Snow Day in Florida book


IMG_5440A few weeks ago, our students got to experience real snow in Florida!  Let me clarify, though…while other states have an abundance of snow falling from the sky, our snow was brought to us in a big truck…but it was real snow nonetheless! Since ALL of the students here had a blast on our snow day, we decided to make it our theme for the week.  You can get a feel for our snow day when you read the book.  It features pictures of our students and their experiences with snow.  So much fun for both the students and the adults who were there!  You don’t want to miss it!



IMG_5419Here is a link to the book: It’s a Snow Day in Florida

Snow Day in Florida


IMG_6768We had a SNOW DAY!!!  Ok, so our snow day was slightly different from what most of you experience since ours came in a TRUCK but that is how we do it down in the Sunshine State :) Both students and staff had such a great time that we wanted to relive the fun by making it the theme of this week’s unit! The sensory group explored boxes that were all white. The fine motor group made snowy art projects and the language group made snow cones and drank hot chocolate. Snowy fun all round!





IMG_6596IMG_6521This box was filled with so many white things! There were a variety of different textures a soft wooly mitt, hard beads, and fake fur. There were different snowman figures—-including one that made a crinkly noise! There was also a pompom shaker and glowing snowball! The students had so much fun sifting through the items and finding their favorites.

IMG_6590The science access point recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli is addressed here.



IMG_6439We tried a new play dough recipe this week. It was made using cornstarch and hair conditioner—-approximately equal parts of both. The hair conditioner was coconut scented so it had a fabulous aroma. We really LOVED it’s texture—-so soft and silky! The one drawback is that even keeping it in a ziplock back it did tend to dry out a little, although adding a little more conditioner back into it helped. A cookie cutter letter S for “snow” was included but most of the students—-and adults—-just loved TOUCHING it :)

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




IMG_6593IMG_6728Three letter S’s were hidden in our tapioca grains. We thought the tapioca kind of resembled tiny snowflakes and had an interesting texture that was fun to sift through.

The science access point recognize common objects as the same and the math access point recognize when 1 or 2 items have been added to or removed from sets of objects to 3 can be addressed here.



IMG_6737IMG_6484Our white floam and potato head pieces were perfect for making snow balls and snow people! We included some potato head pieces to make the creations come to life. The students had a blast with this stuff and came up with some really creative designs.

The science access point recognize a change in a object is addressed in this activity.





IMG_6517IMG_6770Two different sized spoons were included in our box of “Insta Snow”. This stuff is pretty cool—-LITERALLY, it actually feels cool to the touch! The students loved running their fingers through the snow or feeling the sensations as it was sprinkled on the arms. There were a couple of arctic hued animals included and a tropical snowman picture to find at the bottom of the box.

The students LOVED it!

The math access point recognize similarities and differences in size of objects is a math access point that can be addressed here. The science access point track a falling object can also be addressed here.



IMG_6622 This week we had 2 discovery bottles related to snow. One was filled with glitter and snowflakes which swirled around as it was shaken. The other was a “melting ice” bottle with clear plastic “ice” that floated in the water.

In addition to track objects in motion, the science access point recognize that ice can change to water can be addressed.





IMG_6789IMG_6782We certainly have gotten a lot of use out of our winter umbrella this year but it is always a hit with our students! It really does give the feeling of a beautiful snowy day and really looks cool as the assorted “snowflakes” swirl around as the umbrella is twirled.

What a fun way to address the science access point track objects in motion.






IMG_6784IMG_6613Another white texture to explore with our shaving cream. The students had fun squishing and smooshing—-and making circle snowballs!

IMG_6459The science access point apply a push to move an object and the math access point recognize an object with a 2 dimensional shape are addressed here.



IMG_6588IMG_6501Hands were washed in cold water scented with Bath and Bodyworks twisted peppermint using a fluffy “snowball” sponge. The students liked feeling the texture of the sponge but really loved picking it up and watching the water drip down.

Recognize objects or materials as warm or cold and track falling objects  are science access points that can be addressed  in this activity.



IMG_6631We finished with the matching lotion which smelled SO yummy! The perfect scent to remember our fun and fabulous Florida snow day :)











IMG_6637On Tuesday we started a 2 part art project by making a snowman! We started with a cute little snowman shape cut from the Ellison machine—-easy peesy :) The students used communication symbols to identify the color “white” and they did such a great job!

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






IMG_6639Then we counted out 3 cotton balls and used communication symbols to identify number 3—-addressing the math access point associate quantities with number names.









IMG_6648IMG_6672Pincer grasp and bilateral coordination were addressed when pulling apart the cotton balls which were then dipped in glue and attached to the snowman.








TA DA—-such cute little Frostys…..







IMG_6690Just adorable!



IMG_6893On Thursday we finished our art project. The students started by picking out magazine pictures of different places in Florida.  They glued the pictures down onto a piece of paper.

After each picture we asked the students if they wanted to add another one—-addressing the math access point indicate desire for more of an action or object.






IMG_6948Then they painted some snowy white paint onto their pictures——and sprinkled some fake snow on top!

We were really impressed with how well they targeted their strokes onto the magazine picture—-they are making such nice progress with their tool use skills.

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



IMG_6938IMG_6886The students added their snowman from Tuesday and TA DA…..

…………………….a snowy day in Florida :)











IMG_6813The language group focused on the topic of HOT and COLD today.  Our students each got to pick if they would rather have a hot drink or a cold drink.  We used the PIXON picture symbols for “hot” and “cold” and our students made their choice by pointing to the picture symbol or using eye gaze.

We tallied up the numbers and found that MORE people wanted a hot drink—-well it was a pretty chilly day here so that was a good choice :)



IMG_6830IMG_6838First, we made our cold snow cones.  Our students got to turn the snow cone machine on by pushing the top of it.  It made a few of our students jump but they seemed to enjoy hearing the ice crush.

Then the students helped pour blue Powerade on the snow cones.





IMG_6862There were mixed reactions with this drink.  Some of our students seemed to really enjoy it, while for others…not so much.








IMG_6845IMG_6853Next, we made our hot drink—hot chocolate!  Our students helped pour the hot chocolate mix in a coffee cup.  Once the water was added, our students got to stir it all together.  We observed how it changed!

Recognize a change in materials is a science access point!



IMG_6875Then we microwaved it and once it was warm, the students who wanted a hot drink got to try some.

Recognize materials as warm or cold is another science access point.

There was a MUCH better reaction to this drink and they all gulped it down!

Who wouldn’t want a hot drink on a cold day? :)




Well we hope you enjoyed seeing how we do snow in Florida :) Join us again next time for more fun and learning Group by Group!

Mardi Gras book


IMG_6167We’re having a Mardi Gras celebration here this week and it’s been so much FUN!  Our book once again features some of our amazing students.  On each page you can see some of the things that you may see, hear, or get at a Mardi Gras parade.  Along with our students there is an awesome, colorful background made by our extremely talented art teacher, Judy, and some of her art students.  You HAVE to check it out :)




IMG_5759Here is a link to the book: At the Mardi Gras Parade

Mardi Gras


IMG_6111We celebrated Mardi Gras this week! Our sensory group explored colorful green, gold, and purple boxes. The fine motor group made some festive party props. The language group led a parade around the elementary building handing out beads to their friends. It was a fabulous and fun week filled with smiles!





IMG_5758Green, gold, and purple are the colors of mardi gras and our rice this week. It is just the prettiest box—-one of our favorites! This rice was so colorful and VERY eye catching with 2 letter M’s and a sparkly crown picture to find!

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







IMG_5795IMG_6121Speaking of fun—-what could be more fun than FEATHERS! Ticklish, floaty and completely irresistible——this box invites touch! Of course, there were things to discover such as masks, beads, clown figures—-and totally fabulous glittery sunglasses which turned out to be the favorite item in the box.

Our students certainly KNOW how to rock a pair of sunglasses!

Recognize common objects in the environment is a science access point that can be addressed here.





IMG_5817We made mardi gras play dough by adding purple and green glitter to a yellow base color. Quite festive although it did have a slight poppy seed look to it :)

The students cut fleur d’lis shapes into the dough—–and then counted them of course!

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





IMG_5770IMG_5857So mardi gras is all about BEADS and we had them! This box contained lots of gold, green, and purple beads—-perfect for shaking, sorting, and wearing!

Another irresistible box filled with color and fun!

Identify objects by one observable property is a science access point that can be addressed here.






IMG_5868IMG_6126We let the good times roll with some zydeco music recorded on a voice output device. There was a fabulous hat (thank you Dr. Hamilton) and a mardi gras shaker bottle to help the students get in the groove.

Everyone had a rockin good time :)

IMG_5884                                     Appy a push to move an object is a science access point addressed here.



IMG_5865IMG_5798Gold, green, and purple glitter swirled around the oobleck this week, very cool looking! We made the batch a little thicker this week so it really oozed—–can we say FUN :)

IMG_5843With all glitter swirling around this was a great activity for tracking objects in motion and tracking falling objects, both are science access points.




IMG_5901A yummy vanilla sugar scent was used in our water play this week. There was a big measuring cup and small spoon for scooping fun and a perfect way to address the math access point recognize differences in size of objects.

Use senses to recognize objects is another science access point that can be addressed in this activity.






IMG_6146The matching lotion was so delicious smelling. There was lots of giggling as the lotion was rubbed on various body parts such as hands, arms, legs—–and behind the occasional ear :)

Our students left the group smelling like sweet beignets!

This activity addresses the science access point recognize one or more external body parts.







IMG_5978On Tuesday we made some super fun mardi gras masks! These craft foam masks were found in a dollar bin and made for a really quick and easy art project.

We started by squeezing glue into a large jar lid—-a great activity for hand strengthening!

Then the students dipped feathers into the glue and attached them to the mask. They chose which colors they wanted using communication symbols and we counted each feather as it was placed.

The math access points associate quantities with number names and indicate desire for more of an object can be addressed in this activity.




IMG_5998IMG_6005A straw was glued to the back of the mask and……

IMG_6009                                                                                 TA DA! We are ready for mardi gras!



On Thursday we made some fun mardi gras shakers using small paper plates starting by discussing the shape of the plate and the number 3—–since we were going to count to 3 A LOT in this activity.

IMG_6253We have found that our students do really well with number and color identification when given a choice of two but have a tendency to go to the middle symbol when there is a choice of three—-but we are going to keep practicing :)

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






IMG_6271The students did a SUPER job using 3 colored markers——yelbow, green, and purple—–to color their paper plates. They really are getting more proficient with writing tools!

Communication symbols were used to practice color identification, addressing the science access point identify common objects by one observable property, such as color.






IMG_6337IMG_6285Then we used the adaptive scissors to cut 3 pieces of crepe paper streamers—-mardi gras colors OF COURSE! The paper plate was folded in half and we used the electric stapler to staple the plate together and the streamers to the plate.

Activate a device that uses electricity and recognize a change in an object are both science access points addressed in this activity.







IMG_6317We left an opening at one end of the plate so we could put 3 small sections of broken mardi gras beads before finishing stapling.

Take a look at the concentration and fabulous pincer grasp pictured here—–the OT is so proud :)

Again, the math access point associate quantities with number names is addressed here.






IMG_6310TA DA!

This project was a hit!










IMG_6174IMG_6246Our students in the language group put on a Mardi Gras parade for all of the elementary students and BOY was it fun!

The plan was for the students to follow the directions “STOP” and “GO” while we all paraded down the hallways to the different classrooms—-it ended up a little like herding cats but we all had a blast anyway :)  The students handed out beads to all of the spectators who waved and cheered us on and we also gave some of our students voice output devices programed to ask, “do you want beads?”



IMG_6179IMG_6219The leader of the parade had a voice output device with zydeco music programmed on it and she was in charge of keeping the music going for the parade by activating the device. Our students did a wonderful job of walking together and giving out beads, of course with a few prompts here and there.





IMG_6204Everyone had so much fun at  our Mardi Gras parade that there were calls for it to become an annual tradition!

IMG_6150Join us again next time for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!








Florida History book


IMG_5184To go along with the Unique theme this week, we are learning about Florida’s history.  It’s always so much fun finding out new things and learning about our own state made it even more fun!  Our book ranges in dates starting from 1513 when Ponce de Leon arrived in Florida to 1986 when a ship from a famous Spanish fleet was found off the coast of Florida.  We hope you’ll read about all the neat things that have happened in Florida’s history!




IMG_5592Here is a link to the book: Learning About Florida’s History

Florida History


IMG_5123This week our theme was Florida History, which complements the Unique Curriculum unit some of our students are studying this month. The sensory group explored boxes related to different historic events and features of the state. The fine motor group practiced using writing and cutting tools to complete their art projects. The language group went outdoors and played some “Florida” games!



IMG_5224Palm trees and beaches—–Florida’s most famous features! This really cute palm tree cookie cutter was perfect for making impressions in our sand. This moon sand really takes impressions well—–perfect for stamping!

In addition to the science access point apply a push to move an object, the math access point associate quantities with number names can also be addressed.





TIMG_5131IMG_5188he first European to tread on Florida beaches was spanish explorer Ponce de Leon—–legend has it he was searching for the fountain of youth!

We used red and yellow rice, the colors of the Spanish flag to fill this box. There were some letter “F”s to find, along with a picture of Ponce de Leon taped to the bottom of the box.

The social studies access point recognize a person in a story can be addressed here.




IMG_5273After Ponce de Leon visited Florida, lots of other Spanish people came in ships carrying gold and jewels. Unfortunately some of them sunk—–leaving buried treasure for others to find!

We put some “gold” doubloons and sparkly jewels to find in the sand of this discovery bottle. The students found it fascinating to look at.

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






IMG_5312IMG_5318This next discovery bottle was just a bottle of pure GOLD! Gold glitter added to cooking oil made this beautiful bottle SO sparkly!

Track objects in motion has never been so mesmerizing!






IMG_5298IMG_5156Florida has a national park called The Everglades. We made our Everglades box using green jello. Plastic plants were added along with some animals—–alligators, snakes, and frogs—–for our students to find in the squishy goo! Of course, some of our students were a little hesitant  but others dived right in :)

IMG_5321Match common living things with their habitats is a science access point that can be addressed here.



IMG_5203IMG_5276Hands were rinsed in orange scented bubble bath. We included a grapefruit wedge sponge (a lot of citrus is grown in Florida) and a squeeze puffer fish toy—-puffer fish can be found in the waters surrounding the state. The students had a great time with our water play this week!

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





IMG_5139This box contained lots of things associated with Florida. The name Florida comes from a spanish phrase meaning “feast of flowers”. We put lots of colorful silk flowers in the box, making it so bright and colorful!

We added pictures of native american Seminoles, a beachy footprint, flip flop beads, snakes, lizards, astronaut, and a gator puppet! We also included nods to famous theme parks AND a fabulous pair of sunglasses!

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





IMG_5329IMG_5218We finished with some citrusy orange scented lotion to help us remember all the different things we learned about our state today. This was a strong scent —-leaving everyone smelling like sweet orange blossoms!

IMG_5335                                              Use senses to recognize objects is a science access point addressed here.




The Apollo mission that landed on the moon launched from Cape Canaveral right here in Florida! For our Tuesday art project our students made their own moons!

IMG_5345IMG_5347We started by adding some glue to shaving cream (about an equal measure of each).

Then we pulled out some some black paint and asked the students to show us the color black using communication symbols. We gave them a choice of 2 colors and they did a great job of giving us the correct answer!

Identify common objects by one observable property, such as color is a science access point—–we got this :)



IMG_5398The BLACK paint was mixed with the WHITE shaving cream/glue mixture and turned GREY! Recognize the appearance of an object or material has changed is a science access point.

Big brushes were used to paint the mixture onto small paper plates. We discussed that the shape of the plate was a circle, which addresses the science access point recognize a common object with a 2 dimensional shape.






IMG_5383IMG_5394After they had finished painting, the students placed their little astronaut selves on the moon! We made the little astronauts using this template: astronaut and some flag stickers. They turned out pretty cool and our students were pretty pleased with their creations!







On Thursday our art project was making the Florida state flag!

IMG_5511IMG_5534We started by cutting 1 red rectangle into 2 smaller rectangles using either a paper cutter or switch operated scissors.

IMG_5581Recognize an object with a 2 dimensional shape and recognize differences in sizes of objects are math access points addressed in this activity.



IMG_5555We discussed  and modeled the “X” placement of the red strips of paper then let the students glue them down. Spatial relationships related to math concepts of shapes and space are explored here and they really grasped the concept of putting one strip “on top” of the other!

After they had glued down their strips, we put a circle of glue down in the middle and asked the students to put the “circle” state seal on top.

The math access points recognize a 2 dimensional shape and match one object to a designated space to show one-to-one correspondence are also addressed here.




IMG_5532IMG_5576Ta Da—–

IMG_5520                                                                                    we love our Sunshine State :)





For our language group, we did things a little bit differently this week.  We went outside and had stations that had to do with Florida—-after all it was a beautiful sunny day outside :)

IMG_5626IMG_5600In our first station we had rockets for the Kennedy Space Center.  We talked about the rocket going UP and coming DOWN.  Our students had to request “again” if they wanted to shoot the rocket off again.  Can we say FUN!

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





IMG_5638Our next station was a fishing activity because we know that Native Americans went fishing for their food.  Students at this station were asked to catch “seafood” of a certain color.  No eating them today, but catching them and naming them was fun!

Explore and interact with the functions of a selected object is a language access point.






IMG_5628Going on to the next station, our students had to dig for gold and silver.  We learned in the book that the ship the Nuestra Senora de Atocha had been found in 1986 with lots of gold and silver inside.  Our doubloons were not located in a ship, though, they were buried in sand. We talked about DIGGING and taking the doubloons OUT of the box.

Solve simple problems involving joining or separating small quantities of objects is a math access point that can be addressed here.




IMG_5646IMG_5613Our last station was the beach ball because there are so many famous beaches in Florida! Our students had to CATCH and THROW the ball in this station.

A little hand-over-hand was necessary for some of the students, but others totally had it going on :)





IMG_5173Hope you enjoyed learning some of the history of our fabulous state! Join us again next week for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!


Groundhog Day book


IMG_4466It’s that time of year again—time to see if there will be 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring.  On February 2nd was Groundhog Day and people all around the United States were wondering if Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow or not.  In the book this week, there are some facts about what Groundhog Day is and what it means if the groundhog sees his shadow or not.  We were all wondering what the groundhog would see.  Were you?



IMG_4834Here is a link to the book: What Will the Groundhog See?