Tuesday, March 13, 2018

SENSEational Story Time: "How Do You Feel?"

It was another snow-filled Saturday last month, but our SENSEational Story Time families (including a new family!) said "they wouldn't miss it!" Yay! We celebrated by having fun with our feelings. We talked about how friends (and the help of a few silly hats) can make us feel better. Then we learned how our actions (and the acts of others) make us feel with lessons from a bunny.

Here's the plan:
visual schedule

1. Hello

2. Welcome Song: "The Story Time Ball"

Tune: "Wheels on the Bus"
(Roll ball back and forth to each child)
The story time ball rolls back and forth,
back and forth, back and forth.
The story time ball rolls back and forth,
Let's see who it found. Hi ______!
Now roll it back to me.
(Keep rolling back and forth until each child has said their name.)

3. Mindfulness exercise: "Body Scan"
Lie back or remain seated, close your eyes, and squeeze all of your muscles as tight as you can. Now relax all of your muscles --- "How do you feel?"

4. Flannel activity: "Expressions Game"

flannel faces that are happy, angry, surprised, scared, silly, and sad
I gave the kids scenarios and then we pointed to the expression that best fit how we would feel in each situation.

Yellow - "happy"
What if your parents gave you a big box, and inside the box was a puppy? How would you feel? What does your face look like when you are happy?

Purple - "surprised"
What if you walked into a room and everyone yelled "happy birthday!?" How would you feel? What does it look like when you're surprised?

Purple - "scared"
What if those people who yelled scared you? What does your scared face look like? (put hands over eyes on face)

Red - "angry"
What if someone pushed you and made fun of you, or took your favorite toy? How would you feel? What does your face look like when you're angry?

Blue - "silly"
Do you like to be silly? Make a silly face!

Green - "sad"
What if you fell and skinned your knee? How would you feel? What does your face look like when you are sad?

5. Story with interactive flannels: Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won

flannel elephant, owl, turtle, zebra, lion, giraffe
box with red bow

box opened with little flannel hats for animals
After a grumpy Elephant opened his gift of wonderful hats, he gave one to each of his friends, who then gathered all of the hats together again to gift to Giraffe so he would feel better! I had some helpers in story time gather the hats from all of the animals to place in the box, one at a time, for Giraffe.

6. Scarf rhyme: "Shake My Sillies Out"
I had the kids choose a scarf color to shake based on how they were feeling (like we talked about earlier in the expressions game).

I've gotta shake, shake, shake my sillies out
shake, shake, shake my sillies out.
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
and wiggle my waggles away.

I've gotta clap, clap, clap my gloomies out
clap, clap, clap my gloomies out.
Clap, clap, clap my gloomies out
and wiggle my waggles away.

I've gotta stomp, stomp, stomp my scaries out
stomp, stomp, stomp my scaries out.
Stomp, stomp, stomp my scaries out
and wiggle my waggles away.

I've gotta shake, shake, shake my sillies out
shake, shake, shake my sillies out.
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
and wiggle my waggles away.
(Adaptation of song by Raffi)

7. Sensory Story: Bunny's Lessons by Harriet Ziefert

tactile items include bunny puppet, doll, toy stethoscope, toy thermometer, toy glass of milk, blue flannel splotches, bowl of noodles, book

During the story, kids were invited to put bandaids on our bunny puppet, touch/feel his noodle lunch, help Charlie feed "baby" bunny his milk, paint (flannel) splotches of blue on bunny, and then we all gave ourselves a big hug in the end (like Charlie and bunny).

8. Parachute activity: "Grand Old Duke of York"
The grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill 
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up.
And when they were down, they were down.
And when they were only half-way up,
they were neither up nor down.

9. 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!

10. Sensory craft: "Stress balloon balls"

We stretched our balloons out, rolled up play dough "worms," and stuffed them into our balloons. Caregivers tied a knot at the bottom of the filled balloons so the kids could draw faces on their stress ball. Then we squeezed!!

boys holding stress ball balloons

boy squeezing stress ball balloon

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Outreach: STEM Sensory Story Time at the Science Center

I was invited to be an advisor on the Super Spark accessibility committee at the Michigan Science Center last year. I volunteered as a guide during one of the Super Spark Special Needs Awareness Weekends and later met with museum staff and local disability advocacy group leaders to consult on ways to make the museum more accessible and welcoming to families of all ages with disabilities. Check out their accessibility page:http://www.mi-sci.org/accessibility/. They also offer visitors with sensory sensitivities a color-coded sensory map, indicating areas with especially loud sounds and bright, flashing lights. The museum offers accessible days geared to families with special needs one Sunday a month and accessible field trip days for special education groups the second Tuesday of the month. A couple months ago, Ed and I were invited to present a STEM-themed multi-sensory story time to a group of students with various learning disabilities in grades 4 - 6 on one of the field trip days. We went with an Engineering & Inventions theme to go along with what they were learning that day.

Here's the plan:

1. Hello -- "Today we are talking about engineering and inventions. Have you ever built something? What is your favorite invention?"

2. Mindfulness exercise: "Balloon breaths"  -- holding our imaginary balloon, take deep breaths and blow up your balloon until it's "so full," then release it (repeat).

3. Activity rhyme: "Building a Skyscraper"
Brick by brick
by brick by brick.
My building's so high
it's scraping the sky.
(place fists one on top of the other, going higher each time)

Brick by brick
by brick by brick.
My building will sway
when the wind blows this way.
(sway left, then right)

Brick by brick 
by brick by brick.
Now I'm ready to stop 
and a flag goes on top.
(open one fist and wave left and right)

(Source: Reedy, Polly 1001 Rhymes & Fingerplays)

4. Story: Dreaming Up: a Celebration of Building by Christy Hale
We scanned and projected this story on their big screen for this large group and added sensory experiences from the story -- touching water and clay (like the village in Egypt made from the four basic elements of earth, water, sun, and air), inviting a few students up to make a fort with blankets and chairs (similar to the design of the Yoyogi National Stadium in Japan), building with Legos (to look like the housing complex in Montreal, Canada), and passing around paper tubes (imagining a whole school made from larger, heavier versions like the temporary paper tube school in China).

5. Interactive flannel activity: Building with flannel shapes
We kept the building theme going, inspired by the book Moving Blocks by Yusuke Yonezu and a Flannel Friday post from Storytime Katie and Mel's Desk

We invited volunteers up to design a car and a rocket ship with our flannel shapes. Here's the rocket ship.

6. Story: Imaginative Inventions by Charise Mericle Harper

We chose a few of the invention spreads in the book that we thought the students might really enjoy and added some fun sensory experiences: 
1. potato chips (We offered everyone a chip to taste of course!)
2. frisbee (The very large theater was a great space to throw and catch the frisbee with a few volunteers.) 
3. doughnut (We didn't taste, but smelled the wonderful cinnamon aroma!)
4. flat-bottomed paper bag (Kids passed around a paper grocery bag from today's grocery store.)
5. chewing gum (Yes -- everyone got a piece of gum to chew. This was a favorite!)

7. Goodbye song: "The Inventor Song"
Oh it took Bell to make the telephone ring,
And it took Edison to light up our way.
It took Robert Fulton in a steamboat,
to go chug-chug-chugging down the bay.

Otis made the elevator go up,
McCormick's reaper reaped the rye.

So when you're spelling the word inventor
don't forget to dot the I!

Richard Hoe improved the printing press,
so we could get the news.
Charles Goodyear made the rubber
for the heels upon our shoes.

So if you talk about a new invention.
Incidentally don't forget to mention...

That it took Morse to make the telegraph hum
and it took Henry Ford to make an auto 
so that folks could go and take a drive.
Howe knew how to make a sewing machine.
The Wrights learned the right way to fly.

So when you're spelling the word inventor
don't forget to dot the I!
(adapted from classic school song)

We received so much positive feedback from the teachers the next day. I'm not sure who had more fun though - the students or us?!