Bird Habitats book


IMG_7475This week we looked at different birds and their habitats.  All of the pictures seen in the book were found on Google images.  Some of the different habitats we looked at were desert, rainforest, lakes, and swamps.  Each page lists a different bird and their habitat.  After reading what the bird and habitat were, we asked our students, “where do birds live?”  The repetitive line answers the question, saying “birds live in different habitats.”  So take a IMG_7399look at some of the birds and habitats that we talked about!






IMG_7216Here is a link to the book: Birds Live in Different Habitats

Bird Habitats


IMG_7037Birds are building nests all around our school and that inspired us to do a unit on bird habitats this week. The science access point match common living things with their habitats was a learning goal throughout all our groups. Our sensory group explored a variety of boxes—–including a green jello swamp habitat! Our fine motor group made some bird puppets and a bird feeder, and the students in our language group went bird watching. Read along and see all the fun we had.




IMG_7267Each of the habitats this week included a number that indicated how many birds were hidden in that particular habitat. We used cookie cutters, fridge magnets, and textured numbers—-what ever we had :) It added a nice cool math element to each box.

We started with a fabulous rainforest umbrella habitat. We have done these before and as usual, we were really thrilled with the way it turned out.  Among the leaves, vines, and butterflies there was a number 4 to let our students now how many birds to find. Our very cute and cuddly giant blue parrot (thanks Ms. Kim) was pretty easy to find but our other little parrots were hidden in the leaves. We also recorded some rainforest sounds from Sound Bible and that really added to the tropical feel.

Recognize and respond to common sounds is a science access point addressed in this activity. Distinguish between a plant and an animal is another science access point addressed.


IMG_7327From the rainforest to the desert for our next habitat! There were 4 roadrunners to find in this box. 3 of them were small laminated pictures—-fairly easy to find but we were a little tricky with the 4th one :) It was a large roadrunner picture taped to the bottom of the box! There were also a few other animals such as a snake and lizard that you might find in the desert. IMG_7095

The science access point recognize objects related to science by name, such as animal is addressed.



IMG_7341Penguins are found in the antarctic habitat. We used dry tapioca for our “snow” in this box. While not cold like real snow it did have a pretty cool effect—-all the adults wanted to know what we used! We included a little measuring spoon to let the students scoop up the snow and sprinkle it on top of the 5 penguins.

The science access point, match animals that are the same is addressed here.

Two of the penguins were IDENTICAL so the math access point recognize 2 objects that are identical to each other is also addressed.




IMG_7045IMG_7093In our savanna habitat we included some raffia “grass” for the 2 ostriches to nestle into. There was also a soft feather boa which was a huge hit—–a favorite for some of our students who loved waving and shaking it around!

Associate quantities 1 and 2 with number names is a math access point addressed.

Of course, the science access point track objects in motion can also be addressed :)


IMG_7275Silk leaves made a great base for our woodland habitat box. We added a pine cone, some woodland animals, and a little nest for 1 cute blue bird. The bright blue color of the bird really popped, drawing our students eyes immediately! It was a great box with lots of different textures—–hard, soft, rough, smooth!

Recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli as well as recognize a model of a real object are science access points addressed.





IMG_7072We were pretty happy with the way our bright green lime jello swamp habitat turned out! The plastic grass blades (scavenged from some discarded fake flowers) really gave it that wetland/swamp look. Again we put in a variety of animals that might be found in this habitat AND bird shaped cookie cutter! The jello was cold and sticky—–our students had a blast squishing it between their fingers! Really, really, great fun :)

Use senses to recognize objects is a science access  point definitely addressed with this box!





IMG_7231IMG_72933 little ducks swam around our lake habitat, scented with dancing water bath gel from Bath and Bodyworks. Perfect, of course, for rinsing all the sticky jello off hands :)

We also included a spoon so our students could give the ducks a little shower.

There was 1 big duck and 2 little ducks.

The science access point recognize the larger of 2 objects can be addressed here.




IMG_7357We finished with the matching lotion. It smelled really nice and we got lots of smiles as our students tested its aroma. A perfect scent to help us remember all the different bird habitats we learned about today!

As usual, the science access points recognize one or more external body parts and recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli are addressed with this activity.



IMG_7139On Tuesday we made a fun paper bag puppet! These cool blue lunch bags we got at Target were perfect for the project. We started asking our students to point out the color blue using communication symbols.

Identify an object by one observable property is the science access point addressed here.

Then we pointed out the lunch bags were rectangular in shape and counted the sides—-working on the math access point identify the sides of a rectangle.

Identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is a science access point.


IMG_7171Using the paper cutter, our students cut out a yellow triangle beak——recognize an object with a 2 dimensional shape is a math access point.

The beak was glued down and then we added we added 2 round googlie eyes and colorful, fluffy feathers.  Picking up all these little pieces and gluing them down was great for promoting eye hand coordination.






These puppets turned out so super cute!

IMG_7187                                                                                     TA tweet tweet DA


On Thursday we made some bird feeders to put around the school. All those little birds building their nests around the school are going to have some pretty hungry mouths to feed soon :) Recognize that living things have basic needs, including water and food is a science access point.

IMG_7525IMG_7512The students chose which color yarn they wanted to tie to their pinecone for hanging. They indicated their color preference using communication symbols—–addressing the language access point effectively communicate wants using referent objects, gestures/signs, pictures, symbols, or words.

Then the yarn was cut using our adaptive scissors. Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is the science access point addressed with this activity.


IMG_7548Next, came the FUN part—– spreading peanut butter on pine cones! Using a plastic knife worked well for this activity and gave our students continued practice using classroom tools.

IMG_7559After the peanut butter was applied, it was time to add the birdseed. The birdseed could be added by either rolling the pine cone around or by sprinkling the birdseed on top. Ok, this was a pretty messy process and yes the tray was knocked over BUT then again, making a mess has not exactly slowed us down before :)

Apply a push or pull to move an object is the science access point addressed as fine motor skills are practiced.


IMG_7577                                                         TA DA——there will be no hungry birds around here!



IMG_7387After reading this weeks book, we brought in the rainforest umbrella habitat.  Our students really love the umbrellas that Joy puts together!








IMG_7401After reading about the different birds and their habitats, it was time to go bird watching—–but of course, we needed some binoculars!  We taped 2 toilet paper rolls together to make our binoculars and the students chose dimensional stickers to decorate them. Students made choices by pointing, tapping, using eye gaze, or verbalizing.

Peeling the paper off of those stickers really works those fine motor skills!

Communicating a preference for a familiar object is a language access point.

IMG_7375                                       Time to go bird watching!









IMG_7407Colorful laminated birds (made by local artist Peggy Adair)  were hung them up in the backyard area of Ms. Robin’s classroom.  It was a breezy day which made the birds “fly” around and they really looked quite fabulous out there. To start, we had one of our students choose which color bird to look for using eye gaze.

The language access point effectively communicate information using referent objects, gestures/signs, pictures, symbols, or words———–nailed it :)





IMG_7410Our “bird watchers” went outside and had to find the yellow bird! Some clues had to be provided to help tell WHERE the bird might be.  We used prepositions such as IN, ON, AROUND, and UNDER to help our students in their search.

In addition to language concepts, the science access point recognize common objects in the environment is also addressed.

IMG_7467We adapted the activity for our students with a visual impairment by having them feel the different shapes.


It was such a beautiful day and both the students and staff enjoyed their afternoon of bird watching, Audubon Society, here we come!



Wow we had so much fun learning about all these beautiful and exotic birds this week! Join us again next time for IMG_7196more fun and learning————-Group by Group!

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