Veterans Day book


IMG_8837To honor our veterans, we decided to have a whole week dedicated to them.  Our book touches what a veteran is as well as on some of the things people do to honor veterans.  On the front and back of the book, we have a few of our very own veterans working with us at our school!  There’s lots of red, white, and blue in this book and our kids seem pretty captivated by it.  We hope you enjoy and make sure to thank a veteran for their service!



IMG_8607Here is a link to the book:  We Celebrate Our Veterans

Veterans Day


IMG_8807This week we celebrated our Veterans! We are so appreciative of their service to our country.  Our sensory group explored boxes with a mostly red, white, and blue theme. The fine motor group made a camo hat and the language group made some cards to send to wounded veterans.

The social studies access point recognize a national holiday as a way of remembering and honoring people and events is addressed throughout this unit.




IMG_8797IMG_8804The base of this box was red, white, and blue tinsel which was very visually appealing to our students. They quite liked picking up handfuls and dropping it on the floor :)  Besides the tinsel there was a toy Air Force plane, a plush Navy seaman bear, a GI Joe figure, and some armed services patches.

To complete the box we added a variety of red, white, or blue items such as blocks and a fabulous texture ball!

IMG_8615Recognize common objects in the natural world through observation is a science access point addressed.



IMG_8637We included 2 different discovery bottles this week. One was filled with red, white, and blue beads in plain water. When shaken, the beads move around but quickly settle to the top of the bottle.

IMG_8954The other bottle was filled with a mixture of water and dish soap. This made for a perfect frothy ocean for our toy Navy submarine to explore and bob around in.


Both of the bottles addressed the science access point recognize the change in the motion of an object.



IMG_8619The red, white, and blue theme continued with our colorful rice box. We found a coloring page of a soldier holding a flag which was colored and taped to the bottom of the box for our students to find.

There was also a large letter V—–for “VETERAN” to find in the rice.

In addition to visual and tactile discrimination, the science access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is addressed.






IMG_8629IMG_8896More red, white, and blue with our box of beads—–so much fun!

Fun to wear, fun to sort, fun to shake, fun just to look at!

The science access points identify objects by one observable property, such as color and match objects by one observable property, such as size or color can be addressed here.




IMG_8684IMG_8677By far the most popular item this week was this lighted spinning toy. Our students were thrilled——LIGHT and MOVEMENT!

IMG_8962These students are certainly showing they recognize sources of light—–a science access point.




We deviated from the red, white and blue with our “camo” bean mixture. We used some split peas, pinto and black beans and were pretty pleased with the effect—–as were our students!

We included 2 WELL camouflaged toy soldiers for our students to find :)

The math access point associate quantities 1 and 2 with number names can be addressed when counting the little soldiers.





IMG_8832Red and blue glitter was added to our white oobleck making it both festive and patriotic! It doesn’t show up so well in the photo but it really did look good.

Fun as usual and an opportunity to address the science access point apply a push to move an object.






IMG_8904There was a little “Navy” ship to float around in our rinsing water. The water got cloudier and cloudier from the oobleck. The students were quite fascinated by this—-and loved watching their hands “disappear” as they were dipped into it.

Recognize one way people use water is a science access point addressed here.







IMG_8764It was a little challenging coming up with the scent for this week. We ended picking Bath and Bodyworks country apple for our scent this week—–thinking of the phrase “American as apple pie”.

As usual, we encouraged the students to indicate if they liked the scent and then to indicate by pointing, vocalizing or looking at a body part.

The science access point recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is addressed here.

The math access points indicate desire for more or no more of an action or object are addressed here.



IMG_9064Since we did not have school on Tuesday, we only made one art project this week—-a camouflage combat hat.

We started by discussing the 3 paint colors we were going to use today. Then we asked the them to use the communication symbols to identify the colors—–addressing the science access point identify objects by one observable property such as color.






IMG_9075IMG_9183Then we used sponges to apply the paint to paper bowls—-the students REALLY liked this part!

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





IMG_9133IMG_9165Our students were very proud of their creations……









We wanted to express our thanks to veterans by writing letters and found a place to send some to them at

IMG_9021We started by giving each student a piece of paper to decorate with blue and red writing utensils. The students used  crayons, markers, and vibrating pens—– the vibrating pens were especially popular and elicited lots of giggles :)

The science access point recognize the appearance of an object or material has changed is addressed here.





IMG_9063For our students who have difficulty with fine motor skills, a marker was attached (with velcro) to a switch operated vibrating massager.

Needless to say, this was very popular also and EVERYBODY had to have a turn!







IMG_9038Some foam stars were attached to a kitchen scrubber with double stick tape. This was used to stamp some bright yellow stars onto the card—–for an extra little flourish :)






IMG_9048Cara wrote a letter and went over some of the different words that are synonymous with thanks, such as “appreciation” and “gratitude”.  After reading the letter to our students, each student glued a copy of it onto the back of their paper then folded it over to make a card.

We hope the veterans who receive these notes will definitely feel appreciated!




IMG_8957Thank you again to all the veterans out there, we hope your enjoyed our tribute. Please join us next time for more fun and learning——-Group by Group!


Weather book


IMG_8233We are following the Unique theme this week and talking about the weather.  We have some pretty amazing weather forcasters who are telling us what kind of weather is going on.  The book is set up like the books that have a question.  This time, though, our students are saying the statement, “tell me about the weather” with a pre-programed voice output device.  Our students were excited to see their friends as weather forecasters :)





IMG_6342Here is a link to the book: Tell Me About the Weather



IMG_8300This week our theme is weather to go along with this month’s Unique Curriculum unit. Each of the boxes in our sensory group represented different types of weather.

The fine motor group practiced using writing and cutting tools while making weather related art projects. In the language group we did a couple of really cool science experiments!






IMG_7824IMG_7912We have represented the sun in many ways in different units we have done and this time we focused on the sun’s color. Our box of sunshine was filled with some brightly colored yellow rice—–very pretty! Running fingers through the rice is a wonderful tactile experience that many of the students enjoy. They also love looking for things hidden in the rice so this week we included a picture of the sun at the bottom of the box and 2 letter S’s.

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


IMG_8285Our snow box also turned out really well. We used some purchased “fake snow” powder and were pretty pleased with the results. The batch lasted all week and hopefully will still be good when the sensory cart is available for check out next week. Fortunately we do have lots of the fake snow left if it doesn’t last since a little of the powder really does go a long way!

We included 2 different sized measuring spoons and taped a sparkly snow flake decoration to the bottom of the box.

The math access point recognize similarities and differences in the size of objects (the measuring spoons) can be addressed with this activity.




IMG_7894IMG_8312The thunderstorm box was a real favorite with the students.  We recorded the sounds of a thunderstorm (found on Sound Bible) on our voice output device and also included a rainstick.

Between the voice output device and rainstick it really sounded like a thunderstorm in the room and the students LOVED it!

The access point recognize and respond to common sounds is addressed here.




IMG_7935For our “hail” box we focused on the fact that hail is HARD. These plastic balls were hard and had a rough textured surface and really looked like some giant hailstones. Of course, they DID include something not typically found in a hailstone—–colored lights! So not quite authentic, but we certainly were not going to pass on the opportunity to add some cool light effects in our group :)

Needless to say—–the students loved them! Since some of them tried stacking them to make “snowmen”, we can certainly say they mastered the access point recognize a model of a real object! The science access point recognize a change in an object is also addressed as the orbs changed color.



IMG_7945IMG_8057This little fan worked really well for making some indoor “wind”. The students had a blast with the fan and loved feeling the air move around them. There were also fine motor skills practiced as they turned the fan on and off.

There were lots of giggles with this activity :)

Indicate awareness of air moving is a science access point.




IMG_8149We couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring out our winter wonderland umbrella which fit our weather theme perfectly.  Between the snowflakes, silver bead icicles, and white pompom yarn snowballs it was pretty irresistible to the students!

IMG_7973Explore, observe, and recognize common objects in the natural world can be addressed with this activity.



IMG_8297The students got elbows deep into our shaving cream “cloud”! Wonderful tactile fun—–what more can we say :)

The science access point apply a push to move an object is addressed here.






IMG_8128Hands were rinsed in “rainwater” scented with Bath and Body Works dancing waters scented bath gel—-it seemed a good choice for the unit :)

The rain was created by using a plastic food container with holes poked in the bottom. It worked really well and added a novel twist to the usual water play!

The science access points recognize materials as warm or cold and track objects in motion are addressed here.







IMG_8427The dancing water lotion was pretty much universally liked by the students. Even some of the students who usually dislike having the lotion applied wanted to try a little this week!

It was a nice light fresh scent to remember all the fun learning about weather this week :)

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







IMG_8195On Tuesday we made a puffy paint thundercloud for our art project. We started by squirting some WHITE shaving cream onto a plate and then added some WHITE glue. Next we squirted in some BLACK paint and asked our students to mix it all together.

Our little artists discovered that when you mix black and white you get GREY—–a perfect thundercloud color!

Recognize a change in an object is the science access point addressed here!





IMG_8224We scooped some of the mixture onto a cloud shaped piece of paper and the students spread it out using a large foam brush. They did a really great job of keeping their brushes in the designated area!

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






IMG_8241After they finished painting, they dropped a yellow lighting bolt onto the cloud.

We asked the students to identify the color yellow using communication symbols—–they did a great job, totally rocking the science access point recognize an object by one observable property!





IMG_8253IMG_8218Ta Da—–time to get out the umbrellas!









On Thursday we made another fun weather related art project.  This time we made some kites—–perfect for flying on windy days!

First we talked about the shape of our kite, which was cut from some wallpaper samples. We noted that it was a diamond shape—–targeting the math access point recognize objects with a 2 dimensional shape.

IMG_8537IMG_8590After “writing” their names on the back of the kites, they were put aside for a moment while 3 rectangles were cut from construction paper using the paper cutter.

We counted out loud as each student cut their lines and also counted the rectangles after they were cut. The students were then asked to identify the number 3. They are starting to get better at number recognition—–we are so proud!

The math access points recognize objects with 2 dimensional shapes and associate quantities with number names are both addressed here.


IMG_8560The rectangles were then glued onto the kites. Some of our students were very thoughtful about this step—-those rectangles had to go in JUST the right spot!

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







IMG_8516IMG_8585The students had a great time waving their kites around, they absolutely LOVED them!!!!

IMG_8533So then we all started channeling Mary Poppins and singing “lets go fly a kite”—–go on and sing along, you know you want to :)




We found some really cool weather experiments to do for today’s group! These experiments help increase the students understanding of the practice of science. Assist with investigations with a partner is the science access point addressed.

IMG_8452For our first experiment, we made RAIN! We started with a big, plastic jar that we filled about 3/4 full with water.  Then we put some shaving cream on top of the water to make a “cloud”.


Recognize that rain comes from clouds is the science access point we are learning about in this activity.






IMG_8466We sucked up some blue tinted water in a medicine dropper.  Then we asked our students to make a prediction: was the food coloring going to stay in our “cloud” or was it going to fall through?

We used a drawing and our students made their prediction by touching or looking at their prediction.  A little over half the class voted that it would fall through the “cloud”.





IMG_8469IMG_8477Each of our students had a turn squeezing some “rain drops” into the “cloud”.  It took a second or two, but the blue food coloring started going through the “cloud” to make “rain”!

Our smart little scientists were right!






IMG_8503After watching it “rain”, we began our next experiment: a tornado in a bottle.  For this, we printed out some directions so our students could follow them.  What we needed for this experiment was: a plastic jar with a lid, clear dish soap, vinegar, water, and glitter.  We didn’t have clear dish soap, but blue worked fine :)  It just gives it a little tint.



IMG_8492First we filled the jar 3/4 full with water.  Then we added 1 tsp of vinegar and 1 tsp of dish soap.  We let our students pour the ingredients into the jar—–with a little help :)

After that, we added some glitter to act as the debris you would see during a real tornado.


This science experiment relates to the science access point recognize the weather conditions, including severe weather, in Florida.





IMG_8494Finally, we swirled the jar in a circular motion and TADA made a tornado!

Our students were so captivated by today’s experiments!  They were attending throughout the entire process.  And, BOTH experiments WORKED!!  YAY!  We love it when things fall in place so nicely :)







IMG_8070Learning about the weather has never been so much fun! Join us again next time for MORE fun and learning——-Group by Group!



October After Party


IMG_7093Welcome to the after party! Each week after the weekly blog featuring activities in the elementary department is posted, our sensory cart is parked in the media center where it is available for check out by the rest of the school.

This post has photos of our middle and high school students taken during the month of October.

We had some great themes and the students had a blast!




IMG_5953OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe started the month with a unit on Native Americans. So many cool  including some Zuni “turquoise” beans to explore, play dough deer to count, and in another box a little teepee.



IMG_5955                                                                                      Lots of FUN!



IMG_5949In Ms. Christy’s class the students even completed worksheets about the different boxes—-working on their writing skills!






IMG_5970OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur Fall unit had a lot of colorful fun. The collegiate pom pom shakers were a HUGE hit!

IMG_5956                                                                  Apparently we have a lot of football fans out there!




IMG_5960IMG_5957They also had fun with the cuddly pompom yarn and mixed bean “soup”








IMG_5973OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy far the favorite was our fabulous Fall umbrella—–so bright and colorful!!!!









OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had 2 different kinds of rice boxes for Columbus Day. One was filled red, green, and white rice representing Italy and the other contained red and yellow rice representing Spain.






OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_7119There was more play dough, this time blue—–representing the “ocean blue” Columbus sailed upon.







IMG_7107OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe introduced some “kinetic” sand which was a hit with students and staff alike!

Very cool stuff!








OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_7092Gold beads and a jewel filled discovery bottle filled with Queen Isabella’s jewels were also very popular!










For red ribbon week EVERYTHING was RED!

IMG_7201IMG_7211IMG_7208                   Including red jello to explore!



IMG_7195IMG_7220This vibrating plush crab made for giggly fun!









IMG_7206IMG_7191Other items included the always popular red moon sand.

There were red monkeys hidden in red spaghetti, and……








OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                              a noisy red stretchy tube!







We finished our fabulous fun month with a fun unit on fairy tales!

IMG_8676All the students loved reading the book and seeing their classmates dressed in costumes…….

IMG_8691……..and dressing in costume themselves :)









IMG_7807IMG_8658There were GIANT chenille stems and

IMG_8758                                                                            magical characters to identify.


IMG_8639IMG_8641Brightly lit magic wands and bubbles were IMG_8730huge hits this week.


IMG_8725IMG_7130The ever popular oobleck proved irresistible as always :)





A great month filled with fun activities from our sensory cart!

Fairy Tale book


IMG_7144We have SUCH an exciting topic for this week!  We are taking a look at characters in fairy tales.  And to make this topic more special for our students, we decided to have some of them be in the book as the characters!  When reading the book, we had our students ask the question “who is in a fairy tale?” using a pre-programmed voice output device.  In the book are characters such a king and queen, a fairy, and a giant, to name just a few.  This is a book you do NOT want to miss!




IMG_7470Here is a link to the book: Who is in a Fairy Tale?

Fairy Tales


IMG_0637The last week in October——-a perfect time to do a fairy tale theme! Each of the boxes for the sensory group were based around characters found in fairy tales. The fine motor group made props to use in pretend play and the language group chose characters to complete a castle picture.

A magical and fun week!





20141028_101538IMG_7141This box was filled with various fairy tale characters. There were lot of fun things to discover including  a cute cuddly dragon and a chubby little genie! Knights and winged horses could be found hidden in the sparkly basket filler. Of course we included some princesses and fairies! Because we couldn’t resist, we added a set of sparkly sunglasses—–for royalty to travel incognito :)

The language access point communicate recognition of familiar persons or objects can be addressed here.



20141028_101427Every wizard needs a wand! We had 2 flashing lighted wands that we picked up at Target and the students had a blast—–every time they were drummed on the table the light show began!

These are great toys for promoting cause and effect concepts and the recognizing sources of light which is a science access point.







IMG_0643Pink princess rice——complete with a picture of a princess to find at the bottom of the box!  This picture really doesn’t do the color justice—-it really is a lovely pink in real life!

We also included the letter “P” for the students to find.

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is the science access point addressed here.







IMG_7260IMG_7294We had 2 wonderful fairy glitter discovery bottles to explore. These were really quite cool and our students were mesmerized by the swirling contents. Actually, the adults were pretty mesmerized also :)

The science access point track objects in motion is addressed here.




IMG_7268This box contained lots of bright colorful chenille stems—–some of them were  GIANTS! Not only can they be waved around but they can also be bent into shapes and wrapped around different extremities—–they were a hit with all the students.

Of course, this was also a great box to work on concepts of “big” and “little”.

The science access point identify common objects by one observable property such as size is addressed with this activity.






IMG_7365IMG_7768Green, gold, and red glitter changed our oobleck into a MAGIC potion—–perfect for our little wizards to experiment with as it did it’s magical, goopy stuff!

IMG_7769The science access points apply a push to move and object and track a falling object are both addressed.



IMG_7764Since fairy tales are often read at bedtime, we thought lavender was the perfect scent for this week! First the students rinsed their hands in the lavender scented water and then they got to sample some lavender scented lotion.

Recognizing and responding to one type of sensory stimuli is an access point addressed here.






IMG_7233We finished our group with some bippity boppity fairy godmother bubbles—–how fun is that!

Can’t think of a more magical way to address the science access point track objects in motion :)







On Tuesday we made some castles out of toilet paper rolls. We have seen this idea all over Pinterest and knew it would be a perfect art activity for this week’s theme.  A few snips to crenelate the top and a simple toilet roll becomes a castle!

IMG_2349Naturally we wanted our castles to be colorful so we started by asking the students which color they wanted to paint their castles. Most of them chose purple—-just coincidently their teacher’s favorite color is purple :)

In addition to symbols, the students used voice output devices to communicate their wants and preferences.




IMG_2372IMG_2271Here are the artists at work—–what concentration!

IMG_2327Recognize a change in an object is the science access point addressed as the students paint their castles.


IMG_2307                                                                            Ta Da—–a pretty purple castle!


On Thursday we made some fabulous magic wands!

IMG_7503First the students picked a paper towel roll that had been pre-covered in paper and wrapped with a strip of double stick tape.

They practiced pincer grasp skills while peeling the protective strip off of the tape.

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point





IMG_7539Then it was rolled in glitter——the students REALLY liked this part :)

Recognize a change in an object is a science access point addressed as the glitter sticks to the tape.

It is also a great activity for promoting bilateral coordination!






IMG_7560Next we counted out 2 glittery gold chenille stems.


Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.








IMG_7596With a little help they were threaded through holes that had been punched in the top of the roll. A quick twist fastened them in place.

The students really worked on their fine motor skills with this part of the activity!








IMG_7530IMG_7621Time to make something go POOF!

IMG_7584                                                                                         Abracadabra!!!!!!




IMG_7420We decided to work on a little bit of reading comprehension after reading the fairy tale book.  We drew one of the characters along with something that does not go in a fairy tale, such as a pickle, on pieces of transparency film paper so we could put them on the light box.

IMG_7475 Last week our students—-not just the ones with visual impairments—– were very drawn to what was on the light box so we wanted to bring it back again.




IMG_7416Our students had to indicate which one is a picture of something that might be in a fairy tale either by pointing to the picture or using eye gaze.  Some of our students required a bit of help but overall, they were able to recall the different characters.

Effectively communicate information using referent objects, gestures/signs, pictures, symbols, words is a language access point.




IMG_7443Once our students chose the correct picture, they got to glue a picture of the character onto a drawing of a castle to complete a fairy tale picture!








20141028_101354IMG_7452It was a completely magical week! We loved all our activities and our students continued to amaze us with their progress!

Join us next time for more fun and learning——-Group by Group!