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.

Scotland book

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We’re taking a trip to Scotland this week!  One of our staff took a trip to Scotland last summer and she graciously let us borrow some of her amazing photos.  The book goes over some neat facts about Scotland like different animals that live there, some famous people who were born there, and even something about a mythical creature that is said to live in a lake.  Check out the book, also, to find out their awesome national animal!  You won’t be able to guess what it is.  We have a student featured on the cover and Ellen, who took the trip, featured on the back.  Check it out!

 

 

 

Here is a link to the book: Let_s Learn About Scotland

Scotland

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One of our staff members, Ms. Ellen, recently travelled to Scotland so this week we learned about the country of Tartan—-and so much more! Our sensory groups explored boxes related to facts about Scotland. The fine motor groups made symbols of the country art projects and the language group made a Scots inspired treat!

 

 

 

 

SENSORY GROUP

Since Ms. Ellen took a plane to get to there, we replicated the airplane experience using a vibrating massager and jet sounds recorded on a voice output device.

 

 

Of course, our plane ride lasted a whopping 3 minutes——just a tad shorter than the real thing 🙂

 

 

 

 

The vibrating tube was a HUGE hit with the students!

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

We used rice in the colors of the Scottish flag for this box. There were letter “S”s to find and a map of the country at the bottom of the box. We also put in 2 different sized scoops.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

The background of the Scottish flag is blue, so we pulled out our blue moon sand this week. The students used 2 different sized cookie cutters to stamp letter “S” into the sand.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

This box had a variety of items associated with Scotland including their national animal—-the unicorn! Symbols of famous Scottish authors such as J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), and Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island) were a fun addition.

 

 

 

 

We also included a passport, a voice output device with some bagpipe music recorded on it, and a phone for Alexander Graham bell was pretty popular!

Lots to explore here!

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

There are over 3000 castles in Scotland—–how cool is that! The students had fun making their own castles using grey Floam. We laminated some props including a kilted Scotsman.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Oatmeal added to our oobleck turned it into “porridge” this week! This lumpy oobleck was certainly a different texture and pretty  fascinating to our students—-although some were a little hesitant to actually touch it.

 

 

The science access point track objects in motion is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

The students found cute little Nessie  swimming around in “Loch”. You will notice that Nessie bears a striking resemblance to a My Little Pony seahorse 🙂 We also included 2 different sized scoops for added fun.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Since Scotland gets a lot of rainy weather, Bath and BodyWorks rain kissed leaves seemed a good scent to use this week. The students really liked the soft scent.

 

 

 

Recognize one or more external body parts.

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR GROUP

On Tuesday, our students made the Scottish flag.

First, using communication symbols we identified the shape and color of our paper.

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Then we cut 1 strip of white paper into 2 pieces using switch operated scissors or paper cutters.

Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next the students were asked to glue down the strips of paper in the shape of an X.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

TA DA!!!!!!!!

We love Scotland!

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday, our students turned into Unicorns using paper plates !

We started by using communication symbols to identify the shape of our paper.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the used a glue stick to “color” their triangle. The glue in these sticks comes out purple which makes it easy to see.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, the students sprinkled pink and purple glitter onto the glue. Of course we sang our “shake that glitter” song (adapted from KC and the Sunshine Band’s famous song) 🙂

 

 

 

 

Track falling objects is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

The students glued their triangles DOWN on to a precut paper plate.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

TA DA!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

We just spotted some Unicorns!

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE GROUP

We made a popular Scottish dessert this week–raspberry cranachan.  Typically, this dessert has whiskey in it so we had to do some searching to find a kid friendly recipe.  Here is that recipe: Let_s Make Raspberry Cranachan

Cara had prepared the toasted oats before the group so we were able to skip the first part of the recipe.

Our students requested to put the whipping cream in the bowl.  We talked about how it was a liquid when it was poured into the bowl  Each of our students took turns pressing the switch to activate the mixer.   Once it thickened up, we talked about how it had turned into a solid.

Identify objects and materials as solid or liquid is an access point.

 

 

 

 

Next, we added some mascarpone and mixed that together with the whipping cream.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We added some honey and caramel sauce next.  We talked about how we were using a measuring spoon because we needed a smaller amount of each ingredient.  Our students got to taste the caramel sauce.

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

 

 

 

Before we added the honey and caramel sauce we tasted them. We talked about how they tasted SWEET.

 

 

 

 

This taste test received a unanimous thumbs up 🙂

 

 

 

 

Once the ingredients were all mixed up, we counted out cups for each of our students.  We layered the cups with raspberries, the whipped cream mix, raspberry preserves, and toasted oats.

The consensus was a positive one!

Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.

 

 

 

It was a great week and we enjoyed learning so much about Scotland. Join us next time for more fun and learning——Group by Group!

New Year’s book

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To start the new year off fresh, we’re talking all about what New Year’s is and some of the things we do to celebrate it.  The book talks about how New Year’s falls on the first of January.  It also goes over things people do, like make resolutions, set off fireworks, and eat foods that are considered to be lucky.  Take a look and see some of our students celebrating in front of fireworks on the front and back——-and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a link to the book: It_s A New Year!

New Years

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It’s been an interesting start to the year for us—–we had an actual SNOW day! Snow is a pretty rare commodity around here so there was quite a bit of excitement as you can imagine. Due to the start of the semester and the snow day our week has been pretty short but we did manage to have 3 groups for our New Year’s themed unit. Happy 2018!

 

 

 

 

SENSORY GROUP

In the south we eat black eyed peas for luck on New Year’s day. This box of dried peas contained the numbers 2-0-1-8 for the students to find.

Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Chinese New Year, 2018 will be the year of the dog—–how cool is that! Since red is a considered a lucky color we used red moon sand to go with our dog shaped cookie cutter. Moon sand has a soft texture but is moldable which makes it perfect for this activity.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students had fun scooping and sifting sand using the tools we included in this “sands of time” box. It was also a great opportunity to practice bilateral skills!

 

The science access point track a falling object can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of people have parties this time of year so we had a box of colorful party beads for the students to wear and explore. Also, lots of fun to shake!

Track objects in motion is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fireworks are a big part of the New Year’s celebrations. Our fireworks light show toy was a hit with the students. It made some pretty authentic fireworks sounds and projected small pictures—-very cool!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

There was some shiny and colorful confetti to swirl around in shaving cream this week.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students had fun scooping the numbers 2-0-1-8 from our “bubbly” (from Philosophy) scented water.

 

Identify objects by one observable property (in this case floating or sinking) is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bath and BodyWorks has a scent called “midnight”—-perfect for a New Year’s unit! The students really liked the scent.

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

 

 

 

 

 

We finished our group we some bubble wrap fireworks—-so much fun!

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR GROUP

We made some fireworks pictures this week!

First, we identified our paint color using communication symbols.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After dipping our paint tool in the paint, the students stamped UP and DOWN to make their fireworks. Our tool was made by fringing a piece of craft foam, folding it in half, rolling it up, and then securing it with a rubber band.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Then they added some gold glitter—–got to have some sparkle 🙂

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TA——– ooh aah——– Da!

 

FIREWORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE GROUP

We started out the group by re-reading a book that we had made a couple of years ago.  It’s a book that looks at some of the New Year’s traditions that other countries have.  Here is the book we read: It’s New Year’s Around The World

We talked about how, in the south, people eat different kinds of foods that are thought to bring good luck.  One of those foods is black eyed peas—-so we decided to make some! While the peas were heating up, we counted out six bowls for the students.

Associate quantities with number name is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

We talked about how the bowls felt warm after the beans were heated. Not everyone was impressed by the peas, but everyone took at least 1 bite 🙂

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had some Nilla Wafers for our students. It was a party after all so we HAD to have something sweet ! The students had to communicate how many cookies they wanted.  They could choose to have 1, 2, or 3 cookies.

Associate quantities with number names is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since this was a party, we brought out some Sprite as a drink.  This was the first time we brought soda to the group so it was interesting to see the faces our students made!  They certainly weren’t expecting anything bubbly 🙂

Indicate desire for more of an action or object, is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our snack, we had “fireworks” using bubble wrap.  This is always a hit and so much fun!

 

 

 

 

 

We are now ready to take on the new year—–even with snow!!

Happy New Year from Group by Group!

November/December 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 November and December 2017.

 

 

 

For our first theme in October, we learned about the Day of the Dead.

There were letters to find in colorful beans, also waxy strings and lighted toys representing candles.

 

 

The students sorted pompoms in the colors of the Mexican flag.

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers are a big part of the celebration so we included some in our water play and the students made some out of play dough using cookie cutters.

Very colorful!

 

 

 

 

Next we learned about Colonial America. This theme complimented the Unique Curriculum unit at school.

 

 

 

 

The students searched for letters in oatmeal “porridge”.

The soft feel of the oatmeal was very popular with the students.

 

 

 

They also liked the tactile feel and aroma of our tea box.

We included a small cup and spoon for fun.

 

 

 

 

Our down on the farm box contained a variety of people, animals, and other items associated with colonial days.

Lots to explore in this box.

 

 

 

 

 

We had colorful “patriotic” pasta with shapes like stars and bells.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also made some patriotic oobleck, using blue and red glitter.

Sparkly, slimy fun 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were lots of giggles with our farm animal puppets.

This box was a favorite!

 

 

 

 

Our water wheel was perfect for a unit on Colonial America!

Lots of fun too!

This one is always a favorite with the students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For our next theme we explored some of our National Parks.

The students found letter Y’s and a magnet in the shape of California in our Yosemite box. We used rice in the state colors.

 

 

 

 

 

They also searched for dinosaur fossils in Badlands National Park.

Pink Floam was used by the students to make their own Grand Canyon and there were 3 different sized mules to compare and contrast.

 

 

 

 

Our black kinetic sand was perfect for the lava found in Volcano National Park.

The students used blocks to stamp out some circular “lava rocks”.

 

 

 

The students loved exploring the wildlife of Great Smokey Mountain National Park, especially through binoculars!

There were lots of things to discover.

 

 

 

We had a sticky jello Everglades swamp, which got mixed reactions 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a lot of fun with our Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade theme. Each of our boxes was dedicated to different balloons or floats seen in the parade.

There were lots shiny balloons and beads which were a hit with the students.

There were things to touch, look at, and listen to, in this box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The My Little Pony mask was a big hit!

Everyone had fun trying it on 🙂

 

 

 

Pink sand was perfect for Hello Kitty.

 

 

 

 

The students really loved watching the sand drift through the sifter or finding their favorite character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In honor of the Sinclair dinosaur balloon, we made a fun dinosaur habitat with colorful rice.

One of the dinosaurs roared when a button was pressed—–this was a hit!

 

 

 

 

The Pillsbury Dough Boy’s box was cloud dough——of course!

Then hands were rinsed in Sponge Bob’s lagoon.

 

 

 

 

The students sorted red, yellow, and white pompoms in the Ronald MacDonald box.

They did a really great job!

 

 

 

 

 

Our final unit was Holiday Characters. Each of our boxes was dedicated to a different character——we had a lot of fun with this one! Not all the students got to check out the cart before winter break but they will get a chance in the New Year.

We brought back our Nutcracker umbrella.

It was a hit, as usual!

 

 

 

The students had fun exploring a box of Insta Snow, looking at holiday lights, and making play dough gingerbread men.

Lots of fun here!

 

 

 

 

There was a Santa box, complete with hat of course 🙂

Hope your holidays are as happy as ours and we will see you again in 2018!

 

 

 

 

Holiday Characters book

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We are in the holiday spirit this week (let’s be honest…this MONTH) and we are talking all about the different holiday characters that we see around this time of year.  This is a special book because it features a one-of-a-kind background created by our art teacher, Judy, and her students.  It also features our students on each page dressed up as popular holiday characters, from Frosty the Snowman to Suzy Snowflake.  Take a look at the book to get into the holiday spirit with us!

 

 

 

Here is a link to the book: What Holiday Characters Do You See?

Holiday Characters

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For a final theme of the year we chose Holiday Characters—–seen everywhere this time of year! Our sensory groups explored boxes dedicated to different characters. The fine motor groups made character themed ornaments and the language group made a fun holiday themed treat.

 

 

 

 

SENSORY GROUP

Our first box contained a variety of holiday character toys including Nutcrackers, polar bears, SugarPlum fairies, and elves. Some of the toys made noise, either by squeezing or crinkling which added to the fun. The lighted elf wand and Santa hat were big hits—–hohoho.

 

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

 

 

 

 

This first box is not exactly a holiday character but since lights are EVERYWHERE this time of year they almost are 🙂

 

 

 

 

Our students always love our light boxes and this colorful one was no exception.

It was very eye catching!

 

 

 

 

 

Recognize a source of light is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

The students had fun making their own Grinch character using green Floam, a plastic Grinch face, and some Mr. Potato head hands. Pretty darn cute!

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

The Coca Cola polar bear is often seen on TV this time of year so we thought a box of Insta Snow was perfect for this character. There was a picture of polar bears to find at the bottom of the box and we put in a spoon, scoop and a little penguin friend for our students to play with. Insta Snow feels cool like the real stuff and was lots of fun to explore.

Solve problems involving quantities of objects or actions using language, such as enough, too much, or more is a math access point that can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

The Nutcracker ballet is a must see for many people. Our ballet themed winter umbrella was pretty magical, especially when twirled around! Music from the ballet was recorded on a voice output device.

 

 

 

Track objects in motion is a science access point.

 

 

 

 

We made some delicious smelling gingerbread playdough this week. While definitely NOT yummy tasting like real gingerbread, it was still lots of fun to play with using our cute cookie cutter.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

We found a package of craft foam holiday symbols such as presents, hats, lights, trees in a dollar store and decided they were perfect for water play. The students used a measuring cup and sifter to scoop up and rinse the different shapes. They also adhered to the sides of the tub which was pretty cool!

The science access point match objects by an observable property, such as shape, can be addressed here.

 

 

 

 

Our scent this week was  sugarplum swirl by Bath and BodyWorks. Our students really liked it and left the group smelling like yummy little sugarplums 🙂

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR GROUP

On Tuesday the students made snowflake ornaments.

First, we identified a circle using communication symbols. For our visually impaired students we used textured symbols.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Next, they were helped to squeeze a hole puncher, making a CIRCLE shaped hole in the snowflake.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Then they glued a CIRCLE shaped photo of themselves onto the snowflake.

Again, recognize objects with two-dimensional shapes is addressed.

 

 

 

 

 

The students helped pull a chenille stem through the small hole.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TA DA!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Sammy and Suzi Snowflakes!

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday the students made gingerbread man ornaments.

First, using communication symbols,  they let us know how many buttons they wanted to put on their gingerbread man.

Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.

 

 

 

 

 

Next the students used a hole punch to punch a hole in their ornament. Most of the students needed help with this but some of them could do it independently!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Then they glued their faces and buttons onto their ornaments—–great pincer grasp practice!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students helped pull a chenille stem through the small hole.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TA Da!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Cute little gingerbread people!!!

 

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE GROUP

Well, the weather turned downright COLD for our language group so maybe hot chocolate would’ve been a better choice, but we went with our Grinch smoothies instead.  Here is the recipe we used: Let’s Make a Grinch Smoothie

We started out by measuring our orange juice.  We talked about how we had to use a measuring cup rather than measuring spoons since we had to measure out 1 cup.  We had a volunteer who poured it into the blender.

Next, we added some spinach.  We need our Grinch smoothie to be GREEN!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we got out the frozen mixed fruit.  Everyone had a chance to touch the bag.  They then had to indicate if it felt COLD or HOT.

 

 

 

Recognize an item as warm or cold is a science access point.

 

 

 

We added the frozen fruit to the blender.

Finally, we added some agave nectar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we always taste test the lemon juice when we use it, we decided to taste test the agave.  We think some of our students thought we were trying to trick them with the lemon juice because they were a little hesitant to open their mouths at first 🙂

 

 

We just put a bit on their lips, though, and they could tell that it was sweet.

 

 

 

 

Everyone got a chance to turn on the blender so the ingredients could be mixed up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We counted out how many students were in the room and poured the Grinch smoothies into our Grinch cups.

Cara traced Grinch faces onto our cups!

 

 

 

 

The students were intrigued once they tasted it they gave it a big thumbs up!

YUM!

 

 

 

What a fun filled week we had! Our very own little holiday characters will be on winter break for a couple of weeks. Join us again in January for more fun and learning——Group by Group.

 Happy Holidays!