The Netherlands book


img_0676img_1132This week we are celebrating Dutch-American Heritage day, which was on November 16.  We learned lots of neat facts about the Netherlands.  We learned that orange is the national color of the Netherlands, that they are a leading exporter of cheese, and that bicycles are a popular mode of transportation.  We have some really cute pictures of 2 of our students on the front and the back of the book.  Make sure to check out their shoes🙂






img_1021Here is a link to the book: celebrate-dutch-american-heritage-day

The Netherlands


img_0210img_0828We are a little late in celebrating Dutch-American Heritage Day (it was November 16) but we still had a lot of fun learning about the Netherlands this week! Our sensory group explored boxes related to facts about the country. Our fine motor groups made art projects of Dutch symbols and the language group made a traditional snack!







img_0725img_0236If you took a trip to the Netherlands you would need to fly in an airplane! We recorded the sounds of a jet plane taking off on our voice output device and used a vibrating tube to simulate the feeling of being on an airplane.

The vibrating tube was a real hit with the students!

img_1115Recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli is a science access point.





img_0182img_0302The Dutch use orange as their symbolic color so we used orange paper shred as the base for this box. There were some little bicycles—it is the world biking capitol of the world—and an authentic wooden shoe! A hand held fan made a pretty good windmill stand in. We also included some felt cheese slices, play people, oranges, and the word “home”.

img_0730The science access point recognize a model of a real object is addressed with this activity.






img_0718-1img_1045The Netherlands is the official name of the country, but sometimes it is referred to as Holland so we included some letter N’s and H’s to find in a box of ORANGE pasta.

The dried pasta made noise when shaken or moved which added to the fun!

img_0120Recognize two objects that are identical to each other is a science access point.






img_1166img_0732Although we associate orange with the Netherlands, the flag is actually red, white and blue!

There was a picture of the flag to find at the bottom of our rice box. We included 2 different sized spoons for scooping practice.






img_0717img_0030The 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_0716img_0342Lots of colorful flowers are grown in the Netherlands—-especially tulips! The students used a tulip shaped cookie cutter to make some beautiful flowers in red moon sand.

img_1012Apply a push to move an object is a science access point.







img_0137img_0076The Netherlands is known for its beautiful skies so we made fluffy white clouds out of shaving cream to float around our sky blue plastic tray!




img_0692 The students had a blast, as usual🙂

img_0721img_0705Track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled is a science access point.










img_0703img_0967Since pumps are used to help keep the country from flooding, we added a little pump to our water play this week.

It was great for promoting bilateral coordination and the students had so much fun with it!



img_0172The science access point observe and recognize a predictable cause-effect relationship related to a science topic can be addressed with this activity.






img_1173img_0751As a reminder of the Netherlands beautiful flowers, we used “plumeria” from Bath and BodyWorks for our scent this week.  The students used the picture symbols “like” and “don’t like” to communicate their opinion on the scent—–it was a hit with most of them!

img_0399Use senses to recognize objects is a science access point.







We loved the pictures of the colorful wooden shoes we found on the internet. So on Tuesday the students stamped some colorful shoe pictures of their own. We used this: wooden-shoe-template

img_0455img_0464The students used communication symbols to identify the stamp pad colors (red and green) used for this project.

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








img_0532img_0483Then they used a BIG swirl stamp and a SMALL flower stamp to decorate their “wooden” shoes. We also reinforced the concepts of UP and DOWN here.

The math access point recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down is addressed here. Recognize similarities and differences is size of common objects is also addressed.







img_0599img_0495The students glued their shoes onto a rectangular piece of paper——orange of course🙂

Recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes is a math access point.








img_0613img_0524TA DA——some pretty colorful shoes!













On Wednesday the students made wind mills! We used this: windmill-template

img_0755img_0762We started by asking the students to identify a rectangle.

The math access point recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes is again addressed.









img_0792img_0823Then the students used a paper cutter to cut out the base of the windmill.

img_0782Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.







img_0804They rolled this piece of paper around a paper towel roll.

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










img_0772The windmill blades were attached using a brad—-most of the students needed a little help with this step.











img_0788img_0773Recognize when an object is added to a situation is a math access point.

img_0834                                                                      Ta DA—–wind power!







This week in our language group we made a traditional Dutch recipe called stamppot.  Because this is a mashed potatoes dish, all of the vegetables used had to be cut up and boiled the night before.

img_1206 Our students started out by putting the potatoes (3 had been boiled) into a bowl.  Our students had to indicate that there were MORE potatoes after a measuring cup had been filled once and there were some more potatoes left over.









img_1208img_1210We added GREEN kale (1 cup boiled). Some of he students weren’t so sure how tasty this was going to turn out to be🙂

Our students then put the carrots (4 had been peeled and cut up) into the same bowl.  We talked about the color ORANGE.  Boiled carrots have such a vivid color!






img_1221img_1219We shook some salt into the bowl and added a bit of butter and milk.










img_1226img_1225Finally, the students got to help MIX the ingredients up by activating a switch that controlled a mixer.

img_1239                                                              This is how it turned out!






img_1241img_1244Once it was all mixed up, we counted out bowls for each of the students and dug in………….ok, so some of the students (and adults lol) weren’t so sure how tasty this was going to turn out🙂

img_1246But once tasted, the universal opinion was——–YUM!




Hope you enjoyed learning a little about the the Netherlands this week, we sure did! Join us again next time for more fun and learning——-Group by Group!



Let’s Take a Hike


img_8967img_8975We chose this theme in recognition of National Let’s Take a Hike Day which falls on November 17. Our sensory groups explored boxes filled with scents, sounds, and textures associated with a walk in the woods. Joy’s intern, Nicole, came up with the ideas for the boxes this week—-she did a great job! The fine motor groups made bird themed art projects. The language group went on a mini hike—-and then ate a snack🙂







img_8525img_8265We put some of the things you might need while taking a hike. There were binoculars, a compass, a map, sunglasses, and even a fun safari hat. Our students had a lot of fun with this box🙂



img_8237Recognize a model of a real object is a science access point.





img_9540img_9010In this leaf filled box, we put in some animals that you might see while taking a hike such as snakes, lizards, and birds. As a fun bonus, the two plush birds chirped with authentic bird calls when squeezed! These were a REAL hit🙂

img_8913The science access point recognize objects related to science by name, such as animal and plant can be addressed with this activity.





img_9028img_9278We wanted this box to represent some of the animals you might get lucky enough to see while out on a hike.  A plush deer and otter, as well as some fake fur made for a really soft, touchable box!


img_9420Use senses to recognize objects is a science access point.





img_8884img_9378We put some spaghetti “pine needles” and corn flake “dried leaves” in the box.  The students were pretty intrigued as their hands made rustling sounds as they dug around for letter H’s—-very cool!



img_8435Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.





img_9439img_8887There were a variety of herbs mixed in with our play dough to give it a woodsy kind of aroma and look. Squirrel and turkey cookie cutters were included—–you might see those animals on a trail.



img_9041The science access point apply a push to move an object is addressed here.






img_8881img_8397If you hike in the winter, you might hike in the snow! Good old shaving cream made for perfect snowy fun for us🙂 We encouraged the students to make trails through the snow with their fingers.



img_8963Track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled is a science access point.






img_8227img_8417Hands were rinsed in a little pond, complete with it’s own waterfall! We also included a spray mister to add to that authentic feel—-leading to lots of giggles.






img_8955img_9042Did we mention there were lots of giggles🙂

img_8284Recognize different containers that hold water is a science access point that can be addressed here.






img_9577img_9064We all know it is a good idea to put on some sunscreen when spending time outdoors. Since a lot of sunscreen products have a coconut scent, we used Bath and BodyWorks coconut scented lotion for our sunscreen scent. It was a pretty yummy scent that was a hit with our students.

img_8531Recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is a science access point.







On Tuesday, the students made bird feeders (thanks so much for the supplies Jeannie).

img_8616img_8617We started by asking the students to identify a picture of a bird.

Distinguish between a plant and an animal, is a science access point.









img_8696img_8637Next we helped the students spread some peanut butter on a pine cone using a plastic knife. We used a sturdy, non-serrated knife for safety.

Recognize common objects in different environments is a science access point that can be addressed in this activity.






img_8743Then we helped them spoon some bird seed onto the peanut butter as we rolled the pine cone around in a shallow bowl.

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









img_8716TA DA—-there are going to be some really happy birds at our school!










On Wednesday, the students painted some little wooden bird houses.

img_9088img_9095We started by asking the students to identify the colors GREEN and ORANGE, using communication symbols. They did a really good job with this!

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






img_9103img_9121Then the students started painting their bird houses. They really had fun with this and we enjoyed seeing their differing artistic expressions🙂

img_9109The science access point, recognize a change in an object is addressed here.






img_9119img_9151TA DA—–

img_9128—–these houses are move in ready!







We literally took a hike in the language group today.  Maybe it wasn’t an outside hike on a trail, but it was a hike nonetheless!  We went all through the elementary building.

img_9650img_9624The students were told that they had to LOOK around on our hike to find different things to put in our hiking book.  We found pictures of birds, snow, and hiking trails.



img_9663If a student found a picture, they had to glue it into our book.  The repetitive line “I see ___” was practiced once the picture was glued.





img_9715img_9720We found all of the different things that were in the book for the week!





img_9713We read the book to each of our students, encouraging them to point to the symbols while they were being said.





img_9685img_9698Once we found everything, we went back to the classroom and sat around our “campfire” to have a little snack.

img_9702Our students got to eat our version of s’mores: graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, and chocolate syrup.  YUM!

We are taking a break next week for the Thanksgiving holiday but then we will be back for more fun and learning——-Group by Group!

Let’s Take a Hike book


img_8320img_9524Since 11/17 is National “Take a Hike” day, our theme of the week is hiking.  There are so many different things that people might see while they’re taking a hike, such as waterfalls, animals, and pinecones.  The book includes some of the things that we see!  We have some really great pictures of a couple of our students on the front and back of the book so you’ll have to see their “hiking” experiences🙂





img_9049Here is a link to the book: lets-go-on-a-hike

Jobs at School book


img_8078img_7583This week, we’re talking about some of the different jobs around our school.  The book touches on some jobs such as principal, assistant principal, secretary, and registrar, to name a few.  We even got to feature the people who are filling those positions right now!  We tried to keep the job descriptions simple so that our students could better understand what these jobs entail.




img_8025Here is a link to the book: there-are-many-jobs-in-a-school

Jobs at School


img_7729This week we looked at some of the jobs at our school. We have done this theme before, but looked at different jobs this time. The sensory group explored boxes related to the people in those jobs at our school. The fine motor groups made thank you cards for the people in our book and the language group had a special guest help them make a tasty treat.






img_7746img_7780Ms. Latoya, our assistant principal, graduated from FAMU. This box is dedicated to her alma mater. It is filled with the colors and symbols of the university. There were shaker pom poms, beads, and a football—-go Rattlers!

img_7135Identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is a science access point that can be addressed in this activity.





img_7103img_7588Nurse Caitlin likes the beach and Nurse Linda likes the color pink—–so their box is a pink beach🙂 Pink rice and some seashells to make up this fun filled box.  We also added their initials and a big pink scoop!

img_7563Scooping up the rice and watching it fall back into the box addresses the science access point: track a falling object.





img_7039img_7897This box was filled with purple kinetic sand (Ms. Alexis’ favorite color) and the letter R for “registrar”. Ms. Trenisha loves elephants and we think she would really like the cute pink one we included here.

img_7927Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move, is a science access point.





img_7087img_7595The fun box was filled with birdseed and there were 3 little birds to find hidden in it—- Ms. Courtney’s favorite animals are birds! We haven’t used this box of birdseed in a while and the students really enjoyed feeling it on their hands.

img_7613Associate quantities with number names is a math access point that can be addressed with this activity.





img_7623img_7575Ms. Lorry is from Chicago, also known as the “windy city”. Our students had breezy fun with a little hand held fan. Ms. Lori is from New York, which is filled with bright lights—-sort of like our little light toys!

img_7096Recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli is a science access point.





img_7865img_7610We put our fake spaghetti strands into oobleck this week to make our version of fettuccine alfredo—-Ms. April’s favorite dish! This was a lot of fun and our students were really intrigued with the differing textures.

img_7639Recognize that pushing and pulling an object (contact force) makes it move, is a science access point.





img_7107img_7755Hands were rinsed in our little water garden, complete with watering can—-Ms. Leslie loves to garden. The fact that the little floating flowers in it were lighted, made it even more fun!

Track objects in motion is a science access point.







img_7154img_7667Ms. Jane has been involved with Girl Scouts for years. We found these Girl Scout cookie scented lip balms—-perfect to leave our students smelling like yummy cookies! The students got to choose between Samoa, Tagalong, and Thin Mint scents. Turned out that Samoa was the most popular! Of course, we used the balm on wrists NOT on lips🙂

img_7651Recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is a science access point.







We wanted to thank all the staff who appeared in our book this week so the fine motor groups both contributed to the making of the thank you cards for them.

img_7172On Tuesday, the students identified the rectangular shape of the paper we were going to use.

Recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes is a math access point.









img_7198Each student squeezed pink, purple, and turquoise paint onto their paper and folded it over.

Distinguish between objects that are wet and objects that are dry is a science access point that can be addressed in this activity.









img_7187img_7228Then they rolled over the paper with a rolling pin—-great for bilateral coordination!

img_7215Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move, is a science access point.





img_7195img_7218Ta DA!!!

img_7229Some pretty magical results!!!






img_7672On Wednesday, the students again identified the rectangular shape of the paper used for making our cards.

Recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes is a math access point.










img_7680img_7690The students used a paper cutter to cut each piece of the previously painted paper into 4 pieces! They also cut green pieces of paper in half to make the base of the card.

Recognize parts of whole objects and parts of sets of objects, is a math access point.






img_7706img_7711Then the students began assembling the cards by gluing a colorful front onto the green card bases.

Recognize a change in an object is a science access point. The math access point recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, is also addressed.






img_7735img_7723TA DA—-a colorful thank you to our wonderful staff members!

img_7721Thank you for helping us grow and learn🙂






This week’s language group was extra special today!  One of our nurses here at school, Jill, came in to bake some of her Blonde Brownies for us!

Here is her recipe: jills-blonde-brownies

img_8030img_8031She started out by talking about what we always do first before cooking, which is to wash our hands!  Next, she measured out a cup of Bisquick.  Our students had to indicate that they wanted to HELP by raising their hand, by touching the symbol for HELP, or by verbalizing.  Since we needed 2 cups, our students indicated that we needed MORE to put in the bowl.

img_8034Then, we added the brown sugar.  Again, our students had to tell us if they wanted to HELP.





img_8037img_8040One off the most fun parts of putting all of the ingredients in the bowl was using the EZ Cracker Egg Cracker!  Since the recipe called for 2 eggs, 2 different students got to use the Egg Cracker.  Once the egg was placed, our students had to SQUEEZE the handle which broke the eggs without getting it all over the place!  Super cool!






img_8042img_8046We added 1 cup of oatmeal and 1 cup of chocolate chips and then STIRRED it all together.










img_8077img_8089While it was baking, we had another surprise guest, Ms. Maureen, the music intern.  She stood in for our music therapist (Brenda) since she was teaching another class at the time.  Maureen played several songs for our students and gave them shakers so they could participate as well.

img_8071They had SO MUCH FUN!!!  And not just the students but the adults as well!





img_8101When the music was done it turned out the brownies were too so we all enjoyed our special treat from Jill!

THANK YOU so much to Jill and Maureen!!!  You made our day🙂




Another great week! Join us again next time for more fun and learning Group by Group!

October After Party


img_3517img_0727Welcome 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 October—–enjoy!




During the month of October the students learned about science fairs with their Unique Curriculum. To complement the unit, we did a theme on famous scientists.

img_0725img_3558The students learned about a famous mathematician named Keppler.

For his box, we put numbers is a box of cornmeal.





img_3541img_1574They really liked it’s interesting texture.










img_0717img_3539The students really loved the Jane Goodall box.










img_3543img_1576It was more fun than a barrel of monkeys🙂










img_3564img_1565A scientist name Fahrenheit developed a scale for measuring temperature—-like the chilly “snow” in one of our boxes.








img_3526Another box, filled with water, was devoted to Charles Darwin.









img_3494img_3555The students learned about scientists like Neil DeGrasse and Stephen Hawking who study outer space.

img_1587This solar system umbrella was a real hit!





img_3523img_3504The students also had fun digging for fossils like the scientist Mary Anning.

img_1569Our moon sand is always a hit.






img_0734img_0737We finished with a little science experiment—-we put Pop Rocks into shaving cream.





img_3515                                                      It had a pretty cool effect!





Our next unit focused on Fall Fun!

img_3910img_4020We brought out our fall umbrella for this unit and as usual, it was quite a hit with the students.

img_3984They really enjoyed using a battery operated fan to blow the leaves around!






img_3567img_3574In addition to the umbrella, we also had a fall themed box—-filled with pinecones, scarecrows, pumpkins, and other symbols of fall.









img_3962img_4007For the football fans, we included a box with shaker pompoms so the students could cheer for their favorite teams!

img_3952Go team!!!






img_4009img_4027The students had fun scooping and filling the eye catching orange rice!

img_3573                                                               Lots of scooping fun.








img_4017img_3904The yellow moon sand was also a hit with the students.

img_3958There were a variety of cookie cutters to use, including those with our schools initials.





img_3937img_3917The students had varying reactions to the pumpkin puree.

img_3986                                                     It was a unique sensation!





img_3983img_3903They rinsed their hands in water, then scooped up different symbols of fall found floating there.

img_3582There were bats, the letter F, and craft foam leaves to scoop.





In celebration of National Talk Show Host day—-yes there really is one—-for our next unit we learned a little about popular talk show hosts.

img_5541img_5596Oprah was celebrated with a box featuring a variety of items that represented her life and likes.




img_5600There were lot of things to explore and discover.




img_4637img_5614Our Dr. Oz box came complete with a little patient to take care of.

img_4987                                                                  The Dr. is in!






img_5627img_5542The students had fun giving Conan O’Brien a new hairstyle.

img_4622                                                          A new look for Conan!





img_4616img_4968Harry Connick Jr. stared in the movie A Dolphin Tale. Our students had fun spotting dolphins in our underwater umbrella habitat.

img_5553                                                                   Very cool!




img_5586img_5579This was a hit with the students for sure! We think Harry would like it🙂










img_4635img_5545Whoopie Goldberg starred as a nun in two Sister Act movies. This box was a nod to the costume she wore in the movie.








img_4627img_4973Neil De Grasse, who hosts Star Talk was represented with some cool galaxy play dough.








Our last theme for October was the Brothers Grimm. The book that went with this theme featured students dressed as fairy tale characters—-it is a true must see!

img_6110img_6163The Big Bad Wolf box featured a wolf mask and some oversized “granny” glasses.








img_6144img_6288They had a blast with this one!










img_6270img_6192There were rice and beans in the colors of the German flag and a picture of the Grimm Brothers at the bottom of the box.

img_6186We also filled a box with characters and props from their stories.





img_6131img_6317Confetti was sprinkled into the oobleck to make Gingerbread House icing.

img_6121Hands were rinsed in water that contained a little Frog Prince.





img_6247img_6311The pink princess sand was fun to scoop and watch drift back down into the box.









img_6328img_6336A final reminder of all the fairy tales we learned about each student had some Apple scented lotion applied to their hands. We think Snow White would approve!

Hope you enjoyed the After Party—–see you next month!