fine motor skills

  1. Create a Colorful Windsock

    Create a Colorful Windsock

    In this Remarkable Idea, students make a windsock and watch their windsocks blow in the wind!

    This activity addresses:

    • Following directions
    • Fine motor skills
    • Science
    • Weather
    • Art
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • White construction paper (11” x 17”)
    • Crayons
    • Yarn, cut into 12” long lengths
    • Crepe paper in assorted colors, cut into 18” long strips
    • Electric stapler that can be switch adapted
    • Fan that can be switch adapted
    • SuperTalker FT
    • Step-by-Step
    • Several switches

    Preparation:

    1. Create and place a “directions” picture/symbol on the Step-by-Step.
    2. Record the Windsock directions script on the Step-by-Step, one direction per step.
    3. Record each color name on the SuperTalker FT.
    4. Create an overlay for the SuperTalker FT with various color pictures/symbols.


    What to do:

    1. Show students the sample windsock. Use the switch adapted fan to produce wind, and demonstrate how windsocks blow in the wind.
    2. Students use the Step-by-Step to give directions on how to make windsocks.
    3. Students follow the directions to create their own windsocks.
    4. Use the SuperTalker FT to select crayon colors, and crepe paper colors to use for their streamers.
    5. Students use the switch adapted electric stapler to staple the paper roll together and to staple the crepe paper strips on the windsock tube.
    6. When all windsocks are finished, students take turns turning on the switch-adapted fan and blowing the windsocks.


    Script:

    “We are going to make windsocks!”
    “Windsocks are fun to take outside on a windy day. Windsocks blow in the wind!”
    “On your white paper, color a picture of a windy day!”
    “Write your name on your picture.”
    “When you’re finished, roll your picture into a tube and staple it.”
    “Now choose your streamers, and staple several on the bottom of the windsock.”
    “Staple a piece of yarn across the top of the windsock as a handle.”
    “Now your windsock is ready to hang in the wind!”
    “Who wants to turn on the fan and make some wind to blow the windsocks?”

    Keywords

    weather | supertalker ft | step-by-step | science | following directions | fine motor skills | art | alternative methods of access |

  2. Groundhog's Day

    In this Remarkable Idea, students will learn about Groundhog’s Day, create their own groundhogs, and eat a Groundhog Day treat.

    This activity addresses:

    • Social Skills
    • Fine Motor
    • Functional Skills
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • BIG or LITTLEmack
    • Jelly Bean Switch
    • PowerLink 4
    • Toilet paper roll (1 for each student)
    • Construction paper/cardstock (brown, green, white, black)
    • Black marker
    • Glue
    • Craft sticks/popsicle sticks (1 for each student)
    • Desk lamp with flexible head/Flashlight
    • Electric mixer
    • Instant chocolate pudding
    • Mixing bowl
    • Small plastic cups/bowls
    • Vanilla wafers
    • Sliced almonds (can be omitted for allergies)
    • Brown decorating gel

    Preparation:

    1. Use groundhog template page to cut out pieces for groundhogs from brown, white, and black construction paper or print groundhog template page on cardstock and cut out pieces.
    2. Record information about Groundhog Day to a BIG or LITTLEmack.
    3. Cut green construction paper in half so you have two 8.5 x 5.5 pieces (1 for each student). Make 1 inch cuts along one end. The green paper will be wrapped around the toilet paper rolls as grass with the strips sticking up over the top of the tube.

    What to do:

    Groundhog Day Activity
    1. Select a student to tell the class about Groundhog Day.
    2. Pass out the pieces for each student to make their groundhog and assist them in gluing the pieces together. Insert the craft stick between the two body pieces.
    3. Give each student a toilet paper roll and a piece of green construction paper. Assist students as necessary with wrapping the paper around the tube and gluing it on.
    4. Once finished students will be able to hold the craft stick and make their groundhog pop out of the ground (toilet paper roll).
    5. Connect the desk lamp and a Jelly Bean Switch to the PowerLink 4. Place the lamp facing towards a wall so students can take turns making their groundhog pop out of the ground to see if their groundhog sees their shadow. Students rotate between activating “the sun” and playing with their groundhogs.

    Groundhog Day Treat – Vanilla Wafer Groundhogs in Mud
    1. Connect the electric mixer and a Jelly Bean Switch to a PowerLink 4.
    2. Follow instructions for the instant pudding, allow students to activate the mixer. (Children should not be allowed near the mixer.)
    3. Pour the pudding into cups.
    4. Give each student a vanilla wafer and two sliced almonds.
    5. Use the decorating gel to draw a face on the vanilla wafer groundhog.
    6. Use the decorating gel as an adhesive to attach the ears (almond slices).
    7. Place your groundhog in the “mud” and enjoy.

    Script:

    “February 2nd is Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day is the day where the groundhog is supposed to come out of hibernation and poke his head out of the ground. If the groundhog sees his shadow he will go back into his burrow and we will have six more weeks of winter. If the groundhog does not see his shadow that means spring is on its way. The most famous groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Today we will make our own groundhogs and we can see if they see their shadow or not.”

    Keywords

    powerlink 4 | littlemack | jelly bean switch | functional life skills | fine motor skills | bigmack | alternative methods of access |

  3. 100th Day of School

    In this Remarkable Idea, explore the number 100 and improve students’ number sense. The hundredth day of school is an exciting opportunity for students to explore the number 100 through activities, discussions, and art projects allowing students to gain a better understanding of what the number 100 means to them.

    This activity addresses:

    • Social skills
    • Choice making
    • Cause and effect
    • Fine motor skills
    • Number sense
    • Creative thinking
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    Preparation:

    1. Using cups, bowls, mason jars, or some other container students can see through, make pairs of 100 and non-100 items such as pennies, cotton balls, or small candies.
    2. Count and separate a set of 100 mini pretzel sticks for each student in class.
    3. Using a hot glue gun, glue 100 crayons to the top of the canvas side by side.
    4. Using school glue, write the number 100 in bubble letters on the middle of the canvas. Make sure you use a thick bead of glue to prevent wax from entering the 100 later on.

    What to do:

    Counting to 100
    1. Begin by counting 100 days with your students. Explain that there are different ways we can count.
    - Give each student a blank ten frame and allow them to fill in each box by coloring, using stickers, or a bingo dotter. Use the ten frames to model counting to 100 by tens. A Step-by-Step can be used to assist with counting by tens.
    - Ask student’s how many fingers they have, and how many students they would need to get to 100. Include toes to get students thinking about other ways to make 100.
    - Using the coins, ask students how many nickels, dimes, or quarters you would need to make $1.00. Model counting by each. A Step-by-Step can be used to assist with counting.

    Thinking about 100
    1. Using a blank All-Turn-It Spinner overlay, write talking points such as eat, walk, hold, do, etc.
    - Use a Jelly Bean switch to activate the All-Turn-It Spinner and when it lands on a category ask students to think about something they could eat 100 of, or how far 100 steps would get them, etc. This could be modified by using an iTalk2 with Levels and giving students a choice between two things (ex. Could you eat 100: Cheeseburgers or jelly beans.)
    2. Using a blank All-Turn-It Spinner overlay, write more than/less than talking points such as “When it rains do you think there are more than 100 or less than 100 rain drops?”, “At the Super Bowl are there more than 100 or less than 100 fans in the stadium?”, or “Are there more than 100 or less than 100 keys on the computer keyboards in our school?”
    - Use a Jelly Bean switch to activate the All-Turn-It Spinner and when it lands on a scenario ask students to decide whether it’s more than 100 or less than 100.
    3. Present the previously made sets of 100 and non-100 items to students and ask them to guess which container is the one with 100 in it. Use an iTalk2 with Levels to let students decide which container has 100. (record “This one has 100.” and “This one has less than 100.” on each side of the iTalk2 with Levels)

    Fun with 100
    1. Give each student a set of 100 pretzel sticks and allow them to create anything they can with the pretzel sticks.
    - Allow students the opportunity to explore the many different images they can create.
    2. Place your canvas in a vertical position (on a stand or have an adult hold it) with the crayons at the top.
    3. Connect a hair dryer to the PowerLink 4, and connect a Jelly Bean switch to it. Allow students to take turns melting the crayons on the top of the canvas.
    4. As the crayon wax melts, it should stay on the outside of the 100 leaving you with a one of a kind piece of art for your classroom made by your students.

    Keywords

    step-by-step | social skills | powerlink 4 | numbers | jelly bean switch | italk2 with levels | fine motor skills | creative thinking | choice making | cause and effect | alternative methods of access | all-turn-it spinner |

  4. Join and Separate - It's in the Bag!

    Join and Separate - It's in the Bag!

    In this Remarkable Idea, students will work on their number conservation and subitizing skills

    This activity addresses:

    • Beginning addition skills
    • Number conservation
    • Fine motor skills
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • Locking sandwich bags
    • Small manipulatives (bingo chips, shapes, animals, etc.) must all be the same kind.
    • Permanent marker or masking tape
    • Number cards
    • Plus symbol card
    • Equals symbol card
    • BIGmack
    • Step-by-Step

    Preparation:

    1. Prepare sandwich bags by drawing or taping a vertical line down the center of the bag.
    2. If appropriate, record numbers to Step-by-Step for counting.
    3. Create appropriate overlays

    What to do:

    1. Place manipulatives in the bag; amount will vary depending on each student’s skill level. Show the student the side without the marker or tape line, and ask the students to count how many.
    2. Students count the number of manipulatives in the bag. Record this number to the BIGmack and place the corresponding number card on it.
    3. Turn the bag over, and have the students separate the manipulatives into groups on either side of the line.
    4. Have the student count the number in each new set they created. Place the corresponding number card on each side of the bag.
    5. Show the student that the two smaller sets can be joined to make the original number by placing a plus and equals signs in the correct spaces.

    Script:

    “Good, you counted 5. Can you separate the set of 5 into two smaller sets?”
    “Good, now we have sets of 1 and 4.” “1 and 4 make 5”

    Additional suggestions:

    The BIGmack should always have the original number that was in the bag recorded on it for students to reference in case they forget. The Step-by-Step should be used for counting.
    This activity can also be used for subtraction by taking a separated set away.

    Keywords

    step-by-step | number conservation | math | fine motor skills | equals symbol card | bigmack | beginning addition skills | alternative methods of access |

  5. Let's Talk Turkey!

    Let's Talk Turkey!

    In this Remarkable Idea, students will learn about turkeys and create their own turkey puzzle to share.

    This activity addresses:

    • Animal recognition
    • Fine motor skills
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • Pictures or photos of real turkeys
    • Black and white turkey template
    • White card stock
    • Crayons / markers / color pencils
    • Permanent black marker
    • Envelopes or resealable plastic bags (one per student)
    • Scissors
    • QuickTalker 7

    Preparation:

    1. Copy the turkey picture/template onto card stock (one per student).
    2. Record vocabulary words on QuickTalker 7.
    3. Create appropriate overlays.

    What to do:

    1. Show students the pictures/photos of real turkeys. Have students point out different parts of the turkey. Use the QuickTalker 7 to review parts and definitions.
    2. Give each student turkey template to color.
    3. Have each student cut their turkey into different pieces.
    4. Show students how they will then take the turkey picture pieces and put them together as a puzzle.
    5. Students put the puzzle pieces in an envelope/resealable bag and write the student’s name on the
    envelope/bag.
    7. The students can give their puzzle to another student. Each student then puts together the puzzle pieces they have been given to make a turkey picture!

    Vocabulary:

    Caruncle - brightly colored growths on the throat region. Hen - a female turkey.
    Poult - a baby turkey. A chick.
    Snood - the flap of skin that hangs over the turkey’s beak. Tom - a male turkey. Also known as a gobbler.
    Wattle - the flap of skin under the turkey’s chin.

    Keywords

    quicktalker 7 | fine motor skills | animal recognition | alternative methods of access |

  6. Sensory Monsters

    Sensory Monsters

    In this Remarkable Idea, students will create Halloween themed sensory decorations for your classroom.

    This activity addresses:

    • Choice making
    • Fine Motor
    • Cause and effect
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • Clear containers with a lid (mason jars, baby food jars, pasta sauce, plastic water bottles, etc.)
    • Black and white foam or construction paper
    • Warm water
    • School glue
    • Glitter
    • Food coloring- green and orange (mixing red, yellow and blue food coloring to create these colors is fine)
    • Hot Glue Gun
    • Super Glue
    • Battery operated scissors
    • TalkingBrix 2

    Preparation:

    1. Find a picture of a ghost, Frankenstein, and pumpkin.
    2. Create TalkingBrix 2 overlays of a ghost, Frankenstein, and a pumpkin.
    3. Record “Ghost”, “Frankenstein”, and “Pumpkin” onto the TalkingBrix 2 and place the picture with the corresponding TalkingBrix 2.
    4. Clean out the jars you will be using.

    What to do:

    1.Assist students in cutting out the pieces for the Sensory Monster they choose:
    Pumpkin: eyes, nose, and mouth
    Ghost: Eyes, Mouth
    Frankenstein: eyes, pupils, nose, mouth (the eyes should be made out of white foam)
    Stitches (optional)
    2. With assistance from an adult, use the hot glue gun to glue the pieces onto the jar to create the character.
    3. Fill each jar with warm/hot water, leave room for glue.
    4. Allow students to add glue to the jar until the desired consistency is reached or record “More” and “Stop” onto the TalkingBrix 2 so students can tell you when they have enough.
    5. Add food coloring (green for Frankenstein, orange for pumpkin, none for ghost).
    6. Add glitter until you have the look you desire.
    7. An adult should glue the lid onto the jar using either super glue or the hot glue gun to avoid messes later.

    Keywords

    talkingbrix 2 | fine motor skills | choice making | cause and effect | alternative methods of access |

  7. St. Patrick's Day Fun

    St. Patrick's Day Fun

    In this Remarkable Idea, students celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with food, games, and even build a trap to try and catch that pesky leprechaun!

    This activity addresses:

  8. Creative thinking
  9. Listening skills
  10. Fine motor skills
  11. Number recognition
  12. Patterning
  13. Alternative methods of access

  14. What you need:

    Leprechaun Math

    • Numbers/attribute blocks/etc.
    • All-Turn-It Spinner
    • Jelly Bean switch
    • Leprechaun figures/chocolate gold coins
    • Rice
    • Vinegar
    • Green food coloring
    • Locking plastic bags
    • Lucky Charms cereal

    Mischievous Leprechaun

    • Green glitter/St. Patrick’s Day confetti
    • Small jars/plastic bags
    • Green jelly beans
    • Green washable paint
    • Tape
    • Small shoes
    • Caution tape/police tape
    • Blue2 Blootooth switch

    Trap a Leprechaun

    • Box
    • Green paper for wrapping box
    • Pencil
    • String
    • Leprechaun bait (gold coins, green items, etc.)

    St. Patrick’s Day Bingo

    Preparation:

    Mischievous Leprechaun
    1. Leave trails of glitter or confetti around your classroom.
    2. Make small messes and rearrange things, and leave green shoe prints all over the classroom.
    3. Place jelly beans in small bags or jars and label them as “Leprechaun poop”.
    4. You could also place caution tape at the doorway of the classroom and create a fake police report for students to fill out together.

    Be creative so your students really feel as though a Leprechaun has messed up their room!

    Leprechaun Math
    1. Dye your rice green by combining a ratio of 1-cup of rice to 1-tablespoon of vinegar, along with as much food coloring as you need to get to the desired color in a plastic bag. Allow the rice to dry once it has adsorbed the green color.
    2. Place objects (numbers, attribute blocks, etc.) into the green rice bucket.
    3. Using an All-Turn-It Spinner blank overlay, write (or place pictures) of the objects you wish for your students to find in the rice.
    4. Add Leprechaun figures or chocolate gold coins as a surprise for your students.

    St. Patrick’s Day Bingo
    1. Find/create a St. Patrick’s Day bingo card.
    2. Record each bingo space to a Step-by-Step.

    What to do:

    Mischievous Leprechaun
    1. When your students come into the classroom in the morning, allow them to explore the classroom and see the mischief the Leprechaun has caused.
    2. Allow students to take “crime scene photos” using a Blue2 Blootooth switch and an iPad.
    3. Search for clues and make a list of anyone whose desk or locker was messed with.
    4. File a “police report” with your students. Ask them to describe things they found in the classroom. If your school has a security guard, see if they can assist with this activity.

    Leprechaun Math
    1. Identifying numbers/shapes/etc.: Allow students to take turns spinning the All-Turn-It Spinner and finding the correct number/object in the rice.
    2. Patterns: Pass out Lucky Charms marshmallows to each student (you may wish to only use two or three different shapes). Make an A/B pattern and challenge your students to match the pattern. For advanced students. challenge them to create their own patterns or match more complex patterns.

    St. Patrick’s Day Bingo
    1. Pass out a bingo card to each student.
    2. Select a caller to activate the Step-by-Step.
    3. Play until you have a winner. (Chocolate gold coins make a good prize)

    Trap a Leprechaun
    1. Allow students to decorate the box as well as place drawings around the area you plan to place the trap.
    2. Tie the “Leprechaun bait” to the pencil and use it to prop the box up.
    3. After the students have gone home for the day, remove the bait and replace it with a note that says “Better luck next year!”
    4. Leave the trap in “tripped” condition.

Keywords

step-by-step | patterns | numbers | listening skills | jelly bean switch | fine motor skills | creative thinking | alternative methods of access | all-turn-it spinner |

  • Let's Talk Tarantulas

    Let's Talk Tarantulas

    In this Remarkable Idea, students will learn some facts about tarantulas and make their own to bring home.

    This activity addresses:

    • Life science
    • Choice making
    • Social skills
    • Fine motor skills
    • Cause and effect
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • Step-by-Step
    • TalkingBrix 2
    • 1 1/2-inch Styrofoam balls (2 for each student)
    • Toothpicks
    • White pipe cleaners
    • Shorter pieces of white pipe cleaners
    • Black, brown, and red paint
    • Painting materials (brushes, bowls, plates, locking plastic bags)
    • Pictures of a male and female tarantulas

    Preparation:

    1. Record the definition of “molting” on a TalkingBrix 2.
    2. Record the definition of “exoskeleton” on a TalkingBrix.
    3. Record tarantula facts to the Step-by-Step.
    4. Attach two Styrofoam balls together using a toothpick for each student.

    What to do:

    1. Begin by telling the class that you are going to be discussing and making tarantulas. Give them each a tarantula body to paint either brown or black. Students can paint with a brush, finger paint, roll the balls in paint, or place the body in a locking plastic bag filled with paint and shake it - make sure it’s completely zipped shut before shaking! - and set aside to air dry.
    2. Introduce the two vocabulary words “molting” and “exoskeleton” to the class and select a “Word Whiz” to activate the TalkingBrix 2 to tell the class the definition of each word.
    3. Give each student an opportunity to activate the Step-by-Step to learn different facts about tarantulas and discuss them.
    4. When the vocabulary words appear in the tarantula facts, have your “Word Whiz” activate the TalkingBrix 2 to remind the students of what the new words mean.
    5. Build tarantulas of your own making sure to use the new knowledge of tarantula anatomy. Each spider should have two body parts, eight legs, and two palps.

    • Have students determine based on the color they choose for their tarantula if theirs will be a male or a female spider.
    • Attach four legs to each side of the tarantula. To be anatomically correct, legs should all be attached to one Styrofoam ball.
    • Each student will attach eight legs and two palps to their tarantula.
    • Finish painting the tarantulas. A little red can be added to the males and a little black to the females as accent colors.

    Script:

    Molting definition: “Molting means to lose a covering of hair, feathers, or an old shell, and replace it with a new growth in the same place.”
    Exoskeleton definition: “An exoskeleton is a hard covering that supports and protects the bodies of some types of animals. The word exoskeleton actually means “outside skeleton”.
    “There are around 700 species, or types, of tarantulas.”
    “Tarantulas build their homes underground.”
    “Tarantulas eat insects, grasshoppers, and beetles. Some tarantulas even eat small birds!”
    “Tarantula’s natural enemies are weasels, skunks, snakes, and owls.”
    “One other predator that the tarantula must fear is … people. Some people actually keep tarantulas as pets, and in some countries they even eat them!”
    “Tarantulas have an exoskeleton. This means instead of having bones inside their bodies like people, they have a hard covering on the outside of their bodies. As a tarantula grows, it must molt or shed its exoskeleton.“ (Videos of this can be found online)
    “During a molting phases, a tarantula can even regrow lost legs.”
    “Their life span is up to 30 years for females 5-10 for males.”
    “A tarantula’s body can be up to 4.75 in (12 cm) long and its leg span can be up to 11 in (28 cm).”
    “Tarantulas weigh 1 to 3 oz (28 to 85 g).”
    “A female’s lifespan is up to 30-years, and a male’s lifespan is 5 to 10-years.”
    “A male tarantula is usually thinner than a female and has black and reddish hair.”
    “Tarantulas have two body parts - the cephalothorax and the abdomen, eight legs, and two pedipalps - sometimes called palps for short - that are used for feeling and moving things.”

    Keywords

    talkingbrix 2 | step-by-step | social skills | science | fine motor skills | choice making | cause and effect | alternative methods of access |

  • Mystery Boxes

    Mystery Boxes

    In this Remarkable Idea students will be challenged to feel disgusting items in the mystery boxes and determine what everyday items are inside. The reward for completing this challenge is a meal made of dirt and worms!

    This activity addresses:

  • Critical thinking
  • Choice making
  • Sensory
  • Fine motor skills
  • Alternative methods of access
  • What you need:

    Preparation:

    1. Place all the food into the containers so students cannot see what is in them.
    2. Place the “disgusting” item cards on the outside of the containers.
    3. Record “I want to touch it” and “No way!” onto the TalkingBrix 2.

    What to do:

    1. Combine pudding mix and milk into a large bowl. Have a student activate the mixer using the Jelly Bean and PowerLink 4 and whisk for 2-minutes, then let stand for 5-minutes.
    2. Crush 8 chocolate sandwich cookies in a locking plastic bag.
    3. Stir Cool Whip and cookie crumbs into mixture.
    4. Using a spoon, scoop the mixture into cups and refrigerate for 1-hour.
    5. Crush remaining cookies and add to the top of the cups along with gummy worms just before serving.
    6. Allow each student the opportunity to take turns feeling what is inside each container. They will use the TalkingBrix 2 to say “I want to touch it” or “No way!”
    7. Once a student has felt what is inside, allow them guess what they are actually feeling.
    Let them choose from the “actual item” cards and match them to the containers.
    8. At the end of the activity, students can be rewarded for being adventurous enough to feel what was inside the boxes by eating dirt!

    Keywords

    talkingbrix 2 | sensory | powerlink 4 | jelly bean switch | fine motor skills | critical thinking | choice making | alternative methods of access |

  • Word Game

    Word Game

    In this Remarkable Idea, students take a spin on the classic word game by adding an assistive technology component and themes.

    This activity addresses:

    • Spelling
    • Social skills
    • Choice making
    • Cause and effect
    • Fine motor skills
    • Good sportsmanship
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    Preparation:

    1. Decide on your theme (decorate a pumpkin, feathers on a turkey, build a snowman, etc.) and the pieces needed (example: pumpkin - nose, mouth, eyes, stem, leaves, etc.)
    2. Record the words you plan to use on your selected communication device (example words: pumpkin, witch, bat, Halloween, etc.)
    3. Write the words you plan to use on strips of construction paper; they should be large enough to read from across the room.

    What to do:

    1. Explain the rules of the Word Game so everyone knows how to play.
    - When it is your turn, you get to guess a letter for the puzzle.
    - If you are right, the letter gets added to the word. If you are wrong, the letter is written off to the side and a piece of the character is added.
    2. Each student takes a turn spinning the All-Turn-It Spinner. If it lands on a letter that has already been guessed, the student will spin again.
    3. After a student has taken their turn, they can take a guess at what the word is using the SuperTalker FT / QuickTalker / iPad with SoundingBoard or the strips of paper on the board.
    4. Once the word is solved, begin again until all words are complete.

    Keywords

    supertalker ft | sportsmanship | spelling | soundingboard app | social skills | quicktalker | jelly bean switch | fine motor skills | choice making | cause and effect | blue2 bluetooth switch | alternative methods of access | all-turn-it spinner |

  • Building a Snowman

    Building a Snowman

    In this Remarkable Idea, students work together as they take turns stapling together three sets of circles to make a snowman.

    This activity addresses:

    • Following directions
    • Turn taking
    • Sharing materials
    • Fine motor skills
    • Counting
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    Preparation:

    1. Cut three pairs of large circles out of white butcher paper. Each set of two paper circles should be several inches larger in diameter than the previous circle set. Paper clip each set of circles together.
    2. Cut out decorations for the snowman, such as hat, eyes, mouth, nose, pipe, button, broom, arms, etc. For each snowman decoration, create a matching symbol. These pictures/symbols should be approximately two inches in size, able to fit on the All-Turn-It Spinner.
    3. Divide the blank side of the All-Turn-It Spinner overlay into six sections and write a number 1-6 in each section.

    What to do:

    1. Read the snowman book to the students and explain what a snowman is and that they are going to make a giant snowman out of paper! Tell students that snowmen are round, and that they are going to make their snowman round, too!
    2. Students work to staple together the pairs of white circles, to be stuffed with paper snowballs. One student moves the paper or stapler, and the other student activates the Jelly/Big Beamer switch to staple the paper.
    3. Give students sheets of scrap white paper and shown how to crumple up each sheet to create a paper “snowball.” Students make paper snowballs until they have each made several.
    4. Students take turns spinning for a number, counting out that many paper snowballs, and placing them in the large paper circles, stuffing the snowman until each of the three sets of circles is full! Use the switch-adapted stapler to staple each of them shut.
    5. Place the snowman decoration pictures/symbols on the large overlay of the All-Turn-It Spinner, and put out the snowman decorations. Students take turns spinning for a snowman decoration picture/symbol, identifies the matching snowman decoration, and glues it on the snowman in the appropriate place.
    6. When the snowman is completed, the teacher and students put it on display.

    Keywords

    switches | sharing | math | jelly beamer | following directions | fine motor skills | big beamer | alternative methods of access | all-turn-it spinner |

  • Arctic Exploration

    Arctic Exploration

    In this Remarkable Idea, a sensory-based activity, students will find objects hidden in “snow” that they create from common household objects.

    This activity addresses:

    • Social skills
    • Choice making
    • Cause and effect
    • Fine motor skills
    • Sensory
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • Step-by-Step
    • TalkingBrix 2 (2) with "yes" and "no" symbols
    • PowerLink 4
    • Jelly Bean switch
    • Bowl or plastic bin
    • 1kg sodium bicarbonate
    • Approximately 2 cans of shaving cream (not gel)
    • Manipulatives for students to find in the snow (letters, numbers, colored objects, etc.) following multi-step directions

    Preparation:

    1. On the Step-by-Step record all of the objects you plan on placing in the snow.
    2. Record “yes” and “no” on TalkingBrix 2.
    2. Create “yes” and “no” symbol overlays.

    What to do:

    1. Pour 1kg (approximately 7 cups) sodium bicarbonate into a bowl and have a student activate the mixer using the PowerLink 4 and Jelly Bean switch.
    2. Add shaving cream until a snow-like consistency is achieved (approximately 1.5-2 cans).
    3. Transfer the snow from the mixing bowl to the plastic bin and add in your manipulatives.
    4. Students take turns activating the Step-by-Step and finding the object given by the Step-by-Step.
    5. When a student finds an object, they activate the TalkingBrix 2 to answer the question: “Is that what you were looking for?” If it is not what they were looking for, they may look again or another classmate could take a turn looking. Continue until all objects are found.

    Keywords

    talkingbrix 2 | step-by-step | social skills | sensory | powerlink 4 | jelly bean switch | fine motor skills | choice making | cause and effect | alternative methods of access |

  • Caramel Apple Bites

    Caramel Apple Bites

    With Fall approaching and apples ready to be picked, this is a great activity to do with students. Students will have fun cooking this tasty treat!

    This activity addresses:

    • Following isntructions
    • Mearsuing ingredients
    • Functional cooking skills
    • Fine motor skills
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • Step-by-Step
    • Jelly Beamer/Big Beamer
    • PowerLink
    • BIG/LITTLEmack
    • One bag of caramels or caramel bits, and caramel toppings such as sprinkles (optional)
    • 6 apples and apple slicer or knife
    • 2 Tablespoons of milk (can substitute water)
    • Toothpicks, paper plates, and small paper cups (optional)
    • Apple slicer or knife
    • Toothpicks
    • Brown and green construction paper
    • Whisk (optional)

    Preparation:

    1. Record “A tree”, “The ground” on a BIG/LITTLEmack.
    2. Record various things you can make using apples on a Step-by-Step (pies, jam, butter, muffins, applesauce, caramel apples).
    3. Cut apples into bite-sized pieces and place toothpicks in them. If you do this far in advance refrigerate the apples to keep them from turning brown. Alternatively, apples can be cut into bigger pieces and wedged into a whisk for students who may not be able to hold a toothpick for dipping.
    4. On a bulletin board or wall in the room, make an empty tree with leaves on which students can hang the plate apples they make.

    What to do:

    1. Discuss apples with the class.
    “Does anyone know what this is (hold up an apple)? That’s right, it’s an apple! Where do apples come from, a tree or the ground?” (Students use BIG/LITTLEmack to answer)
    “Today we are going to pick apples and make something out of them. Does anyone know what we can make using apples? (Students use Step-by-Step to answer)
    “Today we are going to make caramel apple bites.”
    2. Have students place caramel candies in a bowl to be melted. Measure out 2 tablespoons of milk or water and add it to the bowl.
    3. Melt the caramel candies, which can be done a few ways: Using a microwave, using a slow cooker, or a stove top. If you use a slow cooker, place water at the bottom and add the candies in a heat tolerant bowl. Students can turn the slow cooker on using the PowerLink and a Jelly Beamer/Big Beamer, but be careful not to get too close! For the stove top, cook on low-medium heat until the caramel is melted. Caution: caramel can cook unevenly and be extremely hot!
    4. Students can begin to work on their apple plates for the classroom apple tree. Using a small paper plate, students can use a red or green colors using crayons, paint, markers, paper tiles, etc. to decorate their plate.
    5. Once the caramel is ready, students can take turns dipping their apple bites into the caramel and topping of their choice. Toppings could also be placed into a cup to be poured onto the caramel apple bites. Place the finished apple bites into the refrigerator to allow the caramel topping to become firm.
    6. Hang up finished plates on the classroom apple tree.
    7. Enjoy the caramel apple bites!

    Keywords

    step-by-step | powerlink 4 | little beamer | following directions | fine motor skills | cooking skills | bigmack | big beamer | alternative methods of access |

  • Classroom Time Capsules

    Classroom Time Capsules

    This is a great activity to do with students at the beginning of the school year. Each student makes a time capsule that will be opened at the end of the school year and show how they have changed throughout the year.

    This activity addresses:

    • Following directions
    • Turn taking and sharing materials
    • Fine motor skills
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • iPad or iPhone
    • Blue2 switch
    • Printer
    • 1-qt Ziploc bags (1 for each student)
    • Construction paper
    • Tape
    • Pen or pencil
    • battery operated scissors
    • Switch

    * iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license.

    Preparation:

    1. Start by explaining to the students what a time capsule is. A common script would be, “A time capsule is a container filled with different objects that hide, and open in the future. Some time capsules are not meant to be opened for hundreds or even thousands of years. Today we are going to make our very own time capsules that we will open up at the end of the school year. In our time capsules, we will include a picture of you, a picture of your favorite activity, and a picture of your favorite food.”
    2. Have students help you take a picture of each student using an iPad or iPhone. For students who are unable to tap the shutter button on the iPad or iPhone, use a Blue2 switch and Switch Control (download appropriate guide for your use under "Downloads") to scan to the shutter button and activate it with the switch. Print each students' photo.
    3. Trace each student’s hand on construction paper using a pen or pencil. Have each student write their name and today’s date on their hand.
    4. Using the switch adapted battery operated scissors, have each student cut out their hand print, the photo of themselves, the image of their favorite activity, and the image of their favorite food.
    5. Each student inserts all three of their photos into their Ziploc bag and attaches their hand-print to the outside of the bag using tape.
    6. The teacher stores each time capsule until the end of the school year. At the end of the school year, the students can see if their favorite food, activity, or how they look has changed over the year.

    Keywords

    turn taking | sharing | following directions | fine motor skills | blue2 bluetooth switch | alternative methods of access |

  • Pumpkin Patch

    Pumpkin Patch

    In this Remarkable Idea, students learn about pumpkin patches and carve their own pumpkin.

    This activity addresses:

    • Choice making
    • Social skills
    • Cause and effect
    • Fine motor skills
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    Carving materials

    Decorating Materials

    • Paint
    • Glitter
    • Other miscellaneous art supplies
    • Black self adhesive vinyl
    • Die cut
    • Battery operated scissors

    Preparation:

    1. Choose pumpkins suitable for your students.
    2. Create the “Pumpkin Patch.” This can be a section of the classroom, outside in the grass, or if you’re using mini pumpkins, a large box filled with leaves, shredded paper, etc.

    What to do:

    1. Allow students to choose their own pumpkin from the “Pumpkin Patch.”
    2. Hollow out each pumpkin.

    • Using a knife, an adult will start begin by cutting the top of the pumpkin. Once there is enough room, remove the knife and replace it with the electric carving knife.
    • An adult will plug the electric carving knife into the PowerLink 4 as well as a Jelly Bean switch.
    • Students activate the switch to turn the electric knife on while an adult guides the knife.
    • Once the top is cut off, clean out the inside using a spoon or your hands. Allow students to each take a turn pulling the insides out of the pumpkin.
    • Dispose of insides (if you plan on toasting the seeds, set them aside).

    3. Allow students to choose the shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, star, or rhombus) of the eyes, nose, and mouth for their pumpkin using a SuperTalker FT or have students randomly choose shapes for their pumpkins using an All-Turn-It Spinner and a Jelly Bean switch.
    4. If carving pumpkins, guide electric knife while the students activate the Jelly Bean Switch for the a href="https://www.ablenetinc.com/powerlink-4-north-america" target="_blank">PowerLink 4 (save the pieces you cut out for later). If using self-adhesive vinyl, assist students with the battery operated scissors (a die cut can also be used to cut more complex shapes) to cut out the shape of their choice (save the scrap paper for later).
    5. Once the pumpkins have been “carved” allow students to use the paint, glitter, and other art supplies to finish decorating their pumpkins.
    6. Once all students have finished decorating their pumpkins use the pieces you cut out of the pumpkin or the scraps of vinyl and challenge students to find the match for each shape.

    Keywords

    supertalker ft | social skills | powerlink 4 | jelly bean switch | fine motor skills | choice making | cause and effect | alternative methods of access | all-turn-it spinner |

  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle for Earth Day

    Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle for Earth Day

    In this Remarkable Idea, we learn about, and practice these three things to help protect the environment.

    This activity addresses:

    • Critical Thinking
    • Social skills
    • Fine Motor
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • TalkingBrix 2
    • Stickers or labels reminding everyone to turn things off if not needed (you can make your own, or free stickers can be downloaded and printed from here: http://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/energy-efficiency/employee-awareness-and-office-energyefficiency#posters)
    • Glass, plastic, paper, and aluminum items (actual items or pictures on a tablet to reduce printing)
    • Silicone mold (any shape you desire, can be found at craft stores)
    • Old broken crayons/crayon pieces
    • Construction paper
    • Old scrap paper
    • School glue
    • Plastic wrap
    • Shredder
    • Ceramic bowls (that you don’t mind being without for a few days)

    Preparation:

    1. Print stickers or labels
    2. Record “green”, “purple”, and “orange” to TalkingBrix 2.
    3. Record categories to TalkingBrix 2 for your sorting game (glass, plastic, paper, aluminum). To make the game simpler use categories (recyclable and non-recyclable).
    4. Shred paper, keep shreds.

    What to do:

    Label the Areas We Can Reduce
    1. Working together as a class, find things in the classroom where we can reduce usage (shut computer off when not in use, turn off faucet if not in use, etc.)
    2. Place appropriate label or sticker on or near items.

    Repurposed Crayons and Paper

    Crayons
    1. Have students gather broken crayon pieces and sort them into piles of the same color.
    2. Ask students what color they would make when they combine (red/blue, yellow/blue, red/yellow).
    Students can use TalkingBrix 2 to answer.
    3. Place crayon pieces of the same color into the silicone mold, place into a preheated oven (230 degrees) and bake for 15-minutes. Remove crayons from oven and allow to cool. Remove your new crayons from the mold.

    Paper
    1. Wrap a ceramic bowl with plastic wrap and place face down on the table.
    2. Using a lot of glue (the more the better), smear glue on the plastic wrap then place the paper scraps on top of the glue and press into place until the entire bowl is covered. Allow to dry for 2 to 3 days.
    3. When dry, turn the bowl over and peel off the plastic wrap and remove your new paper bowl from the ceramic bowl. Trim the edges for a smooth edge.

    Recycle Game
    1. Using actual objects (or pictures on an iPad or tablet to reduce printing) challenge students to determine if an object is recyclable or non-recyclable. Students can answer using the TalkingBrix 2.
    2. For a more difficult game, challenge students to tell what an item is made out of (glass, plastic, paper, or aluminum) using the TalkingBrix 2.
    3. Give all students a turn or split the class into teams for an Earth Day game.

    Keywords

    talkingbrix 2 | social skills | fine motor skills | critical thinking | alternative methods of access |

  • Mother's Day

    Mother's Day

    In this Remarkable Idea, students will make flower vases and paper daisies with a special message for Mother’s Day.

    This activity addresses:

    • Choice making
    • Fine motor skills
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    * iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license.

    Preparation:

    1. If using a plastic bottle, carefully cut off the threaded top portion of it.
    2. Write “I love you because…” somewhere on the vase and make sure to leave room for the student’s handprint.
    3. Record different options for the students on the QuickTalker 12 or create a SoundingBoard. Some options could be: “you take care of me”, “you play with me”, “you are funny”, etc.
    4. Cut petals for the daisies (approximately 1.5-in. ellipses, 45 per vase) using white construction paper.
    5. Cut 1-in. circles out of yellow paper (unless you plan to make these using the computer)

    What to do:

    Vase
    1. Begin by creating the vase using the milk chug bottle/vase/mason jar. Have students put paint on their hands and make a handprint, or two if there is room, on the vase. Allow to dry.

    Flower Centers
    1. Using an iPad, the Blue2 Bluetooth Switch, and the camera app, take a picture of each student. Assign a camera operator to be in charge of taking each student’s picture. Don’t forget to take a picture of the camera operator as well!
    2. Using the QuickTalker 12 or the SoundingBoard app, allow students to choose 4 phrases for the center of the daisies.
    3. Using a computer, resize and print the student’s picture in the shape of a circle with a 1-in. diameter. Type the student’s chosen phrases and print them into 1-in. yellow circles, or write them in the center of the yellow circles.

    Flowers
    1. Begin making the flower stems by rolling green construction paper around the pencils. These will need to be long enough to poke out of the vase. Make one longer for the student’s picture.
    2. On the back of the flower centers, glue 9 petals on each center.
    3. Glue the stems to the back of the flower centers. Place the flowers in the vase.
    4. Crumple pieces of black construction paper and place your paper “dirt” in the vase.
    5. Use a hot glue gun to glue everything in place.

    Keywords

    soundingboard app | quicktalker 12 | fine motor skills | choice making | blue2 bluetooth switch | alternative methods of access |

  • Father's Day

    Father's Day

    In this Remarkable Idea students will make containers with a picture and special message for Father’s Day.

    This activity addresses:

    • Choice making
    • Fine motor skills
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    * iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license.

    Preparation:

    1. Record different options for the students to the QuickTalker or create a board using the SoundingBoard app. Some options could be: “I love you because you take care of me”, “I love you because you play with me”, “I love you because you are funny”, etc.
    2. Sand down and paint the Altoid tins using white spray paint.

    What to do:

    Interior Cards
    1. Using an iPad, the Blue2 switch, and the camera app, take a picture of each student. Assign a camera operator to be in charge of taking each student’s picture. Don’t forget to take a picture of the camera operator as well!
    2. Using the QuickTalker 12 or the SoundingBoard app allows students to choose 4 phrases for the special messages in the tin.
    3. Using a computer, resize and print the student’s picture to the size of a business card (3.5” x 2”). Print the student’s chosen phrases onto cards (3.5” x 2”).

    Tins
    1. Using an iPad, the Blue2 switch, and the camera app take a picture of each student. Assign a camera operator to be in charge of taking each student’s picture (don’t forget to take a picture of the camera operator as well!)
    2. Using the QuickTalker 12 or the SSoundingBoard app allows students to choose 4 phrases for the special messages in the tin.
    3. Using a computer, resize and print the student’s picture to the size of a business card (3.5” x 2”). Print the student’s chosen phrases onto cards (3.5” x 2”).

    Keywords

    soundingboard app | quicktalker 12 | fine motor skills | choice making | blue2 bluetooth switch | alternative methods of access |