Our students have many needs, so we need to constantly be on the look out for ways to integrate multiple skills at the same time… and of course it needs to be engaging and interactive to encourage our students to attend and participate. It can feel like a tall order, but here’s a simple and effective idea to get you started.
Why integrate skills
When we integrate multiple skills into a lesson plan, we give students more practice to learn, master and generalize. Our students tend to have large delays in multiple areas. In other words, it would be impossible to target all of the skills during the school day if we addressed everything individually.
Look at the picture below from Cait, a school based COTA. If you look quickly, it may just appear to be a fun fall activity. It isn’t. In fact, it is targeting these skills:
Motor skills being targeted
- Bilateral coordination or using 2 hands together
- Hand eye coordination
- Fine motor skills
- Balance if student is on a wobble seat, balance board or tall kneeling
Clearly, it’s a great activity for targeting motor skills.
Possible academic skills to target
There are MANY ways to integrate academic skills into this activity. Here are 5 ways:
- Put letters or numbers on the apples to integrate labeling and sequencing
- Attach pictures to the apples and have students label the pictures, and have state a feature or function of the item to integrate language & reading skills.
- Label the apples with coins and have students sort the coins by type or value to integrate math and life skills.
- Write words on the apples and have students practice reading the words, alphabetizing, using in a sentence, etc. to integrate reading skills.
- Have students pick an apple with a word or picture on it and write a sentence or paragraph describing it to integrate writing and ELA skills.
There are so many ways to differentiate this activity by fine motor or academic skills. Don’t stop there… switch up the apples for pumpkins, turkeys, fish, hearts, flowers, etc. to continue using this activity year round. The materials in our theme units are perfect to use with this motor task. For example, use the sizing task from the Apples & Pumpkins theme unit to integrate math and motor. As students pull the trees out, they sort them by size.
Check out these blog posts for more info on integrating skills: