Peru book


img_1605img_1597We are learning all about Peru this week!  Since one of our elementary teachers just recentlty took a trip to Peru, she graciously allowed us to use some of her beautiful photos for our book.  We found out some really cool information about the country!  We found out that potatoes were created there, that half of Peru is covered by the Amazon Rainforest, and that some of the world’s finest cottons are grown there.  One of our students is dressed as a native Peruvian on the front of the book.  The back picture is a picture of TRUE Peruvians along with our awesome Ms. Maria!  Read the book to find out some more!





img_1435Here is a link to the book: lets-learn-about-peru



img_1173img_0793One of our teachers recently took a trip to Peru and visited Machu Picchu—–how cool is that! Her trip inspired us to learn a little about the country of Peru! This theme also compliments the Unique Curriculum unit our students are working on this month. Our sensory groups explored boxes related to different facts about the country. The fine motor groups made art projects using symbols of Peru and the language group made a tasty Peruvian treat.






img_0569img_1552Machu Picchu is located in the Andes mountain range in Peru. Our students used Floam to make their own version of the mountains. We included 4 llamas a symbol of the country and domesticated by ancient Peruvians. Since we didn’t have any small llama figures, we just printed out some clip art pictures and laminated them—-it worked pretty well!

img_1112Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.






img_1555img_1171The colors of the Peruvian flag are red and white. In this box we included a variety of textures and objects in those colors. It was fun seeing what the different students gravitated towards.

img_1502Recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli is a science access point.





img_1577img_1496The vibrating sound activated crab was a particular favorite!

img_1224                                                          There were LOTS of giggles with this one 🙂






img_1118img_1147Copper mining is a major industry in Peru. Our copper colored kinetic sand is such a fabulous tactile experience for the students. There was a cookie cutter letter P but watching it run through fingers is always the preferred way to explore this fabulous stuff!

img_1187The science access point apply a push to move an object can be addressed with this activity.






img_0548img_1216Potatoes originally came from Peru—–NOT Ireland 🙂 Letter P’s and a map of Peru could be found in this box of potato flakes. Soft and slightly crunchy, an interesting texture that the students really loved!

img_0563The social studies access point associate a picture with a place can be addressed here.






img_0542img_1239Jaguars are another animal that can be found in the rainforests of Peru. There were 2 plush jaguars to find hidden in the colorful rainforest flowers.  Some of the students loved the jaguars but others had a blast grabbing handfuls of petals and watching them drift down. A very eye catching box!

img_1518                                            Match animals that are the same is a science access point.






img_0638img_1482Much of the Amazonian rainforest is located in Peru. Ms. Zenia, our fabulous OT intern, made this wonderful rainforest umbrella for us. Along with the sounds of the rainforest recorded on a voice output device, it was almost like being there!

img_1081Match common living things with their habitats is a science access point.





img_1071img_1067And some more photos because this umbrella was pretty cool…..

img_1064                                                       and our students are just so darned cute 🙂






img_1490img_1137We found out that you can see Humboldt penguins in Peru so we put some in our water play this week. Ok, so perhaps our birds are more of the Madagascar cartoon variety but sometimes you have you use what you have on hand 🙂

img_0620The science access point track objects in motion can be addressed here.






img_0648img_1624The world’s finest cotton comes from Peru so Bath and BodyWorks cotton scent was the choice this week. It was a nice aroma that our students really seemed to like. This part of our group really encourages students to use communication words, symbols, and gestures.

img_1621One of our students communicated his idea that the adults also needed to sample this lotion 🙂

Associate information or wants and needs with referent object, gestures/signs, pictures, symbols, or words is a language access point.







On Tuesday our students made some Peruvian flags.

img_0667img_0676We started by talking about the shape of the flag and the students identified it using communication symbols.

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







img_0731img_0685The students then used either a paper cutter or switch operated scissors to cut 2 rectangles.

img_0810Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.






img_0706img_0823After gluing the smaller RED rectangles onto a white piece of paper, they added the coat of arms to the middle. To find the coat of arms we enlarged one we cut out from a printable flag page we found using Google—–what would we do without Google! 🙂

img_0753Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.






img_0763img_0844Ta Da!

img_0721                                                                               We love Peru!!!!






On Wednesday the students made some llamas using this: llama-template

img_1279img_1271First we counted how many students were in class so we would know how many llamas we needed!

img_1273Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.





img_1298img_1354Next the students painted glue onto their llama. We cut the llama’s out of orange poster board because that was the color we had on hand 🙂

img_1381The science access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move can be addressed here.





img_1317img_1376Then they sprinkled some precut yarn onto the glue. Great fine motor skill practice here!

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









img_1342img_1344Ta llama Da!









img_1444img_1411WOW look at our herd!












img_1654img_1661After reading the book, we brought our Amazon jungle umbrella around to each student.

img_1642We’ve had some voice output issues so the students got to hear some of adult’s versions of what animals in the jungle would sound like.

VERY realistic lol—-we are keeping our day jobs 🙂

After the umbrella, we made a Peruvian dish.  This week we made Peruvian quinoa and cauliflower pilaf.  Here is the recipe that we used, which was found on the website lets-make-peruvian-quinoa-and-cauliflower-pilaf  We did have to modify the amounts of each ingredient since we did not want to make a huge portion.

img_1678img_1667Cara roasted the cauliflower and cooked the quinoa the night before in order to make sure that the recipe could be completed during the time allotted for the language group.

img_1673Each of the students got to help MEASURE the ingredients and POUR them into the bowl.






img_1715img_1742When it came time to put in some lemon juice, each of the students got to try a little bit.  We talked about how it tasted SOUR.  Surprisingly, a few of our students went back for a second, and sometimes a third, taste!

img_1751                                                              Lemon is pretty popular with our kids!





img_1760img_1769We mixed all of the ingredients together and voila! A Peruvian meal!  We counted how many bowls we needed and then served it up.

img_1796Our students really liked it!  One of our students who typically doesn’t eat the snacks we make DID eat this one 🙂

Yay for Peru!

Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about Peru. Join us again next week for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!

The Grammys book


img_9786img_0301The theme this week was lots of fun!  We are getting ready for the Grammys, which comes on this weekend.  Our students really love music so this is a great topic!  Some of our students dressed up as musicians who have been to the Grammys, like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Michael Jackson.

img_9439                                         Check it out and see who else has been to the Grammys!






img_9452Here is a link to the book: who-has-been-to-the-grammys

The Grammys


img_9925img_0287It’s Grammy time! Our students really LOVE music so we figured it was the perfect time to do a unit on some of their favorite musicians. We really had fun putting this together and the students got a kick out of dressing up like their favorite musicians for the book—-be sure and check it out. The sensory group boxes are related to some of the singers in our book. The fine motor groups had a lot of shaking going on while making their art projects related to specific singers and the language group had a Grammy party!






img_0254img_9888Since we are all about the Grammy’s this week we had to let our students get a chance to make their OWN music! In this box we put some music recorded on a voice output device and a variety of musical instruments such as the always popular finger drums. We also included some sunglasses—-and you know our students can totally rock a pair of glasses 🙂

img_0319Observe and recognize a predictable cause-effect relationship related to a science topic is a science access point that can be addressed here.





img_9427img_0307This jungle themed box is our take on the song Roar—-one of Katy Perry’s hits. Hidden amongst the silk leaves, flowers, and shiny beads (vines), were some jungle animals such as elephants and tigers. These were pretty cool because they made noise when the buttons on their tummies were pushed.

img_9747Distinguish between a plant and an animal is a science access point.






img_0311img_9743Bruno Mars was born in Hawaii so we made his box a little beach. There were some seashells to find, count and then cover up again with a mini beach shovel. A cookie cutter flower was also included so the students could make some sand leis.

img_0330Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.





img_0235img_9885Ziggy Marley is from Jamaica so we made his box in the colors of the Jamaican flag using black beans, and yellow and green rice. This bright colorful box was very eye catching and so much fun to run fingers through while searching for letter Z. We also put a map of Jamaica at the bottom of the box!

img_9403Associate a picture with a place is a social studies access point.





img_9455img_0329Country western singer Eric Church is another favorite! We went totally country with his box filling it with animal feed (bird seed) and some farm animals to find. The students LOVED the way the birdseed felt when they buried their hands down in it!

img_9788Recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli is a science access point.





img_9434img_0327Love is a favorite theme when Taylor Swift writes a song so we put 2 different sized HEART shaped scoops in our box filled with red velvet cake mix. We chose red velvet cake mix as a nod to her huge hit album Red. This was another box with an interesting tactile feel.

img_9442Recognize similarities and differences in size of common objects is a math access point.





img_9402img_9797Our scents this week were in honor of two other amazing singers. Since Beyonce has a song called Lemonade we used Bath and Bodyworks lemonade scented bath gel in our water this week. There were a couple of different sized scoops and a little yellow puffer fish for our students to have fun with.

img_9766Recognize differences in sizes of containers that hold liquids (capacity) is a math access point.





img_0345img_9972Rhianna is from the island of Barbados and we learned that grapefruit were first grown there—-how cool is that! We had some Bath and Bodyworks grapefruit scented SHIMMER lotion with a wonderful aroma. Rubbed on hands, arms, or behind ears, it was the perfect choice for our  budding superstars 🙂

img_9954Recognize one or more external body parts is a science access point.






On Tuesday our students made pictures the musician Prince would love using this: purple-rain-umbrella

img_9477img_9474First we discussed our paint color and asked the students to identify it using communication symbols. They did an awesome job!

img_9480Identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is a science access point.





img_9481img_9485After placing umbrella pictures in a lidded box, the students scooped up TWO paint covered marbles and dropped them on top.

Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.







img_9487img_9499The lid was closed and then it was time to SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE!

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








img_9583img_9491Ta Da!

Purple Rain, Purple Rain!












Using this: michael-jackson-glove on Wednesday the students made some sparkly silver gloves—-like Michael Jackson!

img_9974img_9976First we counted the number of fingers on one hand and identified 5 using communication symbols.

img_9984Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.






img_0020img_0031Next the students painted their glove templates with some shiny silver paint mixed with a little glue.

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







img_0040img_0181Time to add GLITTER—–shake, shake, shake!

img_0124The science access point track falling objects can be addressed here.





img_0080img_0198Using glue again, we attached the glove to a paper bag and……..

img_0065                                                                             ………..TA thriller Da!







We had a fun language group this week!  We changed it up just a little bit again by not putting together a recipe (although you better believe we still had a snack!).

img_0455img_0460While snacking on some red jell-o (in honor of Taylor Swift’s “Red” album), our students got to listen to some of the music from the artists featured in our book.








img_0369img_0389We put a picture of each of the artists on an All-Turn-It spinner.  Each of our students had to indicate that it was their  TURN to activate the spinner by indicating “my turn” using picture symbols.

img_0418Once the spinner landed on an artist, we played a song by that artist.  A symbol for “listen” was used to empasize to our students that they needed to listen to the music.





img_0363img_0350The students got to pick out some different props to wear such as sunglasses, feather boas, and hats.

It was fun seeing what the different students chose to wear 🙂








img_0394img_0406Of course with all that music we HAD to get up and start dancing!

img_0376                                                             We got our boogie shoes on big time:)





img_9902img_0152What a fun week—-hope your favorite musicians did well at the Grammys! Join us again next time for more fun and learning, Group by Group!

Minnesota book


img_8744img_8598We are learning about the state of Minnesota this week!  The book has lots of different facts like the state insect, the state candy, and some famous people who are from there, like Judy Garland and Prince.  The front of the book features one of our students who is actually FROM Minnesota while the back of the book features a staff member who visits family in Minnesota, both when it’s FREEZING and when the weather is nice.  So sit back and enjoy reading about the Land of 10,000 Lakes!





img_8802Here is a link to the book: lets-learn-about-minnesota



img_8423img_8074We have a paraprofessional and a student who hail from Minnesota so this week thought it would be fun to learn a little more about the state. This theme complements the Unique Curriculum unit our students are working on this month. The sensory groups explored boxes related to facts about Minnesota. The fine motor groups made art projects related to state symbols and the language group went shopping in our very own Owl Mart of America!






img_8054img_8158This box contained objects that represented fun facts we learned about Minnesota. Some of the things we included were a Tonka truck (first built in Minnesota), pink and white lady slipper petals (the state flower), a book (the first children’s library was built in Minnesota), Peanuts characters (Charles Schulz is from there), and loon (state bird) calls recorded on a voice output device. There was also a little purse and play money to represent the Mall of America.

img_8347Recognize a model of a real object is a science access point.





img_8311img_8301We brought out our butterfly and caterpillar pasta to represent the state insect—-the Monarch butterfly! This pasta is so brightly colored and very eye catching. We also included 2 plates for sorting fun.

img_8175Match objects by an observable property, such as size, shape, and color is science access point.






img_8782frame-02-02-2017-06-07-48The Minnesota Vikings football team colors are purple and yellow. We put a variety of chenille stems in those colors in this box.

The stems can be twisted together, looped into chains—–or WORN 🙂 The two colors also allow for sequencing or sorting practice!

img_8339In addition to the science access point match objects by one observable property such as size, shape, and color, the math access point recognize the next step in a simple pattern or sequence of activities can be addressed.





img_8303img_8328Judy Garland who starred in the Wizard of Oz is a famous Minnesotan.  We thought our rainbow rice was a perfect choice for her box. In addition to some letter M’s to find,  there was also a map of the state to find at the bottom.

img_8097The social studies access point locate pictures or symbols on a drawing or map can be addressed here.






img_8774img_8119The musician Prince, came from Minnesota. One of his most famous songs is Purple Rain so we used purple Bubber for his box. We included cookie cutters with the state initials——-M N.

img_8298Apply a push to move an object is a science access point.






img_8063img_8719We had to include a nod to those Minnesota winters so we gave the students  some shaving cream “snow” to play in.

img_8754Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.






img_8079img_8761Minnesota is called the “land of 10,000 lakes” so Bath and Body Works dancing waters scent seemed the perfect bath gel for this week. Our tiny little lake included 2 different sized fish that squirted water when squeezed—-how fun is that! There was also a sifter scoop included.

img_8320Recognize similarities and differences in size of common objects is a math access point.





img_8447img_8454The matching lotion was a hit with the students as it was rubbed on hands, arms, and on the backs of necks.

img_8814Recognize one or more external body parts is a science access point.






On Tuesday the students painted a walleye—the official state fish! We used this:walleye-template

img_8210img_8204First the students identified our paint color using communication symbols.

img_8214The science access point identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is addressed here.






img_8222img_8217The students stamped the yellow paint on the fish (cut from green poster board) using a bubble wrapped foam scrub brush. We emphasized stamping UP and DOWN.

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







img_8468img_8219After they had finished painting, the students squeezed on a glue dot and then added a googlie eye to their fish.

img_8472The math access point match one object to a designate space to show one-to-one correspondence, is addressed here.






img_8240img_8248A tongue depressor was taped to the back of the fish so the students could make their little fishes swim………

img_8231                                                                        …………………….Ta Da!






On Wednesday we made Babe the Blue Ox using this: babe-the-blue-ox-template

img_8477First the students identified a circle using communication symbols.

The math access point recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes, such as a circle.










img_8500img_8520Then they painted their paper plates BLUE——–we used really pretty turquoise blue!

img_8560Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.









img_8532img_8557Two glue dots were squeezed onto the plate and one big googlie eye placed on each glue dot.

We got our googlie eyes at the Dollar Tree—-we do love a bargain!

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








img_8502img_8617The snout and horns were then glued DOWN onto the plate to finish Babe’s face.

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








img_8505img_8576Ta DA!

img_8626                                                                            It’s Babe the Blue Ox!






img_8856Our language group was a little bit different this week.  Since we were talking about the Mall of America, we decided to take a trip to our very own “Owl Mart of America” to do some shopping.  The Owl Mart is a little shop that was put together so that our Post Secondary students could have some vocational training.  Students are able to shop with “owl bucks” that they receive for good behavior.

Very cool and super reinforcing!





img_8824img_8819After reading the book, we gave all the students some owl bucks to spend—–very exciting!









img_8837img_8847Then we set out for the Owl Mart of America.

img_8848It’s kind of a long way from the classroom so everyone got their exercise for the day 🙂





img_8860img_8892There were lots of things to look at, like jewelry, Valentine’s day crafts, and stuffed animals.

img_8896                                                                          Decisions, decisions!






img_8869img_8881Once our students chose what they wanted to buy, they had to go up to the cashier, a post secondary student, and had to convey “I want” using picture symbols as well as “I all done”.

img_8898Adults helped the students count out the number of owl bucks that they needed to pay for their item and passed them to the cashier.





img_8915Our shopping experience was a success and everybody was pretty thrilled with their purchases!

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

January After Party


img_4669img_5467Welcome 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.

img_7376 Here are photos teachers have sent of their students exploring the different sensory boxes during the month of January—–enjoy!





Since all the classes did not get a chance to explore it, we started the new year with our last cart from before the winter break—–The Nutcracker!

img_3495img_4773The students loved finding the ballerinas dancing among the snowflakes in our winter umbrella.









img_3577img_4761They found the mouse king and one of his soldiers in a box of icy blue beans.





img_4697 The big mouse also squeaked when squeezed which made it a real hit.








img_4690img_3539There were lots of items to discover in the Christmas party box—–the Nutcracker ballet takes place during a holiday party.

img_3617                                                               This box was a real hit!





img_3553img_4703The box of shiny garland and tulle was very eye catching.

img_4681                                                                        Very touchable also!





img_3560img_3515There was some fun “sugarplum fairy” kinetic sand and cool Insta-snow for interesting textures to explore.










img_4663img_4693More sugarplums in our sugarplum swirl scented water play!






img_3568The scoops and funnel were lots of fun.





Our next theme was Happy New Year. The book that accompanied the unit featured our students celebrating all around the world.

img_4780img_4814Lights are a huge part of New Year’s celebrations and our colorful light box was a huge hit with the students.

img_6060SO eye catching!





img_5484img_4781We also had 2 different confetti filled discovery bottles…..

img_4823……..and firework sounds recorded on a voice output device.




img_6073img_6105So much fascinating to watch the swirling glitter, confetti, and beads!

img_5351Fascinating and fun.








img_4779img_5398More color was found in a box of shiny beads.










img_5511img_5347These are always a hit with students!










img_4830img_5428There were the numbers 2-0-1-7 to find in a box of black eyed peas.

img_5502Black eyed peas are considered a lucky food to eat!





img_5465img_5431The students were fascinated by the sand sifting through the scooper.

img_6117                                                     We called this the “sands of time” box 🙂





img_4822img_4805There was lots of confetti to swirl around in the shaving cream.



img_6114                                                                           Lots of fun!





img_5569img_5531We finished up with some firecrackers—-of the bubble wrap kind!

img_5597                                                        The students had a BLAST 🙂





img_5599img_6139Whether stomping, rolling, or jumping…..

img_5346or even just using fingers…..there were lots of giggles!!!!





img_6151img_4844Lots and lots

img_4840                                                             of smiles and giggles 🙂






The students learned about the way things were in the past and how they are different today in this next unit. This also compliments the Unique Curriculum theme for the month.

img_6529img_6955Fashion has totally changed over the years.

image4This box featured a variety of fashion props for the students to try on.




img_6548image2 They had lots of fun!











img_6489img_6448The students were pretty intrigued with the board game pieces we put in this box.

img_6927Along with the board pieces, we made a dice shaker jar.





img_6910img_6951Transportation has certainly changed. There were a variety of vehicles from horses to rocket ships in this box.

img_6960It was pretty popular!




img_6451img_6503We really had fun seeing which items the students preferred.

img_6499                                                                             Definitely a hit.





image1image2-1They also had fun exploring how fast the different vehicles could go.











img_6471img_6907While some things change,  others remain the same……..

img_6453we still grow food in the ground!





img_6462img_6950They sorted green and blue pom pom “abacus” beads.

img_6916The abacus was once the height of math technology!






img_6459img_6913Our old fashioned water wheel was fun, as usual!

img_6567Another popular item.





We followed up with a fun Winnie the Pooh unit to celebrate Winnie the Pooh day!

img_4253img_7090The students had fun with our Owl box—–which contained a plush owl and a couple of feather boas.

img_4256They got pretty creative with the feather boas 🙂





img_7086img_7098Red and yellow Winnie the Pooh pom poms were counted……..

img_7115                                                                             and sorted.





img_7109img_7363We had a 100 acre woods box with assorted figures and the Winnie the Pooh song recorded on a voice output device.

img_7368                                                                                  Lots to explore.






img_7146img_7365Our orange and black Tigger rice was very eye catching.

img_7362The students looked for letter T and a picture of Tigger hidden in the rice.





img_7371img_4252A little yellow food coloring turned our oobleck into “honey” and after rinsing hands, finished with honey scented lotion.

img_7169                                                                                  Yummy!





img_9057We had so much fun with the next unit which tied to our Literacy Week theme—–Super Heroes!






img_1869img_9014There were gold beads represented Wonder Woman’s lasso—-

image1—–you know the students had fun with these!





img_8961img_8934There was blue Superman moon sand, with a cookie cutter letter S.

img_9009Moon sand has a really soft texture which is quite appealing.





img_1853img_9008The Batman kinetic sand contained  4 bats to find.

img_9031Of course, watching it drip down from fingers is so fascinating.





img_1856image2Our super hero box contained comic book paper shred, action figures, and lots of fun props.

img_9026                                                              The students had a blast with these!





img_9019img_8966Spiderman’s box consisted of tacky Wikki Stix web strings and a little jiggly spider.

img_8958When his string was pulled, the little spider would wiggle across the table.





img_8937img_9020We put pop rocks in the Ninja Turtle ooze to make it crackle and sizzle—-pretty effective!

img_9007                                                                     And fascinating!





img_8980img_9056Hands were rinsed in water containing some Iron Man power cells (lighted pool toys).

img_1864Water play is always a favorite.






img_6515image4-1Hope you enjoyed our After Party. See you next month for more fun and learning———

img_8965———————–Group by Group!