Purple book


IMG_4588It is with extreme sadness that we are saying goodbye to Jeannie, one of the classroom teachers who has helped us with our groups and this blog since their creation.  She is retiring!  She leaves a legacy behind her, though.  We wanted to do a tribute to her and all she’s done for this school and the students she has served, so we dedicated this group to the color purple, her most favorite color.  Her past and present students are featured and something purple is incorporated into each picture.  The book is set up differently.  The repetitive line is the only line on each page.

Jeannie: thank you for providing humor, wit, love, and thoughtfulness throughout each week.  Your hard work and compassion for what you do is apparent and no one will ever be able to match it.  You will be sorely missed!



IMG_4225Here is a link to the book: Purple, Purple Everywhere!



IMG_4133Our final theme for this school year is in honor of our dear Jeannie who is retiring! It is a bittersweet moment for us and we will miss her very much! Since she is a little obsessed with the color purple :) we decided that a purple theme would be the perfect send off!

The sensory group explored textures and materials that were all purple. The fine motor group made purple art projects including a special one for Jeannie. The language group conducted some cool science experiments that involved the color purple!






IMG_4051IMG_4125There were lots of fun things to discover in this box—-including little purple plushies, paper shred, chenille stems, furry fabric, beads, and some shiny pom poms!

IMG_4170                                               It was a very enticing box that our students loved exploring.


IMG_4409IMG_4371It also contained a fun purple noise maker that elicited LOTS of giggles!

The science access point recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli is addressed here.







IMG_4443We just loved this super cool sparkly purple kinetic sand that we bought at Michaels—–and once we pried OUR hands away from it and let our students play with it, they did too :)

There was a letter P cookie cutter to stamp impressions into the sand but mostly we all enjoyed watching the way it dripped and oozed—-SO cool!

Apply a push to move an object is a science access point.






IMG_4232More sparkly fun with this discovery bottle filled with purple glitter to watch float around.

The science access point track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled can be addressed here.








IMG_4157IMG_4084Feather boas, and different kinds of garland filled this box. There were textures to compare as well as different sizes not to mention how completely eye catching the items were!

The students had an absolute blast with this stuff either shaking it or wearing—-so much fun!

IMG_4100                          The science access point use senses to recognize objects can be addressed here.




IMG_4183There were 2 little purple people to find in this box of purple beans. Neon purple food coloring was used to dye the beans and we were pretty pleased with the results.

We also read online that adding a little cream of tartar to the mix after the beans were dried would help reduce color transfer—-and we think it worked!

This activity addresses the  math access point associate quantities with number names.





IMG_4089IMG_4102Since we didn’t have any battery operated purple lights, we hot glued pieces of a translucent purple notebook paper to one of our shoeboxes and voila—–our white lights were now PURPLE! And yes, we were pretty proud of our creativity :)

IMG_4213As you can see—-our students were pretty thrilled with our creation too!

Recognize sources of light is a science access point.




IMG_4245IMG_4424The students mixed blue and red food coloring to make purple shaving cream. Ok, so perhaps it turned out closer to a pale lilac which doesn’t show up so well in the photos but it definitely had a purple tint in real life!

The science access points share objects with a partner and recognize a change in an object are addressed with this activity.





IMG_4094Hands were rinsed in Valuetime grape scented bath gel. The shaving cream ended up coloring the water purple and there were some purple measuring spoons to help scoop out purple letters—–when we go with a theme we really go all in :)

This is a great activity for eye hand coordination and can address the science access point match objects by one observable property, such a color.






IMG_4269IMG_4146We couldn’t find any grape scented lotion but this grape scented lip balm worked perfectly. It had a really strong scent which most of the students thought was pretty yummy! They really enjoyed smelling the scent after it was applied to their wrists.

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







On Tuesday we used a soda bottle rather than a paint brush to paint purple flowers.

IMG_4304IMG_4323We started by discussing the shape of our paper and drawing stems using markers. Some of our students used Crayola pipsqueak markers. Others used a switch to operate our adapted airplane. They ALL did a fantastic job!

The science access point recognize a change in an object and the math access point recognize common objects with 2 dimensional shapes are addressed here.



IMG_4285Then we dipped the bottom of the bottle in purple paint stamped UP and Down on our paper. We emphasized the motions verbally as we helped our students.

The math access point recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down is addressed here.







IMG_4300IMG_4334Ta DA……..

…….Some perfectly pretty purple posies :)








On Thursday we made a special present for Jeannie.

IMG_4532We started by asking our students to show us the color purple using communication symbols. Purple is one color they have had LOTS of practice identifying in Jeannie’s room :)

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






IMG_4543IMG_4566The we cut strips of green paper to make stems and then used a paper punch to cut out flowers from scrap book paper (thanks so much for the donation Courtney).

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






IMG_4576IMG_4582Then we glued everything onto a picture frame (with a cute picture of the class in the sensory room ball pit) and……..







IMG_4594                                                                                            TA DA!!!





Although our students love it when we do cooking activities, they ALSO love it when we do science experiments.  We got to do 2 of them this week: a Home Made Lava Lamp and Color Changing Milk.

IMG_4469We started out with the Home Made Lava Lamp.  Here are the directions we followed: Homemade Lava Lamp.

We had our students help us pour in the vegetable oil and the water.  We talked about filling the bottle up HALFWAY.  Our students observed that the oil was heavier because the water floated on top of it.






IMG_4517IMG_4527Next, we put in purple food coloring.  Finally, we watched what happened as we put the Alka Seltzer tablet into the bottle.

For our students with visual impairments, we held the bottle up to their ear so they could hear it fizz.

IMG_4514So much fun to see the food coloring bubble up and down the bottle!



For our next experiment, we brought back an experiment we had already done and one that our students (and the adults!) really thought was cool: Color Changing Milk.  Here are the directions we followed: Color Changing Milk.  Our students got to help pour the milk out onto the plate.

IMG_4491We wanted to incorporate another bit of science in this experiment and see if we could make the color purple using blue and red.  We put in 4 drops of red and 4 drops of blue.








IMG_4497Next, we put some dish soap on a Q-tip and stuck the Q-tip into the food coloring.  It is SO neat to see the colors explode around the plate!  Again, we were awestruck by how cool it looks!

After the colors ran into each other a bit, they mixed and mingled into other colors including————–PURPLE!






IMG_4225IMG_4354Thanks a lot for joining us this week. This was our last themed post for this school year but we are full of ideas for the fall when we will be back for more fun and learning——Group by Group!

North Carolina book


IMG_3516We’ve so enjoyed learning about new places in the United States and we’re taking another trip this week.  We’re headed to North Carolina!  We’ve learned so many neat things about the different places we’ve talked about and North Carolina is no exception.  Did you know Blackbeard the Pirate called North Carolina his home?  Did you know that the biggest house in America is in North Carolina?  And did you know that North Carolina is the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the U.S.?  Read the book to find out more cool facts about North Carolina.



IMG_3520Here is a link to the book: Let’s Learn About North Carolina

North Carolina


IMG_3793Well it is almost time for the annual pilgrimage when many Floridians head for the cooler mountains of North Carolina :) so this week we decided to learn more about that fabulous state. We would also like to give a shout out to our North Carolina friend at teachezwell.me (a great blog you should check out) who gave us some ideas for this unit! Our sensory group explored boxes related to some very interesting facts about the state. The fine motor group made art projects related to state symbols and the language group used the official state drink to make a tasty treat!




IMG_3639This box contained tinsel and beads in the colors of the state flag—–red, white, and blue!

There were also some gold beads representing the state mineral and the state song recorded on a voice output device.

The state reptile (turtle) and tree (pine) could also be found. There was a little propeller plane for the Wright brothers, a plush black bear, a sea shell, and some of Blackbeards treasure in a discovery bottle!

The science access point recognize a model of a real object is addressed here.




IMG_3764Underneath our red, white, and blue rice was a colorful map of North Carolina. There were also 2 sets of letters N and C.

The science access points recognize common objects as the same and track falling objects can be addressed here.

The social studies access point associate a picture with a place is also addressed.







IMG_3510The North Carolina state flower is the dogwood and the state insect is the bumble bee. Yellow and black pompoms made perfect little “bumble bees” to buzz around our dogwood petals! There were 2 dishes included so the students could sort the items.

Recognize two objects that are the same size or color is a math access point.

Match objects by one observable property, such as size or color is a science access point.





IMG_3539IMG_3537Our students had a BLAST with our Wright Brothers box! Little battery operated fans spun around like the propellers those early planes—-there was also the “wind in the face” experience like those pilots had! There was a lot of vibration on those early planes so we included a little vibrating massager. Finally we included some “aviator goggles”. You can see by the smiles we had LOTS of fun with this box :)

IMG_3642Recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli is a science access point addressed here.




IMG_3503A really fun thing to do when visiting North Carolina in the fall is to go apple picking and there were 2 to pick in our box of corn (another NC crop).

Our students love dry fluids such as this corn. It feels really nice to bury hands into and searching for objects in it addresses visual and tactile discrimination.

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







IMG_3581IMG_3815So there is a tale about Sir Walter Raleigh that says he once pulled off his cape and spread it over a mud puddle so that Queen Elizabeth would not get her shoes dirty—–what a gentleman! Even though the story isn’t true we made some Sir Raleigh mud anyway since we certainly couldn’t pass on the opportunity to make MUD again :)

IMG_3522                                   Apply a push to move an object is a science access point addressed here.




IMG_3609Those muddy hands were rinsed in water as the students went fishing for trout—-the state fish! This is a great activity for improving eye hand coordination.

It also addresses the science access point recognize a model of a real object .






IMG_3673IMG_3679We used Bath and Bodyworks vanilla sugar gel in our water and then used the matching lotion to leave our students smelling like sweet, YUMMY Krispy Kreme donuts—-first served in North Carolina!

IMG_3675The science access points recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli, in this case scent, and recognize one or more external body parts is addressed here.





Since North Carolina is the number one producer of sweet potatoes we thought it would be a lot of fun to do an art project with them on Tuesday!

IMG_3686We started by counting the number of papers we needed and discussed their rectangular shapes. We also used communication symbols to identify the colors we were going to use—-blue and red!

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

Recognize objects with 2 dimensional shapes is a math access point.




IMG_3723Then we began SWEET POTATO stamping! A fork was put into the potato to make it easier to hold for our students as they stamped with UP and DOWN motions.

Recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down is a math access point.








IMG_3693IMG_3735TA DA!

IMG_3705                                                                                              Just fabulous!!!!!




On Thursday we made a cute little grey squirrel—-the state mammal—-for our art project! Here is the template for the squirrel which we cut out of poster board:squirrel

IMG_3935IMG_3946We started by painting a mixture of grey paint and glue. The students needed a little assistance now and then but they really did a pretty good job!

The science access point apply a push to move an object is addressed in this activity.




IMG_3956Then little pieces of yarn were sprinkled on the tail and a googlie eye was put on—–now you know why we added GLUE to the paint :)

We found this fuzzy chenille yarn at a thrift store and knew it would be perfect for our project. The students had a great time picking handfuls of this stuff and dropping it onto the tail. Picking up the stray pieces was a great activity for practicing pincer grasp skills.

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




IMG_3963IMG_3975Ta DA—–better hide your peanuts!!!!!












Did you know that the state beverage for North Carolina is milk?  We decided to make milk the focus of language group for this weeks’ language group and made MILKSHAKES——-yum!!!!

IMG_3839IMG_3844To begin the group, we had our students vote on what kind of milk they wanted in their milkshake.

Their choices were  white milk, strawberry milk, and chocolate milk.  We had 2 votes for white milk, 2 votes for chocolate milk, and 3 votes for strawberry milk so we talked about which milk had the MOST votes.




IMG_3854After we confirmed that strawberry milk was the winner, our students helped us pour it into the blender.









IMG_3873Next, we got ice cream out and asked our students to predict how it would feel: COLD or HOT.  We passed the tub around to each student and let them feel how cold it was.

Some of them liked it and some definitely did not!








IMG_3875We scooped out 2 cups of ice cream and put it in the blender as well.









IMG_3886Then came the fun part!  We hooked the blender up to a power link and used a wireless switch so each of our students could turn the blender on.

They all absolutely LOVED having POWER in the palm of their hands :)







IMG_3912IMG_3928Finally it was time to pour the milkshake into cups.  We counted out our students and cups and poured a little bit in each.  Then our students got to choose if they wanted whipped cream and a cherry on top.

IMG_3922                                                                                     DELISH!!




IMG_3656IMG_3526Well now we really want to take that trip to North Carolina :)

Join us again next week for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!

Kentucky book


IMG_3192Since the Kentucky Derby was last weekend, we decided to have a unit on Kentucky.  The front and back covers of the book feature a few of our awesome students–2 of them ready to watch the Kentucky Derby with their ornate hats and 1 of them ready to participate in the race as a jocky.  The book covers some facts about Kentucky, such as the state mineral, Mammoth cave, and Fort Knox.  And now, let the race begin!




IMG_3246Here is a link to the book: Let’s Learn About Kentucky



IMG_3054In honor of the Kentucky Derby we learned about the state of Kentucky this week. All our sensory boxes were related to details about the state! The fine motor group made some fun art projects and it was derby day in the language group. We sure learned a lot about our 15th state!

We also want to brag a bit this week, we were selected as “one of 20 blogs to grow your OT practice” by the people at otpotential.com—–SWEET!







IMG_2821IMG_2998Since the derby inspired our theme this week we HAD to have a box dedicated to it.

The champion horse is usually draped with a wreath of roses, hence the term and so we put rose petals as the base of our box. Then we put a variety of horses including ones that were big, little, soft, hard—–lots of things to compare and contrast here!

Recognize similarities and differences in size of objects is a math access point that can be addressed in this activity.




IMG_2963IMG_2815This box of “bluegrass”  was such fun to explore! We included Lincoln Logs (the president was born in Kentucky) and cars (a leading industry in the state).

There were also symbols of the state such as fresh water “pearls” and a cardinal. The very first cheeseburger was served in Louisville so we put a little play food one in our box!

IMG_2797The science access point recognize a model of a real object is addressed here.






IMG_2837IMG_3136A voice output device with the happy birthday song (2 Louisville sisters wrote it) had our students dancing!

The Kentucky Derby is also home to the worlds biggest fireworks show—-ours was a little smaller but our students sure had fun with our little light up toy (found at Target).

Use senses to recognize objects is a science access point.





IMG_3097This box was filled with GOLD just like Fort Knox! It may not have real but our students thought it was a lot of fun—-really, who wouldn’t love diving into a box full of gold beads :)

Track objects in motion is a science access point.








IMG_2812The University of Kentucky basketball team is the winningest NCAA team ever—–how cool is that! The team colors are blue and white just like our rice. Four blue K’s could be found in the rice and a picture of a basketball player could be found under the rice.

Recognize objects that are identical is a science access point.







IMG_2807Coal is the state mineral and coal mining continues to be an important industry in the state of Kentucky. In this box 2 different size spoons were included for scooping fun in our black bean coal.

The math access point associate quantities with language, such as many, a lot, or a little can be addressed here.







IMG_2989IMG_3158If you have a MAMMOUTH umbrella you can make a Mammoth Cave! We made our cave by taping garbage bags around the edge of the umbrella. Animal coloring pictures were taped inside and some toy bats hung down. Our students had a blast using a flashlight to search for animals in the cave habitat.

IMG_2893                                Match common living things with their habitats is a science access point.





IMG_2864The happy birthday song was the inspiration for our scents this week. We figured birthday songs and birthday cake go together and since Philosophy makes a cake scented bath gel—-PERFECT!

There was a big scoop and a little melon baller for fun water play. The melon baller had a little hole at the bottom of the bowl—–so much fun to use that to use that to fill the scoop!

Recognize different containers that hold liquids and track objects in motion are  science access points.





IMG_2877Continuing a birthday party theme, we asked our students to choose between 2 different soda scented lip balms—-applied to WRISTS NOT LIPS of course!

Their choices were Sprite and Fanta, both very yummy scents, however Sprite turned out to be the overwhelming favorite!

The language access point effectively communicate wants and needs using gestures/signs, pictures, symbols, or words.







On Tuesday we made some Derby Day decorations!

IMG_3004IMG_3007We started by asking the students to show us the color red using communication symbols. Then we gave them a piece of red tissue paper and asked them to tear and crumple it up—-to make red roses! A great activity for bilateral coordination.

Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.




IMG_3057After they finished making their roses they dipped them in glue and attached them to a horseshoe, using this template: horseshoe.

This activity addresses eye hand coordination and pincer grasp skills.

The horseshoe was then glued onto a rectangular piece of paper AFTER we discussed the SHAPE of the paper!

Recognize an object with a 2 dimensional shape is a math access point.







IMG_3070IMG_3047Lets celebrate Derby Day—–

IMG_3027                                                                                          TA DA!!!!



The red cardinal is the state bird of Kentucky. Since they also live in our state, we decided our Thursday art project would be to make bird feeders for the cardinals around our school! Recognize that animals need food is a science access point addressed with this activity.

IMG_3278Our students did a really great job spreading peanut butter on a pine cone—-although it was a little hard to resist the temptation to sneak a taste for themselves :)

Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.







IMG_3267Then they put their pinecones in a tray, practicing pincer grasp skills as they picked up and sprinkled birdseed on top of the peanut butter. This activity was pretty messy but the students had a BLAST!!!!

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






IMG_3313TA DA!!!










IMG_3350After everyone had finished their bird feeders we brought them outside and hung them up—–there are going to be some pretty happy cardinals around here soon :)












IMG_3185It was a race for the roses in the language group!  The focus for group was to follow the directions. In addition to verbal prompts we used picture symbols to help our students follow the directions. The students raced 2 at a time holding a hobby horse (some of them needing a little help, of course).








IMG_3191The racers had to make sure to watch and listen for the directions to “GO” and “STOP”.   Everyone got a turn to race and it was all very exciting :)








IMG_3177IMG_3206For our student “spectators”, we provided some fun hats to wear—–everyone knows that when you’re at the Kentucky Derby, anything goes!

IMG_3200                                                                                    Even pizza hats!




IMG_3219IMG_3225Once a jockey won, their horse received a floral wreath, just like the ones received by the real winners of the race.








IMG_3230This was such a fun activity, filled with so much fun and laughter——because that is just how we roll Group by Group :)



April After Party


photoEach 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.




IMG_2229This post has photos of our middle and high school students enjoying books and activities from some of our April themes.






IMG_1499IMG_0755Ocean was the theme of our first unit. The students loved going “under the sea” with our umbrella habitat complete with whale sounds recorded on a voice output device.

photoOur umbrella habitats are always a hit and this was no exception!



IMG_1534IMG_0785The students were intrigued with the 3 different discovery bottles—one with a submarine, one with colorful jewel like shells, and one with glittery jelly fish.







IMG_2235IMG_0779Coral reefs were made with moldable orange Floam.

IMG_0738                                                                              Fabulous!



IMG_0743IMG_1529A variety of ocean treasures could be found in this box including a ship wreck, pearls, fish, and…..





IMG_0777a fun orca puppet!



IMG_2234Size comparisons were explored with different shells and a fun picture to find hidden beneath the sand.










IMG_2236IMG_1502Shaving foam and water made for wonderfully messy sensory experiences for our maritime theme.








IMG_1649IMG_1141It was all about math with our Numbers unit. Each of the boxes had things to count,



IMG_1140IMG_1657and sort……









IMG_1145……..IMG_1666things to measure with

IMG_1679                                                                               and colors to enjoy.






IMG_1663IMG_1677The box of 4 pompoms got everyone feeling like a cheerleader….






IMG_1672                                                                                          Go Team!




IMG_2197IMG_2233There were so many fabulous boxes to explore in our Storybook Parade unit.

Green food coloring and glitter made for some fantastic Emerald City oobleck!








IMG_2217IMG_2240As usual, the students had a blast with the prop box—-IMG_2768                                                what fun to look at the world through rose colored glasses :)






IMG_2193IMG_2199Red moon sand and a cookie cutter helped a llama get some red pajamas!








IMG_2739This unit also came with a bad case of stripes :)

IMG_2753and some super fun little owl feathers.












IMG_2771IMG_2236Who doesn’t love a good Alice in Wonderland tea party!

IMG_2758                                                          What a fun way to explore measurement.



IMG_2898IMG_3371Our final theme for April was Earth Day. The students found letters to spell out the word EARTH in our blue rice with green split peas.








IMG_3357IMG_2926A box FILLED with beads continued the blue and green theme.










IMG_2940There were flowers and leaves to sort in this next box. The leis inspired some of the students and staff to do an impromptu hula :)









IMG_2916There were 2 discovery bottles. One was filled with blue and green glitter swirling around in a “blue ocean”.

The other had some clear marbles in water to symbolize melting ice—-what we don’t want to happen to our ice caps!







IMG_2937IMG_3367This box was filled with a variety of Earth Day related items including things that could be recycled such as paper and play food “cans” and “bottles”. There were also endangered animals, little people, and the word “HOME” since the earth is home to all of us.

IMG_3392                                             There was something for everyone to explore and discover!



IMG_2911IMG_3396Our oobleck was turned into “mud” with a little help from cocoa powder—-lots of fun!

It also smelled a LOT better than the real thing :)







IMG_2907Eye hand coordination was practiced as students scooped out some”trash” out of the water.









IMG_3359Hope you enjoyed our April After Party! Our students had a blast in a month filled with fun and learning—–Group by Group!