Tag Archives: history

The History of Basketball book


March Madness is here!!  Lots of people get hyped up around this time of year due to all of the basketball games being played, so we decided to do a some research and find out a little more about the game of basketball.  The book talks about WHO invented basketball, what the first pro game was, and how March Madness originated in the first place.  We learned so many interesting things about the game of basketball!  We do have one student featured in our book on our “THE END” page, so make sure to check it out!







Here is a link to the book: The History of Basketball

The History of Basketball


With March Madness going on we thought it would be fun to learn a little bit about the history of the sport. The sensory group explored boxes related to different facts about the sport. The fine motor groups made basketball themed art projects and the language group played an adapted version of the game.







James Naismith invented the game of basketball. This box was dedicated to him and had lots of Canadian symbols since that is where he was born. We included a toy stethoscope because not only was he a PE teacher but he was also a physician—-how cool is that!

Recognize a model of a real object is a science access point that can be addressed with this activity.





Using Koolaid we made our play dough a nice bright basketball orange. The students could make balls, stamp letter B’s, or just squish and squeeze the play dough. They throughly had a good time.

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





Basketball is played with 2 teams consisting of 5 players each.We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reinforce some math facts with this box! There were 5 blue and 5 red items for the students to explore and sort——-or shake 🙂

The math access point solve simple problems involving joining or separating small quantities of objects can be addressed here.





There were more opportunities for sorting with this box filled with beads in the colors of the NBA—-red, white, and blue! Of course, it was mostly an opportunity to wear or shake the beads!

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





In 1936 basketball became an Olympic sport. Using giant fluffy chenille stems the students had fun making circles, joining them together, and taking them apart. The chenille stems also provided another opportunity to discuss colors.

Recognize when an object is added to or taken away from a situation is a math access point.





The students were encouraged to draw circles/balls in this orange tinted shaving cream.

Recognize an object with a two-dimensional shape is a math access point.





We put some foam numbers in our water play this week. The students got to “score” by scooping up either 2 or 3 points!

Associate quantities with number names is a math access point.





Since the original hoops were actually peach baskets, peach was the obvious scent to use this week for our water play and lotion! Our students are getting pretty good at using the Pixon board to tell us where they want the lotion.

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






On Tuesday the students made their own basketball playbooks!

We started with a rectangular piece of paper with a basketball court sketch and some X’s and O’s drawn on it by Ms. Zenia the fabulous OT intern!

Then the fun began! The students got to operate a switch activated drawing tool to illustrate their play calling. There were certainly some interesting strategies planned 🙂

Distinguish between objects in motion and objects at rest is a science access point.





TA Da—-game on!











On Wednesday the students made paper plate basketballs!

We started by identifying the shape of our plates and color of our paint using communication symbols.

Recognize an object with a two-dimensional shape is a math access point. Identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is a science access point.





Then the students stamped their plates with a dish scrubber. We emphasized stamping UP and DOWN.

Recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship is a math access point.





TA DA—-time to play!











We had our own tournament today in honor of March Madness.  We used an All-Turn-It spinner that had 2’s and 3’s all around it to signify the points that basketball players make during a game.

Both adults and students got to be in the tournament.  We started out by picking 2 names out of a bag.  These 2 people would play against each other.

We had communication boards in front of each student so that they could convey “my turn”.  The 2 “players” took turns and had 3 times each to press the switch and see what points they got.





We used a white board to write down the points that each player made.  Once they each went 3 times, we added up the scores and talked about who had MORE points.

Once we figured out who the winner was, the next 2 players competed and so on until we finally had an overall winner.





This group was so great today because it gave the adults a great chance to model the use of the communication boards while they were playing the game.  Everyone got so excited, too, when we had to go into overtime if the players tied.

                                               Finally, we had a winner!




Of course, we can’t NOT have a little snack in this group so we summed it all up with some basketball shaped Vanilla Wafers 🙂

Join us next time for more fun and learning——-Group by Group!

Florida History book


IMG_5184To go along with the Unique theme this week, we are learning about Florida’s history.  It’s always so much fun finding out new things and learning about our own state made it even more fun!  Our book ranges in dates starting from 1513 when Ponce de Leon arrived in Florida to 1986 when a ship from a famous Spanish fleet was found off the coast of Florida.  We hope you’ll read about all the neat things that have happened in Florida’s history!




IMG_5592Here is a link to the book: Learning About Florida’s History

Florida History


IMG_5123This week our theme was Florida History, which complements the Unique Curriculum unit some of our students are studying this month. The sensory group explored boxes related to different historic events and features of the state. The fine motor group practiced using writing and cutting tools to complete their art projects. The language group went outdoors and played some “Florida” games!



IMG_5224Palm trees and beaches—–Florida’s most famous features! This really cute palm tree cookie cutter was perfect for making impressions in our sand. This moon sand really takes impressions well—–perfect for stamping!

In addition to the science access point apply a push to move an object, the math access point associate quantities with number names can also be addressed.





TIMG_5131IMG_5188he first European to tread on Florida beaches was spanish explorer Ponce de Leon—–legend has it he was searching for the fountain of youth!

We used red and yellow rice, the colors of the Spanish flag to fill this box. There were some letter “F”s to find, along with a picture of Ponce de Leon taped to the bottom of the box.

The social studies access point recognize a person in a story can be addressed here.




IMG_5273After Ponce de Leon visited Florida, lots of other Spanish people came in ships carrying gold and jewels. Unfortunately some of them sunk—–leaving buried treasure for others to find!

We put some “gold” doubloons and sparkly jewels to find in the sand of this discovery bottle. The students found it fascinating to look at.

The science access point track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled is addressed.






IMG_5312IMG_5318This next discovery bottle was just a bottle of pure GOLD! Gold glitter added to cooking oil made this beautiful bottle SO sparkly!

Track objects in motion has never been so mesmerizing!






IMG_5298IMG_5156Florida has a national park called The Everglades. We made our Everglades box using green jello. Plastic plants were added along with some animals—–alligators, snakes, and frogs—–for our students to find in the squishy goo! Of course, some of our students were a little hesitant  but others dived right in 🙂

IMG_5321Match common living things with their habitats is a science access point that can be addressed here.



IMG_5203IMG_5276Hands were rinsed in orange scented bubble bath. We included a grapefruit wedge sponge (a lot of citrus is grown in Florida) and a squeeze puffer fish toy—-puffer fish can be found in the waters surrounding the state. The students had a great time with our water play this week!

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





IMG_5139This box contained lots of things associated with Florida. The name Florida comes from a spanish phrase meaning “feast of flowers”. We put lots of colorful silk flowers in the box, making it so bright and colorful!

We added pictures of native american Seminoles, a beachy footprint, flip flop beads, snakes, lizards, astronaut, and a gator puppet! We also included nods to famous theme parks AND a fabulous pair of sunglasses!

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





IMG_5329IMG_5218We finished with some citrusy orange scented lotion to help us remember all the different things we learned about our state today. This was a strong scent —-leaving everyone smelling like sweet orange blossoms!

IMG_5335                                              Use senses to recognize objects is a science access point addressed here.




The Apollo mission that landed on the moon launched from Cape Canaveral right here in Florida! For our Tuesday art project our students made their own moons!

IMG_5345IMG_5347We started by adding some glue to shaving cream (about an equal measure of each).

Then we pulled out some some black paint and asked the students to show us the color black using communication symbols. We gave them a choice of 2 colors and they did a great job of giving us the correct answer!

Identify common objects by one observable property, such as color is a science access point—–we got this 🙂



IMG_5398The BLACK paint was mixed with the WHITE shaving cream/glue mixture and turned GREY! Recognize the appearance of an object or material has changed is a science access point.

Big brushes were used to paint the mixture onto small paper plates. We discussed that the shape of the plate was a circle, which addresses the science access point recognize a common object with a 2 dimensional shape.






IMG_5383IMG_5394After they had finished painting, the students placed their little astronaut selves on the moon! We made the little astronauts using this template: astronaut and some flag stickers. They turned out pretty cool and our students were pretty pleased with their creations!







On Thursday our art project was making the Florida state flag!

IMG_5511IMG_5534We started by cutting 1 red rectangle into 2 smaller rectangles using either a paper cutter or switch operated scissors.

IMG_5581Recognize an object with a 2 dimensional shape and recognize differences in sizes of objects are math access points addressed in this activity.



IMG_5555We discussed  and modeled the “X” placement of the red strips of paper then let the students glue them down. Spatial relationships related to math concepts of shapes and space are explored here and they really grasped the concept of putting one strip “on top” of the other!

After they had glued down their strips, we put a circle of glue down in the middle and asked the students to put the “circle” state seal on top.

The math access points recognize a 2 dimensional shape and match one object to a designated space to show one-to-one correspondence are also addressed here.




IMG_5532IMG_5576Ta Da—–

IMG_5520                                                                                    we love our Sunshine State 🙂





For our language group, we did things a little bit differently this week.  We went outside and had stations that had to do with Florida—-after all it was a beautiful sunny day outside 🙂

IMG_5626IMG_5600In our first station we had rockets for the Kennedy Space Center.  We talked about the rocket going UP and coming DOWN.  Our students had to request “again” if they wanted to shoot the rocket off again.  Can we say FUN!

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





IMG_5638Our next station was a fishing activity because we know that Native Americans went fishing for their food.  Students at this station were asked to catch “seafood” of a certain color.  No eating them today, but catching them and naming them was fun!

Explore and interact with the functions of a selected object is a language access point.






IMG_5628Going on to the next station, our students had to dig for gold and silver.  We learned in the book that the ship the Nuestra Senora de Atocha had been found in 1986 with lots of gold and silver inside.  Our doubloons were not located in a ship, though, they were buried in sand. We talked about DIGGING and taking the doubloons OUT of the box.

Solve simple problems involving joining or separating small quantities of objects is a math access point that can be addressed here.




IMG_5646IMG_5613Our last station was the beach ball because there are so many famous beaches in Florida! Our students had to CATCH and THROW the ball in this station.

A little hand-over-hand was necessary for some of the students, but others totally had it going on 🙂





IMG_5173Hope you enjoyed learning some of the history of our fabulous state! Join us again next week for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!