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.

Youth Art Month book

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The theme for this week is Youth Art Month, which is observed during the month of March.  Our book takes a look at several different artists like Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, and Salvador Dali (just to name a few).  Each page shows a picture of the artist along with one of their pieces of art.  It’s so neat to see all of the different types of art!  The front page features one of our students visiting a muesum while the back page features one of our students painting.  Read the book to find out about these amazing artists!

 

 

 

Here is a link to the book: We Celebrate Youth Art Month

Youth Art Month

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March is Youth Art Month and to celebrate we learned about some famous artists. Each of the sensory group boxes represented a different artist. The fine motor group drew inspiration from some of the styles of famous artists to make their art projects and the language group made food art! This week was lots of fun and our theme also compliments the Unique Curriculum unit our students are working on.

 

 

 

 

 

SENSORY GROUP

Salvador Dali has a very famous painting with some melting clocks in a desert landscape. We replicated it using kinetic sand and some craft foam clocks (drawn by Ms. Erika) so there were 3 “melting” clocks to find. It was a fun box and the students were pretty intrigued with the clocks!

Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

The students cut different sized stars out of our Vincent Van Gogh starry night play dough! With the added blue and gold silver glitter, it sparkled quite nicely.

Recognize similarities and differences in size of common objects is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Harold Newton was one of the Highway Men famous for their Florida landscape paintings. This Florida box was fun to put together and filled with symbols of our state such as flamingoes, dolphins, pine trees, flowers, and oranges. Lots of things to explore!

The science access point recognize a model of a real object is addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia is a character in illustrator Ian Falconer’s book series.  Since Olivia is a pig, we went all pink with this box. We pulled out our pink sand and included a cute little toy pig. This play sand is really fine and perfect for sifting—-our students LOVED watching it fall from the sifter back into the box!

Track a falling object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Piet Mondrian used primary colors for his grid paintings. We put blue, red, and yellow pompoms to sort into matching plates in this box. Some of the students could do this independently while others needed help.

Either way, this was a very bright, eye catching box!

Match objects by one observable properties, such as color, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Shaving cream was perfect for drawing geometric shapes—–like those used by Alexander Calder in his mobiles.

The science access point apply a push to move an object is addressed here.

 

 

 

 

Hands were rinsed in a seascape worthy of JMW Turner. There was a little sailing ship and octopus to find in the water. There were also 2 scoops, one of which had a hole in the bottom for some fun experimentation as well as scooping practice.

The science access point recognize differences in objects can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers are the theme of some of Georgia O’Keefe’s famous paintings. She made one called Plumeria so we used that as our scent this week. We used Bath and Bodyworks plumeria and it was a light floral scent that the students really liked.

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

 

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR GROUP

On Tuesday the students made “drip” paintings like Jackson Pollock.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the students used more communication symbols to pick colors to use.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We used these kids eye droppers that we found at Walmart.  They were fairly inexpensive and a nice size. Most of the students needed a little help with this part of the activity. They were all fascinated with the process!

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

 

 

 

 

Ta Da!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                    So colorful!

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday the students made art projects inspired by Gustav Klimt.

We discussed the shape of our paper and identified it using communication symbols.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the students used a variety of cutting tools—-paper cutters, adaptive scissors, and regular scissors—-to cut strips of colorful paper.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Next we mixed all the pieces together and shared them among the students to turn OVER and glue DOWN on to their paper.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Klimt liked to add gold leaf to his paintings. We didn’t have any gold leaf but we did have gold paint and that worked pretty well!

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

 

 

 

 

 

Ta Da!

                                                                                Just fabulous!

 

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE GROUP

Since you know that we like to incorporate food into our language groups, it was a great excuse to use food to make art!

Each of our students got a piece of white bread which served as their blank canvas.  We started out talking about the primary colors: RED, BLUE, and YELLOW.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

We poured some sweetened condensed milk into 5 small cups.  We put RED food coloring into one cup, BLUE food coloring into another cup, and YELLOW food coloring into a third cup (we put 10 drops of each coloring into each cup).  Then the students got to stir the colors using brand new paint brushes!

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

 

 

 

 

 

We the talked about mixing the primary colors to make new colors. First we showed our students RED and BLUE and asked them to PREDICT what color it would make.  We did the same with BLUE and YELLOW.

Then the students mixed up the colors again—–they thought it was really neat to see the colors changing!

Observe and recognize a predictable cause-effect relationship related to a science topic is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Next, each of our students used communication symbols to indicate what color they wanted to paint with.

The colors ended up being so vibrant on the bread—-they really popped!

We found that we have some pretty good artists in our group!

 

 

 

 

Finally, after their edible art was complete, they got to eat their masterpieces.

YUM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will be gone next week for spring break but will back in a couple of weeks with more fun and learning——-Group by Group!

February After Party

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img_9113img_9685Welcome 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 month of February—–enjoy!

 

 

 

 

img_9288One of our paraprofessionals is from Minnesota, so we started the month learning about that state.

 

 

 

img_9110img_0506After learning that the monarch butterfly is the state insect,

img_9716the students sorted RED butterflies and GREEN caterpillars.

 

 

 

 

img_9114img_9328Judy Garland hails from the state of Minnesota.

 

 

 

 

img_9207Her rainbow rice box contained letter M’s and a map of the state.

 

 

 

 

img_9231img_9298Another Minnesota native was the musician Prince.

 

 

 

 

img_9631For his box, the students stamped the state’s initials in purple Bubber.

 

 

 

 

img_9154img_9203Our next box contained a variety of symbols of the state.

img_0513                                                                    Including Babe the Blue Ox!

 

 

 

 

img_0502img_9647The Minnesota NFL team is called the vikings and their colors are purple and gold.

img_9256Great to twist and wrap around each other.

 

 

 

 

img_9147img_9197The students had a little fun with the chenille stems in the team colors.

img_9139                                                                                   Kids will be kids 🙂

 

 

 

 

img_9602img_9107It gets pretty snowy in Minnesota in the winter.

img_9186                                                           So we may snow with shaving cream!

 

 

 

 

img_9221img_9188Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes.

Fishing is popular there!

 

 

 

 

img_9277For our scent this week we used Bath and Bodyworks dancing waters. The students really liked the soft scent!

 

 

 

 

img_1849img_0896Our next unit celebrated the Grammys! This unit also had a fun book with students dressed as famous singers—–check it out!

 

 

 

 

img_1823img_0854Since the Grammys are all about music, we put a variety of musical instruments in this box.

 

 

 

 

img_0996The finger drums are always a favorite with the students!

 

 

 

 

img_0859img_1020Taylor Swift’s “Red” box (red velvet cake mix) had 2 heart shaped scoops because she writes lots of songs about love.

 

 

 

 

 

img_0529                                                                       Our students loved the box 🙂

 

 

 

img_1867img_1852Fun to sift and scoop—-and it had a pretty nice aroma also!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_1832img_0527Ziggy Marley comes from Jamaica, so we made some rice in the colors of the flag.

img_1812                                    This bright and colorful box was VERY eye catching!

 

 

 

 

img_1844img_1870Eric Church is a country singer so we thought a farm themed box would be appropriate for him.

img_0935There were a number of different farm animals to find in this box filled with birdseed.

 

 

 

 

img_1027img_0847Katy Perry had a hit song titled “Roar” so we made a jungle box for her!

img_0977It was a fun box with lots of jungle animals to find and listen to.

 

 

 

img_1819img_0534Bruno Mars is from Hawaii so his was a beach themed box!

img_1838                                 There were shells to find and flowers to stamp into the sand.

 

 

 

 

 

One of our teachers got to visit Machu Picchu in Peru so we decided that would be perfect for our next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the Andes mountains are found in Peru! Our students made their own mountains out of Floam,

 

 

 

 

and added 4 llamas (laminated pictures) to climb them.

 

 

 

 

 

Potatoes were first grown in Peru!

The students enjoyed the crunchy feel of the potato flakes as they uncovered a map of Peru at the bottom of the box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper is one of Peru’s leading exports.

The students stamped the letter “P” into our copper colored kinetic sand—–or just enjoyed the way it felt on their hands!

 

 

 

 

The students looked for 2 jaguars hidden in some tropical flowers.

They also had fun with the flower petals!

 

 

 

 

 

The colors of the Peruvian flag are red and white. We put a variety of red and white items in this box for the students to sort and explore.

The vibrating crab was a HUGE hit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the Amazon rainforest is located in Peru.

We also recorded some rainforest sounds on a voice output device.Our rainforest umbrella was a hit!

 

 

 

 

We traveled again for our next unit, but this time a little closer to home—–Louisiana!

We had lots of Mardi Gras beads.

                                                                     Always a big hit!

 

 

 

 

 

We had discovery bottles in the state colors——

white, blue, and gold!

There was also a box filled with Louisiana state symbols.

One of the state songs was recorded on a voice output device.

 

 

 

 

The students stamped letter L’s into our sunshine yellow play dough.

Included was a rolling pin with sun”rays” to make impressions in it.

 

 

 

 

Shaving cream was sprinkled with blue and gold glitter.

As usual, lots of fun!

 

 

 

 

We had colorful Mardi Gras rice—-

                                                                    with letter L’s to find in it.

 

 

 

 

 

The students scooped up plastic crawfish out of water.

We finished with some beignet (actually vanilla sugar) scented lotion—-yummy!

 

It’s been lots of fun—–see you next month, Group by Group!

Dr. Seuss book

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img_4164img_4234We are celebrating Dr. Seuss’ Birthday this week in our groups!  We have a wonderful book featuring several of our students dressed up as characters from varying Dr. Seuss books.  We have the Lorax, Daisy-Head Mayzie, the Grinch, and of course, the Cat in the Hat, just to name a few.  You’ll have to check out the book to see the other characters that are featured!

 

 

 

 

 

img_4204Here is a link to the book: we-introduce-dr-seuss

Dr. Seuss

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img_4681img_4551Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! We celebrated his birthday this week for Read Across America! Our sensory groups explored colorful boxes inspired by Dr. Seuss books. The fine motor groups made Seuss inspired art projects and the language group made a yummy snack to finish off the week. It was tons of fun and everyone LOVED the book we made to go with this unit—–be sure to check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

SENSORY GROUP

img_4612img_4255This box was filled with lots of Seuss (or Seuss like) items including the ABC book and a fabulous hat! The base of the box was shredded paper—-because Dr. Seuss wrote books back when they were all paper!

img_5148The language access point attend to familiar literary forms (ex. picture books) can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

img_4226img_5103The Grinch is one of our favorite characters! The students used green float to form their own Grinch figures using a plastic ornament and some hands from a play dough set. Ok so the Grinch didn’t have purple hands in the original story but we still think they worked pretty well 🙂

img_4244The science access point recognize one or more external body parts can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

img_4530img_4207We used some sawdust as the base of our Zoo box. There were a variety of animals and a little zookeeper to help take care of them. In addition, we put a picture of a lion at the bottom of the box and asked the students to find the animal that was the same as the picture.

img_5122Match animals based on a given shared characteristic is a science access point that can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

img_4671img_4715We thought our shaker pom poms kind of looked like the tops of Truffula trees! Colorful, eye catching and so much fun to shake! We haven’t brought these out for a while and the students were pretty excited to see them again!

img_5060The science access point distinguish between objects in motion and at rest can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

img_4193img_4166The students also got a little goofy and had fun pretending to be Truffle trees by putting the pom poms on their heads.

img_4209                                                                               Pretty fun stuff 🙂

 

 

 

 

img_4160img_5099The students found the letters A B and C in colorful pasta. We put in 2 of each letter so the students could match them. Of course, it was also fun to just put hands in too!

img_4214Match objects by on observable property, such as shape is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

img_4190img_5037With a Dr. Seuss unit, you HAVE to have oobleck! Gooey, drippy, always fun!

img_5130Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move, is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

img_4698img_5033There were 2 blue fish to find in our bubble filled water play. These fish were especially fun since they squirted water when squeezed—-there were lots of giggles with this 🙂

img_4548Recognize two objects that are the same size or color is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

img_4272img_5161We used Bath and BodyWorks apple scented bath gel in our water play and again for our lotion this week. This was a perfect scent to help us remember all the fun we had this week and was a hit with the students.

img_5187The science access point recognize one or more external body parts is addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR GROUP

On Tuesday, the students made their own puff balls and became little Who’s to dance on them!

img_4290After discussing the circle shape of the puff ball and identifying it using communication symbols we mixed together shaving cream and glue.

The math access point recognize when an object or material is addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_4293img_4300The students painted the mixture onto a purple circle. This thick gooey mixture dries like puffy paint—-so cool!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_4303img_4333We added a little glitter and then each student put a cutout pictures of themselves to the puffball.

The math access point recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down, is addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_4345img_4351Ta Da———- super cute!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday the students made a Horton inspired elephant!

img_4834img_4849First we discussed the shapes we were using and asked them to identify a circle using communication symbols.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_4870img_4862The students cut their circles in half using a paper cutter addressing the science access point recognize that pushing or pulling an object makes it move.

Then we looked at how the 2 half circles could be put back together to make a circle.

The math access point recognize parts of common objects can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

img_4895The elephant’s trunk started as a RECTANGLE which the students then folded an crumpled to give it some dimension!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_4918img_4943Then the students began assembling their elephants—-a big circle face, 2 half circle ears, a rectangle trunk AND 2 big, round googlie eyes!

img_5017Recognize when an object is added to a situation is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

img_4932img_4983TA Da!

img_4960Some of Horton’s cute relatives!

 

 

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE GROUP

We made an apple treat today in honor of the book 10 Apples up on Top.  Here is the recipe that we used: lets-make-an-apple-delicious-dessert

img_5210img_5208We used Pixon communication boards throughout that had fringe vocabulary focusing on cooking.

img_5277We also used super large symbols such as the symbol “turn” when it was time to turn the page of our recipe book.

 

 

 

 

img_5223img_5218We started out by crushing up graham crackers using a rolling pin.  We broke this part up between a couple of students, so after the first student crushed them a bit our students had to indicate that we needed to crush them up MORE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_5235img_5243Once the graham crackers were finished, we put them in a bowl and POURed melted butter on top.  Our students helped STIR the ingredients together then we PRESSed them into a baking pan.

img_5270Next, we combined some whipped cream and cream cheese.  Again, our students helped STIR the ingredients together.  When finished, we SPREAD half of the mix over the graham crackers in the pan.

 

 

 

 

img_5280img_5296Then, we put some apple pie filling on top of the whipped cream mix!  We ended up pureeing the apples since some of our students have special diets.

We finished it up by SPREADing the rest of the whipped cream mix on top of the apples and sprinkling some graham crackers on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_5303img_5310Our delicious apple dessert was a hit——–YUM!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_5111img_5141We all had a blast this week! Join us again next time for more fun——– Group by Group!

Louisiana book

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image003img_2948We’re taking another trip this week and finding some cool things out about the state of Louisiana.  The book includes some facts about Louisiana such as what it’s nickname is, the state flower, and one of the state songs.  Of course we had to include a little bit about Mardi Gras in there!  One of our students is featured on the front next to a cool looking parade float while the back features one of our teachers with a student from her class.

img_3560Find out some new things about Louisiana by reading the book!

 

 

 

img_3750Here is a link to the book: lets-learn-about-louisiana

Louisiana

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img_3261img_2983We traveled again this week but a little closer to home—-the great state of Louisiana! Our sensory groups explored boxes related to facts and symbols of the state. The fine motor groups used markers and crayons to complete their projects and the language group led a Mardi Gras parade.

img_3667It was a really fun week that both students and staff enjoyed—–so let the good times roll!

 

 

 

 

SENSORY GROUP

img_2611img_2929This box was filled with symbols of Louisiana including the state bird (pelican), beverage (milk), amphibian (frog), honey bees (insect), and mammal (black bear). We also recorded a version of “You are my Sunshine” one of the state songs, on a voice output device. All of this was put on a base of paper shred in state colors: blue, white, and gold!

img_2779Recognize a model of a really object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

img_3354img_2603We made 3 discovery bottles made using the state colors. One was all gold and one was all blue. The third was a mixture of white, blue, and gold beads floating around in gold glitter. VERY eye catching!

img_3295The science access point track objects in motion can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

img_2144img_2891New Orleans, Louisiana is known for its Mardi Gras celebrations and the colorful beads thrown from the floats during parades! This box was filled with beads in Mardi Gras colors. Fun to look at, wear, touch, or watch move when pushed or shaken.

img_2733Track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

img_2214img_2251Looking super cute while wearing Mardi Gras beads–

img_2881                                                                 that’s just how our students roll 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_2641img_3291This Mardi Gras rice was made for a unit we did a while ago and it was fun bringing it out again. It really is one of our prettiest mixtures and is just so eye catching! We put in letter L’s and a map of Louisiana for the students to find.

img_2172The social studies access point, associate an object, picture, or symbol with a location can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

img_3353img_2169We made some sunshine yellow play dough for the state song “You are my sunshine”. The students had fun squeezing together, pulling apart, or rolling the play dough into balls. We also included a little textured rolling pin to make some “sun rays” and a cookie cutter letter L to add to the fun.

img_2719Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

img_2220img_2240For our messy play we went back to the Louisiana state colors—-we sprinkled BLUE and YELLOW glitter into WHITE shaving cream! The students had fun making swirls, lines, letter L’s, or just squishing it between fingers 🙂

img_3316The science access point recognize pushing and pulling an object makes it move is again addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

img_2771img_3245We put some plastic crawfish and a rubber alligator to swim around in our water this week. Bath and BodyWorks vanilla sugar bath gel was also added because we thought it smelled like beignets—-those yummy New Orleans donuts!

img_2187The science access point match animals that are the same can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

img_3387img_3399The matching lotion was a hit with our students this week. They really liked its sweet aroma and after having it rubbed on hands and arms they left the group smelling like yummy beignets!

img_2266Recognize one or more external body parts is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday we made some trumpets in honor of Louis Armstrong who was born in Louisiana. We used the state colors again for this project!

img_3036We started by asking the students to identify a rectangle——the shape of the paper we were going to use.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_3086img_3094Then they used markers and crayons to color or draw on their papers.

img_3096Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

img_3179img_3127The drawings were wrapped around paper towel tubes that had been taped to paper bowls and……….TA DA!

img_3190                                                       Our students are ready to play a little jazz!

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR GROUP

On Tuesday the students decorated a pelican, the state bird, using this: pelican-template

img_2286img_2277First we discussed the state colors and asked the students to identify the color blue using communication symbols.

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

 

 

 

 

 

img_2352img_2336Then the students scribbled on their penguins with blue and yellow markers. One of our students scribbled using a pressure switch activated vibrating massager with a marker glued to it. He activates switches using his elbow and is getting really good at it!

img_2321Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

img_2333img_2378TA Da! We love the Pelican State!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE GROUP

Since Mardi Gras is coming up, we decided to have our own Mardi Gras celebration!

img_3416img_3470Our language group entertained the entire elementary staff and students with a small parade around the building.

img_3436Our students dressed up in hats and boas and gave out beads to all of the spectators.  We even put on some zydeco music to walk to!

 

 

 

 

img_3482img_3579It was a fun crowd after all——– everyone loves a parade!

img_3533                                                                    We are a really fun bunch 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Once we rounded everyone up, we gathered together in the multi-purpose room for our party!

img_3636img_3639What is a party without cake and ice cream! We had King cake of course and topped with vanilla ice cream (thanks Jeannie) with apple juice to drink. The students requested what they wanted using communication symbol sentence strips.

img_3927                                                                                       YUMMY!!

 

 

 

 

img_3996img_3842With zydeco music playing, we had to start dancing 🙂

img_4013                                                                              Our students have moves!!!!

 

 

 

 

img_3994img_3936Whether sitting and listening to music or getting their groove on—–

img_3951                                                                       the students had a blast!

 

 

 

 

image002img_3628The photo booth was also so much fun and we had lots of colorful props!

img_3984 Lots of opportunities for communication as the students had to communicate which props they wanted for their photos.

 

 

 

 

 

img_3973img_4142All of the dancing and fellowship was awesome and we all had a great time!

img_3969                                                         We hope your week was as fun filled as ours!

 

 

 

 

img_3697img_4010Be sure and join us next time for fun and learning——Group by Group!