Week 23—Florida and Letter W


Our theme for our Sensory and Fine Motor groups was Florida and our theme for our Language group was Letter W.

Sensory Group—Florida

The Unique Curriculum topic this month explored home, family and where you live, so we we chose our home state as our theme this week. We hope you enjoy exploring our wonderful state with us ūüôā

We started our session by looking at a map of Florida. We pointed out where we live and where we might like to visit.

Then we read Cara’s book. Our students took turns activating the voice output device to comment on things we might see in Florida. We were quite excited when one of our students started kicking his feet (he activates the switch with his foot) as soon as we told him it was his turn.

Looking at maps and identifying places on maps is a social studies access point. Reaching for the map, since we held it vertically, helps strengthen shoulder stability.





Florida is the Sunshine State!

Our box of sunshine contained  soft, round, yellow pom poms and some hard, rayed yellow shapes (from a set of manipulatives).

These bright and cheery items let us compare properties of  materials: a science access point.






The next box contained some dried moss, just like the spanish moss that hangs from oak trees in Florida. It had a dry crinkly texture which was very different from the soft black bear “fur”. Again, exploring contrasting properties of materials is a science¬†access point.

We put in a plastic orange and orange slice. This let us compare part to whole concepts which is a math access point.

There were lots of other cool Florida symbols that our students enjoyed pulling out which gave us lots of opportunities to explore language and literacy skills!




Seminole Indians are native to Florida.

They are known for the  bead work on their clothing. We put our colorful beads in some sealed bottles.

We also put in a few shells to encourage  visual discrimination as the bottles are turned.

Of course they are also lots of fun to shake, adding an auditory component!





In our next box we learned about alligators—we have lots of them in Florida!

Our alligator puppet had a zipper mouth which gave our students the opportunity to practice some activities of daily living skills. ¬†Feeling the open zipper ¬†was a safe way to touch a gators sharp teeth ūüôā

We found a toy that  reminded us of an alligators  bumpy, rough skin.  Also included was in the box, was a gator puzzle piece and a little rubber one. Comparing the sizes of the large gator puppet and a small rubber alligator targets a math access point.




Cape Canaveral, where men were first  launched into space!

Black beans look like the dark night sky and are so nice to scoop or pick up with fingers to practice pincer grasp skills. Lots of tactile input is given when burying/digging out the astronaut and moon.

We also put in a small star shaped cookie cutter, can you find it?

Discussing the star shape and the sphere shaped moon addresses math access points.




Yikes, we are also known for hurricanes! Put a hair dryer on a high, cool setting and you have WIND.

Lots of giggles and smiles erupted as hair was blown or the wind touched their hands. Our students loved this so much, we ended up bringing the “wind” into the Fine Motor and Language groups also!

Exploring the effects of wind/weather is a science access point and the tactile effects increase body awareness.




Ok, we finally¬†got to the¬†beach! We¬†have miles¬†of it here to¬†walk along¬†barefoot (we¬†found this¬†plastic foot¬†on a¬†halloween¬†clearance¬†rack). The foot was¬†a HUGE hit—no¬†pun intended ūüôā

We looked for the letter F and made seashell impressions in the sand.






Other students enjoyed trying to catch the sand as it as it was spilled from the shell—-so much fun in one little box!










Next we practiced our¬†prewriting strokes in¬†“key lime pie”, our¬†state pie. Its actually¬†vanilla pudding but¬†its a similar color to REAL¬†¬†key lime pie—and a lot cheaper ūüôā

The tactile aspect of finger painting helps reinforce motor memory patterns and is a great way to encourage hand and arm movements.





We rinsed our hands¬†in orange scented¬†water and took a¬†little time out¬†for some fishing, sometimes with a little help from our friends ūüôā

Using the fishing pole to catch the fish promotes shoulder stability and eye hand coordination. The opening in the fish tails also makes them easy to grasp with hands.

Counting the fish as they are caught  addresses math access points.



We had some other fish that were squirters! Fun to squeeze, working on grasp skills. Also fun to have the water squirt on your hand! We were really excited to see this student actively moving her fingers and smiling during this activity.

After drying our hands, we rubbed on some orange scented lotion. A wonderful citrus scent to help us remember all the things we learned about our state today!

Thank you Ms. Metra for donating that yummy scent!







Fine Motor Group—Florida

On Tuesday, we read Cara’s book about Florida. The students got excited as they recognized some of the familiar places and things pictured.

Talking about the different things they point out allows for lots of language and literacy opportunities.





Then we proceeded to make¬†a¬†palm tree—one of the¬†most recognizable¬†symbols of Florida!

We started by counting out rectangular pieces of white paper, working on math access points, of course!

Then we made a “down” stroke¬†using a foam brush¬†and brown paint.

We helped our students with the initiation point but they did a really nice job of completing the stroke. we were so proud!



Then we painted one of their hands with green paint and counted as we pressed it at the top of the brown line 2 times.

We told you we were making a “palm” tree ūüôā

Some of our students could do this step independently but most of them needed some assistance.





WOW, doesn’t this make

you think of Florida ūüôā









On Thursday we read Cara’s book again. Once again our students did a great job helping us read the repeating line. We didn’t talk about them in our book but Manatees are some of the wonderful animals that are native to Florida and we wanted to do a project that included them.

To get started on our activity, we counted out rectangular pieces of blue paper (addressing math access points).

Then we tore pieces of blue and green tissue paper. Tearing the paper helps promote bilateral coordination and fine motor skills.

We are making an underwater habitat for a manatee!





Our students dipped the tissue into glue and glued it onto the paper. Crumpling the paper was encouraged!

Grasping the paper encourages pincer grasp skills and eye hand coordination.

This student needed a lot of help with his pincer grasp skills last year, but look at him now! Joy (the OT) is very pleased.




Then we painted our manatee. Joy drew the outline on some white craft foam. Its texture really resembles that of a manatee, just perfect for our project!





We added a googlie eye, OF COURSE, and glued our manatee into its habitat.


Jeannie’s hallway looks so cute with the palm trees and manatees hanging on the wall!




Language Group—Letter W

We started by Wadding up some scrap paper.

This activity is great for encouraging bilateral coordination and palmer arching.

And its really fun!






Then We took out the hair dryer again and made some Wind!

The students had so much fun Watching the hair dryer blow the paper Wads down the  table. It was also fun to Watch our post-its Wave.

Most of the students could hardly Wait for their turn with the hair dryer ūüôā

This activity addresses shoulder stability and eye hand coordination.

Discussing the effects of Wind addresses science access points.






Next We Wiped out a W on the dry erase board.

Following the strokes promotes Motor Memory for letter formation and Working on a vertical surface promotes shoulder stability.

We also made it big enough to sneak in a crossing midline component.





Now We are going to make a Walrus!

For our project, some of our students cut strips of White  paper using our paper cutters.

These are going to be some Walrus tusks!







Other students practiced cutting on curved lines (this is going to be the muzzle). They needed a little help but really did a nice job.

As usual, we had a variety of scissors, both adaptive and regular on hand to suit our students needs.







We used our hole punches to cut 2 large White circles and 2 small black circles using our hole punches. We love these because they make it easy for our students to cut circles and they help with hand strengthening.

Comparing the relative sizes and counting the circles addresses math access points.





We glued all the pieces onto a brown paper lunch bag.

Assembling this addresses following directions, fine motor skills and visual spatial concepts.






Wow! A Wonderful Walrus!

Isn’t he just so super¬†cute ūüôā











What fun to play Cara’s latest sound game. Lots of cool W sounds to listen for this Week.

Watch out for that Wasp!








Whew—what a lot¬†of W words we found today. There were so many and scattered all around the table—-here are just a few of them!






It was just an awesome week, we had a blast! We hope you join us again for more fun Group by Group.

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