring is in the air in Tallahassee!  Hopefully it’ll come soon to the northern states as well :)  The book shows some things that are seen and also that are going on here in Tallahassee.  Azaleas seem to be EVERYwhere right now and are so beautiful and there are butterflies all around.  One of the big events here this month is Springtime Tallahassee, the parade and festival we have each year.  Our school is lucky because the “Rough Riders”, a group of people who are in the parade, come and hand out beads and teddy bears to each of our students.  Such fun!

Enjoy the book AND the gorgeous weather!

IMG_6096Here is a link to the book:It’s Springtime in Tallahassee

Springtime in Tallahassee


IMG_6176Flowers, birds, butterflies, eggs—-its springtime in Tallahassee! Spring is a really special time in our hometown and we had a great time celebrating the season this week. Our sensory group boxes were filled with bright colors and textures. The fine motor group made some fabulous butterfly and bird art projects. The language group dyed eggs in different ways and decided which way was the best!





IMG_5767IMG_6022We used some bright yellow basket filler as the base for this box. Then we put in a variety of flowers, carrots, eggs, bunnies, chicks—-all symbols of spring! There was also a little toy clock to remind us that daylight savings time happens around this time of year. We also included a pair of silly glasses with a flower motif, just for fun :)

Distinguishing between a plant and animal, which is part of learning about the organization and development of living organisms, is a science access point addressed in this activity.





Colorful beans—-what would we DO without food coloring!—-looked like tiny eggs scattered on our green rice lawn. Ok, this may totally be our new favorite rice box!

IMG_5688Visual and tactile discrimination skills are addressed as students find the letter S hidden amongst the beans and rice.


IMG_6149Springtime in Tallahassee means the Rough Riders are coming to visit our school before marching in the Springtime Tallahassee parade. These people are really wonderful as they bedeck everyone at the school with beads and give a teddy bear to each of our students—-how cool is that! In their honor, this box is filled with colorful beads and teddy bears. There were 2 bears in the box, 1 little and 1 big one to compare and contrast.

The access point recognize differences in size of objects, related to ordering objects by measurable attributes, is the math access point addressed in this activity. Another math access point addressed is recognize length of real objects, such as big, little, long, or short.




IMG_5755This lovely spring weather we are having, makes everyone think about planting gardens. Our garden box contained coffee ground dirt and some “carrot seeds” (actually brown beans) to plant. We also included some toy carrots and a little scoop. Our students had a great time with this box, they especially loved scooping up the dirt and filling the tops of the carrots!

Recognize that plants grow is a science access point addressed in this activity.

The math access point associate quantities with number names can also be addressed.






IMG_5749While some people plant vegetable gardens, other plant flowers in hopes of attracting butterflies! We have used our colorful pasta box before and we really love it——pink butterflies and green spiral pasta, just so pretty. A laminated butterfly picture and wooden caterpillar were also tucked into this box.

Students were encouraged to match the different pastas which addresses the math access point recognize two objects that are the same size or color.






IMG_6053Store shelves are filled with yummy spring treats including marshmallow peeps in a rainbow of colors. We mixed shaving cream, cornstarch, and some yellow food coloring to make our peeps. This mixture really does end up with a marshmallow consistency. It is light, soft, and moldable—–completely cool!

This is a totally fun and messy way to explore the science access point apply a push to move an object. Most of our students LOVED this gooey mess………others not so much :)











IMG_6077Well,  that marshmallow mixture is quite messy so we rinsed our hands off in sun-ripened raspberry bath gel from Bath and Bodyworks! We thought a fruity scent was perfect since it reminded us again of spring gardens. Along with 2 different sized measuring scoops, we included a little carrot shaped container for more scooping fun.

Recognize differences in sizes of containers that hold liquids is a science access point addressed. Another one is recognize one way people use water.






IMG_5816We finished with the matching lotion—-leaving our students smelling like yummy little raspberries! The students  liked the scent this week, it was quite a hit. Some of our students really anticipate this part of the group and immediately start putting out their hands when they see us bring out the bottle. Rubbing lotion on different body parts is a fun way to promote body awareness.

Recognize one or more external body parts is a science access point addressed in this activity.









IMG_5909Our Tuesday art project evolved from an idea we got from Mr. Chris (thanks again!). We started with these cute and colorful butterfly placemats we got 2 for a dollar at Target—-we may have mentioned how much we love the dollar section before :)  We cut a butterfly stencil out of some black poster board (a freebie on the giveaway table—–another score!) using one of the placemats as a pattern.

Each student got a placemat and when it was their turn, we put the stencil on their placemat while they colored their butterfly with Crayola Pipsqueak markers. We like making our stencil black because we thought it helped reinforce where we wanted the color to go. The markers were used for 2 reasons. First, we like their size which works well for our students little hands. Second, markers have low friction and bright color—-as opposed to crayons—- which is more visually appealing to our students.





IMG_5864We also used our communication cards to work on color recognition as the markers were passed around the table.

This activity worked on lots of science access points including share objects with a partner, recognize a change in an object, identify objects by one observable property, and recognize a change in an object.







IMG_5969IMG_5929TA DA—-

IMG_5919                               our artists were just so proud!





IMG_6310IMG_6313For our Thursday art project we made little bird nests! We saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it fit perfectly with our springtime theme. Our students started by gluing green paper shred onto a small paper plate.  Squeezing the glue works on hand strengthening and eye hand coordination is addressed as the paper is put onto the glue.







IMG_6323Next we used our adaptive scissors to cut 1 diamond shape into 2 triangles—–perfect little wings! Then we did it again because we are making 2 birds!

Recognize an object with a 2 dimensional shape is a math access point. In addition, associate quantities 1 and 2 with number names is another math access point addressed in this activity.

The wings were attached (with tape and a little help) to the 2 halves of a plastic egg that had been pre-decorated with googlie eyes and a beak.






IMG_6363IMG_6386Ta da, our little birdies are now tucked into their nests looking quite adorable!

Just like our students :)









We decided to have a little spring experiment!  Since people dye eggs during the spring, we decided to find out which way is the best way to dye eggs.  We used the colors pink and purple for our experiment.  To obtain those colors, we used PAAS Egg Decorating Kit, McCormick’s Neon food coloring, and Kool-Aid.

We used small, clear, plastic cups so our students were able to see the eggs change color.  Each cup had a label on it to show us which dye we were using.

IMG_6265IMG_6238We started by taking out a boiled egg which had been in the refrigerator and letting each student feel it.  They were asked if it was WARM or COLD and also if it was HARD or SOFT.  Then we brought out a plastic egg—-in some ways it was the SAME as the real egg but it was DIFFERENT in other ways!

Recognize the temperature of items as cool or warm is a science access point addressed by this activity.

Recognize similarities and differences in size of common objects is a math access point addressed.




IMG_6254After touching the eggs, the students each picked which color they wanted their real egg to become.  Identify classroom objects by one observable property such as color is a science access point.

Very CAREFULLY, and without a lot of adult assistance, the students put their egg in the dye.  Yes, we do like to live life on the edge :)

We used small, clear, plastic cups so our students could see the eggs as they changed color. Every few seconds, we used a spoon to stir the egg around.






IMG_6272After a few minutes, we lifted the eggs out of the dye and put them in the egg carton.  They all came out so differently and SO colorful!

The students told us which egg they liked the BEST.  After the eggs dried a little bit, the students put a sticker on the egg they liked the best to decorate it.

It was a neat experiment!  The boldest colors came from the PAAS and the neon food coloring, while the Kool-Aid eggs had texture on them.  It was lots of fun to see the differences!






IMG_6227IMG_6201As with all our groups this week, we finished by doing the chicken dance along with our dancing chicken :)

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Join us again next week for more fun, learning, and occasional dancing——Group by Group!



New York Vacation book


IMG_5191Since spring break was last week, we wanted to talk about traveling.  And since our own Joy traveled to New York over the break, we decided that was the place to talk about this week.

There are so many different sights to see in New York and we only touched on a few of them.  The pictures, with the exception of the Brooklyn Bridge, were found using google images and they are amazing!  Our students were really captivated by them.  We hope you enjoy the sights that we found!


Here is a link to the book: New York Has Lots to See

New York Vacation


IMG_5021It was back to school but spring break vacations were still on our minds with our New York City theme.  It is a popular vacation spot and such an exciting place to visit——we had so much fun planning the different group activities! Our sensory group activities included a trip to Time Square, the fine motor group made art projects related to New York City symbols, and the language group explored tourist destinations on the Smart board.

All our activities focused on looking at the world in spatial terms and the social studies access point associate an object, picture, or symbol with a location.






IMG_5266We started our tour with the most exciting place in NYC—-Time Square! We put 5 strands of battery operated lights on our umbrella and it really gave a fabulous “Time Square” effect. Needless to say this was a HUGE hit,  our students really loved all the lights and could hardly wait for their turn!

The lights were attached using good old twist ties and we used velcro to attach the battery packs as they were a little heavy.

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



IMG_5027We also pulled out our battery operated spinning lights so that students could put on their own light show. The science access point apply a push to move an object while also working on fine motor skills is addressed.




IMG_5001IMG_5299NYC is filled with skyscrapers. Our students made their own cityscapes using Duplo blocks to make “building” impressions in moon sand. The blocks shape made them easy for our students to hold and manipulate—-they worked perfectly!

Again the science concepts of forces and changes in motion are addressed as students apply a push to move an object.






IMG_5330Bright yellow and black taxis are EVERYWHERE in the city and a great way to get from one destination to another! We put some soft yellow pom poms and hard black beads in this box to compare and contrast. The colors gave this box a pretty striking contrast and most of our students found it intriguing.

As the students sort the items they can address the science access point recognize 2 common objects that are identical to each other. They can also address the math access point recognize 2 objects that are the same color.







IMG_5211IMG_5296Central Park is one fabulous place a taxi might take you! Besides lots of grass, the park is filled with trees and flowers so we put silk ones on a layer of basket filler. We also included a bunch of animals—–zoo animals, butterflies, dogs, ducks, squirrels, birds—–you can find all of them in Central Park!

With all that walking, you might want a snack and a NYC hotdog would certainly hit the spot :) The play food hotdog usually elicited smiles when found in the box.

Recognize the leaf and flower of a plant are science access points that can be addressed in this box as students explore organization and development of living organisms. Recognize a model of a real object is another science access point addressed.



IMG_5321Another exciting thing to do on a NYC vacation would be to see a Broadway Show. For this box we brought back our Wizard of Oz discovery bottle with it’s green glitter and red Barbie shoes! Music from The Wiz—-found via a Youtube clean video search—- was recorded on our voice output device.

As the students turn and shake the bottle tracking objects in motion, a science access point, is addressed.





IMG_5615Our students—–and teachers :)  had a blast rocking out to “Ease on Down the Road” from The Wiz and showing their moves.

Attending to sounds from various sources is a music access point addressed.









IMG_5280Our students searched for the letters N Y C in rice. As the rice was shifted aside, a picture of one of the biggest symbols of not just NYC but our country was revealed——the Statue of Liberty! This box didn’t have a lot of rice, so it made it especially easy for the hidden items to be revealed.

IMG_5063Recognize a symbol that represents America, such as the Statue of Liberty is an access point related to the understanding of structure and functions of government.










IMG_5228IMG_5259Finally, the scent of the week—–APPLE, of course :)  A fitting end to our tour of the Big Apple. A fabulous yellow ducky floated in our scented water and the students had a great time using the big apple sponge to give him a shower.

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

Our students enjoyed this week’s scent and as usual, we gave them an opportunity to communicate where they wanted the lotion.






IMG_5101IMG_5145On Tuesday our art project focused on the Statue of Liberty! We started by making the torch. The first step was using our paper cutters to cut green paper into a rectangle shape.

Once again, working on the math access point, recognize a 2 dimensional shape and the science access point recognize a change in an object.

Then we taped the rectangle to a toilet paper roll and ROLLED!!!! Our students did a great job and showed such concentration.

This was great for working on bilateral coordination.





IMG_5165Time for the really fun part—–stuffing tissue paper in the top to make our flame! Our students certainly did a great job demonstrating the science access point apply a push to move an object!

Prior to the group, we had cut the center out of a paper plate and stapled on some green paper that we had freehand cut for the statue’s crown.








IMG_5137                                                                                             Ta DA—–welcome to New York City :)



IMG_5496IMG_5455For our art project on Thursday we used apple stamping to decorate a cityscape!

We started by gluing a precut cityscape—-here is the pattern Joy drew SKMBT_42314032815140—–onto a piece of white rectangular paper. In addition to the math access point recognize a 2 dimensional shape, the science access point recognize a change in an object is also addressed.

Then we discussed the different paint colors we were going to use and asked the students to choose which color they wanted.

Recognizing an object by one observable property, such as color is the science access point addressed. Using body movement or nonverbal expression to communicate preferences is a language access point addressed.



IMG_5468Little hands and big slippery apples are not a good combination so we stuck a fork into the apple which made it so much easier for our students to handle!

So did we count the numbers of apples stamped?


Recognize when an object is added to a situation is a math access point.








IMG_5507IMG_5521Ta Da! These cityscapes turned out pretty fabulous—-the Big Apple never looked so good!












IMG_5411After reading Cara’s book about the sights to see in New York, we decided to take a closer look with a virtual tour.  We had the students gather around the SMART board for this group.  We printed out some pictures of places from our book, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

These pictures were put on an All Turn It Spinner so that our students were able to pick a place to go.

Cara found a couple of websites with virtual tours of New York.  The one she had planned on showing,, didn’t end up working on our SMART board; however, it has an amazing virtual tour.  Instead, we used  This was also a virtual tour, but wasn’t an eagle eye view like airpano.


IMG_5393Our students loved being able to experience seeing New York with a 360 degree tour.  We used different adjectives to talk about what we were looking at.  We commented on the TALL building, the LONG bridge, and the BRIGHT lights.

Developing an understanding of language concepts related to linear measurement is addressed here.








IMG_5403The final consensus was that we all wanted to travel to New York on our next CBI trip:)










IMG_5057Hope you enjoyed our geography themed activities this week! Join us again for more fun and learning Group by Group!

Dr. Seuss book


Dr. Seuss’ Birthday was last week so we’re a little late to the party, but better late than never, right?  We had written a book last year which we loved, so we decided to use it again this year (repetition is always a good thing!).  The book takes a look at some of the different books Dr. Seuss has written along with some of the staff at our school enjoying them.  Cara formatted it to be a rhyming book so it seemed more Seuss like.  We hope you enjoy it!

IMG_4864Here is a link to the book: Let Me Take a Closer Look,I Would Like to Read That Book