September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day—–who knew! We decided that it would a great theme and an opportunity to learn more about elephants. Our sensory group explored boxes that related to places we would find elephants. The fine motor group stamped and painted elephants. In the language group we had an elephant dance party—–how fun is that!
There are 2 different kinds of elephants—-African and Asian. We decided to represent them with some cool and colorful discovery bottles. The African discovery bottle contained beads with the colors of the continent—-black, green, and red. There was also a little elephant bead to find floating around. The Asian discovery bottle was filled with colorful sequins like those that might decorate the headdresses the elephants might wear during a festival. There was another elephant to find in that bottle also.
One of the coolest things about elephants are their TRUNKS. This box contained our grey Floam which has an interesting texture and is easily moldable into shapes—-such as an elephant’s trunk! Most of our students really enjoyed squeezing, rolling, pushing and pulling the floam but some of them did not like it at all. While we encourage exploration we try to always respect our students preferences.
Bilateral skills are addressed as students use their hands to roll the Floam into tubes. The science access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is also addressed.
This box was total fun, it contained a voice output device that had elephant sounds recorded on it. We also included a small plush elephant and an elephant hat. Our students had a blast with this box, such great opportunities for pretend play……and they looked SO CUTE in the hat 🙂
Recognize a model of a real object is a science access point addressed.
Here at home, one place to see elephants is the circus. Our circus box was filled with these colorful packing peanuts and a cute little circus elephant. We also put in a cup for filling and pouring——so much fun! This was also a great opportunity to practice fine motor skills such as pincer grasp.
Solving problems involving small quantities of objects using language such as enough, too much, or more is a math access point that can be addressed here.
Another place we might see elephants is at the zoo. Our zoo box was filled with some coarse sawdust—-kind of like the sawdust at the bottom of the circus tent. Since it was coarse rather than fine, it was easily brushed off hands. This was the first time we have used this and we were pretty happy with the way it turned out. Of course, we made sure to watch our students very carefully since this material is not edible.
This box allows the opportunity to address the science access point match animals that are the same since there was more than 1 elephant in the box.
A super fun way to address the science access point apply a push to move an object.
In this activity the science access point recognize water as a liquid is addressed.
We finished with some banana scented lotion from World Market. Bananas are another fruity snack that elephants enjoy. We left our students smelling totally yummy—–with the precaution to stay away from hungry elephants 🙂
Recognize one or more external body parts is the science access point addressed here.
FINE MOTOR GROUP
Recognizing objects with 2 dimensional shapes is a math access point. Identifying objects by one observable property such as color is a science access point.
The grey paint was applied to an elephant stamp with a foam brush. An empty thread spool was hot glued onto the stamp to make it easier for our students to grasp. The students took turns stamping 3 elephants onto their papers.
The math access point associate quantities with number names is addressed here.
On Thursday we made fun elephant masks!
We started by cutting paper plates in half using our switch operated electric scissors—-which are pretty darn cool 🙂 Of course we discussed the shape of the plate and the fact that we were going to cut 1 plate into 2 halves!
The math access points recognize a common object with a two-dimensional shape and distinguish half from whole using objects can be addressed in this activity.
After the ears were cut, Ms. Katie stapled the ears onto another paper plate (with eye holes already cut out) and the students began painting their elephants. They really did an AWESOME job—–we were so PROUD!!!
Probably the coolest part of this art project was the trunk. We made it using some trash to treasure spiral notebook bindings—–are we creative or WHAT 🙂
Attending to oral presentations (ex. stories, songs, verbal messages) is a language access point.
We practiced following directions, such as STOMP YOUR FEET, SWING YOUR ARMS, HIT THE DRUM, and of course, DANCE! Some of our students required a little bit of assistance swinging their arms like a trunk might swing on an elephant, but for the most part, they did really well!
Recognize and respond to common sounds is a science access point.
The students, AND teachers, had lots of fun at our elephant dance party!