Friends Live in Different Places


IMG_2970Our groups complimented the Unique Curriculum theme that our students are studying this month.  As usual, we address math, language and science access points but with this unit we also address social studies access points such as recognizing differences in climates or vegetation.

Cara wrote a fantastic book with such cute pictures of children around the world—-it was a real hit with our students in each of the groups.

We had so much fun exploring the different continents.  Read along to see all the fun we had!


Sensory Group

IMG_3121IMG_3129We started our world tour in a South American tropical rainforest! Our umbrella was decorated with plastic leaves and christmas garland, bead, and yarn vines. Foam butterflies, toy snakes and frogs were attached with more yarn. A huggable monkey and jungle sounds recorded on a voice output device completed the experience.

Our students always get excited when we have an umbrella experience and this one was no different. So much fun to see their smiling faces!

IMG_2987Lots of access points can be addressed with this box, including the science access point of distinguishing between a plant and an animal and the language access points of communicating recognition of familiar persons or objects and responding to a technology resource.





IMG_3024Next came North America where we explored the colors of the Canadian flag—red and white! Our box contained soft pom poms and hard beads to compare and contrast.

Beads are always a favorite—fun to shake AND fun to wear!

The math access points of recognizing two objects that are the same size or color and recognizing 3 dimensional objects are addressed here.









IMG_3022Other countries have flags that are red, white and blue like ours.  In Europe, two of them are France and the United Kingdom.  Our colorful rice had the letters U and F to find in addition to the French and UK flags hidden at the bottom of the box.

Rice is always a wonderful tactile experience. Our students love running their fingers through it—-and grabbing handfuls to toss in the air which we try to discourage.  Although, tracking objects in motion IS a science access point 🙂

Tactile and visual discrimination skills are promoted with this activity.





IMG_3111On to Asia where flowers are a highlight of many festivals. This box contained pink petals and 3 sunflowers for sorting, counting—–or tossing into the air to watch as they drift down 🙂

The math access points of comparing quantities to 3 using language, such as more, less, or the same and or solving simple problems joining or separating sets of objects to 3 can be addressed here.







IMG_3089How exciting would it be to visit the African savannah! We filled this box with rafia and green easter grass so it looked like the different grasses you might see while on safari.

We also included some zebra striped pom poms and a variety of toy animals. Some of the animals had a button that made noise when pressed—-perfect for working on finger isolation.

The science access point of recognizing and responding to common sounds and distinguishing between a plant and an animal are addressed here.

As the students push the animals button, they also are addressing the science access point of applying a push to move an object.






IMG_3105IMG_3049What continent is covered with snow? Antarctica!!! We made a batch of our fake snow and put it in the fridge. Cold AND wet, some of our students thought it was pretty neat—–others not so much 🙂

This activity addresses the science access point of recognizing objects or materials as warm or cold.








IMG_3067We used eucalyptus scented water and lotion to remind us of the leaves that Australian koala bears like to eat! It was a pretty strong scent which all our students  seemed to like.

As the lotion is rubbed on arms, hands or back of neck (for those students who engage in hand mouthing behaviors) we talk about the different body parts—-addressing the science access point of recognizing one or more external body parts.

This activity also addresses the science access point of recognizing and responding to different types of sensory stimuli and the math access point of requesting “more” of an action or activity.







Fine Motor Group

IMG_0224-1On Tuesday for out art project, we cut out and colored the seven continents.  Joy drew a gross outline of each continent on a rectangular piece of construction paper (each a different color).  Each student chose their favorite…..

…..and proceeded to color it!

Discussing the shape of the paper addresses the math access point of recognizing 2 dimensional shapes.

This also addresses the science access point of identifying objects by one observable property.








IMG_0229-1Since the outlines were too complex for our adaptive scissors or paper cutters, we used our electric scissors to cut them out——what fun! The students really had a blast and were so fascinated by the action 🙂

This was a great activity for practicing switch usage and learning to keep your hand on the switch to keep the scissors cutting.

This activity addresses the math access point of solving problems involving actions using language such as enough, too much, or more.





IMG_0247-1Then we glued the continents down on a blue background to make our world map—-addressing the social studies access point of associating a picture with a place.

TA DA!!!!











IMG_3177On Thursday, before we started our next art project, we told the students we were going to paint with green paint, showing them the color on a communication symbol. Then we asked them to show us “green” from a choice of two by either touching the symbol or using eye gaze to make their choice.

This addresses the language access point of responding accurately and consistently to referent objects, pictures, or symbols used in routines.










IMG_3191IMG_3199Then it was time to paint a large circle that was cut from blue poster board——we’re making a global map! These sponge brushes are perfect for the job.

Discussing the shape of the poster board addresses the math access point of recognizing 2 dimensional objects.

It also addresses the social studies access point of recognizing a picture of land or water.

Of course, its also a great activity for practicing prewriting skills!







IMG_3203The words “Friends Around The World” were glued onto the circle.

The language access point of responding to new vocabulary as it is taught is addressed here.

Also eye hand coordination is practiced as the students place the paper on top of the glue.











IMG_3216Joy made some paper dolls in traditional costumes from around the world, and added the student’s photos to them. They took turns gluing them to the map—-quite fascinated by their photos!

This activity addresses the social studies access point of recognizing differences in clothing from other cultures.











IMG_3226Our finished product looks so cute hanging in the hallway outside Jeannie’s classroom….

too cute!!!!!












Language Group

While reading Cara’s book, each time we read about a continent we would hand the student who “read” the repetitive line an animal native to that continent.

IMG_3139IMG_3145IMG_3223Here is a breakdown of the animals we used with each continent: Africa–lion, Europe–bird, Asia–tiger, North America–black bear, South America–lizard, Australia–platypus, and Antarctica–penguin.  We have found that our students really enjoy holding objects and using props throughout our group seems to bring more meaning to what we are talking about.

Matching common living things with their habitats is a science access point.




IMG_3151After reading the book, we unrolled a big map of the world.  On an All-Turn-It Spinner, we taped each of the 7 continents.  We asked the students “where” they were going to go while holding up the PIXON symbol for “where”.  The students took turns activating the All-Turn-It Spinner to see which continent they were going to visit.

Using technology resources to support learning is a language access point.

Responding to new vocabulary that is introduced and taught is also a  language access point.






IMG_3158We had print outs of the students’ faces and would tape their face to the continent they landed on.

When they were through, we used PIXON symbols and the students had to verbalize or point out, “I go here”.

They had so much fun with this activity and so did we!

Matching objects, pictures, gestures/signs, or symbols to tasks in routines is a language access point.

Completing a pictorial map using pictures or symbols for designated areas is a social studies access points.





IMG_3094We loved exploring our wonderful world this past week and hope we gave you some inspiration for your own explorations! Come back next week where more surprises await—-Group by Group!

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