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Issue 79 Winter 2009

Contents Information Exchange celebrates the journey that we all make along the 'journey of understanding' about the special babies, children, young people and adults who share our lives. It exists as a Forum and support for all who have, along with sensory needs, other complex ones. Information Exchange is compiled with help from many corners of the world - ideas written and spoken, ideas seen and experiences shared. It is fully independent and the Editorial Team work hard on a voluntary basis to bring out the magazine - three times a year. There are also unseen supporters of the magazine who help in many ways.

Information Exchange has a buzz that is fostered when readers get together through the magazine itself. The basic remit of the magazine is the exchange of information in an accessible and unbiased way. There is a delight in newly found discoveries, sensory trinkets, soothing aromas, new ideas, books, technology, issues to discuss and Rag Bag ideas to share.

Information Exchange is for everyone - family members, parents, carers, educators, therapists or anyone who needs to find out more or gain confidence from others by reading, challenging and discussing. In this inclusive way, everyone is learning and growing together through the medium of the magazine. Copyright We have requests to reprint articles that have appeared in Information Exchange from time to time. Please note that such requests are passed on to the original authors for their decision on publication. Price - £6.00 per individual copy Advertising Rates Back Cover Full Page Half Page Quarter Page

£350.00 £250.00 £150.00 £75.00

Contents Editorial Abbey Court School Sounds of Intent Time for an autumn song Parachute play Soy Candles and hand massage Hospitalisation and very special people Feast of Music Rag Bag to Buy Rag Bag to Make Life Experience Packages Christmas Rag Bag to Make Book Review Twelve days of Christmas Happy Sensory Christmas A Christmas Touch Story Application Form

3 4 6 8 9 11 12 13 17 20 21 23 25 26 28 29 31

Hello everyone. Urgent from Sara the subs secretary! After sending out subscription reminders with the magazine in June, I have had lots of people asking when the subscriptions are actually due (January), and why they don’t get a reminder earlier in the year. The answer is simply that the cost of paper, envelopes and stamps to remind up to 1,000 subscribers that their subscriptions are due is enormous in terms of cash and resources. In these times of reducing our carbon footprint and in the interest of the environment (and the bank balance – we are a charity after all), I would be eternally grateful if you would bombard me with emails! If I could get everybody’s email address I can send a reminder out via email in January saying that subscriptions for that year are due, giving you plenty of time to send these in before the first issue of the year in February. If you don’t have an email address perhaps you could persuade a friend or family member to email me on your behalf. I look forward to hearing from you all – me your email!!

Disclaimer The views expressed in Information Exchange are those of individual authors and so do not necessarily represent the views of the Editorial Team. Also, neither the individual contributors nor the team can be held responsible for any consequences resulting from the purchase or use of equipment, toys, techniques or ideas featured or advertised in the magazine.


'The pictures of some gorgeous special children, on the front and back of the magazine, have come all the way from Katmandu. They were sent by Pablo Menendez who spent the month of September working on a very special art project at Bal Mandir. He will be writing about his experiences in the International edition of Information Exchange. Scheduled for next Spring.'

Issue 79 Winter 2009

Editorial Editorial

The Information Exchange Editorial Team

I would like to let you know that there are changes to the magazine taking place over the next couple of months.

Flo Longhorn:

As I have been editor now for seven years(time flies) I am going to stand down as sole editor. But I am pleased to say that my excellent Yorkshire colleague, Les Staves, is going to become co-editor with myself, for the next three years. Les has always had a close and supportive role with the magazine, including lovely photos and poetic inspiring articles. Some of the old editorial board are standing down after unfailing support to the magazine and myself. I thank them most sincerely and there will be special thanks in the next edition of the magazine. There is one new member of the board, Rachel Beirne, welcome! There are now VACANCIES so if you would like to help out in any little way, please let me know. I hope this Autumnal/Christmassy edition is full of delights for you.

Managing Editor, Consultant in Special Education Catherine de Haas: Parent and Speech and Language Therapist Sara Langley: Subscriptions Secretary Kay Evans: Teacher and regular reader of IE Sue Granger: A volunteer who lives in France Rachel Beirne: Multi sensory educator Additional advice and support from Sally Silverman our roving reporter Kate Sullivan, Bronwen Campbell and Naomi Rosenberg: Support teachers for the Sensory Impaired Service in Bristol Evelyn Varma who lives in Somerset: Editing and Word Processing And you – the reader, send your ideas and articles to the Editor! Subscriptions All enquiries to: Sara Langley, Subscriptions, Information Exchange, 1A Potters Cross, Wootton, Bedfordshire MK43 9JG Tel and Fax: 07964 225568 Email:

Editorial and Administration Address

The next one will have an `international theme'. I flag this up with the photo of me below, with an African lion cub!

Flo Longhorn: Managing Editor

Seasonal greetings! Flo

24 Fazantenlaan, Bredene-Am-Zee, B8450 Belgium

1A Potters Cross, Wootton, Bedfordshire MK43 9JG OR

Tel/Fax: 0845 127 5281 Email:

Message from Sara Langley the subscription secretary I can now be contacted by mobile phone. Telephone 07964 225568 Don't forget to send me your email address!'

Website and look for

”Information Exchange page”

Go to

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Abbey Court School – by John Bosley Partners Days at Abbey Court School Abbey Court is a day community special school that has approximately 140 pupils with severe, profound and complex learning difficulties aged 4 – 19 years. The school is located on two sites in Medway. The primary site is in Rainham and the Strood site caters for secondary aged pupils. Working in any similar special school is seldom understood by those unfamiliar with the challenges and demands the work entails. As pupils’ needs have become more complex and diverse, this lack of awareness on the part of those not closely involved in the work has increased. In part, this project arose from a need to raise awareness, especially for the husbands, wives and partners of members of staff, who, in some cases, were unfamiliar and often unprepared for the realities of teaching in a special school, and that teaching can have a variety of impacts on the families of teaching staff (when referring to teaching staff this article includes both teaching assistants and teachers). Without that understanding, it is all too easy to assume that those in charge of the school, the leadership team, are not managing the situation in an appropriate manner. When the member of staff goes home to ‘off load’ and describes incidents of challenging behaviour they can react adversely, become disgruntled and critical of the school’s managers and, in one or two examples, encourage the member of staff to resign from their post. Background to the Project The main cause of criticism of the school leadership team by disgruntled partners (and conflict between teaching staff and their partners, were incidents of challenging behaviour by pupils at school. It seemed that partners were not aware of the demands that teaching makes upon teachers, in terms of preparation, administration, accountability and, in particular pupil behaviour and of the resulting pressures and stress these demands can make. This was particularly evident where the member of staff was


female, and the partner perhaps felt ‘protective’ of them (though it should be noted that the large majority of staff are female so this may only be an assumption). Examples included a new member of staff discussing with her partner that she had been struck by a pupil with Severe Learning Difficulties and subsequently not returning to work and handing in her notice. Another example occurred when a member of staff discussed an incident with her partner who then arrived at school to confront a member of the Leadership team and demand they explain how this could be ‘allowed’. Discussion The leadership team discussed these events as they happened and followed them up with discussion with the individual members of staff involved and whole staff teams. This discussion included reiterating school policies and procedures in Managing Pupil Behaviour (ways to avoid confrontation, the range of calming strategies that could be used); reminding staff of the support systems available to them including the school’s stress and wellbeing policies); reinforcing the issue of confidentiality; the policies on health and safety; how incidents need to be recorded accurately, the use of consistent approaches and team involvement; and the continuing work in supporting staff through on-going staff professional development programmes. It was evident, however, that none of these approaches attempted to tackle the perceptions of the partners. Through further discussion it was considered that inviting in partners and showing them the school in operation; affording them the opportunity to meet and see the pupils and discuss the roles of staff, may, in turn, help to give them an insight into the school’s working, the nature of the pupils’ needs and characteristics of the pupils. This might then help them to understand the stresses and rewards of working in a special school. This was an idea that was not readily accepted by all members of the leadership team but it was agreed that monitoring would take place in case of any negative consequences of the visits (as well as evaluating the positive).

Issue 79 Winter 2009

Abbey Court School What have the partners' days achieved? The first of these visits was 2 years ago now and during this time we have had 4 days on each site. This has given us enough time to evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative. As a member of the leadership team, I have found no negative consequences of the visits. Concerns that the project may lead to over-familiarity by partners with the school, subsequently leading to possible breaches of confidentiality or inappropriate contact with the school or contacting the school without their partner’s knowledge, were unfounded. There have been no such incidents or outcomes.

The Partner Day A letter went home with all members of staff inviting their partners to visit the school for a two-hour session led by middle managers and High Level Teaching Assistants. The visit was to include a welcome and introduction, followed by a tour of the school, attendance at a council meeting, some time in classes and in the staffroom! In return the partners were asked to fill in an evaluation sheet.

So what are the positives? • Partners who are more informed about the needs and characteristics of pupils with severe learning difficulties • Partners who have a greater understanding of each other and perhaps perceive each other differently

The feedback taken from the evaluation sheets, all positive, included:

• Partners who have been enabled and perhaps are more willing to provide support and empathy

“I thought it was amazing. Useful to gain an understanding of what my partner’s job involves”

• Partners who show a greater interest in the school and offer their support at key times

“Everyone is doing a sterling job. It’s a very nice school”

• Improved relationships between teaching staff and their partners.

“It was very useful, thank you”

These positive effects have helped to improve the well being of Abbey Court staff and consequently the well being of Abbey Court.

What was most useful was, “seeing how the school works for the teachers and the students”

What next?

Staff feedback Staff have been very positive about the outcomes of the visit. Through discussion staff indicated that their partners: …Now understand why a child may hit out at me and why we react with understanding rather than rejection …Now see how we can be so tired at the end of the day even with so ‘few’ pupils!

The invitation was originally only to partners, after all, it was a ‘Partners day’. This however doesn’t cater for all staff - for example, a young adult who is still living at home with parents. Consideration, therefore, is being given to extending the invitation to other family members and significant others. The programme will continue on an annual basis so that partners and significant others associated with new members of staff can visit or where existing staff have new partners.

…Now will be more understanding if there has been an incident at school rather than reacting negatively …Have an increased opinion of them and the demanding and professional job they do.

'Thank you John – a very interesting and unusual project – well done Abbey Court School'

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Sounds of Intent – by Professor Adam Ockelford The Sounds of Intent project was set up to see how children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and severe learning difficulties (SLD) – many of whom have a visual impairment – engage with music, and how their musical abilities and interests evolve over time.

In the first year of the project, the preliminary Sounds of Intent framework of musical development was tested on around 70 children and young people. Certain changes were made, and, in the second year, 16 pupils in two different schools were observed over a more sustained period using refined and expanded version of the framework that took account of the musical interests and abilities of children and young people with SLD as well as PMLD.

Figure 1 The new Sounds of Intent framework


Issue 79 Winter 2009

Sounds of Intent Therapist’s voice. [Interactive, Level 3]

Reactive, Proactive, Interactive Previous discussion with teachers and therapists had suggested that musical engagement could usefully be classified as ‘reactive’, ‘proactive’ or ‘interactive’. Examples of ‘reactive’ musical engagement (i.e. responding to music) include: • A’s teacher notices that he often turns his head towards her when she sings to him. [Reactive, Level 2] • D cries whenever she hears the ‘goodbye’ song. [Reactive, Level 5] • F gets very excited when he hears a regular beat on the school’s drum machine. [Reactive, Level 3] • J’s eye movements intensify when he hears the big band play. [Reactive, Level 2] Examples of ‘proactive’ musical engagement (i.e. creating, causing or controlling music and musical sounds) include: • M brushes her left hand against the strings of guitar that someone is holding near to her. There is a pause and then she raises her hand and brushes the strings again, and then for a third time. [Proactive, Level 2] • P waves her hand more and more vigorously through an ultrasonic beam, creating an ever-wider range of swirling sounds. [Proactive, Level 3] • R has recently begun to make melodious vowel sounds, which he repeats in short sequences. [Proactive, Level 3] • S hums distinct patterns of notes and repeats them. Her favourite pattern sounds rather like a playground chant. [Proactive, Level 4]

• X flaps his hands with delight when his music therapist copies the rhythms he makes on a tambourine. [Interactive, Level 3] By combining many hundreds of observations like these, the new Sounds of Intent framework was created. This took the three ways of engaging with music (‘reactive’, ‘proactive’ and ‘interactive’) and expressed them over six levels, which were represented as a set of circles, with Level 1 innermost and Level 6 outermost. Of course, this is not meant to suggest that musical development can really be divided into hard and fast steps. All development is fuzzy and bound by its context. Instead, the framework is designed to give an indication of what may happen, and to be useful to teachers and therapists as they consider how best to support their pupils’ engagement with music over time. Further reading: Music for Children and Young People with Complex Needs, by Adam Ockelford, Oxford University Press (2008). For further information, please see the Sounds of Intent website at or contact Professor Adam Ockelford, Room 110 Queens Building, Roehampton University, Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5SL. Phone: 07818-456 472. Email: The Sounds of Intent Core Research Team comprises Adam Ockelford, Professor Graham Welch and Dr Evangelos Himonides, Institute of Education, University of London, and Sally Zimmermann, RNIB.

Examples of ‘interactive’ musical engagement (that occurs in the context of potential or actual communication) include: • T’s short, sharp vocalisations are interpreted by his teachers and carers to mean that he wants someone to vocalise back to him, although he shows no reaction at all. [Interactive, Level 1] • U loves ‘call and response’ games and joins in by making his own sounds. [Interactive, Level 2] • W copies simple patterns of vocalisation – imitating the ups and downs of her Speech and Language

Abigail is supported to imitate sounds using the vibroslap

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Time for an autumn song, a picture or a sculpture

Time for an autumn song, a picture or a sculpture – Written and photographed by Les Staves

Take your kids to the outside – to reality. When a sunny day comes in October or November time, wrap up and take to the woods, feed your senses, touch the roughness bark, smell the soil where the acorns fell for another year. Take a different view look upwards from the woodland floor and see the trunks reaching missive twisting fingers to the sky, Seeking breath and moisture. When the season starts to change, the old moon starts to turn from summers pearl to harvest gold. When the leaves dry to turn the sugar in their veins from green to amber and crimson, go and look to see their dancing lace of colours against the blue sky. Listen to the rustle, go kicking in the rhythm of the laying leaves, play a soft shoe shuffle, make a dance, a roll and sing a song of these pennies from heaven that fell from the trees. Collect the brittle and the delicate, take them home, make a storm where wild leaves fall. Or lay them in a trail or spiral or a circle or how you please – you are an artist when you smell, you see, you hear you feel, you show and celebrate the seasons changes.


Issue 79 Winter 2009

Parachute Play from Flo Longhorn Parachutes are a moving visually attractive piece of equipment that can delight children and adults alike. Take one outside and soon everyone is hanging onto the sides of the parachute, usually shrieking with delight. The waving flapping parachute offers the magic opportunity to reach that stage of nearly being out of control, but just about hanging on with the rest of the players. There are many positive reasons to use a parachute such as ~ • Enabling for everyone, all you have to do is hold or even just peep from a distance at the parachute activity • They encourage play and physical activity • They are for team and group cooperation and if you don't help then the parachute dies! • They reinforce turn taking and thinking ahead to what is going to happen next • There is an opportunity to share in some fun and excitement They also help with physical development and to keep fit by~ • Strengthening shoulder, arm and hand muscles which are of particular importance if a wheel chair user is participating • Muscles in the lower body are also in use as the play develops • Bodies are moved through space in unusual ways • Balance changes quickly and the vestibular sense has to shift accordingly • Body maps and the moment of arms and legs are ready for action thorough the proprioceptive sensory system

• The language of space and simple number-one two three……… Any one of any age can join in a parachute session; the leader just needs to adjust the level of the play activities to suit the group and the language of instruction. An object of reference could be used such as a colourful handkerchief to represent the activity. A risk assessment is a good idea especially if there is a mixed group of players or a restricted environment such as within a room. The best place is outside with the sun and wind helping the excitement of the play! Parachutes come in all sizes and all shapes. The best ones have handles on the side so the weakest of hands can hold on to the parachute. Different sizes can suit different groups. For example, a small parachute for an adult and a child, is a lovely opportunity to expand the game of peek- a- boo, which is the first parachute game of all babies! There are a range of suppliers of parachutes such as ones that glow in the dark and ones that are so huge Homemade parachutes can be simply~ • A billowy sheet with a hole cut out in the centre for balls to plop • A couple of glittery saris sewn together • A piece of 'see through' gauze or net so light to lift • A glorious shimmer of gold material to dazzle the eyes • A piece of waterproof material in a pool to pull, stretch & wave Now for the games! These can be adjusted to the group or individual or lesson. They do not have to be elaborate; the simplest games are the most enjoyable. One two three go! See saw Everyone sits down and then pulls the parachute in a seesaw motion. Sea music can be played or sing ' row row row your boat……' Lift up high, right up to the sky

And don't forget the sensing and thinking skills of~

Lift the parachute high over heads and down again. Feel the whoosh of air, hear the soft plop and create a breeze.

• A sense of rhythm

Create a mushroom shape as you repeat the activity.

• The language of movement and movement skills

Try walking into the middle as the mushroom is at its highest.

• Dramatic scenarios-is the shark coming for yuoooooooo

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Parachute Play On the run Hold on to the parachute with one hand and with the other arm extended out to balance. Now march, walk or run in the same direction. You can use music for this to find a rhythm and beat. Try stopping the music so everyone has to listen and stop at the right time. Change direction-quite hard for some!

• Turn the washing one way run in one direction • Then turn the washing the other way go in the other direction • Rinse and shake • Shake and dry-up and down I large waves


• Tumble the clothes on to the floor ready for folding

(You must go to and type in' popcorn (music)' and up will pop the music. Down load through www.zamzar for free)

There is an amazing song about washing machines. I could not believe my ears!

Play the popcorn music and throw onto the parachute, lots of small balls. Balls from the ball pool are ideal. Make large waves and watch the balls shoot around and pop off in all directions. Then comes the hard bit, collect them al and do it again.

Parachute purchases

Under the sea The parachute becomes the sea. The leader gives a weather report and the waves on the sea react. Use some sea music as well And sing ' A sailor went to sea, sea sea……' • There is a little breeze over the sea (little ripples of movement) • Watch out, a storm's about (quick and abrupt movements) • Wow, a very high in the sky wind (hold parachute high and flap) • The sun has got his hat on (move a large yellow ball around) • Pitter patter raindrops (lots of blue balls) • Ice ahead (stretch the parachute tight to make an ice floe) • Safe from the storm (Place a toy boat on the 'chute and ripple gently until it can be rescued at the edge of the sea) The Washing Machine You will need a small pile of lightweight clothes to throw in the washing machine. • Throw the clothes onto the parachute. • Add the soap powder-some little balls • Now shake the water on the washing machine to wash the clothes


Go to Youtube and type in 'washing machine song by Peter Weatherall' it is really good!

All the big companies sell parachutes but it is worth looking around for good value. I took some rainbow rectangular 'chutes out to South Africa which came in a bag with lots of lovely stars to throw on. They came from' 'I found my first parachute as it literally fell off the back of an RAF jet, thirty years ago. It was a damaged one but a wonderful size and gorgeous silk. Ask at your local squadron, you may be as lucky as I was! 'Try who do parachutes and an excellent parachute kit which has all sorts of equipment to use on a 'chute including book about parachute play at £34.45 An excellent book and DVD about parachute games is one written by Todd Strong with the title 'Parachute games with DVD' find on

From Featherstone publications

by Claire Beswick


Issue 79 Winter 2009

Soy Candles and hand massage Whilst I was in Johannesburg this summer, I was given a sweetly smelling soy candle by Kobi, an occupational therapist, who works with very special people. I watched the soy candle being used with a group of elderly residents, whilst they had their hands massaged during a sensory stimulation session. They loved the warm wax on their hands and the lovely smell. Some even massaged their own hands with great satisfaction. The candle was lit and left to safely burn for 20 minutes before the session. This meant there was a pool of warm oil ready to use for the hand massage as well as a calming smell in the air. This oil was poured, just a few drops was sufficient, into the palm of the hand before the hand massage began.

Why soy candles?

Soy candles can be found in candle and

Soy candles are made from soy wax – a

beauticians shops or on the Internet. They are

hydrogenated soybean oil. The candles do not

expensive but very economical to use.

produce toxins when lit as they are made from a natural oil. They also do not leave a sooty


residue. They are used for sports injuries, dry skin

problems and other minor skin ailments. Also for

relaxation! On 'You tube' you can download clips which Why does the wax not burn the skin?

shows you how to make them yourself!

The soy candle burns cooler, longer and at a lower heat. This is really useful when used with

special children or adults – just in case some and type in 'make a soy candle'

wax is spilt accidentally. The smell is added through essential oils, as the candle itself has no smell. Soy wax candles give a lovely 'scent throw', this means the fragrance is

Flo Longhorn

strong and lasts.

Issue 79 Winter 2009


'Hospitalisation and very special people Readers are familiar with Johanna and her journey through teenager years. She was very ill with leukemia at one point. Catherine, her mum, has written her reflections on that very difficult time, whilst Johanna was in hospital. Testing Times and Still Reeling! – Catherine de Haas Some of you readers will have had your own child in hospital and know just how it feels to put your child in the hands of the medical staff. Other readers will have visited a child and their parents in hospital and wondered if they have said and done the right thing? This is a very difficult situation for all concerned. Does it have to be so difficult? Could there be better practice in place that would make it easier for the family in the centre of the drama? Each family is of course individual in their circumstances and also their reaction to their circumstances. So I suppose I should put this piece in context by telling you a little about my family. I am the mother of a young woman who is 21. Her name is Johanna. She is gorgeous as you can see from her photo. She has severe cerebral palsy. She is unable to weight bear, is a wheelchair user, is severely visually impaired, severely epileptic and is cognitively impaired. She also had APL in 2006, a type of childhood leukaemia, which is usually, but not always curable with chemotherapy. Treatment necessitated her being an inpatient in hospital on an adult ward for 4 months. She has had normal blood counts for more than 3 years. So we are able to relax about the possibility of the leukaemia returning. Johanna has also had 3 orthopaedic operations which have caused her to have periods of time in hospital. These times were on children’s wards. Johanna has a younger sister, who is 18 and has just started at university. I can only write with authority about our own experiences. However I am writing this hoping that other parents will read what I have written, and hopefully feel able to write themselves to either endorse what I have to say or better still add another perspective. I would like to start up an exchange of information…. in keeping with the title of this magazine.


I found being on an adult ward very much harder than being on a children’s ward with a child with profound and complex disabilities. Medical staff who are used to working with adults, have little experience of working with people who have other means of communicating other than speech. I would now like to suggest what can and could happen to make the experience of having a child with multiple disabilities in hospital easier: • Existing PA’s who are able to come on a daily basis and be with the person with disabilities giving the rest of the family time to go away from the hospital to relax and get food supplies for themselves. • Use of a bed throughout the hospital stay. This bed to be close to the ward where the patient is an inpatient. The family member using this bed may well need to be with the patient and ward staff both day and night. • Use of a bathroom with a mirror. • Support from a dedicated health professional with knowledge of multiple disability. This person should be employed by the hospital, and have links with the patient’s community team. • Music Therapy once or twice a week to allow the patient to express her feelings through the whole ordeal of aggressive chemo therapy. • Friends and family who visit through out the hospital stay. • Counselling available to the family if they want it, including the siblings. • A sibling may not feel able to leave their parent and sick brother or sister in hospital. • Education should be offered to both the sick child and the other children in the family where there is a serious illness that is likely require more than 2 weeks of inpatient treatment. • Emotional support for siblings should be offered at school in private. The feelings of siblings of not wanting to be seen as different should be respected by school staff. • Adults find it hard to know how to support a family who has a seriously ill child. School staff may well have to help the peer group of a sibling. For example they may need to be encouraged to use their mobile phones to find out how the sibling is coping. It may not occur to them to visit the sibling at hospital. Have you thoughts to add to these thoughts? Catherine

You can send any emails to me – the editor

Issue 79 Winter 2009

Feast of Music


THEME Seasonal Events


Read or listen to an audio tape about the Pilgrim Fathers and the first Thanksgiving Have the artefacts on display for parts of the story Actors decide on being either a Pilgrim Father or a Native North American Indiandress and make up as these characters

MAIN COURSE The First Thanksgiving The Sea Journey • Play the sound effects of waves breaking and storms, discuss how it sounds • Move the Pilgrim Fathers into a small enclosed space close together, and rock as if on a small boat at sea, • Have the fan blow over them The Boat Landing • The music quietens • The boat lands and the Pilgrim Fathers leave the boat carrying their belongings in parcels • Leave the boat via a plank and other rocks to reach dry land The First Night at Plymouth Rock • Make a tent for the night using a parachute or large sheet • The Pilgrims go to sleep with realistic snores! • Some Pilgrims try and light a fire to keep warm using wood logs and matches The Arrival of the Native American Indians • The pilgrims emerge from the tent and go “hunting” for food but find nothing • Listen to “Cavatina” or a piece by Rachmaninov as they get weaker and sadder, showing sad expressions • An Indian drum beat plays outside the room and gradually gets louder and louder • The tribe joins the Pilgrim Fathers and play circle drumming games – initiating the beat • Listen to Native American songs and chants • Have fun choosing an Indian name Making Friends • The Indians produce baskets full of their different foods and have a feast with the Pilgrims • The Pilgrims have gifts in return • Listen to “Largo” from the New World Symphony • Use touch/sign/words to say “thank you” • Explain that this was the beginning of the nation of America where all are equal • Listen to the “Star Spangled Banner” with hands on heart


Relax to a peaceful piece of mood music or a Beethoven Piano Concerto Dream catchers – look at some and see if they can be made or projected on an OHP

Issue 79 Winter 2009



Buy the food for the meal – corn, turkey (sliced is fine!), bread, sweet corn - cook beforehand if needed • Maple syrup • Prepare rocks in the sea by setting out cushions, balls and boxes • Drums • Set up music system for selected CDs PLANNER MEAL

MEAL PLANNER PREPARATIONS HOW TO MAKE Buy the food for the meal – corn, turkey White PREPARATIONS HOW Collars TO MAKE (sliced fine!), sweet cornturkey - cook Buy theisfood forbread, the meal – corn, beforehand if needed (sliced is fine!), bread, sweet corn - cook • Maple syrup beforehand if needed Prepare rocks in the sea by setting out • Maple syrup cushions,rocks balls in and boxes • Prepare the sea by setting out • Drums cushions, balls and boxes • Set up music system for selected CDs Drums •

Set up music system for selected CDs

RESOURCES • Face make up • Feathers • White collars • Fan • Plank • Sticks, logs • Beads • Bundles made of fabric squares • Parachute or large sheet • Bulldog clips RESOURCES • Ropes, bungy, • Face make up stretchy cords RESOURCES

for a hanger


• Feathers Face make up • White collars Feathers MUSIC • Fan White collars • Sea Plankand storm sound effects • Fan • “Star Banner” on “Anthems” Sticks,Spangled logs • Plank (Buda Musique) Beads • Sticks, logs “Cavatina” – Beethoven’s String • Bundles made of fabric squares Beads Quartetmade • Parachute or large sheetsquares Bundles of fabric “Andante” from “Concerto • Bulldog clips Parachute or large sheet No.1” by Rachmaninov • Ropes, bungy, stretchy cords Bulldog clips • “Largo” from “New World Symphony” • Ropes, bungy, stretchy cords by Dvorak • Native American Songs – Sacred Spirit MUSIC • Sea and storm sound effects MUSIC “Star Spangled Banner” on “Anthems” • Sea and storm sound effects (Buda Spangled Musique) Banner” on “Anthems” • “Star This •musical drama from 'A feast of “Cavatina” –came Beethoven’s String (Buda Musique) music' Diane Haylor, Sue Bradshaw and Quartet • by “Cavatina” – Beethoven’s String • “Andante” from “Concerto No.1” by Flo Longhorn. Quartet Rachmaninov • “Andante” from “Concerto No.1” by There are two volumes packed with scripts and • “Largo” from “New World Symphony” Rachmaninov ideas. Further details from by Dvorak • “Largo” from “New World Symphony” • Native American Songs – Sacred Spirit by Dvorak •


Cut rectangles White Collars of stiff white paper; cut a hole to fit the head of with a cut to allow the collar to Cut rectangles stiff white paper; cut a hole fit fit around the neck to the head with easily. a cut to allow the collar to Hats fit around the neck easily. Make cylinders of black card or stiff paper Hats that round the actor’s head. Makefit cylinders of black card or Cut stiffcircles paper 20cm wider in diameter than the diameter that fit round the actor’s head. Cut circles of the cylinder. the cylinder in the 20cm wider inPlace diameter than theupright diameter of middle and draw round edge upright of the in the the cylinder. Place the the cylinder cylinder. from centre of the middle andMake drawcuts round thethe edge of the circle to the inner drawn the cylinder. Make cuts fromline. the Replace centre of the cylinder the middle. Glue or Replace tape thethe cut circle to in the inner drawn line. sections in tothe themiddle. inside of theorcylinder cylinder Glue tape the cut Dream catchers sections to the inside of the cylinder Make 15cm circle using pipe cleaners. Using Dreama catchers more pipe cleaners, dividepipe the cleaners. circle into 4 or Make a 15cm circle using Using 5 irregular areas. Decorate with feathers, more pipe cleaners, divide the circle into 4 or beads and shiny paper strips.with Attach string 5 irregular areas. Decorate feathers, for a hanger beads and shiny paper strips. Attach string

The Pilgrim fathers Fathers left the city of Leyden in 1620 and sailed to America The Pilgrim fathers left theseeking city of freedom Leyden in to worship freely. The first winter freedom in the new 1620 and sailed to America seeking World was freely. very hard and many perished. to worship The first winter in theThe new survivors crops inmany the Spring and The World wasplanted very hard and perished. watched them grow. They hadSpring a rich and survivors planted crops in the varied harvest. ManyThey Indians the watched them grow. hadvisited a rich and colony harvest. including King Theythe varied ManyMassasoit. Indians visited entertained them forMassasoit. 3 days and They the Indians colony including King brought them deer they had hunted. It was entertained them for 3 days and the Indians the first Thanksgiving in the New World. brought them deer they had hunted. It was the first Thanksgiving in the New World.

WRITTEN RESOURCES See “Meal Sauces” page 77 for the WRITTEN RESOURCES words of the “Star page Spangled Banner” See “Meal Sauces” 77 for the words of the “Star Spangled Banner”

CURRICULUM AREAS History AREAS CURRICULUM Geography History Geography

Native American Songs – Sacred Spirit

Issue 79 Winter 2009

Feast of Music

CHRISTMAS GIFTS Based on the story “The Last Straw” by Frederick H. Thurly

THEME Christmas

STARTER • • • • • • •

Play some quiet mood music in the background throughout the session. Explore all the different gifts that are given Discuss what a camel looks like. Give each actor several bags or empty boxes to carry all at the same time, to experience carrying a heavy load. Allocate parts in the story and dress up in costumes. Set the scene, with the actors in different parts of the room. Decide the path that Hoshmakaka will take to get to the nativity and place the actors accordingly


• •

Sit “Hoshmakaka the camel” on some sand (if possible) to pretend to be asleep. An angel tells him that he has been chosen to carry gifts to a new King. The three Kings present traditional gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, which are placed on the camel’s back; he begins his journey round the room. He meets a goat herder, who asks him to take some milk to the baby – the milk is added to the load. Hoshmakaka begins to feel tired, but carries on. Every time that another gift is loaded on, Hoshmakaka asks “How far is it to Bethlehem?” – use a communication aid if desired – and all other actors answer “Not very far” He meets a miller, who gives a bag of flour to be taken. Hoshmakaka continues the journey, meeting a merchant with silks, a shopkeeper with spices and herbs, a baker with bread and a sheep with a fleece, adding all the gifts to his back and growing increasingly tired but determined not to give up. Just before he reaches the stable, he meets a child, who asks him to carry a piece of straw. Hoshmakaka protests, saying that he cannot carry one more thing, but the child says that the straw is for the baby’s bed, to make him more comfortable, and it is all that the child has to give. The angel tells Hoshmakaka that he can make one more effort for the baby King, so the child places the straw on his back. He sways and staggers under the load, takes a few steps forward and collapses onto his knees. When he looks up, the Nativity scene is in front of him.


Sing the song “How Far Is It To Bethlehem?” from “Carol Gaily Carol” Light candles round the Nativity scene, turn off room lights and sit quietly to listen to Christmas carols or sing some favourites of your own.

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Feast of Music



PREPARATIONS • Set up performing area • • • • •

Set up performing area Prepare gifts and costumes Prepare gifts and costumes If desired, tie string round the gifts If desired, string round so that theytie can be ‘hung’ onthe gifts so that they can be ‘hung’ on Hoshmakaka Hoshmakaka Set up Nativity scene with candles and Set up Nativity scene with candles and lights for the Dessert lights for the Dessert Set up music centre for selected cds Set up music centre for selected cds

RESOURCES RESOURCES • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Tassels and and rich rich fabric fabric for for Tassels Hoshmakaka Hoshmakaka White fabric fabric and and tinsel tinsel for for the the angel angel White Crowns and and cloaks cloaks for for the the kings kings Crowns Gold – a box covered in gold paper Frankincense – aromatherapy oil Myrhh – dried herbs Carton of milk Bag Bag of of flour flour Silky Silky fabrics fabrics Large Large loaf loaf of of bread bread Sheepskin Sheepskin Straw Straw


MUSIC • • •


The Nativity Nativity story, story, found found in in the the Bible Bible The –– Matthew Matthew 2 2 v1 v1 –– 13 13 And Luke 2 v1 – 16

“The Last Straw” by Frederick H. Thurly

• •

“Carol “Carol Gaily Gaily Carol” Carol” by by A A& &C C Black Black


CDs of traditional Christmas carols CDs of traditional Christmas carols Mood music

Mood music

POETRY How far CARD is it to Bethlehem? How is it it to toBethlehem? Bethlehem? ‘How far far is ‘How far is it to Bethlehem? Not very far. Not far. the stable-room Shallvery we find Shall we find Lit by a star? the stable-room Lit by a star? Can we see the little child? Can we see the little child? Is he within? Is he within? If we lift the wooden-latch, may we go in? If we lift the wooden-latch, may we go in? Written by F.Chesterton Written by F.Chesterton


Religious Education Religious Education History


Chefs Notes

Chefs Notes

This musical drama came from 'A feast of music' by Diane Haylor, Sue Bradshaw and Flo Longhorn. There are two volumes packed with scripts and ideas. Further details from


Issue 79 Winter 2009

Rag Bag To Buy Mondo inside out ball This kit contains everything you need to make your own perfume and heavenly scents. Then get really stuck in and begin an experiment that will gross mum out! Perfumed Sublime Burping slime! There are loads more things to try out, scented crystals, forest pourri, scented note paper, crystal gel pourri and much more! Cost £12.95 from A super soft, stretchy and flexible ball that provides a great tactile experience. • one side the ball is smooth, soft, wobbly and squidgy and will gently roll a short distance • turn the ball inside out to get soft sea urchin like spikes, which can be pulled and stretched and released to make a great twanging sound. They are made from a totally innovative plastic that has an amazingly soft and smooth texture and is incredibly stretchy. You simply can't stop squishing them, can't stop stretching them and can't bear to put them down! They are smooth on one side and spiky on the other, meaning that you can turn them inside out to give a totally different sensation.

Found on the Early Learning centre Website Here is a magnificent music machine full of inspiring instrument sounds. Cymbals to clang, drum to beat, bell, horn, light-up keyboard and of course a microphone for your mini musician to sing their favourite songs. £20 from Early learning centre Sing along book ~ With fun spinners and sliders. Six favourite nursery rhymes to choose from, and to sing together.

They're not only great for squidging and squishing though! We can guarantee that within about 30 seconds whoever is playing with it will have put it over their head to make a mad spiky wig! Then they'll put it on their hand to make a puppet, then their foot, then they'll just stretch it over both hands, then they'll put it over something else, then they'll turn it inside out and do the same all over again and then they'll think of a thousand other things to do with it!

Magic Bopper

The Super Mondo can be stretched enough to fit over your knees or feet and anything else of a similar size! They are simply fantastic fun!...

Bop the floor to push the bopper's other side out, and enjoy hearing the fun sounds.

Cost £5.95 from

Cost £6

Perfume Laboratory – great fo the nose sensation

Cost £14

The very funny frog

The Perfume Laboratory Kit is a part of the new Wild Science range. Created especially to encourage children to explore scientific principles in a creative and challenging way.

Issue 79 Winter 2009

He makes froggy sounds as bubbles stream from his mouth. Try in a bowl of water or the water table for extra playful fun. Cost £13


Rag Bag To Buy From Toys'R'Us Ben 10Go Glow Light This Ben 10 Go Glow Light is a 2 in 1 rechargeable night light with detachable instant torch and 4 projector discs, 3 printed and 1 plain for you to personalise! The night-light glows softly with a soothing light. Lift the cone from the base and it becomes a handy torch, perfect for projecting... shine onto a wall or flat surface and the torch projects a Ben 10 image! Cost £19.99 Lamaze Musical Chime Garden This toy entertains with 3 modes of music play and encourages aural development. Five friendly faces light up and smile hello. Bright colours, and fun textures entice a child to look, reach, and touch. There are three modes of music play – chimes, song segments and a full song play and each flower features a different note or plays a song. Cost £19.99 Munchkin Fresh food feeder – With textured, easy to grasp handle allows your baby or child to enjoy lots of foods without the choking risk. Simply put a piece of fruit, vegetables or meat into the mesh bag and snap shut. Your baby can chew, suck and enjoy all the whole food goodness and taste, with only the tiniest, digestible pieces coming through. Your baby gets great flavour and you get great peace of mind! Cost £4.49

Introducing Trabasack: a new sensory play aid that can be used anywhere! Clare Edwards was frustrated with the wheelchair tray that her son Joseph had been provided with. It was difficult to get on and off, heavy to carry about, and was becoming a sticky mess of Velcro patches! She decide to have a go at creating something better herself. Two years of research and development followed and Trabasack was born! Trabasack is a new wheelchair lap tray that is perfect for helping children and adults engage in sensory play and use switches, communication aids or toys. It is soft, lightweight and has no hard edges. It can be attached onto the front of a therapy chair, buggy or wheelchair and used throughout the day. When not in use it can be conveniently worn as a rucksack, carry bag or stowed at the back of a chair. Trabasack comes in two styles and tray surfaces. Trabasack 'Curve' is a unique shape that hugs the waist and keep objects upon it. The shape also helps keep elbows on the tray surface so that hands will find objects easier. Trabasack 'Mini' is A4 shape and looks just like an ordinary bag or smart brief case. The tray surface called 'Connect' is a soft material that is pleasant to feel but is also the same as the 'loop' material for 'hook' stickers. This enables switches or toys to be securely attached to the Trabasack to help stop things dropping to the floor. 'Hook' stickers will attach to the entire top surface meaning that toys or switches can also be quickly moved and repositioned anywhere during play. Trabasack is also a bag so that items can be stored within it when not being used. The firm flat surface and bean bag help to protect expensive items when they are put away and carried. So it is ideal for communication aids and switches as well as ordinary 'must take' personal items such as cups, splints, toys and plates. Other features include easy to use ring pull zips, high contrast coloured trims, a range of D rings for attaching toys or straps and to make life easier, it is fully machine washable!


Issue 79 Winter 2009

Rag Bag To Buy Multi sensory room effects

Laser Stars Projector

Starlite fibre optic light

Whether you have a large or small room, this powerful laser can transform it into your own personal animated universe complete with shooting stars.

Fun time Pink Starlite Fibre Optic Light features: • Super bright LEDs • Fiber optic of the highest quality • No bulbs to replace • Chrome Plated Base • No wires • Other colours available

It is simple to operate and mains powered with a projector that can rotate through 180° to project on a wall or ceiling. Watch as the layer upon layer of stars slowly move in different directions then use the adjustable switch to add a moving ethereal blue cloud nebulae.

Cost £6.99 from 3D Adventure Slide Projector Take a 3-D journey as you project full colour images on your walls or ceiling!

The laser and holographic images blend and constantly move and change to create a beautiful outer world experience.

Blast off on an incredible 3-D sight and sound journey through our solar system and beyond! The 3D Adventure Projector f will project stars and planets - or optional Undersea and African Safari slides - as exciting 3-D images (visible through the special glasses supplied) whilst you listen to the accompanying audio guide on CD. A good addition for the multi sensory space. The images are adjustable for distance and focus. Includes 4 pair of 3-D real glasses. It's an incredible 3-D experience.

Laser Stars Projector features:

• Includes "Journey into Space" Adventure Pack. • Additional tour pack titles sold separately

• One Laser Stars Projector • Uses green laser and holographic technology

3D Adventure Projector features • 4 pairs of 3-D Real Glasses • "Journey into Space" CD audio tour • Storage folder for 3-D glasses and slides • Easy-touch slide advancement system • Adjustable projection angles • Focus dial for crisp viewing • Enhanced 3-D projection system

• Creates thousands of stars • Add cloud formations

Uncle Milton 3D Adventure Projector

• Suitable for large or small rooms • 2 built-in precision glass lenses • Cloud formation projector lens • Laser stars projection lens • Adjustable cloud dimmer • Projector rotates through 180° Cost £129.95 at

Cost £24.99 From

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Rag Bag To Make Bags of butterflies This is a nice easy craft activity for everyone. There is a choice of materials to go into the butterfly wings. Artists can really explore the colours and textures they like and make their own choices. You will need: • Different sizes of zip baggies to fit different hands • Tissue paper in a variety of colours and textures • Pipe cleaners Here's how to make the butterfly • Cut the tissue paper into small squares. The artist can select the colours and textures they want to go into the bag. • Fill the zip baggie with the chosen paper (more paper = fuller wings). • Zip the baggie closed, pressing out some of the air. • Gather the zip baggie in the middle with the zip close at the top. • Twist the pipe cleaner in the middle of the gather~ to form a butterfly with antennae. • Curl the ends of the pipe cleaner to make the antennas. Extending the art activity • Try a different selection of papers such as glittery or coloured cellophanes for a different sort of butterfly • How about a giant butterfly made with a see through carrier bag? • The butterflies can be hung from a coat hanger to make a very swish mobile

Mucky chocolate Space food This is a nice mucky activity that links into the theme of 'space' and the food that the astronauts eat whilst in their space rockets. You will need: • Boxes of instant milk pudding such as angel delight (one between two astronauts) • Milk-enough for the contents of the packets (look at method) • Zipper plastic bags (IKEA do excellent ones) Here is the activity: • Smell and taste the milk and pudding mix • Pour half the packet of mix into the zipper bag • Add half the quantity of milk • Seal the bag really well • Now squish and shake the bag until the pudding thickens • When it is thick, then carefully snip a corner of the bag • Now see who can suck the pudding out just like an astronaut • Any left? Then squish out onto the table top and use fingers to whiz through the pudding to make Space marks and Space stars

Ice Cube Painting Materials: • Paper • Ice cubes • Powdered tempera paint • Flat box or large baking pan How to ice paint: • Place a sheet of paper in the box or baking pan. • Sprinkle a little tempera powder on the paper. • Place the ice cube in the box and rotate the box to create a whirly painting. • If you like, substitute jelly crystals for the powdered tempera paint. There will be a pleasing smell to the art.


Issue 79 Winter 2009

Life Experience Packages (LEPs) Kate Gledhill was a 4th year Occupational Therapy Student – La Trobe University, Victoria on clinical placement with Mandy Williams (AccOT) at the Communication Resource Centre - Scope at the time she wrote this article. She has since graduated and is now practicing as an Occupational Therapist at a large rehabilitation service in Melbourne.

• The LEPs are a useful resource for other people attending the day service. The task analysis framework ensures that the task can be adjusted to match the skill set of any client and that staff provide the appropriate level of support to optimise participation opportunities. Example of a Life Experience Package

The development of Life Experience Packages (LEPs) follows the success of individualised sensory-focused books and Armchair Travel. Life Experience Packages create an experience that can be shared by a group. However, each person is offered the opportunity to participate based on their individual skills and interests, in other words taking a theme and making it personspecific. The LEPs were designed as part of a project to develop sensory-focused activities for a group of adults with severe and multiple disabilities attending an adult day service. The Process of Creating LEPs • Getting to know each person involved direct observation and reviewing each person’s Participation to the Max forms. The Participation to the Max forms gives us valuable information about the level and type of support each person requires to participate in everyday activities. It outlines the person’s sensory preferences, likes and dislikes, communication methods and skills. Further consultation with the staff clarified people’s interests. • From this information we created three themes; “A visit to the Day Spa”, “What’s at the beach?” and “What’s at the hardware store?”. It was important to make the experiences flexible. Each LEP consists of a number of activities that can be used individually or as one in a sequence of activities. For example, an activity from “A visit to the Day Spa” could be used as a single activity e.g. a manicure, or as part of an entire day where the person participates in a series of Spa related “treatments” (manicure, pedicure, massage and hair care). • Each activity was task-analysed. Information about how each person communicates, their sensory preferences and skills etc was considered at each step of the task, thereby creating maximum opportunity for each person to actively participate throughout the activity with appropriate levels of support.

Theme: A visit to the Day Spa Environment: A waiting area, where people can “wait” and have a “champagne” (sparkling apple juice) whilst they browse through their individualised “magazines”. These “magazines” consist of either pictures of the person participating in each activity or object cues. The “magazine” is used to assist each person to choose which Spa treatment they would like. Activities: The following are summaries of the activities that people can choose from: • Manicure station: At this station people receive a manicure. They are encouraged to interact and make choices at every step of the activity. The activity involves, feeling and using the nail brush, nail filing, choosing, applying and drying polish, smelling and choosing hand moisturisers and having a hand massage. • Pedicure station: At this station people receive a foot spa. They are encouraged to feel the water and choose what temperature they prefer (warm, neutral or cold). After the foot spa, the person is encouraged to smell the moisturisers and select which one is to be massaged on their legs/feet. The person is then encouraged to choose their nail polish colour. • Hair care station: At this station people receive a hair style experience. A number of different coloured and textured hair brushes and hair accessories are available to explore. For hygiene reasons, each person has a bag containing their own hairbrush and accessories. These are used to create a hair design with the person, which is then viewed in a mirror. (Photos could be taken to place in the person’s Chat Now book) • Massage station: At this station people receive a relaxing massage. People are encouraged to smell the massage creams and choose the one they like. Specific instructions on massage techniques for each person are provided for staff to refer to. This ensures each person receive a massage that assists them to relax.

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Life Experience Packages (LEPs) Resource Box Contents: • Spa staff aprons x 2. • Nail brushes x 3 • Nail polishes x 6 • Nail polish remover x 1 • Hand and nail cream x 4 • Nail files x 5 • Nail buffers x 5 • Hair accessories x 7 • Eye masks x 5 • Hand towels x 4 • Body moisturisers x 4 • Foot spas x 3 • Communication aids including photo and picture communication symbols of each item in the package • A disk containing a list of the resource box contents, photos of items used in the package, task analysis template etc.

Spa apron

Task analysis of each activity. (See headings used below)

Hair accessories

What is the activity?

How? = level of support the client requires

Who will do it?

Resources required?

Write name of activity, then list each step in the activity (Task analysis)

How will each person be supported at each step of the activity

List the person/people responsible

Equipment required

Thank you Kate for you excellent contribution from 'Down Under!

A very handy Christmas tree This is a good group activity with a very pleasing Christmassy result. You will need: • Strong card – various shades of green and also plain white • Lots of green, silver and gold glitter • Brown corrugated card to make a trunk for the tree • Lots of glue • Lots of different shades of green paint in shallow bowls • Christmas stickers


Here is how to make the tree: • Trace everyone's hands lots of times (the tree needs lots of leaves) on the green paper. • Make green paint handprints on paper – it's fun to let the paint squish between your fingers • Cut out the handprints and glue them together with fingertips facing down to form a tree shape. The size of the tree depends on the number of leaves made. • Glue a brown rectangle trunk on to the bottom of the tree • Now comes the fun part – Decorate with stickers, lots of glitter…… • The tree can be hung on the door or suspended from the ceiling for a real Christmas feature.

Issue 79 Winter 2009

Christmas Rag Bag To Make Chocolate Christmas Spoons

How to make the spoons

This is a lovely Christmas gift for coffee lovers, and very simple to make. There is also the opportunity to taste the melted chocolate too! Easy peasy.

• Place sprinkles in separate bowls

• Plastic teaspoons in a variety of colours

• Dip spoons in melted chocolate

• Chocolate bars, try white, dark or milk chocolate for different effects

• Immediately dip chocolate covered spoon in choice of sprinkles.

• Silver balls, sprinkles or chocolate flakes

• Tie a thin ribbon on the spoon handle

• Gold or silver ribbon

• Attach this poem with the gold ribbon.

• Melt chocolate bars in the microwave. It only takes a few seconds to do.

' Try chocolate coffee It's tasty as can be And while you drink it You can think of me.' Place the spoons in a pretty box for a special gift to take home for Christmas.

Buttons galore!

Lighten up a window-buttons galore

Mark a page with a bookmark for Christmas

A button mosaic becomes a cheery light catcher when it is sandwiched between layers of clear sticky back paper.

These bright bookmarks will brighten any book for the reader. ~ And they're fun and easy for to create. Everyone can sift through the buttons and gay ribbons to make their own choice for the bookmark. You will need: • Lengths of colourful ribbon • Lots of shiny glittery buttons of all sizes and shapes • Sticky glue or a glue gun (adult supervision) To make a book mark: • Cut lengths of ribbon- about the length of a paperback book • Select button • Select ribbon • Attach to the end of the chosen ribbon with glue • Try and see if a smaller button will glue on to top of a bigger button for an extra special effect

You will need: • Lots of different buttons • Clear Sticky back paper Here is how to make it: • Cut out a square of sticky paper – if it is a group activity then make it a large piece • Carefully, remove backing and lay it sticky-side up on the table • Sift through the buttons and find the best ones • Lay the buttons on the sticky paper • Create an abstract button picture • Make sure that a border is left around the edge of the sticky paper • When the picture is complete, cover the mosaic with a second sticky paper square • Smooth the edges with a cotton swab • Cut out the mosaic, leaving an -inch border on all sides. Stick your creation to a window with glue dots or tape. • A window full of art!

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Christmas Rag Bag To Make

I’ve found a few ideas based on the theme of Toys and Games. I hope it fits in for the Christmas issue. Here’s to a Merry Christmas for all Information Exchange readers from Kay Evans – member of the Editorial Board.

Having a Ball Relay

• Sets of favourite toys, for example, balls, cars, dollsnot necessarily matching but it may help.

For this game you will need: • A variety of different balls (eg size, colour, feel) but pairs of each. • A laminated photo of each type of ball and a large box for all of the balls.

• Laminated photos of 1 of each set or the actual items. The players look at the photos or symbols and need to put their hands in to feel for the right one. This could be done with Braille on the cards too.

• A referee’s whistle This can be played with individuals or 2 teams, each with the same set of photos. Show the players a photo of a type of ball. Give them a moment to take it in a then, when the whistle blows, the player has to find the right ball. If two teams are playing then play it as a relay race- bring the right ball back before the next team member goes. Winners are the ones who complete the set first.

Matching Pairs For this game you will need: • 2 matching (toy) catalogues, cards Go through the catalogue and cut out the exact same photos of the toys, stick them on to cards and laminate them. Play the ‘Pairs’ game, each player takes a go to turn over 2 cards at a time and try to remember where the matching card is.

Hide the Toy For this game you will need:

Dancing Puppets

• A selection of photos of the player’s favourite or recognisable toys and the matching items

For this game you will need:

Play this game like the ‘Getting Warmer’ game. The player(s) take a while to look at the photo of the toy to find, which is hidden in the room. When the player needs a bit of a clue you can use phrases like ‘Look under the chair’, Look on the shelf’ or Look behind the door’.

Set of Toys

• Paper plates, wool, string, faux fur, shapes made from different textures, hole punch and a CD of dancing music. Make a face puppet with the materials on the paper plate. Use the hole punch and string/ribbon to hold it with. Play the music and ask the players to listen to it and make their puppets dance in a similar way, according to the beat and tempo, eg, quiet, fast, rock ‘n roll, can can etc)

For this game you will need: • A large box covered in Christmas paper with a hole in the side/top big enough for hands to go in.


Issue 79 Winter 2009

Christmas Rag Bag To Make Christmas Pudding cards

The story of ‘Hoot’ by Jane Hissey

• A4 white card, folded in half with a large circle drawn on each half. Fold the paper and cut off the top half of the card. Fill the circle with ingredients such as oats, raisins, sugar, dried cherries. Put cotton wool on the top of the ‘Christmas Pudding’.

For this you will need: A toy owl with a mini apron, a selection of pairs of different socks and 1 odd sock, 2 teddies (1 large, 1 small), toy rabbit, tea towel, cream cheese and crackers. A basket of toys. Torches. Read the story to the group. Think about the details and ask questions, such as, When are we scared or frightened? Hoot wears an apron so When do we use aprons? Look at the basket of toys for a short time and cover it for a version of ‘Kim’s Game’. Play Hide & Find to match the pairs of socks together- who has the odd one out? Make their own shadows on a screen, umbrella or on the wall. Finish with a midnight feast of cream cheese and crackers!

Book Review – Seasonal These books are from the Featherstone range of little books – and are excellent resources. Although written for early years, they are easily transferred to topic or project work across the age range. I like their approach to setting aims or targets and their reflections on what is being learnt.

This book takes a topic approach to teaching and learning throughout the seasons, starting with autumn.

They are all priced at £8.99 and there is a discount if ordered from their website at

The activities in this book are all about Christmas and are very timely at this important part of the school year

This book looks at a range of different celebrations and is loosely grouped into seasons; you can dip into the book for a good idea no matter what time of the year it is.

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Twelve days of Christmas Here is a fun daily event for the twelve days of Christmas – with a twist in the Tail!

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you a partridge in a pear tree A feather duster and a tin of pears to open and eat! Take some pears, cut them in half and dip in thick paint. Print pear shapes onto paper making patterns for abstract pear art ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you two turtledoves Feel some soft white feathers and a bar of ' dove' soap to smell! ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you three French hens A tin of chicken soup or soup' in a packet' to open and eat! ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you four calling birds All the calling birds flew away! But here are 4 messages they left for you before they flew off! Attach four messages to four feathers sent from Father Christmas


Issue 79 Winter 2009

Twelve days of Christmas ON THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you five golden rings Open a can of golden yellow pineapple rings and eat! Or use pull-tabs from tinned drinks as substitute rings Make lots of golden chains from gold paper cut into small strips and glued into garlands to hang on the Christmas tree ON THE SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you six geese a laying Open the egg box and find six hard-boiled eggs to eat!! Or use fresh eggs to make Christmas cookies with lots of smells and tastes traditional to Christmas such as nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and lots of sprinkles to decorate ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you seven swans a swimming! No swans to be found but here is the bubble bath they went swimming in! Have a sniff! Blow some bubbles ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you eight maids a-milking Eight bottles of milk-to make chocolate strawberry or vanilla milkshakes! Record some cow noises to listen to as they are shaken and drunk~moo! ON THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you nine ladies dancing Here are 9 candy canes used by the nine ladies who were out dancing all night! Smell the peppermint and crunch,crunch ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: your true love gave to you ten lords-a-leaping! The Lords were leaping so much they strained their leg muscles, so here are some ointments for ligaments – have a sniff – phew! ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you eleven pipers piping Here is a pipe of your own, have fun with it! You will need 11 bubble pipes and bubble solution ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you twelve drummers drumming Twelve drummers drumming would take up too much room so use an electronic dance mat (Argos sell these) connect to the TV or DVD play and dance the night away!

Issue 79 Winter 2009


Happy Sensory Christmas! from Anne Krisman Christmas is here again and we celebrate the most sensory festival of the year, a time full of strong emotions and exciting experiences. We want the happiness of Christmas to be all around us. The classroom can be scented with the smell of Christmas, with tangerines, cloves and fir. Red and green material can be draped around. It’s time to use Flo’s idea of a sensory umbrella, with tinsel, bells, little snowmen, and stars hanging from the spokes, letting the pupil be surrounded with the sense of Christmas time. Sensory objects to feel could be twigs, warm scarves, pine cones, ice cubes, hot water bottles and white snow-like foam packing. Celtic Christmas music, often with the sound of the harp, can be very relaxing and peaceful, especially in the dark afternoons, with the colours of fairy lights illuminating the room. My pupils love to open the Christmas box of decorations, which also includes some of their drawings from year before and photographs of Christmas in the school. It’s a time of wonder when we look back on us one year younger. Decorating the class tree together, with everyone helping to create something beautiful, teaches us about the importance of sharing and helping each other. Christmas is about the birth of baby Jesus, so we carefully pass around the Science department’s realistic looking toy baby, with some children saying special words to him or giving him a cuddle. The crib figures can be unwrapped and displayed, with Jesus wrapped in silver or gold to show his importance for Christians. For those of us with a whiteboard in our classroom, is a beautiful website that enables children to make their own snowflakes and send them out to the world, watching them as they float down the screen. A wonderful idea is to take lots of paper snowflakes and launch them into the air with a parachute. Last year’s popular Christmas activity was Scratch Art Christmas hanging decorations from Baker Ross which appealed to all ages and abilities. We also made some paper chains which included pictures of the class printed out on the computer, so that we decorated the class but also said something about us all being linked together as friends.


We must say thank you to Fishy Music Productions, who have created a new Christmas performance, Wise Men Three, ‘a simple musical telling the story of the Wise Men.’ Trevor Stevens’ The Christmas Story provided us with the perfect special school Nativity. Now he has created another winner. Anyone who buys it is guaranteed a smooth running Christmas performance where everyone can participate. The pack includes a teacher’s booklet, with the script, performance notes, large type copies of the songs and the music in manuscript. A performing license is also provided. The words are also provided on the Fishy Music website for Smartboard or digital projector use. A cd includes all the songs, both with and without vocal tracks and a dvd shows you all the signs. The songs are all clear and pupil-friendly, with the lullaby ‘Little Jesus Sleeping’ guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of parents and carers. ‘The Ribbon Dance’ has an authentic Middle Eastern feel. Although this is a production designed for very young children and those with special needs, Fishy Music keeps the integrity of the Christmas story, so it will educate as well as entertain. Let’s all have a sensory Christmas, filled with light, love and hope.

Issue 79 Winter 2009

A Christmas Touch Story I found this excellent Christmas activity on my computer in the form of a PowerPoint, with no reference to anyone. So, I apologise for no acknowledgements and would like the person who sent me this, to let me know so I can sing their praises. I have just taken the last slide from the presentation so readers can use the actions in a very apt rendering of Christmas through a relationship of touch and Christmas materials. Enjoy!

Let it snow

Arms and feet free to feel cotton balls sifted though hands and poured over feet.

Frosty the snowman

Pat frosty white bath puffs over arms/ legs.

Rocking around the Christmas tree Massage Christmas scented cream/ oil with firm and lively moves and ‘pinching’

Jingle bells

Bounce jingle bells over arms, legs, tummy.

Issue 79 Winter 2009


A Christmas Touch Story Silent night/ Marys Boy Child A gentle massage and then wrap in material and rock side to side.

Whilst Shepherds watched Stroke white fluffy material over skin.

It was on a starry night Flick starry tinsels.

The little drummer boy

Large drum to tap, and drumsticks to tap on body (or pat with hands.)

Auld Lang Syne

Smell of mincemeat whilst holding hands and shaking up and down.


Issue 79 Winter 2009

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Issue 79 Winter 2009


Information Exchange - Winter 2009  

Information Exchange magazine - Issue 79, Winter 2009

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