Winter Olympics


IMG_1964It was all about the Sochi Winter Olympic Games this week! We learned about the Winter Olympics, the country of Russia, and had fun competing in some games of our own.

Our students are learning about maps as part of their Unique Curriculum unit this month so our theme reinforced some of the concepts they were learning about. Read along to see all our activities.





IMG_1813We looked at a map and traced the way east from the USA to Russia. It is a long way and to get there you have to ride on an airplane. We used  a vibrating massager to get the feeling of the engine vibrations. The massager had 2 different speeds which made for a lot of fun—-higher speed if you are flying on a super jet! Most of our students really liked the massager but for those who were  more tactile averse, we turned it off completely and let them just touch the soft velvety covering.

Recognizing and responding to different types of sensory stimuli is a science access point.

Recognizing a map is a social studies access point.






IMG_1826The colors of the Russian flag are red, white and blue—-just like ours! Hidden underneath our rice was a map of Russia and the letter S to find (we hid 3 in the rice).

We really enjoy watching the progress of our students as we see some of them begin to realize that there is something to discover as they brush the rice aside.

Associating a picture with a place is a social studies access point.








IMG_1701The Olympic flag has 5 colorful rings. Our next box had big, fluffy chenille stems in the colors of the rings. Our students practiced making circles and linking them together. Most of our students needed help forming the circles  but they ALL had fun trying 🙂

The social studies access point recognizing important events in artifacts is a social studies access point.

Recognizing 2 dimensional shapes is a math access point.

Identifying objects by one observable property such a color is a science access point.






IMG_1734One of the most popular olympic sports is ice hockey. Our students used a circle cutter to cut hockey pucks out of the black play dough. This is the same play dough we made for our pirate unit. It was kept in the fridge and has lasted quite nicely!

Recognizing 2 dimensional shapes is a math access point.

Recognizing the appearance of an object or material has changed is a science access point.







IMG_1914Ice skating is another super popular sport. Our discovery bottle was filled with sparkly glitter, beads and sequins—-like the costumes the athletes wear. The familiar Olympic fanfare theme could be heard when the voice output device was pressed. Our students really enjoyed both of these items!

The science access point of tracking objects in motion is addressed here.

Apply a push to move an object is another science access point addressed.






IMG_1713IMG_1890The next box was filled with leaves and flowers like the bouquets winners receive. Our students loved picking  them up, tossing them into the air and watching them drop back down. They also loved finding the medals and quickly putting them around their necks……… BUT the most popular item was the little Sochi bear. He came all the way from Russia and was donated by one of our followers, Gena—-thanks so much!

Indicating that an object has fallen is a science access point.

Explore, observe, and recognize common objects in the natural world is another science access point addressed.



IMG_1725We are learning about the WINTER games so we had to include some snow—-the shaving cream version this week! It was perfect for tracing the letter S for snow and SOCHI!

Apply a push or pull to move an object is the science access point addressed here.









IMG_1924IMG_1856Hands were rinsed in Bath and Bodyworks Candy Apple scent. We got it on clearance and decided it worked for our unit—-who wouldn’t want to eat candy apples and watch the Olympics!

Measuring cups were included for scooping fun and to address the math access point recognizing differences is sizes of containers that hold liquids.

Recognizing and responding to one type of sensory stimuli is another science access point addressed.






IMG_1744IMG_1745On Tuesday for our art project we made bobsleds. In preparation, toilet paper rolls were pinched and one end stapled together. For safety, we put masking tape over the staples.

Then we gave our students the option of painting their sled red, white, or blue. They used the communication symbols to choose their color and then pointed to the paint that matched the color they chose—-they did a really good job!

The science access point identify objects by one observable property is addressed here.

The language access point communicating a preference for familiar objects is also addressed.





IMG_1753The students then painted their bobsleds, addressing the science access point recognizing that the appearance of an object has changed.

After they bobsleds were painted, adults hot glued popsicle sticks to the bottom.








With the addition of some USA flag stickers—-our bobsleds are ready for competition.

IMG_1792                                                                                                       Go Team USA!




IMG_2110On Thursday we made a Russian flag. We started by counting the sides of a white rectangle and also counting the rectangles as they were passed out. The math access points recognizing common objects with 2 dimensional shapes and recognizing the sides of a square or rectangle are addressed here.

Then we used our paper cutter to cut strips of red and blue paper—–making 2 more rectangles!

The science access point apply a push or pull to move an object is addressed when using the paper cutter. It is also excellent for promoting a pincer grasp!






IMG_2138IMG_2133The blue strip was glued to the bottom of the white paper and the red strip on top of that. Sochi 2014 was then glued into the middle.

Recognizing a movement that reflects a spatial relationship is a math access point addressed.

Another math access point is recognize when an object is added to a situation.




Ta Da……. a fabulous Russian Flag!

IMG_2130                                                                                                Hurray for Sochi 2014!!!




We decided to have a Winter Olympics event during our language group this week.  It’s always so nice to be able to reiterate something we have talked about before, and since we had recently gone over FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD, having an event just seemed appropriate. Recognizing the next step in a simple sequence is a math access point.

IMG_2029We made our bobsleds from some toy boats we found on the give away table—–they were perfect! There were even slots so we could add little people. We cut out some cardboard and made each of our students a bobsled teammate by adhering their picture to a small piece of cardboard.  They always love to see their picture and it makes the activity so much more personal.

Identify picture of self is a language access point.

We placed the teammates face down and our students got to pick 3 teammates to race each other randomly. Putting the racers in their bobsled was a great fine motor activity!





IMG_2041Once the racers were placed in their bobsled, it was time to race.  A long, skinny cardboard box covered in white paper made a perfect bobsled run—-very authentic looking 🙂

On your mark…get set…GO!

The students had to wait until they heard “go!” which appeared to be harder than it sounds, but they did a great job.  They had so much fun watching the bobsleds go down, cheering for their friends,  and seeing who won FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD place.

Tracking moving objects is a science access point.






IMG_2005After a few races, we had the awards ceremony.  We used a voice out device to play the Olympic fanfare as we handed out the medals—-donated by Jimmy the intern. Thanks Jimmy!

Obviously the medals were a huge hit 🙂


We had a great time learning about the Winter Olympics this week. Join us again next week for more fun and learning Group by Group!

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