Past and Present book


img_5617img_5650In keeping with the Unique theme for this month, we are talking about things from the past and things from the present.  Our book features several of our students and staff showing how things have changed from the past to the present.

It was really neat to compare the older pictures with the recent ones.  Check it out to see how much things have changed!





img_5824Here is a link to the book: from-past-to-present

Past and Present


img_5182img_4977We are complimenting our student’s Unique Curriculum theme this week by looking at how activities familiar to our students were done differently in the past. The sensory groups explored boxes related to different activities. The fine motor groups made some fun art projects and the language group learned made a yummy snack from long ago.






img_5621img_5839How we get to places has REALLY changed over the years! From horses to spaceships, we put a variety of transportation vehicles for the students to find in this box. The spaceship was especially popular because of its spinning light.

img_5073Recognize a model of a real object is a science access point.






img_5881img_5677Fashion is another thing that has changed over the years! We put lots of fabulous fashion accessories for our students to try on in this box. We had fun seeing what piece each student was attracted to. They had a blast—-total fashionistas 🙂

img_4879The science access point recognize one or more external body parts can be addressed here.




img_5810img_5097Our students totally know how to rock a hat.

img_5726                                                     Just too cute—–and such style:)







img_5868img_5633While we prepare food differently now, we still GROW it in the ground. There were some vegetable play foods growing in our little plot of coffee grounds dirt. We included some bean seeds for the students to plant and there was also a picture of a fruit bowl to be found at the bottom of the box.

img_5125The math access point recognize two objects that are identical to each other can be addressed with this activity.






img_5190img_5649Back in the day, the abacus was the height of technology for doing math problems—-thank goodness for calculators 🙂 The students counted and sorted  “bead shaped” pompoms. The soft texture of the pompoms made them especially inviting to touch for our students.

img_5911In addition to being counted, this activity can address the science access point identify objects by one observable property, such as color.





img_5656img_5176Today kids often play games on electric devices rather than board games. We filled this box with a variety of game pieces such as cards, checkers, and board game pieces. Smaller game pieces such as dice and jacks were sealed in a plastic jar—–such fun to shake!

img_4982Recognize objects that are identical to each other is a science access point.






img_5067img_5647Like people of long ago, the students used a plastic feather to write with this week.

Of course, people of long ago didn’t write in shaving cream but that made it much more fun 🙂




img_5127Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.





img_5646img_5830We put an old fashioned water wheel in our water play this week. Lots of scooping and pouring fun for sure!

img_5886Track objects in motion is a science access point.






img_5930img_5203It was a little tricky picking a scent for this week but we decided on Bath and Body Works cotton scent because both in the PAST and in the PRESENT we use cotton. It was a light scent that the students really liked.

img_5762Recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is a science access point.







On Tuesday we talked about how people used to cook all their food over an open fire and then made a picture of one!

img_5210img_5228We counted the logs on our sample and used communication symbols to identify the number 2.

img_5220Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.





img_5318img_5262The students used a paper cutter or switch operated scissors to cut 2 logs out of brown paper. They all did a great job!

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








img_5278img_5243Then they added glue with a glue stick and put their logs onto a piece of paper.

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







img_5286img_5250Next they crumpled up pieces of yellow and red tissue paper to make some flames.

img_5337Recognize when an object has been added to a situation is a math access point.







img_5343img_5260Ta Da—–let’s get cooking 🙂










On Wednesday our students made hourglass pictures using this hourglass-template.

img_5765First we discussed the color of the sand we were going to use and used communication symbols to identify the color PINK.

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









img_5777img_5789Then they painted some glue onto their hourglass. We added a little pink paint to the glue so the mixture would show up better against the white paper.

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








img_5782img_5802Pink sand was then added—–an old spice jar made a perfect shaker! The students really liked this part 🙂

We glued it down onto a nice bright green piece of paper.

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






img_5775img_5797Ta DA—–lets tell some time!













Today, since we LOVE to cook, we made a recipe that is from the 18th century!  We made Whipped Syllabub.  Here is a link to the recipe: lets-make-an-18th-century-whipped-syllabub

img_5940img_5938We started out by pouring some heavy whipping cream into a bowl.  Our students helped POUR the cream in.  We talked about how we needed MORE after putting 1 cup in since it called for 2 cups.

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





img_5947img_5960Next, our students got to use a switch to activate the mixer.  Each of our students had a chance to turn ON the mixer.  It took a while, but we saw the cream change from a LIQUID to a SOLID.  Very neat!

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







img_5994img_6003Then, each of our students got to use a lemon squeezer to SQUEEZE out some lemon juice into a DIFFERENT bowl.  We squeezed out juice from one lemon and one orange.  It smelled so good!

The math access point solve problems involving small quantities of actions using language, such as enough, too much, or more can be addressed here.






img_6007img_6010Then, our students got to POUR some sugar and sparkling grape juice into the lemon/orange juice mixture.  After that was stirred together we added it to the whipped cream and stirred it all together.

The math access point recognize when an object is added to a situation is addressed here.






img_6032We counted out how many cups we needed and voila!  We got to enjoy our 18th century syllabub.










img_5604img_5613Thanks for joining us this week. See you next time for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!

New Years Around the World book


img_4340img_3753We had to have a theme about New Years to celebrate the beginning of 2017!  We have LOTS of our students featured in our book who are celebrating New Years all around the world, from Australia to Hawaii.  The different places go in chronological order on who celebrates first and who is last.  Our students look like they have a great time wherever they were!  Happy New Year and enjoy the book!






img_4354Here is a link to the book: its-new-years-around-the-world

New Years Around the World


img_4574img_3665Happy New Year! We welcomed 2017 with a fun New Year’s theme. Our sensory groups explored boxes related to New Year’s celebrations. The fine motor group (we only had one because it was a short week) painted fireworks and the language group made some lucky New Year’s food!








img_3640img_3773Celebrating the New Year is all about the passing of time so we thought a “sands of time” box would be fun. Dry fluids are so mesmerizing as they are swirled around with fingers or drifting down from the sifter scoop.




img_4170Track a falling object is a science access point.






img_3662img_3738People often wear colorful beads while celebrating. As usual, this eye catching box of colorful beads was a hit with the students.

img_3708The science access point track objects in motion can be addressed here.






img_4226img_3649We recorded some firework sounds on a voice output device and added a couple of discovery bottles with beads and confetti——a total New Year’s Eve experience 🙂




img_4218The science access points track objects moving up and down; and apply a push to move an object are addressed here.






img_4167img_3770We put the numbers 2-0-1-7 for the students to find in a box of dried black eyed peas. Here in the south, black eyed peas are eaten for luck on New Year’s Day!

img_3749Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.






img_3644img_4179We included a light box this week to represent all the colorful lights and fireworks associated with New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Needless to say, the students really loved this box!



img_3698Recognize a source of light energy is a science access point.






img_4251img_3656More color was found in our shaving cream messy play——it was sprinkled with confetti this week! The students had a blast creating their own swirling patterns.

Very eye catching!

img_4210Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.






img_3695img_4216Hands were rinsed in bubbly scented water from Philosophy. We had a couple of different sized scoops for the students to compare and contrast.

Recognize differences in sizes of containers that hold liquids is a math access point.






img_3803img_4268We found a Bath and Body Works lotion that was called Midnight so we HAD to use it for this theme 🙂 Whether rubbed on hands or necks, a great way to work on body part identification!

Recognize one or more external body parts is a science access point.






img_4313img_4329We finished by popping some firecrackers—–of the bubble wrap kind!

This is always a lot of fun and resulted in lots of smiles and giggles.







img_3864img_4083Vestibular, visual, and auditory input is provided in this activity which addresses the science access point recognize and respond to different sensory stimuli.





img_3902It also addresses the how to have FUN access point 🙂







In keeping with our New Year’s theme, the fine motor group made fireworks pictures!

img_3942img_3945We started by discussing the color of our paper and then asked the students to identify the shape using communication symbols.

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







img_4024img_4009Then the students stamped a colorful mixture of neon paints onto their paper. We emphasized stamping UP and DOWN.

We made our stamper by fringing then rolling up a piece of craft foam. It’s held in place with a rubber band.

img_4054Recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down is a math access point.






img_3972img_3986Glitter was added for added sparkle—-you know we never pass up the opportunity to add glitter to a project 🙂

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







img_4064img_4038Ta DA!

img_3974                                                                     Colorful fireworks…….






img_4116The pictures looked pretty cool in regular lighting but the paint seemed to fade into the paper a little, so we brought out our blacklight.

WOW under blacklight——–let the oohs and ahhs begin!









This is going to be a new, fantastic year and we wanted to start it out by eating some foods that are considered lucky for the New Year.

We made 2 different things today for our lucky New Year’s snack.  Here is a powerpoint with the recipes:  lets-make-a-lucky-new-years-snack.  Pixon communication symbols are used throughout the recipes so that our students could match the symbols on the book to their own symbols.  The symbols used are some of the symbols that we use frequently.

img_4363First, we started by making some cornbread.  Cornbread is supposed to symbolize gold because of its color.  I’m sure none of us would mind finding some gold during this new year!

Our students helped count out the cupcake liners and we talked about the number 6.

Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.







img_4365img_4373Then we poured in the cornbread mix, an egg, and some milk.

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








img_4382img_4389Our students helped MIX up the ingredients.  Then we put them in the oven to bake.

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







While the cornbread was baking, we started making our drink: Banana Grape Smoothies.  In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight, people eat 12 grapes–one for each month of the new year.  It’s been said that sweet grapes are a sign of good months to have while sour grapes are a sign of not so great months.  We made sure all of our grapes were super sweet!

img_4408img_4415We first felt the grapes and bananas that had been in the freezer.

They were COLD!!

img_4402The science access point distinguish between hot and cold objects can be addressed here.






img_4426img_4432We put those in the blender then added some grape juice, vanilla Greek yogurt, and some cinnamon.  Our students helped PUT each of these ingredients into the bowls.  Very tricky at times (grape juice!) 🙂

img_4441The science access point recognize when an object has been added to a situation is again addressed here.





img_4463img_4470Then they got to activate the blender using a switch–always a fun time.

img_4490Recognize that electrical systems must be turned on (closed) in order to work is a science access point.






img_4547img_4509Finally, when our cornbread was ALL DONE, our students got to eat some cornbread with grape jelly and drink their grape smoothie.

img_4570                                                           Cheers to a brand new year!!





img_3671img_3757We are so happy to be back and looking forward to a year of fun and learning——Group by Group!

November After Party


img_8164Welcome 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. Here are photos teachers have sent of their students exploring the different sensory boxes during the month of November—–enjoy!





Our first theme complimented the Unique Curriculum unit for the month—–Space. We learned about the earlier space travelers both human and animal!

img_7386img_7476The students loved the space umbrella complete with space shuttle and twinkling stars.

img_7466This was a hit!






img_7518img_7429Pink Bubber was a great stand-in for dehydrated strawberry ice cream—–astronaut food 🙂









img_7479img_7497Both monkeys and dogs went into space! The students had fun finding the colorful monkeys in our black “space” beans!

img_7407They also stamped dog shapes into moon sand.






img_7483img_7537There was a little astronaut to walk on our Floam moon surface.

img_7392The students had fun making circles, like planets, in the shaving foam. Hands were rinsed in water that had some glow in the dark planets to scoop out!





Our next theme looked at Jobs at School and featured students along with some of our staff members—-it was lots of fun planning boxes around their interests!

img_8815img_9725Ms. Latoya, our AP is a FAMU fan.

img_8823Ms. Alexis likes the color purple and Ms. Trenisha collects elephants—-there was a little pink elephant to find in our purple kinetic sand.






img_8830img_8829Ms. Linda likes pink and Ms. Caitlin likes the beach, so we made a pink beach!

Ms. Lori is from NYC with it’s bright lights and Ms. Lorry is from the windy city of Chicago.








img_9800img_9730Ms. Courtney likes birds and there were 3 little ones to find in a box of bird seed.











img_9743img_8817Ms. Leslie likes to garden!











img_8835img_9736Ms. April likes fettuccine alfredo—-we made ours with oobleck and plastic play spaghetti. Our students found this really intriguing!










In recognition of National Take a Hike day, November 17, our next theme was Hiking.

img_9855img_0654This box had a selection of things you might need while hiking.

There were lots of things to discover but the hat and glasses made for some fun photos!









img_0643img_1354There were a variety of forest animals to discover.

img_0631The birds that chirped when squeezed were very popular.





img_1314Another bird lover!










img_9890img_0668Our pasta “pine needles” and corn flake “dried leaves” were very intriguing to the students.

img_9896Pretty authentic sounds were made when hands moved around in the box.






img_0667img_0013We mixed a variety of herbs into our play dough to make it have kind of an “outdoors” scent.

img_1327The students used squirrel and turkey cookie cutters here.





img_9895img_0666The students enjoyed comparing the feel of the deer and otter animal “fur”.

img_1342It was fun to wear also 🙂





img_9858img_0653They had fun using their fingers to make trails in shaving cream snow!

img_1334Always a hit!






img_1345img_1351Hands were rinsed in a waterfall—–lots of fun!

img_9891-1The students were pretty intrigued!





img_9865img_9851The students had fun exploring and….

img_0672                                                              did we mention it was fun:)





In recognition of Dutch-American heritage day, we learned about the Netherlands.

img_2110img_2127We simulated an airplane flight using our vibrating tube and sounds of jets recorded on a voice output device.

img_2114                                                                       This was a huge hit!






img_2129img_2130The students used different sized scoops in red, white, and blue rice—-the colors of the Dutch flag.

They also searched for letter H (for Holland) and N (for Netherlands) in orange colored pasta. Orange is the national color of the Netherlands.

img_2136There were lots of symbols of the Netherlands to find in this box.






img_2138img_2118A cookie cutter was used to cut out tulips in the red moonsand.











img_2135img_2112The Netherlands is known for it’s beautiful cloudy skies—-we made ours with shaving cream.

img_2121                                     The students found the water pump toy very intriguing!





We finished up the semester with a fun Nutcracker Ballet unit!

img_2972img_2977As always, our snowflake umbrella was a hit. We added some pink craft foam umbrellas to keep with our ballet theme.

We also recorded music from the ballet on a voice output device.








img_2990img_2998Insta snow and “sugarplum” kinetic sand made for some intriguing textures for the students to explore.










img_2989img_3034Since the ballet takes place during a Christmas party, we included a box with some symbols of the holiday.

There was a squeaky nutcracker toy, wacky sunglasses, and a fun santa hat.





Thanks for joining us—–see you again in 2017!



The Nutcracker Ballet book


img_2753img_2461We are so excited about the book for this week!  We have lots of our students featured in this book as characters from the Nutcracker Ballet.  The book is set up differently, with the repetitive line being a question, so our students would read the repetitive line (with a voice output device) first, and then the response would be read by Cara.  The book also features a background that was made by our art teacher, Judy, along with some of her very talented art students.  You HAVE to check it out!




img_2871Here is a link to the book: who-are-the-characters-in-the-nutcracker

The Nutcracker Ballet


img_2147img_1493We had dreams of Sugarplums—-of the ballet variety—- dancing in our heads this week! Going to the Nutcracker ballet is a tradition for many people this time of year so we thought it would make a perfect theme. Our sensory group explored a variety of colorful boxes related to the ballet, the fine motor groups made Nutcracker art projects, and the language group hosted a holiday party—-like the one in the ballet!







img_1381img_2208One of the first scenes in the Nutcracker ballet is a Christmas party. This box, with its base of plastic pine needles and holly, contained symbols of Christmas.

img_2168Of course we included a little plastic toy nutcracker! It was a squeaky toy too which made it even more fun.

img_2179img_1542Needless to say, the students had a little fun with the santa hat and goofy glasses 🙂





img_2537Lots of fun!!!!!

Associate an object with a person or event is a social studies access point.







img_2178img_2520This box had a variety of shiny garland, tulle, and chiffon squares that reminded us of the colorful costumes and scenery found at the ballet.

The colors and textures were very intriguing to the students—-it was a very inviting box!


img_1502We really addressed the science access point recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli!





img_1513img_2237We put one BIG mouse and one LITTLE mouse in these turquoise beans (picked because we thought the color looked a little icy). So…… perhaps our mice looked a little more rat like, but sometimes you have to work with what you have on hand 🙂

img_2501Recognize similarities and differences in size of common objects is a math access point.





img_1680img_2204Our purple kinetic sand became “SugarPlum fairy” sand this week! The purple color made it especially inviting and we added a ballerina crown cookie cutter which turned out to be pretty intriguing as well.

Total fun as usual!


img_2170Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.






img_2438img_1600Since the Nutcracker takes place in the winter we HAD to bring out our snowflake umbrella.

White pompom yarn, foam snowflakes, and silver beads make this ordinary umbrella something pretty cool. When we added some pink craft foam ballerinas it became even more special!


img_2154We also recorded music from the ballet on a voice output device. All in all, a pretty magical winter wonderland!

The science access point track objects in motion can be addressed here.





img_1640img_2485Silver glitter added extra sparkle to this box of Insta Snow, making it extra inviting! There was a spoon and a little measuring cup for scooping fun.

It was also fun to watch as it drifted down while sifting through fingers!


img_2236Apply a push to move an object is a science access point.




img_1682img_2459We don’t get much snow down here in Florida—-so for us it is pretty fascinating stuff 🙂





img_2478                                                                 Let it snow! Let it snow!






img_1488img_2493Our water play helped rinse some of the glitter off the student’s hands—-that stuff gets EVERYWHERE! They also had fun scooping, pouring, and finding a craft foam letter N using the measuring cup and funnel.

img_2171Recognize differences in sizes of containers that hold liquids is a math access point.





img_2251img_2550We used the perfect scent for our water play and lotion—–sugarplum swirl from Bath and Bodyworks! Our students left the group smelling like yummy little sugarplums 🙂

img_1817 The students used communication symbols to indicate whether they “liked” or “didn’t like” the scent—–for almost all of them it was a hit!

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








On Tuesday our students painted a magical snow scene for their nutcrackers. We used this: nutcracker-template-1

img_1885img_1889First they used communication symbols to identify the color of the paper we were going to use—-purple!

Sometimes blocks make excellent pointers 🙂

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






img_1923img_2018Then they spread white paint around their paper.

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








img_2038Glitter was added for some sparkle—–we never pass up the opportunity to use glitter!

The math access point recognize when an object is added from a situation, is addressed here.








img_2065Then the students glued a Nutcracker with their faces onto their paper.

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











img_2008img_2056TA DA! These Nutcrackers are ready to join the ballet!













On Wednesday the students used paper plates to make nutcracker masks. A great big thank you goes out to our interns Rachel and Nicole for helping set up this project! We used this to complete the mask: nutcracker-template-2

img_2346First we discussed the semi-circle we had cut out from the paper plate. We showed the students how 2 semi-circles made a circle and asked students to use communication symbols to identify a circle.

Recognize parts of whole objects is a math access point.








img_2350img_2389Then they glued pieces of yarn onto their semi-circles.

The math access point solve problems involving small quantities of objects or actions using language, such as enough, too much, or more can be addressed here.








img_2396Next the students glued a mustache onto the middle of the plate.

Match one object to a designated space to show one-to-one correspondence is an access point.










img_2384Then they pulled apart ONE piece of polyester fiberfil to make TWO pieces and glued them to each side of the plate.

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









img_2388img_2399Ta DA—-meet our Nutcrackers!

img_2369                                                            Ready for their performance 🙂






We decided to have a Nutcracker Ballet party for our language group this week.  We always love to be able to get together and interact with our friends and coworkers and this was the perfect time.

img_2578img_2563Our language group students dressed up in Christmas and ballerina attire so that we could have a Nutcracker parade.

img_2571                                                       We even had a harlequin dancer 🙂






img_2619img_2603The other classes in the elementary building were the participants in the parade—–some of them got into character also!

img_2612We had so much fun going down the halls and inviting our friends to the Nutcracker party.







img_2691img_2650-1Once we got to the party room, our students got to choose some treats.

We had ice cream with different colors of sprinkles to eat and fizzy lemonade to drink.


img_2707 Our students conveyed if they LIKED what they got or if they did NOT like it.  Usually, their facial expressions are a pretty good indicator 🙂






img_2896img_2797One of the most fun things that we had was the photo booth.  Our students got to choose which prop they wanted to wear/hold for their picture.  We had SO MUCH FUN with this!

img_2835And not only the students had a great time, but the adults did too.





img_2673img_2627While the party was going on, the Nutcracker Ballet was playing on a smart board so that our students got to experience this incredible ballet.

img_2626Some even did a little dancing of their own 🙂





img_2636A big thanks goes to our fabulous interns—–Nicole and Rachel for decorating the room and serving all the guests!

You ladies were wonderful and we will really miss you!








img_2654img_2685It was a wonderful time, filled with good food, company, and music. What a wonderful way to start this holiday season!



img_2724-1We hope your holiday is filled with happiness and laughter. Join us in the new year for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!