Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Olympics for any time of the year

The Olympics may be over this year but that doesn't mean that that we can't still have Olympic fun! We did an Olympic Sport Weekend back in February and we had a BLAST! I wanted to blog about the activities that we did because they are super accessible and quite fun! We even learned that the Olympic sport of curling is doable for our kids, too!

Thanks to Ted Stone from the Norwalk Curling Club, we were able to learn all about this fun Olympic sport! He brought an actual stone (see Jimmy with one, above) and he brought an indoor curling set that we used (see below).

Here we are learning about the brooms with our guest instructor Ted.
Then we got on our knees to learn about the target (Jimmy is leading our investigation).
And of course we practiced "throwing" the stone!

Our Olympic competition

Fearless leader Lauren Andersen helping coach our teams (and look cool with the stone!)

We also were lucky to have Eastern Mountain Sports donate snow shoes for us to use (since we had PLENTY of snow this winter!). Did you know that snow shoeing is an awesome activity for our kids too. Think about it for next winter!

My student Leah (now all grown up and an adult staff member for my programs) and Lauren having fun in the snow.

And now back to the sports. We are lucky to have the awesome creative powers of the talented PE teacher, Lauren Andersen, at our disposal. She put together a great set of Olympic themed activities.

Our countries competed in ice hockey by putting a beep ball (great white cane skills practice here).

This one was one of my favorites: the 4 man bobsled (aka scooter boards linked together).

We timed each bobsled in team to team competition.

Our friend Jimmy getting ready for his cross-country ski competition. 

Here we are doing the ski jump. We used the paper cups as markers to measure distance. 

Even my kids got into the fun! Here they are competing in the cross country ski event.

Renata demonstrating the Japan chop stick relay

Olympic Sport Activities
 compiled by Lauren Andersen

Olympics vs. Paralympics:
The Olympic and Paralympic Games run on the same years and use the same facilities. Para means “alongside” and run “alongside” the Olympics. The Paralympic Games are modified Olympic events for elite athletes with a physical disability -i.e. limb loss, visual impairment, etc. The Paralympics are not related to the Special Olympics (which are competitions for individuals with cognitive impairments) and should not be compared to or confused with them (as awesome as they may be!). This weekend we are providing not only experiences with the Olympic/Paralympic Games but also exposure to very real possibilities to our students. 2-Person Bobsled - The first student sits on the scooter with their legs crossed. The second student sits behind the first on another scooter and hooks his/her legs around the waist of the first. Then they travel across the gym and back using their arms to propel them.

4-Person Bobsled - Same as above with 4 students.

Hockey Dribble - Using a hockey or pillo polo stick each student dribbles a beanbag or wiffle ball around the cone on the other side of the gym and back.

Pairs Figure Skating - The first two students hold hands or hook elbows and travel side by side across the gym and back with their feet placed on paper plates for skates.

Cross Country Skiing - Each student kneels on the scooter with their seat on their feet and uses plungers to propel their scooter across the gym, around the cone, and back.

The Luge - Using two scooters that have been tied or taped together, the first student lays on their back on the scooter. The second student gently pushes the person on the scooter around the cone and back.

Ski Jump-. Students take turns jumping off a spring board with two feet, and jump as far as they can onto a floor mat, also landing on two feet. Set up marks on the floor with tape.

Speed/Figure Skating- We have two circles in the middle of the gym that we use. Circles can also be taped down. The very middle circle is the figure skating ice. Students stand on paper plates or pinnies and can make up routines for skating. The outer ring is for speed skating. Students can pretend to skate as fast as they can as long as they are being safe and staying in the circle. We emphasize safety at all times.

Skeleton/Luge- Students lie on their backs, feet first (luge), and pull themselves toward the wall using a rope that is tied from one wall to the other. Once a student reaches the wall, he or she flips onto his or her stomach (skeleton) and scoot headfirst back to the beginning.

Wacky Olympic Relays
(We did each of these activities. Some activities required the use of a guide but overall, everything was accessible!).

Students line up in teams. Give these two students a "torch"- a plunger. On the signal to begin, the two students will run to the cone and run back. They will hand the torch to the next student in line who will then run to the cone and back. This will continue as above until all team members have had a turn.

Equipment needed: Event sign, 2 Toilet Plungers , 2 large orange cones.

The first student from each team stands behind the line and throws their "Javelin" ( Noodle) one person at a time. Students may throw their javelins any way they wish. Have the remaining students continue as described above and so forth until all have a turn.
Equipment needed: Event sign, 5 Javelins (5 Fun Noodles)

Students line up in their teams with the first person from each team standing on a poly spot. Give these two students a hockey stick and a potato. On the signal to begin, these students will use the hockey stick to move the potato around the cone and back to the start where they will hand their hockey stick to the next player in line. This will continue as above until all team members have had a turn.
Equipment needed: Event sign, 3 plastic hockey sticks, 3 large orange cones, small bag of baking potatoes.

Students line up with their teams with the first person from each team standing on a poly spot. Give the first student in line two "chopsticks" (rhythm sticks). On the signal to begin, the first student will pick up the rubber chicken from inside the hoop using only the chopsticks. (They may not use hands or stick the chop stick inside the chicken). They will have to bring the chicken down to their stir fry pan, then return the sticks to the next student in line, who then goes to the pan and must bring the chicken back to the group and the process continues until everyone has had a turn.
Equipment needed: Event sign, hula hoops, rubber chickens, and 2 chopsticks per line, stir fry pans

Students will line up in three equal lines and the first person in each line will receive a piece of string. They will run down to their teams bucket (which is filled with green, red, and white colored pasta) and take out one green piece of pasta, and thread it on to the string and return to the line. The next student runs to the bucket and strings a white piece of pasta and runs back to the line. The relay continues until a line has completed their team necklace in a Green, White, and Red order.
Equipment needed: 3 poly spots, 3 containers, green, white, and red pasta (A few days before the field day....dye 1/3 of ziti RED, 1/3 of ziti GREEN, and 1/3 ziti natural color and mix in a bucket)pasta, string

Students will line up in two equal lines; the first person in each line is given a star ball. The ball must be passed over the head of the first student and under the legs of the second student, then over the head of the third student ...keeping this pattern until the ball reaches the end of the line. Then, the last person in line runs with the star ball to the front of the line and the pattern begins again.
Equipment needed: 2 star balls (any ball will do), 2 poly spots, 2 cones

Students will get into three equal lines. The first person in each line will receive a activity tube and a tennis ball. The tennis ball is placed top of the tube, and the first person runs down and around the cone. When he/ she returns to the line, they will give it to the next person who will do the same thing. If the ball is dropped, the student must stop, and place the ball back on top before continuing.
Equipment needed: 3 PCV tubes, 3 tennis balls, 3 cones, 3 poly spots

Students stand in a line with their team holding hands. First person in line stands with hula hoop on their arm. Time how long it takes the team to pass the hoops down their team line of joined hands 5 times.
Equipment needed: 1 hula hoop per team

 Lauren instructing how to perform the "luge".
 Renata demonstrating our "luge" event.
 Renata demonstrating our "skeleton" event.

Favorite PE instructors & goalball officials, Craig Boucher & Alex Specht

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Light Box Fun

Thanks again to my talented colleague Mary Quinn for another great idea! This one was inspired by me (well, at least the message that I took a picture of...). 
Can you uses what the message says?
 This is a standard light box. The fun items that Mary is using in this picture are regular window clings with plastic laminate as the backing (how genius is this?!). You can buy the window clings for seasons at just about every place. Let's face it, we are all heading to Dollar Tree because they have the best supply. 
The great idea about putting them on the laminate backings allow you to reuse clings with no worries. Mary actually cut up some old Braille label plastic sheets to make these (good for the environment too!). I knew I had to share her idea the moment she lit it up on my desk. Thanks Mary!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Break Time is OVER!

Hi friends,
Have you been missing me? I have been on hiatus for the last month because I have been at home enjoying my new BABY!! My family and I were blessed with blue-eyed Clark #4 and believe me, she is one little sweet peach! Nevertheless, I am back in the saddle for blogging fun finds and great ideas for the Expanded Core Curriculum :) 

I have been on the search for greats pins over on Pinterest over the past month (feedings at 3am allow me plenty of uninterrupted Pinterest time) so check out my board, This Works for Blind Kids, Too!

Check right back with me as I plan on posting some new pins this weekend (as soon as my darling baby allows me to get near my computer...).

Talk soon!