Week 19—Groundhog Day and Letter S


This week our theme was Groundhog Day for our Sensory and Fine Motor groups. Letter S was the theme for our Language group.


Sensory Group—Groundhog Day We read Cara’s book “What will the Groundhog See?”  The voice output device was used to ask that question on each page. We then let our students vote (by using eye gaze, gestures, or vocalizations) on whether they thought the groundhog would say “spring” or “6 more weeks of winter”. We counted the votes and discussed which side got the most votes, addressing math access points.

Later in the week, our student who picked “6 more weeks of winter” was quite pleased with himself upon finding he and the famous Phil made the same prediction.





Then we turned the lights off and took turns making shadows (using a flashlight and a storage box lid as the background). Our students enjoyed looking at their shadows as well as watching the light move around, addressing visual tracking.








We placed the letter G and the number 2 in some “dirt” (made from coffee grounds). Groundhogs live in burrows that they dig and Groundhog Day is on February 2.

Some of our students responded very positively  to the coffee aroma indicated by their turning towards it and smiling. Others enjoyed sifting or scooping through the grounds.

What a fun way to address emergent literacy skills!







One of the themes of Groundhog Day is opposites,  so our next

sensory box was filled with black and white items, reminding us of light and shadows.

We filled it with black and white pom poms, chenille stems, beads, and yarn, black felt, white sheepskin, a white dusting glove, a black ball and a black film container. We had lots of opportunities for exploring the properties of materials a science access point.

Its always fun seeing what gets pulled out 🙂






We continued our opposites theme with our next box which contained white rice and black beans—more scooping and sifting fun! Touching and exploring the rice and beans also builds tactile awareness.








When the groundhog comes out of his burrow, he predicts either a coming spring or more winter. So our next box contained items related to both seasons.  We put in some flower blossoms, leaves and sun glasses for springtime fun. Snowflakes, snowmen and wooly scarves to remind us of winter.

This box gave our students opportunities to practice grasping skills in addition to comparing the properties of objects and seasons.

The sunglasses were fun addition and our teachers got some cute pictures of students wearing their “cool” shades.




And  the ultimate opposite—oobleck!!!! Its a liquid!    Its a solid! Just so wonderful for tactile explorations, in addition to practicing finger movements and prewriting patterns.









Then we rinsed our hands in Old Spice Denali scented water. It had that woodsy scent that reminded us of the burrows where groundhogs might live. We kept the water cool, just like the great outdoors!

This student is practicing his scooping skills which help with his self feeding program and eye hand coordination.






We finished with a soft cuddly length of brown fake fur. A lovely little reminder of that cute little groundhog 🙂 We discussed its properties—brown and soft— building language skills related to science access points. In addition, running fingers across its surface increases tactile awareness.







Fine Motor Group—Groundhog Day

On Tuesday we read Cara’s book again and took turns wearing a top hat (like the groundhogs helpers) and petting our plushy groundhog.

Ms. Katie can totally rock a top hat!









Then we counted out 1 green paper rectangle for each student. They used the adaptive tabletop scissors to snip across one side of the paper. Its fun to watch our students get more and more independent!









Then we put glue on the paper. And rolled it around a paper cup.

This activity addresses bilateral coordination, hand strengthening, and graded motor control.








We also glued a clip art groundhog to a tongue depressor and inserted it into a slit in the bottom of the cup. Moving the tongue depressor lets the groundhog pop in and out of his burrow. Manipulating the stick helps address arm movements, graded motor control and directional concepts.

Hmm—–what will the groundhog see?










On Thursday we read about the groundhog again and had more fun playing with shadows. Then we made our own groundhog from an idea we found on the Family Fun website.

First we counted out 8 green groundhog poster board cutouts and 8 black construction paper shadow silhouettes.









We put glue onto the green cutout and put the

 black shadow on top—then pat pat pat! Squeezing the glue builds hand strength and patting the paper down provides lots of tactile input to the palmer surface.









We flipped it to the other side…..

AND…..discovered a groundhog picture pre-glued to the other side! We printed this out from the Family Fun website. Picking up the paper to turn it over helps work on grasp skills, forearm rotation in addition to spatial concepts and following directions.

We painted the groundhog brown. Some of our students are starting to show such nice progress in their ability to hold and manipulate their paint brushes—we are so excited by their progress!









And here he is—

looks like this little groundhog is predicting an early spring 🙂











Language Group—Letter S


First our Students chose which color play dough they wanted. We gave them a choice of 3, which is the same as the Alternate Assessment format.

Opening up the containers helps address bilateral hand Skills and hand intrinsic functions. Then we rolled the play dough into Snakes addressing graded motor control.




Then we picked Some Snacks to String! We just love this set of beads, So much fun! We purchased it from Learning Resources.









For our students who had difficulty with manipulating the string, we used aquarium tubing.









Next, we made Some Spiders, Starting by

 Slicing 8 black paper legs. We used our paper cutters to cut nice Straight lines.











Then we Stuck the legs onto the back of a black paper plate (picked up at an after Halloween sale). We counted 4 for each side, addressing spatial relations concepts. We used glue to attach the legs and then used tape to make Sure they were Secure. Of course, its so much fun to use tape:)







Then we flipped the plate over and attached some googlie eyes! We had our students count out 2 eyes to work on one to one correspondence.

Look at this Super Scary Spider—-don’t Scream!!!!








We finished with Cara’s Sound game,









And picking out our favorite S words—-there were a lot to choose from this week!








Please join us next week, we have lots of fun planned  Group by Group!

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