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.





Thank You


Now that school is out we wanted to give a quick shout out to the elementary teachers who welcome us into their rooms every week making Group by Group possible.


IMG_0283Our week starts with a sensory group in Ms. Joi’s room. The ladies in this room are so full of enthusiasm and laughter. They also have great ideas and suggestions for our groups.

Thank you ladies for helping us keep the “fun” in learning!





IMG_9629As Ms. Tonja retired at the end of the school year, our time in her room has been a little bittersweet. We will miss her intuitive knowledge and sensory insights.

Thank you to her staff and volunteers who help make it a great sensory group every week.





IMG_9168Our last sensory group class is Ms. Maria’s. It has been a year of contrasts with a sad goodbye to our dear Ms. Nita and a joyful welcome to Maria’s beautiful baby.


Thank you ladies for everything!






IMG_0241We could not do the language group without the ladies in Ms. Robin’s room. They are up for whatever activity we have planned and are great at helping us adapt things so that each student can participate. This is also our go to classroom for props and costumes—–Robin has an amazing array of things in her closet.

Thank you ladies for making it a great year!






IMG_0082Jeannie just wanted to thank her wonderful staff and volunteers for making the fine motor groups a blast week after week.


I also want to thank Ms. Joy (Occupational Therapist) and Ms. Cara (Speech Therapist).  They are the glue that holds us all together. Without there planning and preparations each week the blog would not be possible. Thanks also to Ms. Cleaver (teacher) for her help.  My thanks to everyone and I hope you all have a great summer. See you in August for another great year with Group By Group.



Summer Vacation in Florida book


IMG_0214Summer vacation is almost here and there are so many different places to vacation and things to do while in Florida.  We only touched on a few, though, like Disney World, Lego Land, and the beach to name a few.  All of the pictures in the book this week are from different people who work here at our school.  Enjoy the book and come visit the Sunshine State!




IMG_0232Here is a link to the book:  Summer Vacation in Florida

Summer Vacation in Florida


 IMG_0004The school year is ending and we are all thinking about summer vacation again! Now our first post this year was about Florida vacations but there is SO much to do here that it’s totally worthy of a second post.  Hope you enjoy seeing all the fun things we did and maybe get inspired to visit our sunshine filled state on your summer vacation :)






IMG_9944We have miles of sand and surf in Florida so almost everyone goes to the beach at least once during summer vacation—-it’s like a law or something :)

Our little “beach” box was filled with moon sand. Moon sand is a little dense just like the sand on the shore—-perfect for molding into sandcastles or stamping impressions. We included some fun stampers with handles making them easy for our students to grip. With just a little push cute impressions of a little mermaid or a fish appeared.

The science access points recognize a change in an object and apply a push to move an object are addressed as concepts of changes in matter and force are explored.





IMG_9941For animal lovers the Jacksonville Zoo is a great place to visit. We put lots of animals in our zoo box including our favorite sound producing ones. A plush monkey had a curtain ring hot glued to his back making him especially easy for our students to pick up.

We also included the word “ZOO” and a little zoo keeper. Of course, the animals need something to eat so assorted play food could be found—-everyone got a kick out of the “steak”. It was part of a set of coasters found in Target’s dollar section.

As the buttons are pushed on the animals, the science access point apply a push to move an object is again addressed. Another science access point distinguish between a plant and an animal is also addressed.


 IMG_9749Sometimes it is nice to get out of the hot sun and hang out in a nice cool movie theater. We are excited to see the fun summer movies that are coming out. Of course, you would HAVE to have some popcorn! This box was filled with popcorn kernels which are so fun to push hands down into. Our students hunted for the letter S (for “summer”) —–there were 3 of them to find.

In addition to letter recognition, the math access point recognize when 1 or 2 items have been added to or removed from sets of objects to 3 can be addressed.





IMG_9925We went with Mickey Mouse colors for our Disney World box. There were soft red, yellow, black, and white pompoms—-3 of each color. For contrast we included some shiny beads which our students always enjoy. To add yet another math component there were 0 yellow beads, 1 strand of white beads, 2 strands of black beads, 3 strands of red beads to count!

Probably the favorite item was the little Minnie Mouse box—-it had a tiny mirror inside so our students could admire their reflections. They really are a super cute bunch of kids :)

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




IMG_9787Another fun theme park is Lego Land. We filled this box with what else—-LEGOS!  The students had a great time putting them together and pulling them apart, perfect for promoting bilateral coordination and hand strengthening!

In addition to discussing the colors of the blocks, they can be ordered by measurable attributes—-addressing the math access point recognize differences in size of objects.






IMG_9742IMG_9757Some people go camping on their summer vacation. We have lots of great places to park an RV or put up a tent and then roast some marshmallows.

Our shaving cream and cornstarch mixture has a texture just like marshmallows. A fabulous fun texture to smoosh around or practice writing letters.

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




IMG_9958Here in Tallahassee, Cascades Park is a great place to visit during our hot Florida summers. There are ducks to feed in the ponds and fun water fountains to splash around in.  Students had fun rinsing the shaving foam off their hands and playing with the ducks in our little “pond”.

The math access point associate quantities 1 and 2 with number names and the science access point recognize water as a liquid can both be addressed in this activity.





IMG_9999Wherever we go on summer vacation in Florida, sunscreen and sunglasses are a MUST! Bath and Bodyworks aruba coconut scented lotion reminded us of sunscreen and a perfect scent for this theme. It left our students smelling like they were ready for a day at the beach!









IMG_9795IMG_9876Of course our students always rock a pair of sunglasses——we do have the COOLEST kids after all :) Recognize external body parts is the science access point addressed in this activity.








IMG_9834We did a 2 part art project this week. On Tuesday we painted with corn syrup. First we discussed the color blue and asked the students to show us blue with the communication symbols. Match objects by one observable property, such as color is the science access point addressed with this activity.

Then we mixed the blue food coloring into the corn syrup—-our students had a blast stirring them together and watching as the color appeared. The science access point recognize a change in an object is addressed.

We poured the mixture onto a rectangular piece of paper and let our students spread it around with a wide foam brush. Recognize that pushing or pulling an object makes it move is the science access point addressed here.

IMG_9855Then they put a cute picture of themselves onto the water. The students had posed in their bathing suits while laying on their nap mats—–they look just like they are on water floats, totally adorable!








IMG_0105IMG_0155On Thursday we finished our project. We tore some yellow paper and glued it to the bottom of the picture to make a sandy shore. Tearing the paper is another great activity for promoting bilateral coordination. One of our students who has physical impairment used switch operated scissors to cut his paper—–he really enjoyed making them stop and start!





IMG_0145The students then painted on some “surf” using a glue and shaving foam mixture and added either a starfish or some shells. Recognize a change in an object is again addressed here.







IMG_0125                                  Surfs up—-time for summer vacation in Florida!



IMG_0009 In order to go on vacation, you need to pack appropriately for it.  To reiterate what types of things we need to pack to go on a summer vacation, we brought out a plush sun.  We asked our students if the sun was HOT or COLD.  Our little smarties either verbalized that it was HOT or they gestured fanning themselves with their hands.

The science access points distinguish between hot and cold objects and recognize sources of heat are both addressed.





IMG_0023To start packing, we got out our suitcase. We practiced zipping and unzipping the suitcase to open it—-addressing the science access point recognize the change in motion of an object.







We had a bag full of different things that could potentially be packed when going on vacation; however, some of the things in the bag were not appropriate for a hot summer vacation.  Some of the things presented to our students were sunscreen, sunglasses, winter hat, short sleeved shirt, winter jacket, baseball cap, bathing suit, swim towel, long pants, long sleeved shirt, and shorts.

IMG_0050IMG_0030We went around to each of our students and asked, “would we want to bring this on our HOT summer vacation?”  They had to tell us YES or NO by pointing to a picture symbol, verbalizing, using a head nod/shake, or by eye gaze.  For the most part, our students knew what went with HOT weather and what did not.

Recognize clothing worn by humans in different weather is a science access point related to interdependence.

IMG_0067After each item, we asked our students to put it IN the suitcase.  Although the clothing items weren’t folded nicely, they made it IN!

The math access point recognize when an object has been added to or taken away from a situation is addressed in this fun part of the activity.






IMG_0043IMG_0073Time to grab our hats and put on our sunglasses——it is summer vacation in Florida!







Well this is our last theme based post for the school year! We have had a such great time and have been thrilled with all the growth we have seen with our students. We have a few “extra” posts that we have planned for the summer and are already planning some great themes for the next school year. IMG_0179We hope you all have a wonderful fun filled break and we will see you in September for more fun and learning——Group by Group!

Birthday Party book


IMG_9701IMG_9625We celebrated Birthday’s this week!  We thought that since some of our students have summer Birthdays, they don’t typically get to celebrate with their school friends.  And who doesn’t like to celebrate a Birthday!?  The book goes over some of the different things done at a Birthday party.  After the first line on the page was read, we would ask the students, “where does this happen?”  The repetitive line answered, “at my Birthday party.”  The pictures (found using google images) are so colorful and our students enjoyed looking at them.  We hope you do too!



IMG_9423Here is a link to the book: At My Birthday Party