Author Archives: jd785

About jd785

Joy (Occupational Therapist), Cara (Speech Therapist) and Jeannie (Teacher) work with students who have significant intellectual differences. We look for ways to provide multi-sensory learning experiences to enable our students to improve their literacy, fine motor, and communication skills.

Fall Festival book

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Our school recently had the annual fall festival, so we decided to keep the celebration going by dedicating our theme to fall festivals.  Our book contains pictures from the festival.  There were lots of fun activities like face painting, hay rides, fun games, and yummy food.  Take a look at the fun we had!

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a link to the book: Let_s Go To The Fall Festival!

Fall Festival

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It is that time of year when the leaves start changing color and the days are cooler—-everywhere else but here lol. Despite the fact that it still feels like summer, our school had a fabulous fall festival and we are using it as our theme this week. The sensory groups explored lots colorful boxes. The fine motor groups made some leafy crafts and the language group led a costume parade inviting all their elementary friends to a mini fall festival.

 

 

 

 

SENSORY GROUP

We filled this box with items associated with fall and things you might see at a fall festival such as silk fall leaves, pumpkins, play food, and scarecrows. We even included a little tractor to pull a hay ride!

 

 

Recognize a model of a real object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

There was a chili cook-off at our festival and since chili usually contains beans, we brought out our dried mixed beans for this box.

We added some Bingo Game numbers for the students to find.

 

Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

This orange rice with black beans was also a perfect box for this unit. The students searched for letter F’s and there was a colorful fall picture to find at the bottom of the box.

 

 

Recognize objects that are identical to each other is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

Instead of 1 color of play dough, this week we had 2! The students had fun using a leaf shaped cookie cutter to cut out yellow and red leaves. When mixed together we even get a third color—-orange!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

This fall umbrella is one of our favorites. The yellow umbrella with the colorful craft foam and silk leaves was very eye catching and a big hit with the students. To add to the fun we included some eye-catching bubbles—-just like the bubbles we had at our festival!

 

Track objects in motion is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

There are always lots of yummy treats to be had at a fall festival. To represent all the yumminess, we made some chocolate cloud dough. Fun for molding or scooping, the students had a blast!

 

 

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

The students used a sieve to scoop up craft foam leaves or a little orange dish scrubber floating in the water.

 

 

 

Match objects by one observable property, such as shape, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Bath and BodyWorks made the perfect scent for this week—–pumpkin pie paradise! A yummy scent that left our students smelling delicious 🙂

 

 

Recognize one or more external body parts is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR GROUP

On Tuesday we made a fall collage.

First, we identified the color of our fall leaves using communication symbols.

Identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Then we made some branches and twigs using brown markers. Some of the students used one of our switch operated writers we made using a switch toy and some velcro.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

After they finished drawing, the students glued some leaves onto their branches. They also glued on a little scarecrow that they colored earlier in the day.

 

 

Recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down, is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

TA DA!

We are having some fall fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday we made a tree with colorful fall leaves using this:tree template

The students identified the color of the leaves and the shape of our paper using communication symbols.

 

 

 

Match objects by one observable property such, such as color, is a science access point. Recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes, such as circle or square, is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

We used a crayon resist technique by painting watered down orange paint over brown crayon.

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.

Then the students placed a paper towel on top to soak up the extra paint.

Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Next, they glued some colorful silk leaves on to their trees.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TaDa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                   Happy Fall Ya’ll!

 

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE GROUP

This week our students led their friends on a costume parade around the elementary building to the multi-use room we had set up for a fall festival.

First everyone had to pick our their costumes. Ms. Robin’s class decided on a pirates theme!

 

 

 

 

Adjust body movement or nonverbal expression with prompting as necessary to communicate wants and needs, is a language access point.

 

 

 

 

The students were pretty pleased with their selections and we think they looked pretty grrrrrreat!

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                   Ahoy mateys!

 

 

 

 

 

The students set sail, inviting all their friends to join the fun!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other classes dressed up too—–we had some dwarves, good witches, and……..

 

 

 

 

                                                      ……….a pack of dalmatians!

 

 

 

 

 

We recently got this really cool wheelchair tunnel which we brought out for the first time! To give it a kind of “fun house” feel, we attached a rope light to the top—–very eye catching to our students.

We talked about going IN the tunnel and coming OUT of the tunnel.

                                                               This was a hit!!!

 

 

 

 

 

It wouldn’t be a fall festival without some yummy treats!

 

 

 

 

 

To tell us what they wanted, our students used communication symbols.   They formed sentences by indicating “I want ___ please” .    There was a communication strip at each different food or drink so that they could request what they wanted.  Adults helped, as needed, pointing to the symbols to model the use of them or providing hand over had help for those who need a bit more assistance.

 

 

 

 

 

The photo booth was a hit!

 

 

 

 

 

Our little pirates sure put on a fabulous fall festival!

It was a wonderful time to socialize and practice our communication skills!  The costumes were a major perk 🙂

 

 

 

 

We had such a fun week! Join us next time for more fun and learning——Group by Group!

 

 

 

 

Colombia book

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We are learning about the country Colombia this week!  This is the home country of one of our amazing teachers, Maria.  We learned a lot about this country including some things that are exported from there as well as all of the different types of habitats there are.  It seems like a VERY cool place and we’ve already asked Maria if we can travel there with her the next time she visits 🙂  Take a look and see what you can learn about Colombia!

 

 

 

 

Here is a link to the book: Let’s Learn About Colombia!

Colombia

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Hola—-we learned about the country of Colombia this week, thanks to Ms. Maria who is from Colombia and traveled there this past summer! Our sensory groups explored boxes related to facts about Colombia. The fine motor groups practiced their cutting skills while making Colombian symbols  and the language group prepared a tasty Colombian treat!

 

 

 

 

 

SENSORY GROUP

Colombia has made different regions including a rainforest. We made our own little rainforest with vines, flowers, fruit, and a variety of animals you might find there. The fluffy plush sloth and big orange frog were big hits.

 

 

 

Recognize a model of a real object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

The Andes run through Colombia and some of the summits are permanently snow-capped. The students had lots of fun digging and making snow balls in this box of Insta Snow. This stuff feels a lot like real snow—-but not quite as cold!

 

 

Use senses to recognize objects is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Colombia is world famous for its coffee! There was a measuring spoon for scooping and letter C’s to find hidden in some very aromatic coffee beans.

Match objects by one observable property, such as size, shape, or color, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Colombia is also famous for the emeralds that are mined there. We thought our sparkly emerald green kinetic sand would be a good representation of those precious gems and we added a rolling play dough toy that left some cool “gem like” impressions in the sand.

 

 

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Colombia has some beautiful beaches—-it borders both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans! In this sand filled box there were shells and a shovel. There was also a picture of a jaguar to find at the bottom of the box.

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

 

 

 

 

 

There are active volcanos in Colombia! For our messy play we made our own volcanos using shaving cream and food coloring. The students were pretty fascinated watching the changing colors as the red and yellow colors combined to make the lava on our laminated volcano.

Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

So, a lot smaller than the Pacific, our little ocean contains a number of fish to catch. To add to the fun, the fish could squirt water when squeezed.

 

 

 

Recognize two objects that are the same size or color is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Bananas are a top Colombian export so we used that as our scent this week. The water was scented with Minions bath gel we got at Walmart. We purchased the lotion a few years ago at World Market but unfortunately they don’t carry it anymore 😦  Banana is a really strong scent which the students loved!

Recognize one or more external body parts is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR GROUP

On Tuesday we made some Andean condors which are a symbol of Colombia. We used this template: Andean condor

First, we discussed the shape of our background paper using communication symbols.

Recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes, is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students glued the condor’s body DOWN on to the background paper—-making sure to “pat pat pat” to make it stick.

Recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the students used adaptive scissors to snip some wing feathers. We used either table top or switch operated scissors, depending on the students skill level.

 

 

The science access point recognize a change in an object is addressed here.

 

 

 

 

The wing was glued on to the top of the body—–we wanted it to be able to flap a little.

We also squeezed out a dot of glue and added a cool looking googlie eye.

 

 

 

Match one object to a designated space to show one-to-one correspondence is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

TA DA!

 

 

 

 

 

The Andean Condor is a symbol of Columbia!

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday we made a Colombian flag.

First we discussed the color of our background paper and identified it using communication symbols.

Identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the students used a paper cutter or switch to cut a strip of red paper and a strip of blue paper.

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We glued the red strip at the bottom of the yellow paper and then glued the blue strip above the red strip. Some of the students preferred to glue the blue strip on first and then put down the red strip—–either way worked 🙂

Recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Ta DA!

We love Colombia!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE GROUP

We made a pretty tasty frozen drink this week that is made in Colombia: Let_s Make Limonada de Coco!, also known as Coconut Limeade.

We started out by measuring out the cream of coconut and putting it in the blender.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, we had to add some ice.  Each of our students felt the bag of ice.  We talked about how it felt COLD.

 

 

 

Recognize objects as warm or cold is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Since we needed 5 cups and our measuring cup only holds 2 cups, our students had to indicate that we needed MORE.

Solve problems involving small quantities of objects or actions, using language, such as enough, too much, or more, is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, we needed to add some lime juice.  Just like the lemon juice we used a couple of weeks ago, we had each of our students taste a little bit.  We talked about how it tasted SOUR.

We also let our students try the agave nectar, the next ingredient to go into the blender.  We talked about how it tasted SWEET.

Recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

We measured out our lime juice and added it to the blender.

The math access point recognize when an object is added to a situation, is addressed again here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the ingredients were in the blender, our students turned it on using wireless switches.

Recognize that electrical systems must be turned on in order to work, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it was smooth, we all got to try it.  Not one of the most popular things we’ve made—a little too tart——– but a good experience nonetheless 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adios for now! Join us again next time for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!

We Love Charlie Brown book

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Our theme for this week was lots of fun!  We took a look at some of the characters in the comic Peanuts.  Some of our amazing students posed as the characters–from Charlie Brown to little sister Sally to piano-laying Shroeder.  Our awesome art teacher, Judy, and some of her talented students helped us by painting a Peanuts background for our models to pose in front of.  Very cool!

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a link to the book: Who Are The Characters In Peanuts

We Love Charlie Brown!

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The comic strip Peanuts first ran on October 2, 1950. So, this week it is all about Charlie Brown and his friends!  The sensory groups explored boxes related to some of the different characters in the comic strip. The fine motor groups made some colorful art projects and the language group made a Peanuts inspired treat.

 

 

 

 

SENSORY GROUP

We used plastic pine needles, a nod to the Charlie Brown Christmas special,  as the base of this box. Then we added some of the cartoon characters, a small Linus blanket, a laminated comic strip, a Great Pumpkin, and a voice output device with the theme song recorded on it!

 

Identify characters in a story is a language access point.

 

The Joe Cool sunglasses were a hit……

our students always rock a pair of sunglasses 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

This box contained chenille stems in the colors of Charlie Brown’s shirt. The students could bend them like the zig zags in his shirt.

Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

In Snoopy’s box we put in some white Floam that the students could shape into clouds for a little laminated Red Baron to fly around in!

Recognize that the appearance of an object is a science access point that can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

Linus’ blanket is SOFT and Schroeder’s piano is HARD. There were a variety of hard and soft items to compare and contrast in this box.

Match objects with similar observable properties, such as size, shape, color, or texture, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

This box was dedicated to PigPen. We usually use coffee ground for anything that calls for dirt or soil but we had a little money to spend and bought this awesome clean play dirt from Beyond Play. This stuff is really cool and a lot like kinetic sand—-so you know we love it! We added some fun digging tools and a letter P cookie cutter. There was also a picture of the Peanuts characters to find at the bottom of the box.

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone loves Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin tv special so we chose pumpkin puree for our messy play this week. YES, we have done this before and it is truly messy but definitely a  different texture for the students to explore.  Some of the students loved it—–others not so much 🙂 There was also a laminated pumpkin to decorate with the orange goo.

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

 

 

 

 

 

There were different sized letter P’s to scoop up in our water play this week. For scooping we included a measuring cup and sieve shovel.

Recognize differences is sizes of containers that hold liquids is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Peppermint swirl from Bath and BodyWorks was the perfect scent for our lotion and water play. This was a really strong scent that really permeated the whole room! We definitely think Peppermint Patty would approve.

Recognize one or more external body parts.

 

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR GROUP

On Tuesday we borrowed an idea from http://whereimaginationgrows.com, it even came with the free printable silhouette we used—–how cool is that!

First we used communication symbols to identify the color of our paint this week.

Identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We watered down the paint a little bit to make it easier to spread and then the students started painting their sunsets.

 

 

 

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

After they had finished painting, we helped the students glue down their silhouettes since copier paper was a little flimsy.

Recognize a change in a object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TA DA!

 

 

 

 

Charlie Brown and Snoopy—–best friends forever!

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday we were inspired by the Great Pumpkin and made our own pumpkin Patch!

First identified the color of our pumpkins using communication symbols.

Identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the students used a switch operated LadyBug marker to make leaves and vines on  the background. It was a true group effort and the students had a blast!!!!

 

 

 

 

Share objects with a partner is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

We put the poster up on the table and gave the students regular green markers to finish make even more vines.

Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Each student then planted a big craft foam pumpkin on to the poster by gluing it DOWN.

 

 

 

 

Recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down, is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

TA DA!

We are ready for the Great Pumpkin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE GROUP

This week we made a yummy treat that we think the crew of Peanuts would enjoy.  Here is the recipe we used: Let_s Make The Great Pumpkin Mousse!

We started by putting the vanilla pudding mix and some cinnamon into a bowl.  We smelled the cinnamon and talked about how it smelled sweet.

 

 

Recognize and respond to different types of stimuli is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Next, we put a can of evaporated milk into the bowl.  Our students had to request if they wanted to help turn on the mixer.  We talked about if we were DONE mixing or if we needed to mix it MORE.

 

 

Solve problems involving small quantities of objects or actions using language, such as enough, too much, or more, is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

After it was all mixed up, we put the pumpkin puree in.  We observed how the color changed from yellow to orange.

Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we added some whipped cream next and stirred it all up.

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We counted out the number of students and divvied up the pumpkin mousse.  We topped it with some more whipped cream and a bit of cinnamon and got down to the fun part—–TASTING!

After the students ate their pudding, they used communication symbols to tell us if they liked it or not.  The verdict was YUM!!!!

 

 

 

Thanks for joining us and come back again for more fun and learning——Group by Group!

August/September After Party

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Welcome to the After Party! Each week after the weekly blog featuring activities in the elementary department is posted, our sensory cart is parked in the media center where it is available for check out by the rest of the school.

Here are photos teachers have sent of their students exploring the different sensory boxes during the months of August and September 2017.

 

 

 

 

Our first unit was What Teachers Do For Fun!

Some of our teachers take turns dressing up as Hootie our Owl mascot. For his box we put a little owl and the letters O, W, L in some birdseed.

The birdseed had a really interesting texture that the students enjoyed exploring.

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of teachers have fun at the beach! Kinetic sand is perfect for digging and making sand castles.

Lots of fun as usual!

 

 

 

 

 

 This box featured props teachers might use when participating in our annual talent show.

It was a hit!

 

 

 

 

Some teachers have fun playing with their dogs. The students had fun cutting using a dog shaped cookie cutter and some green play dough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our teachers went to Norway and hung out with some trolls 🙂 We used grey Floam and some laminated troll cut outs to make our Troll Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of our teachers love to make crafts. For them we added glitter to our shaving cream.

Shaving cream is great messy play, made even better with glitter added!

 

 

 

 

As part of Fun Day we have some fun water slides. Of course, the teachers have to try them out  🙂

Well we didn’t have any mini water slides but figured a water wheel toy would be pretty fun too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Our Year Magical is our school wide theme. We had a lot of fun with this unit! Each of the boxes related to a different Disney movie character.

 

 

 

 

This box was filled with Mickey and Minnie items.

The mouse ears hat was a huge hit!

 

 

 

 

Our Bippity Boppity Blue moon sand had some fun Disney stamps.

Lots of fun, as usual.

 

 

 

 

 

This blue and white Prince Charming rice box had some toy knights and horses to sort and match.

There was also a picture of a prince to find at the bottom of the box.

 

 

 

 

 

These toys required muscles to make them STRETCH—-just like Hercules!

Fairy dust discovery bottles were quite popular.

Very mesmerizing.

 

 

 

 

 

We put a Little Mermaid in our water play!

Super cute!

 

 

 

 

 

Next we learned about the state of California—-one of our teachers went there for vacation so we wanted to learn a little more about it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This box contained a variety of symbols of California, all in a box of blue and yellow paper shred.

Lots to discover!

 

 

 

 

California is nicknamed the Golden State.

The students had fun digging for gold in this box.

 

 

 

 

Death Valley is the driest, hottest place in the US.

The students used funnels and scoops to explore our little version of the desert.

 

 

 

 

Astronaut Sally Ride was born in California.

In addition to a little astronaut, there were 2 stars to find in this box of spacey black beans.

 

 

 

 

 

California state colors are blue and gold…….

so we put blue and gold glitter in our shaving cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We put some California coast sea life in our water play.

The sharks and dolphins were a hit!

 

 

 

 

In recognition of Farm Animal Awareness Week we chose Old MacDonalds farm as our theme.

The students dug up and planted some crops in our coffee grounds “dirt”.

There was also a picture of different fruits and vegetables to find at the bottom of the box.

 

 

 

They discussed which farm animals had fur and which had feathers.

We used Pixon communication boards to help with identification.

 

 

 

 

The students cut out different animals shapes out of the play dough and found farm related items in the raffia “hay”.

 

 

 

 

Lots of fun themes to start the year. See you next month 🙂