Extracurricular Activities book


img_0535img_0522This week, our focus is on some of the different extracurricular activities that children participate in.  Around this time of year, students are busy with school as well as ALL of the other activities they have going on.  The pictures from our book feature the children and grandchildren of some of the staff here who are participating in things like sports, music, and acting.

Thank you to all of the staff members who shared their personal pictures with us!




img_9907Here is a link to the book: we-have-fun-in-our-extra-curriculars

Extracurricular Activities


img_0431What kids do after school, extracurricular activities, is our theme this week. We found out there are LOTS of things to choose from! The sensory groups explored boxes related to specific activities. The fine motor groups made some fun art projects and the language group helped figure out what items are needed for different activities!






img_9848img_9950Many extracurricular activities involve sports that use balls. The students molded white foam into different sized balls—-SMALL like golf balls, MEDIUM like baseballs, or BIG like volleyballs.

img_9812Identify objects by one observable property, such as size, is a science access point.





img_0245img_0357Our ballet box was a real hit! We put in some fluffy feather boas, pieces of tulle, and a butterfly headband. Ok, so the goofy headband was a bit of a stretch as a ballet prop, but we did record music from the Swan Lake ballet on a voice output device🙂

img_0520As the ballet props are tried on, the science access point recognize one or more external body parts can be addressed.





img_0317img_0251Cheerleading is another activity some of our students enjoy. We put in some shaker pompoms and our students totally got their cheer on!

img_0377The science access point recognize the change in the motion of an object can be addressed here.





img_0277img_0554Learning a musical instrument is another popular extracurricular activity. The ever-popular finger drums were found in this box, along with a tambourine, and electronic maraca. Our students totally rocked out!

img_0303Recognize and respond to common sounds is a science access point.






img_9992img_9920Many students, including our own, have fun at their school’s After School programs. We represented ours with a rice box in our school colors and some alphabet letters. There was also a picture of a teacher reading to children to find at the bottom of the box.

img_0271Track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled is a science access point.







img_9927img_0266We went back to sports with our messy play. Since many sports include round balls, we asked the students to make round circles in shaving cream.

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






img_0327img_0548After the students rinsed their hands they got to go fishing in our little water pond. With rivers, lakes, and the ocean nearby, fishing is a fun extracurricular activity that many of our students enjoy! There were 2 fish to find—–a big one and a little one!

Recognize differences in size of objects is a math access point.







img_0393img_0576Our scent for our water and lotion was vanilla sugar from Bath and BodyWorks. We thought this scent reminded us of Girl Scout cookies! A delicious reminder of the fun we had exploring different extracurricular activities.

img_0382Recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is a science access point.







Students at our school are always proud to show off their Special Olympics medals so we let our future olympians make some of their own using our go to favorite—paper plates!

img_0019img_0025We started by discussing the shape of our paper plate and using communication symbols to identify it.

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





img_0065img_0109Then the students painted their plates using gold paint and then added glitter for additional sparkle—-we never pass up the opportunity to add a little sparkle to our projects🙂

Recognize that the appearance of an object or material has changed is a science access point.




img_0121Next the students placed a small circle with “1st” printed on it DOWN onto the plate. The paper stuck to the paint easily so glue was not needed.

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







img_0130img_0151Ta Da!!!

Our students are winners for sure!








Our other fine motor group made art projects related to another fun extracurricular activity—-fishing! We used this:fish-template

img_0429img_0442First the students used communication symbols to pick the color of the crayon they wanted to use to color their fish. We used Easy Grip crayons for this project and the crayons lived up to their name—–they were easy for the students to grasp!

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





img_0410img_0437Ta DA——

img_0466                                                           let’s go fishing!





img_0471img_0489After the students finished coloring their fish, we attached a paper clip to the tail and put them on the table.

Our fishing rod was made from a sturdy cardboard tube with a cute flower magnet attached with yarn. Recognize that objects can stick together is a science access point.

img_0478The students were completely intrigued with how the magnet picked up their fish. This activity was a real HIT🙂






This week we changed it up a little bit in our language group.  We discussed some of the items that people will need if they are participating in extracurricular activities.

The 5 activities we focused on were baseball, basketball, fishing, music, and cheerleading.  Each of our students took turns indicating which item fit with which activity.

img_0595img_0599For each turn, the student  was presented with 2 pictures of different items.  They were asked, for example, “which one do we need for baseball?  A baseball bat or a fishing pole?”  They would then have to point to the correct item.





img_0588img_0583After they chose the item, they would point to the pixon symbols for “we” and “need” and then point to the item to convey “we need baseball bat”.

We used the photos from the book for a visual prompt.




img_0632img_0625The students finished by gluing down their picture choices.








img_0622THEN, since this is the language group and we like our snacks, we each got to eat a Thin Mint in honor of the Girl Scouts🙂




img_0506Well we hope we inspired you to try some new extracurricular activities! Join us again for next time for more fun and learning——Group by Group!


Video Games book


img_9434In honor of National Video Game Day (September 12), our theme for the week was video games!  We love having our students in our books and this was the perfect opportunity.  Some of the video games that are featured in the book are Mario Brothers, Pac Man, and Zelda.  The repetitive line for this week is a question, so our students used the pre-programmed voice output device to ask the question and then the answer was read to them.  Such a cute book with such cute characters.  Look for yourselves and see!





img_9467Here is a link to the book: what-video-game-should-we-play?

Video Games


img_8800National Video Game Day is September 12! We thought this would be a really fun theme for our students and totally enjoyed planning all the activities. Our sensory groups explored boxes related to specific video games. The fine motor groups made characters from video games and the language group played games!








img_8778img_8810We put lots of different bits and pieces related to the Legend of Zelda game in this box. Since we didn’t have any play figures from the game, we just pulled together some toys that we thought resembled the characters! There were also some objects that were mentioned in the stories such as a compass, hearts,  and a boomerang toy. It really  came together pretty nicely🙂

img_9051Recognize a model of a real object is a science access point.






img_9148img_9425The students stamped lots of little squares—–like ones seen in the game Minecraft—- in our red moon sand.

img_8784The science access point recognize that the appearance of an object or material has changed can be addressed here.






img_9049img_9326The Mario Brothers wear different colored overalls so we had our students sort GREEN Luigi pompoms and RED Mario pompoms!

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





img_9058img_9361Sonic the Hedgehog and his friend Tails collect rings. The students made rings by joining the ends of large chenille stems to form the CIRCLE shape! So much fun to wave or wear!

Recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes, such as circle or square is a math access point.






img_8799img_9076Video games often have lots of flashing lights so we included a variety of light toys in this box. Some required button pressing while others simply had to be tapped.

img_9055Either way, the students had a blast with them, lights are always a favorite with our students! We also included a voice output device with recorded video game sounds so our students could get the whole “gamer” experience🙂

img_9109img_8802The science access point recognize objects that create sounds and the science access point recognize that a common activity can be repeated are addressed with this activity.



img_9432Did we mention our students REALLY liked the lights🙂





img_9121img_9146Craft foam figures from the game Pac Man chased each other around the oobleck this week! We made the oobleck a little thin so the craft foam really glided over the surface as the students pushed it around.

img_9399Recognize that pushing or pulling makes an object move (contact force) is a science access point.





img_9153img_8794Hands were rinsed in banana scented water (we got the bubble bath at Walmart). The students were able to scoop up a Donkey Kong barrel or just enjoy watching the water spill down out of the scoop!

img_8777Recognize different containers that hold liquids is a science access point.





img_8831img_9450A matching banana scented lotion from World Market left out students smelling quite delicious🙂



This scent was a real hit!

img_9182Recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is a science access point.







On Tuesday our students made Pac Man out of a paper plate!

img_8839img_8841First we asked the students to identify our paint color—-YELLOW—-using communication symbols. Some of our students point to the symbols, others use eye gaze.

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





img_8852img_8890Then they painted their paper plates. A brush was taped onto a wooden paint stick to make the process easier for some of our students.

img_8875Apply a push to move an object is a science access point.





img_8868To finish, a little circle eye was added, then…..











img_8881img_8894Ta Wakka Wakka Da












On Wednesday the students made Angry Birds using red paper plates!

img_9186First they identified the color and shape of the paper plate using communication symbols.

The science access point identify objects by one observable property, is addressed here







img_9201img_9209Then we identified the TRIANGLE shape of the bird’s beak and how many sides it has using communication symbols.

The math access point recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes, such as circle or square is addressed here and the math access point associate quantities with number names is also addressed.





img_9212img_9247Paper cutters were used to cut the 3 sides the triangle. Of course, we counted the number of cuts out loud!

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






img_9217Then the students glued down the beak and 2 pre-made eyes, made with googlie eyes glued onto larger circles—-we do love those googlie eyes🙂

The math access point match one object to a designated space to show one-to-one correspondence.







img_9244img_9253Ta Da!

img_9219                                                       Some not so angry birds.







We had such a great time in our language group this week!  Our students played games that were inspired by real video games.  They each had to get through 4 levels.

img_9480img_9484The first level was Mario Brick-Buster.  Our students had to PUSH over a wall of “bricks” in order to complete this level.  They had so much fun with this!  Our ambulatory students pushed the bricks over while our students in wheelchairs got help from the adults and were pushed into the bricks.

img_9455                                                          LEVEL 1 COMPLETE!






img_9490img_9493Level 2 was Angry Birds Pig Knock Out.  The object of this game was to THROW an Angry Bird bean bag and knock over the Pigs on the log.  Some of our students threw the bean bag while others who have more difficulty grasping and throwing objects used their hand to knock the pigs over.  Everyone participated and everyone passed the level.  img_9505                                                       LEVEL 2 COMPLETE!





img_9529img_9540As in video games, the levels just keep getting more difficult.  Level 3 was Sonic Ring Toss.  Each of our students had to TOSS a ring and hook it.  Although this was challenging, all of our students passed the level.

img_9513                                                      LEVEL 3 COMPLETE!





img_9549img_9564In our final level, Legend Of Zelda Map Making, our students got to use our Color Bug wireless controller to MAKE a map.    They had to make sure to stay within the paper–a feat that was difficult for even the adults in the room!  Our students had to direct it left/right, forward/backward.  They had such a great time with this and made a great map.

img_9554                                                       LEVEL 4 COMPLETE!






img_9592img_9614Since each level was completed, our students got a fireworks show to celebrate!

img_9594                             Our students got pretty creative with it—SO FUN!




img_9165Hope you enjoyed our video game fun this week. Join us next week for more fun and learning—–Group By Group!


August After Party


IMG_5912IMG_7079Welcome 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—–enjoy!





IMG_7090IMG_7529Our first cart, about Kansas, was actually the last one from the previous school year. The teachers are want to quickly get their routines going so we always make sure to have one available since it takes us a couple of weeks to get up and running with our new themes for the year.

IMG_6900Sunflowers,cowboy hats, and yellow brick roads were pressed into this bright yellow moonsand box.




IMG_691320160826_140521Another nod to the Wizard of Oz was our discovery bottle which had red Barbie shoes floating in green glitter.

IMG_6916The students were also pretty fascinated with our salt box—-Kansas has a salt mine that is open to the public!




20160826_140408IMG_7142Cowboy hats reminded us of Kansas’ wild west past.

IMG_7539The students really had fun with this box.




IMG_7089IMG_7534There were other fun things to discover in this box such as Amelia Earhart’s airplane

IMG_6897                                                            and cowboy figures.






IMG_6904IMG_7112They loved the American Buffalo plushies, especially the one that made noise when squeezed.








IMG_7080IMG_6914There were letter K’s to find in this corn filled box.

IMG_7085                                                     A popular box to explore.





IMG_6901IMG_7138Pool noodle pieces for scooping and a funnel added to our fun water play.

IMG_7527Kansas has the largest hand dug swimming pool!




Our first theme for this year was Brazil. After all the excitement of the Olympics, it was fun to learn a little more about the country.

IMG_7814IMG_7815Brazil is home to 60% of the rainforest, so of course we brought out our rainforest umbrella!

IMG_7563                                                                  Always a big hit!





img_7567-1img_7852This box was filled with symbols of Brazil including citrus fruits, native animals, and a shiny boa—-perfect for wearing to Rio Carnival!

img_7827There were also discovery bottles filled with “gems” like those mined in Brazil.





img_7824img_7856Coffee is a major export from Brazil.

img_7568There was a map to find underneath the box along with a scoop and funnel.









img_7592img_7844There were letter B’s to find in this box. Beans are a favorite food of Brazilians.









img_7870img_7593Our oobleck was colored yellow and sprinkled with green glitter—-the colors of Brazil! Messy hands were rinsed in water filled with some toothless piranha🙂








We traveled a little closer to home for our last unit—–Iowa.

img_8141img_8171The students found play food in a box of REAL cornflakes!

They also used a cookie cutter to cut out play dough apples. Red Delicious apples were first grown in Iowa.







img_8145img_8170Bellevue State Park has a fabulous butterfly garden. Our students sorted red pasta butterflies and green pasta caterpillars.

The looked for letter I’s in the rice and beans box—–the colors of the University of Iowa.

img_8148Then they wrote letter I’s in shaving cream.

What a great start to the school year. See you next month with more After Party fun!





People of the American Revolution Book


img_8422Our theme this week complimented our students Unique unit for the month.  We found several people who were an important part of the American Revolution and talked a little bit about them and what their parts were during this time in history.  We have 2 of our students featured on the front and the back of the book dressed up as George Washington and Abigail Adams.

Take a look and find out some neat things about the American Revolution!





img_8402Here is a link to the book: people-of-the-american-revolution

People of the American Revolution


img_8249Our students are learning about the American Constitution and Bill of Rights as part of their Unique Curriculum unit this month. To compliment the unit, we decided to learn a little more about the people who helped form our country.  Our sensory groups explored boxes related to different patriots. The fine motor group discussed shapes while making their art projects and the language group “invented” a dessert.

Due to the Labor Day weekend and another hurricane day, we had a shortened week and couldn’t do all our groups but we still had lots of fun!






img_8407img_8393Paul Revere, who road his horse through the streets sounding the alarm that the “British were coming”, was a silversmith. We filled his box with silver beads and 2  different sized horses. As usual, the students had a blast with the beads—-always a favorite!

img_8224Recognize differences in size of objects is a math access point.





img_8252img_8431Abigail Adams probably drank lots of tea—–that is before her friends dumped it in the Boston Harbor🙂 There were upper and lower case letter A’s and a picture of Abigail herself to find while sifting through the tea leaves.

The students enjoyed both the feel and the aroma of this box.

img_8376Recognize two objects that are identical to each other is a math access point.





img_8231img_8426The Marquis de Lafayette was a frenchman who came to help with the American Revolution. The colors of the French flag are red, white, and blue like our rice! We put in the numbers 1776 and a picture of the Marquis to find at the bottom.

In addition to visual and tactile discrimination, the science access point: track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled, can be addressed in this activity.






img_8211img_8274Thomas Jefferson not only wrote the Declaration of Independence but was also an architect.

Our students got to be little architects building their own buildings with blue Floam!



img_8537Recognize that the appearance of an object or material has changed is a science access point.





img_8270img_8518We learned that Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals! For his box we put in Wikki Stix strands that could be shaped into CIRCLES like glasses.

Yeah, we had a little fun with this🙂

img_8448Recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes, such as circle or square is a math access point.





img_8244img_8218Shaving foam was used to add hair to George Washington’s head. Of course he also ended up with “hair” on his chin, cheeks, and nose!

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





img_8415img_8375Patrick Henry enjoyed hunting and fishing so we had the students go fishing in our little pond. There were 2 fish to catch with a large scoop.

Since the fish could be counted, the math access point associate quantities with number names can be addressed here.






img_8559img_8314We thought that Bath and BodyWorks country apple scent was perfect this week. After all whats more american than APPLE PIE! This yummy scent was a hit with our students and a great reminder of all the things we learned about the people of the American Revolution.

img_8320Recognize one or more body parts is a science access point.






This week our students made Ben Franklin kites.

img_8325img_8349We started by discussing the shape of our kite—–a DIAMOND. We also discussed the TRIANGLE shapes that could be seen as part of the kite—-we thought that was pretty cool!

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






img_8340img_8355Then they decorated their kites using colorful markers. This was also a great opportunity for our students to practice their communication skills asking for “more” markers or letting us know they were “all done”.

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






img_8334img_8342After they finished coloring their kites, the students used glue to attach a key made with this:  key-template. We love the story of how Ben Franklin attached a key to his kite to study electricity, so of course we had to have keys for our kites! After they students put glue onto their keys they had to turn their key over and pat it DOWN onto their kite.

This activity addresses the math access point: recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down.





img_8339img_8362TA DA—-

img_8366                                                                    —–lets go fly a kite!







We kind of stretched it a little bit this week to incorporate inventing, one of Ben Franklin’s specialties, into our group.  We decided to invent a new recipe—–we’ll call it, Banana Split Pudding!

Here is a link to our recipe:  lets-invent-a-banana-split-pudding


img_8668We used Pixon picture symbols throughout so that our students could request and inform.

The targeted symbol was presented to each child and they had to locate it on a Pixon board with 50 symbols on it.








img_8605img_8597We started by making some instant banana cream pudding.  When getting the milk out, we passed it around and talked about how it was COLD.  We poured 2 cups into a measuring cup and then poured in into a bowl.

img_8606Recognize the temperature of items, such as food, as cool or warm is a science access point.





img_8614img_8665Then we carefully added the pudding mix!










img_8620img_8625Our students got to use a wireless switch to activate the mixer.

This is always fun for them and everyone got a turn!



img_8627Recognize a predictable cause-effect relationship is a science access point.






img_8631img_8633We then counted out how many cups we needed for each student and found that we needed 6.  Everyone helped count!










img_8643We put 3 spoonfuls of the banana cream pudding into each cup.  Cara had already whipped up some chocolate pudding since we know that time is of the essence🙂

We scooped in one big spoonful of the chocolate pudding into each cup.







img_8660We all know that banana splits have whipped cream and cherries so we topped off each cup with whipped cream and chopped up cherries.








img_8674img_8656Lastly, and most importantly, we ate our newly invented dessert!  In the opinion of our students———YUM!









img_8404Thank you for joining us and we hope you enjoyed learning a little about some of the people of the American Revolution! We will see you next week for more fun and learning Group by Group!