Monday, February 20, 2017

SENSEational Story Time: Pets!

The theme of this past Saturday afternoon's SENSEsational story time was pets! We talked about the pets we have and what we like about them. Here's the plan:

Welcome song: "The Story Time Ball"

Crossing-the-Midline exercise: "Fishing exercise"
We pretended to be fishing by casting our "pole" to the other side (crossing our arms diagonally across our body and back).

Puppet rhyme: "Two Little Puppy Dogs"
(I use two different dog puppets and show the kids how to make their hands into "puppets," so they can do the action rhyme along with me.)
Two little puppy dogs sitting on a hill,
One named Spot and one named Bill.
Run away, Spot. Run away, Bill.
Spot and Bill "run" behind back.
Come back, Spot. Come back, Bill.
Spot and Bill come back in front.

Story: (board book set) That's Not My Puppy by Fiona Watt
Touch-and-feel books are wonderful for those with low vision and all developmental ages. You can talk about the different textures and which ones we like and dislike.

Stretch band rhyme: "Clippety Clop"
Clippety clippety clop.
The horsie likes to trot.
The feisty mare goes up and down
Until it's time to stop!
(source: unknown)

Story: They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
We had so much fun with this story! This repetitive story is a great lesson in observation and perspective. "How does the cat look to the dog? Why does it look that way?" "Why does the cat look so blurry and big to the fish?"

Story-related sensory activity: "Lightbox Perception Game"
We continued our theme of animals and our perception of them. I created different animals using colorful shapes on a lightbox. I then asked everyone what they thought it looked like to them, talking about how everyone perceives them differently. (Some "animals" were more obvious than others!) I like using a smaller portable lightbox, walking it around to everyone, making it easier for my kids with mobile disabilities and low vision to really experience the activity.

Tactile beam activity: "Tactile beam song"
(Move slowly and adapt for those with mobile disabilities -- can do movements while seated or with the aid of their caregiver on the beam.)
We can move
Forward and backward,
Forward and backward.
Side to side,
Side to side.
Forward and backward,
Forward and backward.

Goodbye song and stretch: "Tickle the Clouds"
Tickle the clouds.
Tickle your toes.
Turn around and tickle your nose.
Reach down low.
Reach up high.
Story time's over --
Wave goodbye!

Sensory activity: "Find the doggy and kitty treats"
I filled our large discovery bin with "pet food kibble" (Cocoa Puffs), "dog bones" (graham cracker Scooby Snacks), and "fish" (Goldfish crackers). They searched for the hidden bones/fish, and I gave them large plastic tweezers to pick up the treats with if they wanted to practice their fine motor skills. Some of them wanted to add their treats to a bowl for Spot and Bill!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Outreach: Valentine Sensory Story Time

My colleague, Ed, and I visited the Wing Lake Developmental Center this week to do a Valentine Sensory Story Time program for two groups of students with severe cognitive impairments and multiple disabilities: ages 3 - 11 and ages 12 - 26. Many students have low vision, so we added a variety of tactile experiences to give more meaning to the words in our songs and stories. Here is what we did:

We talked about what we like about Valentine's Day... hugs, feelings, hearts, the color red, and chocolate!

Song: "Hearts on the Move" (Tune: "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands")
We gave everyone a paper valentine heart before singing, to go with the actions during the song.

Wave your valentine, in the air.
Wave your valentine, in the air.
Wave your valentine, in the air.
Wave your valentine in the air.

Put your valentine on your nose...
Put your valentine on your head...
Put your valentine on your arm...
(Source: unknown)

Story: See a Heart, Share a Heart by Eric Telchin
This is a wonderful, simple story with beautiful photographs of hearts found naturally in the world around us... on the street, in the leaves on the trees, in a piece of wood or a heart-shaped rock. We were very descriptive of the photographs, talking about the texture we might feel and the colors. In the beginning of the story, there is a photograph of a child making a heart shape with his hands. We walked around the room and helped the students make a heart with their hands. Another page says to "Find a Heart." Ed and I walked around with a foam heart and scarf, demonstrating how we can hide a heart with the scarf and then find it when we remove the scarf, letting them see and/or feel the hidden heart. Toward the end of the story, there is an image of a hand holding a heart-shaped rock... "touch a heart." One of our library staff members had a large stone in a heart shape that we were so lucky to borrow and let each student "touch a heart," feeling how smooth and heavy it was.

Flannel Rhyme: "Counting Valentines..."
Valentines, valentines, how many do I see?
Valentines, valentines, count them with me.
I have red ones, orange ones, yellow ones, too.
I have green ones, purple ones, and some that are blue.
Valentines, valentines, how many do I see?
(count all of the colors together)

Story: I Kissed the Baby! (for the younger group)
This is a great repetitive story that you can do the actions to as you read along... feeding, singing, tickling, and blowing kisses of course! I also like to bring out my little duckling puppet that squeaks for an extra sensory experience.

Story: Colors All Around Us: Red by Daniel Nunn  (for the older group)
This non-fiction picture book is a simple look at all of the red things we see around us... in our clothes, food, and nature. We talked about our favorite red things and how some make sounds (like fire trucks!)

Song: "If You Love Somebody and You Know It..." (Tune: "If You're Happy and You Know It")
If you love somebody and you know it, give them a hug.
If you love somebody and you know it, give them a hug.
If you love somebody and you know it,
And you really want to show it...
If you love somebody and you know it, give them a hug.

If you love somebody and you know it, blow them a kiss...
If you love somebody and you know it, shout "hooray!"...
Craft: Coffee Filter Hearts
This is a nice, easy craft using heart shapes cut from large-size traditional coffee filters. We then use dot markers in various colors to dab onto the filter hearts (on top of a foam plate). With a little assistance, we really got to practice our fine motor skills by squeezing eye droppers of water over our colorful dots until they start to run together, giving it a stained glass look.  A dab with a paper towel and then they can take them home on the plate. When they dry in a few hours, they will have a pretty, colorful heart to hang in the window. Look at these beautiful hearts!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Outreach: Winter Friends Story Time

Last week, I did a sensory story time for a visiting early intervention class of children ages 2 - 4. In addition to a story time, I also give our visiting special education groups a tour of our Special Needs Collection, highlight new items, and give them some "play time" with their chosen materials after. Even though my thoughts are already drifting to summer, a winter theme was requested so I went with a "winter friends" theme! Here's the plan:

Welcome Song: "The Story Time Ball"

Yoga Pose: (Polar) Bear Breath (This adapted pose came from the Yoga Pretzel Card Deck)

Flannel Rhyme: "Five Little Penguins"
One little penguin feeling blue
Called for his brother, then there were two.
Two little penguins swimming in the sea
Called for their sister, then there were three.
Three little penguins waddling on the shore
Called for their mother, then there were four.
Four little penguins learning how to dive
Called for their father, then there were five.
(Adapted from: Read Virginia)

Story: That's Not My Snowman by Fiona Watt
We have a set of these touch/feel board books for each child and caregiver to touch and read together. This is really great for the students with low vision to experience the story better.

Stretch Band Rhyme: "Winter Song"
Way up high in the snowy tree
Lots of little snowflakes smiled at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could
And down came the snowflakes
Were they cold...Brrr!!

Story: Winter, Winter, Cold and Snow by Sharon Gibson Palermo
This story was a hit!! A great read for those Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? fans.

Story-related sensory activity:
I filled a small plastic bin with Insta-Snow artificial snow and plastic forest animals. Some of the kids with sensory sensitivities were very hesitant until I held a little in my hand for them to touch, then they were all reaching in there to find the hidden animals under the snow. Each time we found an animal, we repeated the refrain from the story: "Winter, winter, cold and snow / Beaver, Beaver who do you know?"

Goodbye song & stretch: "Tickle the Clouds"

Tour of the Special Needs Collection and play time!