Tag Archives: pirates



IMG_4853IMG_0504Arggg there was lots of piratey fun to be had this week as our students turned into scurvy pirates to celebrate Jose Gaspar’s invasion of Tampa Bay!

Our sensory boxes related to various aspects of the festival. Our fine motor groups made pirate themed art projects and the language group led a parade through the elementary building for our own Gasparilla festival!





IMG_5099IMG_5050Jose Gaspar came from Spain and our nod to him was rice was made with the colors of the Spanish flag. There was a treasure map at the bottom and pirate booty to find hidden in the colorful grains.

IMG_4841Counting found doubloons addresses the math access point associate quantities with number names.




IMG_5037IMG_4848There were lots of little pirates to discover in this box of black beans. A great activity for visual discrimination—-the red pirates were pretty easy to find but the black colored pirate figures really blended in with the black beans! We also put in a little pirate finger puppet just for fun.


IMG_5047Identify objects by one observable property, such a color, is a science access point.





IMG_5091IMG_4900Pirate ships  fly the Jolly Roger flag which has a skull and cross bones decoration. Our students used  a bone shaped cookie cutter to make “crossbones” in our cool black kinetic sand—-very piratey!

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






IMG_4695IMG_4652Of course pirates are always looking for TREASURE—-so we had to include some!

There were 3 different bottles filled with gold and jewels——-very sparkly and VERY eye catching!

IMG_5148The science access point track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled is addressed here.




IMG_4687IMG_5063The Gasparilla festival always has a parade complete with floats and people throwing beads—–just like the shiny beads in our box. Beads are always a hit with our students and a box this colorful is pretty irresistible!

IMG_5138Since the senses of touch, hearing, and vision are used to explore the beads, recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli is the science access point addressed here.




IMG_4646IMG_4691Pop rocks gave a snap, crackle and pop to our “sea foam”——kind of like firecrackers in the distance as the pirate ships approach Tampa Bay. We encouraged the students to practice writing shapes such as letters or circles in addition to making “waves” as they pushed the foam around.

IMG_4894Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point.




IMG_4846IMG_4854Hands were rinsed in our miniature Tampa Bay, complete with a shipwreck and 2 different size scoops. We discovered that as the pop rocks got washed off hands they continued to make noise——–bonus! 🙂

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






IMG_4723IMG_4720Tampa is located in the state of Florida. Since oranges are a symbol of the state, that fruity scented lotion (from Bath and BodyWorks) was the perfect scent this week! As usual, after we asked the students to let us know if they liked the scent, we then asked them to show us where they wanted it applied.

IMG_5171Recognize one or more external body parts is a science access point.







On Tuesday we made some pirate ships! The templates for the pirate flag used in this art project and the bandana used on Wednesday can be found here: pirate template

IMG_4732IMG_4728First we discussed the shape of our paper plate and asked the students to use communication symbols to show us a “circle”. Then we showed them how we were using a half circle to make our ship.

Recognize objects with 2 dimensional shapes is a math access point. Recognize a half of an object as part of the whole object is also a math access point.





IMG_4733IMG_4736Next the students painted their ships using brown paint and foam brushes.

IMG_4760Recognize a change in an object is a science access point.





IMG_4763IMG_4743After the students finished painted we taped a mast (made from a straw) with a little Jolly Roger flag to the back of the boat and……..

IMG_4770                                                      TA Da—–avast ye’ mateys!





On Wednesday we made some fun pirate masks!

IMG_4933IMG_4940The students started by using communication symbols to indicate  which color they wanted to paint their “bandana”. We gave them a choice of blue, orange, and green but most of the students chose blue—-maybe it reminded them of the high seas 🙂

IMG_4948The science access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is addressed here.





IMG_4965IMG_4990While their paint dried, the students applied glue to the BOTTOM of their paper plate and used black paper shred to make a “beard”. The paper got everywhere but the students really had fun with this step.

Recognize that the appearance of an object or material has changed is a science access point.


The students glued their bandanas to the TOP of their paper plate and……

IMG_5023                                                                TA Daarrrgggg!






IMG_5178IMG_5183 (1)We had a grrrrreat time during our language group this week!  To keep in stride with Gasparilla, we decided to have a pirate parade and follow that up with a pirate festival of our own 🙂

IMG_5181                                      Of course our students HAD to dress the part!




IMG_5177IMG_5196Once everyone was dressed, we added pirate flags to our wheelchairs.

Then proceeded down the hallway to the sounds of  “A Pirates Life for Me” recorded on a voice output device.  We made sure the volume was LOUD!






IMG_5213IMG_5222Since beads are one of the highlights of parades we made sure to have plenty to share with our friends!

IMG_5205We invited all of the other elementary classrooms to be the audience, so our students got to parade around the building while their peers cheered them on.  A lot of the parade-goers were also dressed in pirate attire!





IMG_5259IMG_5243On our second go-round of the elementary building, we had the rest of the classrooms join the parade.

IMG_5238We all ended up at the pirate festival for some socialization, games, and music videos—–PIRATE ones naturally!




IMG_5256IMG_5250Grog and provisions—–otherwise known as punch and ice cream—–were available of course! The students had to request the ice-cream using verbalizations, gestures, picture symbols, or signs.

Needless to say, this was a hit 🙂






IMG_5261IMG_5283Our volunteer Ali made us a fabulous photo cutout that turned out to be a lot of fun—–say “treasure”!

IMG_5282                                            It was a jolly time, matey!  Arrrrrrg!!!




IMG_4662IMG_5079What more can we say, this week was a BLAST 🙂 Join us again next time for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!

The Oscars


IMG_3839With the Academy Awards all over the news these past couple of weeks, the Oscars seemed like a perfect theme for us!  Cara’s book was a huge hit and as usual, our groups were tons of fun! In our sensory group each of our sensory boxes represented a different Oscar winning movie. In the fine motor group our students made some movie star art themed art projects. For our language group it was all about the red carpet experience! Read along to see all the fun we had.




IMG_3698 IMG_3889Popcorn—-gotta have some at the movies! Our first box was filled with popcorn kernels and items related to our theme including: Disney princess figures, a pirate ship wreck, pirate beads, and an Indiana Jones duck! There was a “Music Man” maraca to shake and an Alice in Wonderland cupcake that squeaked. Since the Academy Awards take place in California, we tossed in a state magnet and finally—–a mini Oscar statue (thanks Ms. Caressa!) This was a great box—-something for everyone!

In addition to lots of opportunities for vocabulary building, science concepts of forces and changes in motion were explored with some of the items. Specifically the science access point recognize that pushing or pulling an object makes it move is addressed.

The world in spatial terms is also explored and the social studies access point associate an object, picture, or symbol with a location is addressed.

IMG_3758The students got to make their own Shrek ogres using our green Floam, some potato head features and 2 plastic pegboard pegs—–perfect ogre ears :). Floam has an interesting texture and while you can mold it, it doesn’t “feel” sticky. Pretty cool stuff!

It’s great for working on bilateral coordination as it is squished and molded into roundish heads.

We explored organization and development of living organisms addressing the science access point recognize one or more external body parts.





IMG_4038We loved the way our Wizard of Oz discovery bottle turned out! We mixed some green tinted hair gel with water and green glitter. Then we put in 3 red Barbie shoes—–they looked just like ruby slippers!

The Unique Curriculum intermediate unit this month explores the theme of movement so this bottle, along with other items in our boxes compliments it.

Science concepts of forces and motion are explored. In addition motion of objects is explored with the science access point track objects in motion.




IMG_3996IMG_3738Our Wizard of Oz box also included a slinky rainbow and this was a HUGE hit with our students! Some of them loved SLOWLY pulling it apart. Others pulled it as wide as they could make it and then shook it to see it vibrate. Either way——–fun was had!

Of course forces and changes in motion were explored with the science access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move. Forms of energy are explored with the access point recognize the change in motion of an object.




IMG_3707The students had so much fun with our Pirates of the Caribbean box! Along with tons of sparkly gold beads were an eye patch and hook so they could get into character if they wanted.

Again the science access point recognize external body parts is explored. In addition tool use is practiced as the hook plunders for beads—-arrgg!







IMG_3886The number 3 and 3 plastic snakes were buried in the sand of our Indiana Jones box—–guess he probably wouldn’t like this box very much 🙂

The science access point match animals that are the same can be addressed with this activity. This access point is related to the concept of diversity and evolution of living organisms.

Recognizing when 1 or 2 items have been added to or removed from sets of objects to 3 is a math access point addressed. This access point is related to developing understandings of multiplication and division and strategies for basic multiplication facts and related division facts.





IMG_3926IMG_4048Blue “genie” oobleck——for Aladdin of course!!!! We sprinkled blue raspberry Koolaid onto our oobleck observing as it changed from white to blue!

As usual, fun was had as our little scientists pushed, pulled, and grabbed handfuls of this gloppy goo 🙂

Recognizing that the appearance of a material has changed is a science access point related to the concept of changes in matter.





IMG_3730For our nod to Snow White we washed the oobleck off hands and arms using an apple sponge. The water was scented with lavender vanilla scented bath gel from Bath and Bodyworks chosen because when Snow White ate the apple she fell asleep…….and lavender makes you feel relaxed…… Ok, kind of a stretch but we went with it 🙂

Properties of matter are addressed with the science access point recognize water as a liquid.






IMG_3773The matching lotion was used to send our students off with memories of all the things they learned. Recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli is the science access point addressed and is related to the organization and development of living organisms concepts.


IMG_3822Our Tuesday art project had the students putting their own stars on the Hollywood walk of fame! The students counted the sides of our grey rectangular piece of paper—-and then we counted out one for each student. After they “wrote” their names, we painted their hands with dark grey paint and stamped them onto the paper.

Using appropriate vocabulary to compare shapes according to attributes and properties is promoted as the math access point recognize common objects with 2 dimensional shapes is addressed in this activity.





IMG_3791The students chose which glittery star they wanted and then glued a picture of their face onto the star.

Squeezing the glue is great for hand strengthening of course! Pincer grasp skills and eye hand coordination are promoted when placing the picture.

Effectively communicating wants and needs to a familiar person using gestures is a language access point.






IMG_3858IMG_3881The star was then glued down onto the paper and——–

TA DA!!!!!

IMG_3840A few new stars on the Hollywood walk of fame!

On Thursday we made our own little Oscar statues!

IMG_4168Joy drew an outline of an Oscar onto gold colored paper. You can print out the outline here: oscar award. It was then glued onto a toilet roll so it could stand up.

Glue was diluted with water and the students used a paint brush to apply it to the paper.

Recognizing that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point addressed as the students paint with their brushes.





IMG_4203Gold glitter was then added for that authentic look 🙂

IMG_4161While some of our students were able to able the glitter independently, most of them needed a little help.

We stopped periodically to ask  them “do we need more?”. They used a Go Talk to communicate whether they needed to add more glitter or if they were all done.

Solving problems involving small quantities of objects or actions using language such as enough, too much, or more is a math access point related to understandings of addition and subtraction.

Using technology resources to support learning is a language access point.


The finished product looked fabulous!

IMG_4230                                                                                     We’d like to thank the Academy………..




We’ve talked about some movies that have won Oscars.  We’ve earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received an Oscar.  Now it’s time to walk down the red carpet!  But of course, before getting near the red carpet, we need to be dressed for the occasion.

IMG_4066We printed out pictures of all of the different things we could wear and bring to the red carpet, such as sunglasses, sports coats, feather boas, top hats, and earrings.  The pictures were put on an All-Turn-It Spinner which was activated using a switch.

Our students took turns activating the switch and seeing what they would be wearing.  A couple of our students were able to verbalize what they landed on.

Using an input device, such as a switch to interact with a technology resource is a language access point.



IMG_4059IMG_4108We talked about putting the clothes/objects ON.  It was neat to see how many of our students got so excited to dress up! Such a fun way to practice dressing skills!

But really, who doesn’t get a LITTLE excited about getting all fancy 🙂

Communicating recognition of familiar objects and communicating about a selected object are language access points.




Time for a quick interview with Entertainment News…….

IMG_4116then off to the red carpet!


IMG_4132IMG_4120We had taped down some red paper to act as our red carpet.  One by one our little movie stars walked the red carpet and were photographed in their fancy attire.  They had fun with that!

After the red carpet they were treated to a movie on the smart board.  Our version of the Oscars was a success!  So much so that a couple of our students didn’t want to give back their costumes 🙂  Sadly, they had to and we talked about taking things OFF.





IMG_3969Hope you enjoyed seeing all the fun we had with the Oscars. Be sure and come back next week—–there will be more fun and learning Group by Group!

Pirate Day


IMG_3451Avast ye land lubbers—-we celebrated Talk like a Pirate Day this week.

Cara had written such a great book last year that we used it again. Repetition is always good for our students and helps reinforce concepts and language learned. We kept some of the same sensory boxes but did add a few new ones.  Our fine motor and language group activities were different from last years celebration.

Shiver me timbers, we do have the cutest pirates to ever sail the seven seas! Read along to see all the fun we had and be prepared to smile 🙂






IMG_3440We filled this box with some basket filler in a pretty light ocean blue.  Then added some cool pirate stuff like a shipwreck (from an old aquarium), black beads and pom poms, an eye patch, and “parrot” feathers. Rubber duck and action figure pirates completed the box.

Lots of things to make you go argg 🙂

Visual discrimination skills are targeted as students look through the box and decide which items to pick up and examine.

The language access point responding to new vocabulary that is introduced and taught directly, is addressed in this activity.








IMG_3246Pirates are always looking for buried treasure on deserted islands and X marks the spot!

Our students were able to stamp an X in the sand with their cookie cutter. Shifting the sand aside reveals a treasure map and some gold coins taped the bottom of the box.

Math skills are addressed as the hidden coins or stamped X’s are counted.

In addition, applying a push or pull to move an object, such as stamping an X or pushing the sand aside, addresses science access point.









IMG_3251IMG_3284If you find the right spot you can dig up a treasure chest filled with GOLD. Our students just couldn’t resist grabbing these gold beads by the handfuls!

Of course, adding a pirate hat really helps one get into character 🙂

Exploring, observing, and recognizing objects in the natural world is a science access point.






IMG_3271More treasure was contained in our discovery bottle. Filled with plastic jewels, gold glitter, water and corn syrup—-the bottle swirled and glittered as it was shaken. This was a really one of the prettiest bottles we have made—-very, very eye catching!

Picking up and grasping the bottle addresses eye hand coordination and gross grasp skills.

Recognizing that pushing or pulling an object makes it move and tracking objects as they move are science access points.








IMG_3243IMG_3421We made some super cool black pirate playdough this week—and added some black glitter to it for additional sparkle! Did we mention this stuff was SUPER COOL 🙂

Our students could roll the playdough into cannon balls or use the bone shaped cookie cutter to make shapes.

Squeezing, pushing, pulling and otherwise manipulating playdough is great for strengthening hand intrinsics.

This activity addresses the science access point of recognizing that the appearance of an object or material has changed.






IMG_3294Then we turned off the lights and turned on our black light to help us explore our pirate swamp! We mixed up our oobleck using tonic water, which contains quinine, instead of ordinary water to help give it even more glow.

Our students practiced making prewriting strokes and the letter X in the oobleck and really had fun watching it drip and flow down hands!

Using the senses—-in this case vision and touch—to explore objects is a science access point. Tracking the oobleck as it flows also addresses a science access point.








IMG_3310We finished by rinsing hands in Bath and Bodyworks Ocean scented bath gel with an added element—–ocean spray (from our mister)!  Some of our students got quite giggly as they felt the mist come down around them 🙂

A large measuring cup and measuring spoon were available in the water bowl for scooping fun.

The science access point of recognizing and responding to one type of sensory stimuli is addressed as the water spray comes down. The math access point of recognizing differences in sizes of containers that hold liquids while scooping.









IMG_3476As usual, we also used the companion lotion to help our students learn external body parts and address the math access point of indicating a desire for more of an action or object.

This also addresses the science access point of recognizing external body parts.













IMG_3379Every pirate needs a pet so on Tuesday we made a paper plate parrot for our art project!

We counted out a circle shaped paper plate for each student then gave them a choice of 3 colors to paint their parrot. Since the Florida Alternate Assessment has an array of 3 format, we like to give our students lots of practice making choices out of sets of 3.

Our students are getting to be such good painters!

Recognizing a common object with a 2 dimensional shape is a math access point.

Effectively communicate wants and needs to a familiar person using referent objects, gestures/signs, pictures, symbols, or words is a language access point.







IMG_3327IMG_3342Then we used our circle cutter to cut out 2 small circles.  We glued these onto the paper plate and added 2 googlie eyes on top.

We also added a precut beak and some fluffy feathers.

Picking up and placing the smaller pieces promotes pincer grasp and finger isolation skills in addition to eye hand coordination.

Recognizing differences in size of objects and associating quantities 1 and 2 with number names are math access points.



TA DA!!!!!!!


IMG_3411Looks like Polly parrot is ready to set sail!





IMG_0315On Thursday our little pirates made some telescopes—–all the better to see those treasure filled islands 🙂

We used paper towel and toilet paper rolls that fit inside each other—-to get telescoping action, way cool! They were decorated with paper strips.  We started by using our paper cutters to cut rectangle shaped strips of paper and taped them to the rolls. The electric scissors attached to a switch were used for our students with physical impairments.

Recognizing a change in an object ( as the paper is cut) and recognizing a model of a real object are science access points.

Recognizing a common object with a 2 dimensional shape (the rectangular paper) is a math access point.






IMG_0333The strips of paper were taped around each roll. We discussed the fact that one roll was large and one was small—-addressing the math access point of recognizing the differences in size of objects.

Bilateral coordination and eye hand coordination are addressed as the paper is taped around the roll and as one roll is inserted into the other!








IMG_0327Land Ho!!!!












IMG_0272A pirate came by and left clues to his buried treasure in our language group.  Our students had to use the clues to find the hidden treasure.  Each of the clues incorporated a preposition, like “up”, “next to”, “under” and “on”.  They also had a rhyming word to help figure out what to look for.  For example, “this thing rhymes with carrot.  Is it parrot or car?”  The students did such a grrrrrreat job figuring out the rhyming words and finding the things associated with pirates.

Using pictures, symbols, gestures/signs, or words to communicate meaning.

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




IMG_0297 IMG_0295-1Hidden around the room and also outside were a parrot, a pirate vest, a hook, a pirate hat, and of course, the hidden treasure on the X.

Recognizing the next step in a simple pattern or sequence of activities is a math access point.

Associating information with referent objects is a language access point.

When the students found the treasure, they opened it up to find a little treat wrapped in gold wrapping paper.  Excitement galore!

IMG_0294                                                                                               It was fun fer all 🙂







IMG_3372Arrrgg, be sure to ship out with us next week for more fun and learning, Group by Group!