week 1—Beach, School Tools, and the Letter A


This week our themes were The Beach for our sensory group, Cool School Tools for our fine motor group and the letter A for our alphabet group.

The Beach

Cara made a super book (she will upload it later in the week) with a repetitive line. We recorded the sounds of waves and seagulls on one sequencer and the repetitive line “at the beach” on the other.  Our students were able to add the auditory component by pressing the switch after the page was read. In addition, we passed around the “mer” smell from the Follow your Nose game.

UnknownWe sprayed water up into the air so it would gently land on the students—-like the ocean spray.

We used coconut  scented lotion as our “sunscreen”. We also had goggles and sunglasses for the students to wear.






imagesA hairdryer placed on “cool” setting made a wonderful ocean breeze!










UnknownAfter we finished the story we started our water and fluid play activities.

We made salty sea water.








imagesWe used large shells and playdoh stampers in the moonsand.











imagesStudents practiced their pincer grasps finding small shells in the play sand.









Cool School Tools

In our Fine Motor Group we talked about Cool School Tools. Cara made another wonderful book (uploaded next week) with a repetitive line. After we finished the book we got to work on our activity. Joy adapted an idea she saw in Family Fun Magazine to make a giant pencil.

imagesFirst the students cut a small paper plate in half using an adaptive scissors.

Then they picked a marker and colored one half of their halves. We like markers because they have less “drag” than crayons and have vivid colors. They also have nice fat handles which make them easier to grasp.







The adults then folded the plate into a cone shape and taped it closed. We  pointed out that it was a CONE shape, which is a math access point.

imagesPrecut yellow and pink rectangles were passed to the students. We talked about the shapes, the colors and counted each one as it was passed out.

Students practice writing their names then turn the paper over. The pink rectangle is glued to the bottom of the yellow rectangle. Squeezing glue is great for hand strengthening!

Next we passed a precut blue strip that was then glued on top of the pink rectangle.







imagesWe turned our rectangles over and glued them around paper towel rolls.










imagesSmoosh  the cone into one end.










The finished product! Some of our students started pretend writing with their pencils—–very cute.










The Letter A

In our last group, our students practice their fine motor skills, literacy and communication skills reinforcing the “letter of the week”.

UnknownWe used tongs to Add Ants to A bowl. Counting the bowls as we passed them to each student.

Joy has a variety of tongs for the students to choose from.  Working with tongs is a great pre-scissor activity.

We keep some post-its and a marker handy to write down any A words. We stick them on the table so the students can see them, point to the words etc.  If we use one of the words again, we pull the post-it off and hold it up.

imagesNext we buttoned Apples on the Apple tree.











imagesWe then passed out worksheets from Autumn Activities: Apples Apples Everywhere by Peggy Hundley Spitz, OTR and purchased from Therapro.

Students were given a choice of red, yellow or green tissue paper. When taking the Alternate Assessment our students have to pick from 3 choices.

The tissue paper was then torn into smaller pieces and glued onto their apples.

Tearing paper is a great pre-scissor/bilateral coordination activity.



Well that’s it for our first week. We hope you find some useful information and come back next week for more activities Group by Group!


10 responses »

  1. I am about to move into a reception / Year 1 / Year 2 class in the Special Needs school I work in in London and am so happy to have your amazing ideas to use. They are so creative and inspiring.

    • Thank you so much Rachel! We started Group by Group hoping to inspire but also to be inspired. Good luck with your class and please keep in touch, we would love to hear what you are doing over in London!

  2. LOVE that you used my book! My books are a result of working with students in the Asbury Park, Neptune, Union Beach, and Ocean Township schools! I always want my kids to enjoy what they are learning!!!!! If you ever need more ideas, check out the ones on our site http://www.ottogo,com–Peggy Hundley Spitz, OTR

    • Thanks so much Peggy, we actually used another one of your ideas in this weeks post! I really enjoyed your website and I am sure I will be visiting it often. Joy

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