Week 32—Birthdays


We managed to squeeze in one last week of groups before summer and decided the theme Birthdays would be lots of fun for all our groups!

Sensory Group—Birthdays

As usual we started by reading Cara’s latest book and marveled, once again, at how good our students have gotten at pressing the voice output device to repeat the repetitive line.

UnknownOur first box contained an assortment of birthday related items. We had confetti (made from a shredded magazine), party horns and paper streamers—very interesting visually.

We put in the words Family and Friends (along with some play people) because that’s who come to our birthday parties! Toy cookies and a squeaky (a nice auditory component and also good for hand strengthening) cupcake reminded us of all the yummy food.

We also tucked in a voice output device with the “happy birthday” tune for our students to find. Again, lots of language opportunities along with interesting things to touch and look at in this box!





UnknownOur box of ribbon was a big hit!  We filled the box with pieces of curled paper ribbon but also added some fabric ribbon for an interesting textural comparison.

Some of the students especially liked pulling the curled ribbon to watch in straighten out—-a nice way to practice bilateral skills!

Access points are addressed comparing the straight and curly properties of the different ribbons. In addition, relative lengths can be compared, addressing more math access points.

As always, colors are noted and discussed.






UnknownBirthday cakes always have candles—or at least at home they do 🙂

We aren’t allowed to have candles at school so we used our Wikki Stix to represent them. The Wikki Stix have that waxy feel, just like candles. They can be twisted into shapes, numbers and letters—or just crumpled into a ball all the while addressing hand intrinsic functions!







imagesWe are all huge fans of funfetti cake and thought our rainbow rice looked just like those colorful sprinkles.

Since birthdays are all about numbers, we put a few in for the students to find.









UnknownSpeaking of cake, it starts with flour which we put in our next box. We also put in some laminated candles to count (addressing math access points) and a hidden surprise—-a birthday cake picture taped to the bottom.

Visual discrimination skills and fine motor skills are also addressed in this box.

…..and of course if you like messy play, this is totally the box for you—this stuff gets EVERYWHERE 🙂







UnknownWe had to had some balloons! Since some of our students and staff have latex allergies we stuck with mylar balloons. Our students really enjoyed playing with them!

Visual tracking is, of course, addressed as they move about. Eye hand coordination skills are addressed when reaching for or hitting the balloons. There is also an auditory component as the slightly deflated ones are grasped and crumpled.

Literacy skills are addressed when reading the words on the balloons.







UnknownWe let our students vote which color to make our shaving cream “icing” and then let them have a blast mixing it all in.

Great to practice prewriting patterns or just to engage arm movements.











UnknownAfterwards we got to rinse our hands in cake scented body wash (from philosophy) and rubbed on our vanilla sugar lotion to help us remember what a “sweet” time we had today!












Fine Motor Group—-Birthdays

UnknownOn Thursday we read Cara’s book and proceeded to make party hats! We started by passing out and counting 8 red party hats. The hats were give aways—which we love 🙂

We discussed the hat’s shape (cone)—-addressing math access points.










UnknownWe glued on pieces of tissue paper. Some of the students applied their glue by using brushes to reinforce tool use skills. Others dipped the paper into glue bowls (made from caps), addressing eye hand coordination and pincer grasp.

We discussed the colors of the various tissue paper squares and counted how many were put onto the cone.








imagesSome fabulous foam glitter stickers gave us another opportunity to work on pincer grasp and bilateral coordination skills. Some of our students could peel them apart independently but most needed some help.










UnknownAlright, these are some pretty festive looking hats!


Time to get the party started 🙂












On Thursday we read Cara’s book again and had fun picking out different details in the pictures. Our art activity was making cupcake pictures.

UnknownFirst we gave the students an opportunity to make a choice regarding what color paper they wanted. When everyone was finished we counted the 8 rectangular pieces of paper, addressing math access points.

Everyone practiced “writing” their name on the bag of the paper.










UnknownNext we asked out students to decide if they were going to make 1, 2, or 3 cupcakes and handed them the corresponding amount of small brown rectangles.

In addition to addressing number identification, this also practices answering in the testing format our district uses.

We asked the students to draw vertical “down” lines using a marker.

Some really nice skills emerging with this student, we are so proud 🙂






imagesAfter the rectangles were glued to the paper we added some  colorful cotton ball frosting.

Lots of opportunities to work on pincer grasp and eye hand coordination here!

However, for some of our students just allowing  their hand to be placed to help tap down the cotton balls is a huge leap in their participation.

Needless to say, we celebrate every students efforts 🙂






imagesWe added some glitter sprinkles and——Ta-Da—–some yummy cupcakes that look good enough to eat.











Language Group—Birthdays

imagesWe started by looking at the directions for making cupcakes that Cara had printed out. Lots of steps to keep track of and remembering what comes “next” and who’s turn it is!












Next we picked  out a big mixing bowl.

And then we put  in the cake mix. We discussed the concepts of in and out addressing language and access points.











UnknownThen we added water and oil. Comparing the different measures and cups addressed  math access points.

In addition, graded motor control, bilateral skills,  and eye hand coordination are practiced.









imagesThe recipe called for 3 eggs so this gave us an opportunity to practice number identification.

Due to concerns regarding possible salmonella issues, the adults handled the eggs.








imagesTime to stir—-some students used a switch to operate the mixer. We used an Ablenet Power Link device to accomplish this—-a very useful assistive technology device!









UnknownEverybody got a turn to put the cupcake liners in the pan—counting them to address more math access points.

Then students filled the liners with the cake batter (working on more fine motor skills) and put them in the oven for 15 minutes while the class went to music class. If they had been staying in the room we would have used a visual timer to help reinforce time concepts.








UnknownAfter the cupcakes cooled, it was time to decorate!

We counted out spoons and each student scooped a spoonful of icing  to spread on their cupcake. A few needed to be reminded to spread the icing—not to eat it straight from the spoon—kids will be kids 🙂









UnknownThen they got an opportunity to choose which color sprinkles they wanted. Again, practicing choice making from an array of  3 which is related to our alternate testing format.












UnknownTime to enjoy—-effort should always be rewarded!


YUM     YUM      YUM











UnknownAnd finally, a quick look at our cupcake words. Wow, there are a lot of words associated with making cupcakes!

Well, that really was our last group for the year! We will continue to do some posts about our school and classrooms this summer so be check them out. Hope everyone has a great summer and hope to see you again in the fall for more fun Group by Group!

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