Week 31—Mexico and Measuring Time


Our Fine Motor and Sensory Groups learned about Mexico this week in preparation for Cinco de Mayo! The theme for our Language Group was Telling Time.

Sensory Group—Mexico

images-217Our students really enjoyed Cara’s book. We had fun discussing what we saw in all the bright colorful pictures and took turns wearing this awesome hat—thanks Ms. Dani!








imagesOur first box contained a variety of items related to our theme to give lots of language opportunities. We put in straw which is what traditionally is used to make baskets and sandals and paper streamers like the ones on pinatas.

Hidden amongst this were sea shells (for the beautiful beaches), a Mexican flag, a toy taco (yum), butterflies and a colorful bird. We put in the word “Friends” because the people of Mexico are our friends.

We also recorded some traditional Mexican music on a voice output device that was tucked into the straw and activated by both accidental and deliberate touches.





imagesThe colors on the Mexican flag are red, white and green. This box filled with soft round pompoms and long hard beads addresses color identification in addition to math access points when counting items or comparing shapes.









More red, white and green with our box of rice.Unknown

A great tactile feel as it sifts through the fingers and as the rice is shifted a surprise picture of a cactus (there are lots of cacti in Mexico) taped to the bottom of the bottom of the box.









imagesimagesWe love eating refried beans, burritos and other Mexican foods that contain beans—yum yum 🙂 With the addition of a spoon, scooping skills are addressed. The beans are also a wonderful tactile sensation as they trickle through fingers….

…. or when in a bottle, fun to






imagesCorn tortilla’s are also a part of Mexican cuisine and were represented here with our cornmeal. Students searched for the letter M for Mexico and the number 5 for Cinco de Mayo.

Of course, its also fun to scoop and catch as it spills down—-just plain wonderful stuff!









imagesMonarch butterflies migrate to Mexico each year, so we brought back our pasta butterflies and put in some laminated pictures of monarch butterflies.

The green caterpillars and orangey red butterflies had both shape and color comparisons.

And they are just so bright and colorful 🙂







imagesWe added green food coloring to our shaving cream and made guacamole (unfortunately not edible though!). Before we added the green food coloring we hypothesized “what will happen” to address science access points.

Shaving cream is always popular and a fun medium to practice pre-writing strokes.

We rinsed our hands in lime scented water and then rubbed some lime scented lotion on our hands to help us remember all the wonderful things we learned about Mexico.





Fine Motor Group—Mexico

imagesOn Tuesday, we had a great time reading Cara’s book and had fun discussing what we saw in all the bright colorful pictures. For our art activity we made some Papel Picado banners which are colorful paper fiesta decorations.

First gave our students a choice of 3 colorful rectangles of tissue paper (recycled from presents past).









imagesThen we folded it over twice and made sure that the folds were pressed really flat.  We had pre-folded and then opened the paper back up as we anticipated most of our students would need help with this step.










imagesWe used either hole punches or our table top scissors to make cut outs in the tissue paper.

Counting the cutouts in the paper addresses math access points.











images-322This is how it ends up looking when

unfolded, pretty terrific!









UnknownAnd look at how bright and colorful they look decorating the hallway.










On Thursday, we read Cara’s book again and proceeded to make some maracas for our fiesta!

imagesFirst we used our paper cutters and adaptive scissors to cut a strip of bulletin boarder trim (it was a give away and therefore free, and we like that!)









imagesWe gave each student a recycled water bottle, counting as we passed them out, of course. The strip of boarder trim was then taped around the bottle.

Manipulating the tape promotes thumb finger opposition in addition to eye hand coordination.








Then we placed 8 cups filled with different items onto the table.

We discussed what each cup contained and then gave 1 to each student.













imagesThe students were instructed to put their items into their bottles. This activity promotes bilateral coordination and pincer grasp skills.

We adapted this activity by using a funnel for those students whose grasp and release patterns were not as precise.







UnknownThe cap was screwed on (working on wrist rotation) and Ta Da—-a fabulous maraca!










imagesAs each student got their Ta Da and shook their maraca, we discussed the different sounds they each made (addressing science access points, differing properties of materials).

Everyone LOVED shaking their maracas 🙂






Language Group—Measuring Time

imagesWe talked about different ways to measure time and then had each student begin putting together their own Friday schedule.  Using a completed schedule for reference, they were given 3 choices as to what came next on the schedule.

We also referenced time of day, addressing math access points.








imagesBreakfast being first was easy but choosing “what comes next” was more difficult.

Some of our students needed us to give them some assistance by pointing to the model’s visual cue.










imagesAnd here is the final product!











imagesContinuing with our look at time  measurement, we discussed the end of the school year and began making a summer countdown paper chain.

We started by using our paper cutters to cut strips of paper.

Don’t you just love the teamwork in this picture 🙂








imagesNext we used the stapler to fasten a strip into a circle.










imagesAnd took turns putting another strip

of paper into the chain.











imagesWe counted the loops periodically and discussed how many more we needed—addressing math access points. Its getting bigger!











UnknownWow, 18 loops in the chain. It will be so much fun to take a loop off day by day as we countdown to summer 🙂











We finished as usual by looking at some of the time related words we discussed today.

Its been a great week but things are getting a little crazy around here with IEP’s, field trips, special programs and some unexpected surgeries! We may not be posting regular groups for a while but we are planning some alternate posts such as how we organize all our “stuff” and other logistical information. We are also planning to upload some of Joy’s original drawings as templates for you to download. And we will DEFINITELY be back in the fall with new ideas and activities Group by Group!

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