BEACH BALL PRACTICE ACTIVITIES
Students with disabilities often need more practice than other students to master skills. Using a "programmed" beach ball is a fun way to fit drill and practice in without boring the kids. This idea was shared with me at a math workshop I attended last summer.
beach balls (as many as you can afford--they're very versatile)
permanent marking pen
Blow up the beach ball and hold it with the air hole facing upward.
Beach balls are already nicely sectioned (kind of like an orange). So, all you have to do next is draw lines horizontally with a permanent marking pen to create several little boxes on your beach ball.
Program the boxes with various information that students need to practice (ideas follow).
Some Ideas: In each box, write a number from one to nine. Throw the ball to students and ask them what numbers their thumbs are on. When they tell you, ask them to either add, subtract, multiply or divide. This is an easy activity to individualize because you can ask different students to do different things with the numbers. I also found that it helps students with mathematics vocabulary. (Some of my students always say "take away" or "times" rather than the proper vocabulary). You could even say "find the product" to further reinforce vocabulary.
In each box, write a four-digit number. Throw it to a student and ask them to read the number under his or her right thumb. Or they could tell you the value of the 3 in 2,346. You get the idea.
Use the ball for spelling practice (or SIGHT word) practice. The student who catches the ball could ask another student to spell the word under his or her right thumb.
I use the Merrill Linguistic Reading Program with some of my students. I have programmed beach balls to practice reading words from this series as well.
For older students, you could program the beach ball with fractions. Students could add the fractions under their thumbs. They could name an equivalent fraction for the fraction under their right thumb. They could tell you if the fraction is more or less than half. Or, you could ask them which of the fractions (the one under their left of the one under their right thumb) is larger (closer to one).
For younger students, you could program the beach ball with alphabet letters. Students could name the letter, make its sound or name a word that starts with that letter.
The possibilities are endless!
JAN DEMONTIGNYFARM HILL SCHOOLMIDDLETOWN, CTdwaynejan@snet.net