Wednesday, August 19, 2009

news-2-you: Super Sand Castles

I have moved this up to the top one last time as it is now complete.  I will be using these ideas from August 31 through September 18 and will post a new topic towards the end of that time frame.

News2youI got the idea to share the plans I'm making related to news-2-you from the blog entitled Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs.  I enjoyed the outline format that was used and thought I would do something similar as I found resources and made plans.  Given the way I function, I have decided that I will generally be using the papers every 2nd week and generally one week later than what they were intended for.  This will give me the time I need to make sure materials are adapted for my students and also give my students the time they need to really explore any new topic.  If I make any materials with Boardmaker, I will post them here for download as well as post them in the Adapted Learning news-2-you group.

Morning Gathering Time Activities

Each morning during morning gathering time we will take some time to do an activity related to the current newspaper. Many of these will be related to choice making and sensory activities.  Here is an outline of the activities we will be working on for this newspaper timeframe:
  • Day 1: Rough and Smooth (because sand is rough)touch and feel - have a number of itmes that are rough and smooth and let students touch and label (for those that can) as rough or smooth.
  • Day 2: Rough/Smooth Vote - have 2 items - one that is rough and one that is smooth and have student vote on which feeling they like better (may also vote on two different rough or two different smooth items).
  • Day 3: Beach Clothing - Have a bunch of pictures from catalogues with different types of clothing. Talk about which ones we might wear to the beach and where we might wear the others.
  • Day 4: Beach Clothing Voting:  Have pictures of pairs of outfits and students vote on each outfits they like more (note that my class consists mainly of middle/high school aged students).
  • Day 5: Wet/Dry Explorations
  • Day 6: Cooling Off Drinks:  Have samples of types of drinks we use to cool off and do some taste testing.
  • Day 7: Types of Drinks Voting: Have sets of drinks and let students taste and then vote on which one they like more?
  • Day 8:Vacation Destinations:  Have pictures of different places we might go on vacation. Students share stories of vacations they have gone on. For thost who are non-verbal, a note is sent home in the communication book the night before for parents to put this on their step-by-step for today so they can share as well.
  • Day 9: Vacation Destination Voting: Have pictures of different places and students pick where they would rather go.
Language Arts (Vocabulary, Literacy, Composition, Communication...etc
  • Beach Ball Books for Hallway Bulletin Board:  Each year I like to post information about our students on the hallway bulletin board so others can take the time to check it out and get to know them a bit more.  This year I'm going to keep with the "Super Sand Castle" theme and make a beach scene for our bulletin board.  Each student will draw and cut out a sandcastle and then smear glue and sand on it and post it on the bottom of the board.  I'm sure the custodian is going to love me for that one ;).  The top of the board will read "We are going to have a ball in L.A.P. this year!" and there will be space to put student made books that are in the shape of a beach ball up on the bulletin board.  You can download the "Auto-ball-ography" file here. Stay tuned next week for a picture of the bulletin board all ready for the addition of sandcastles and beach balls.
  • "I Went to the Aquarium" Interactive Book: a book where students match real pictures (downloaded from the Internet) to PECs of different ocean animals.   
  • Beach Bingo: Focuses on on vocabulary related to the beach.  This is a boardmaker file made by "hdifiore" on the Adapted Learning Website.  You can download it here:  Note you will need a (free) username and password to sign in to Adapted Learning. 
  • "There Was an Old Lady Who Followed a Shell" by Lucille Colorado: There is also a boardmaker file made by "cdnali" on the Adapted Learning Website that has extension/comprehension types of activities.  You can download it here:  Note you will need a (free) username and password to sign in to Adapted Learning.
Switches and/or Computers
  • I have no items in this category for this topic but will leave it up as it is an area that I want to try to cover for other topics.
  • Beach Items Counting and Positions:  I downloaded a beach scene made by "thuff" on the Adapted Learning Website, increased the size, printed it off on cardstock and then laminated the background.  You can download the beach scene here: Note you will need a (free) username and password to sign in to Adapted Learning.  I then created the following boardmaker file:  "Beach Toy Positions and Counting".  When working with students, staff decides on a sentence strip, puts the appropriate symbol(s) on the sentence strip and then has the student follow the directions on the sentence strip. It is set up to work on just counting (to 5), just positions (in, on, under, beside) and both positions and counting.
  • Beach Toy Sorting:  We have a variety of beach toys and we will sort them by size (big and small), color or type of toy (shovel, pail...etc.).  We will use PECS out of student binders to direct what the groups are.
  • Fish Math Puzzle by lang1985: This file was made by someone else and uploaded to the Adapted Leraning Website.  You can download it here:  Note you will need a (free) username and password to sign in Adapted Learning. 
Science/Sensory Explorations
  • Sensory Bins:  Regular Sand,  Moon Sand and Water filled with beach items.  Some examples of what I will put in: beach toys (shovels, buckets, sifters..etc.), sea shells, boats, fish tank plants.
  • Sink and Float Explorations:  Each team of students needs a water bin, a worksheet that has a table with two columns (one labeled sink and one labeled float), a set of items (some that will sink and some that will float) and pictures of the same items.  Students put each item in the water to see if it will sink or float and then glue the item in the proper section of the worksheet. 
Social Studies/Life Skills
  • Geography - Where Have You Been on Vacation Bulletin Board:  include a map with locations of where you have been on vacation.  Students bring in pictures of their vacations and these go up on the bulletin board as well.  Try to highlight beach vacations but leave it open to other vacations as well. 
  • Fill Your Beach Bag Spinner Game: Use an "All-Turn-It Spinner" and game cards.  Students take turn spinning the spinner and marking off the item the spinner points to on their game card.  The first person to get all the items on their game card is the winner.  Note that I always put "free spaces" on the spinner as well as all of the items (just take one game card and cut it up in pictures and glue them on the "All-Turn-It Spinner" circle).  Boardmaker file for this is on  You can also download it here:  Download "Fill Your Beach Bag Spinner Game".  Note that you will need Boardmaker to open this file.
  • Find and Match (using Sand Sensory Bin):  Need one or two sets of beach themed items as well as pictures or PECs of those items (dependent on student level).  If working with one student, bury items in the sand and have them find them and then match to the pictures that you have.  Once they have all pictures matched they are done activity.  If working with two students, bury items in the sand and do the same.  First student to come up with all items is the winner.  Another way to do this is by way of a matching game where two of each item are buried and then students dig out two items by turn and if they have a match they get to keep them.  The person with the most pairs at the end is the winner.
Fine Arts (Music, Drama, Art...etc.)
  • Pasta Shell Painting: Students paint pasta shells to make them look like sea shells.  Shells are glueed on to a beach background that students color (or print off in color and just put on shells).  Can also add real sand to the picture to make it more real.
  • Sand Painting: Students use glue to make designs and then put sand on them and shake excess sand off to create a sand painting.
  • Personalized Surf Boards:  Each year we decorate something that is large enough that we can use for hanging from the ceiling for decorations.  We personalize them with all the things that are of interest to the students.  Last year we did kites as we started with a flight unit.  This year we are going to make "surf boards".  I will take large pieces of cardboard and cut them out n the exact size of a surfboard.  Students will spend one session painting their board - with brushes, sponges or fingers depending on student choice.  The next sessions will be spent on choice making and cutting and gluing skills.  Choice making in that students will decided what shoudl go on their surfboard and cutting/gluing to whatever level they are able to assist with (students who are working primarily on switch access use battery operated scissors hooked up to a switch).  Once the project is done, these will be hung from the ceiling of our room.  We will also make some "waves" to hang in between the surf boards.   
Adapted P.E.
  • Beach Ball Activities:  Some possibilities include: batting at beachballs, playing catch with beach balls, beach volleyball, kicking beach balls, putting beach balls on the parachute and shaking it, beach ball relay race (hold on to ball while doing relay). 
  • Beach Toy Scavenger Hunt:  Students have a picture checklist of the items that they are to find around the school and they go looking for them.  A (re)introduction to the school community will be included as students will need to make note (with picture symbols) of where they found the items.  I still have some preparation for this one so will post more in the next few days.
Community Integration
  • Could do a day trip to the local beach.  For us this will be logistics, transportation and weather dependant.

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