Learning in groups

July 31, 2020

7.31.2020 These days everyone’s got to wear a mask, and in September, in N.Y.S. schools, students will need to also. Here at Crossroads we are working on helping our students learn how to wear masks, how to tolerate and to don and doff them. Here is a classroom that was able to have everyone today wearing their masks at the same time, for a group lesson. Room 12 is doing group weekly health and safety lessons, using songs, hand-washing practice, and practice of mask-wearing.

6.22.2020 A Parade for an Early Graduate!

The summer program will be soon begin, and students with IEPs will be returning to Crossroads. Plans for a graduation celebration are in the works for the end of the summer. However, there are some students who will be moving on to their new schools for the summer, and won’t be coming back to the building. For Z, this was somewhat upsetting, as he wanted badly to be able to see his teachers again. So his teacher, Ms. Lindsay, and his teaching assistants, Ms. Melissa, Mr. Nick and Ms. Brianna, worked together with Z’s family to create a special farewell for him. Last week, they did a drive-by graduation parade. Sonic is this little guy’s favorite character, so the parade was Sonic themed. Z dressed up in his Sonic costume to make the whole event even more precious.

We’ll all miss this student, as well as the other children who are moving on at this time. We wish the best to all.

4.23.2020 ZOOM Show and Tell with Room 3

These days of being apart are growing in number, and our teaching teams and parents are working together harder than ever to conduct lessons and activities to engage our young learners and keep them moving forward towards achieving goals.

Today’s Show and Tell time in Room 3 was super cute. Today was for sharing PETS, both living ones and stuffed ones! We saw cats, dogs, a hermit crab and a stuffed unicorn to name a few. One of the children dressed in his favorite character, and several of the live pets appeared not to be fans of ZOOM meetings.

Thanks so much for this wonderful time, Room 3. There is a lot of effort going into making distant learning work, by parents and educators alike. Kudos for all you are doing. Thanks to Mrs. Ashlie for getting these cool screen shots!

2.3.2020 Articles and research on group learning are prolific.

Group learning benefits life-long success in many ways. Here at Crossroads, children learn in groups throughout the day in every class; while we constantly report about the benefits of individual instruction for our students, it’s also important to note that the ability to participate in group activities and lessons is something that children also are working on and increasing. This will help them work alongside of others as they progress in school, and in other settings such as work someday.

Group learning is recognized as leading to success in education, college and the professional work world. Positive group experiences, in which children learn to work on common tasks together, model and act as modelers, take turns, share and otherwise work collaboratively, are an important part of what students need to gain the skills for success in life.

Because it’s awesome to see the classrooms in action, this post is here to share what is recently implemented in our classrooms. We hope our readers will love this post, chock full of group activities!

1.31.2020 A Chinese New Year Theme in Room 8

Here, children in Room 8 recently enjoyed a week long unit for the Chinese New Year. It was planned by Teaching Assistant, Ms. Shannon, much to the appreciation of Special Education Teacher,  Ms. Susanna. Throughout the week, students in the class interacted in an abundant number of exciting activities. They learned about an interesting and diverse celebration, and about another country, on another continent.

The class decorated their hallway with posters with good fortunes on them. The children delighted in looking at their pictures and those of their friends. Additionally, they were able to work on generalizing skills such as letters, words, colors and pictures of places, people and objects.   

Another activity this group enjoyed targeted their fine motor skills. It also provided lots of sensory reinforcement. Rice bins with Chinese food takeout containers, coins and chopsticks engrossed the class at length and exercised their pincer and manipulation abilities.

They had two scavenger hunts this week, a rice sensory bin activity, and a “homemade family meal” for dramatic play with yarn for noodles and cotton balls. They played bingo with Chinese zodiac signs, made crowns to celebrate the new year, and for art, made different different Chinese animal zodiac signs.

The class also put on a parade. Groups of students from other classrooms came out to watch.

Thanks to Ms. Shannon for the awesome pictures!


1.21.2020 Room 1’s Playdoh group develops social and conceptual skills.

Students in Room 1 work together at the table. The table, where each student has his/her own space, connects each to the others, and also houses the materials to be focused upon at this time period.

Playdoh is the media, and forming with it is the activity at hand. Students work side by side, learning from each other how to use this substance, new to many.

Playdoh can be described as colorful, squishy, cool, smooth, with a clean and salty smell and probably brings fun and creativity to mind. For young children, it can be all these things and more, and for children who have challenges processing sensory stimuli, it can be an opportunity to engage with a compound and decrease defensiveness. At the same time, teachers use the opportunity to help the students learn words to describe what they are experiencing through their senses and to interact with each other. Colors, placement in space, common objects, size, shape and other early concepts are explored in this creative activity with friends.

Passing and sharing materials, requesting something someone else is using and then waiting for a turn, and showing someone else what we just created… these are social skills that all of us use throughout life in some form. Room 1, here is getting a great start on these and much more.

In this particular group, each student works on something different with the playdoh. One makes airplanes in different colors, while another creates a line of train cars. Children explore the use of a variety of tools from rollers to “cookie” cutters. Fingers find themselves active for pressing, squeezing, lifting and placing, helping to address fine motor goals and develop hand strength that will find its way into their handwriting someday.

So many skills are developing in this one half hour. Imagine how many additional skills are also growing all through the day in the group activities at Crossroads.

10.22.19 Room 8’s MSASC group lesson was a total hit! Talk about playing with your food!

Group Activities can integrate several concepts and skills at once.

Here’s an awesome group lesson which was recently part of Room 8’s schedule. They used a highly exciting and fun food item – marshmallows – to motivate counting! Next, they used the same marshmallows to create patterns with their colors, and then they turned the marshmallows into a creative art project. Throughout the lesson, teachers modeled language and interaction, and fostered social skills such as sharing and helping each other, and attending skills such as modeling of teachers and peers. Finally, they were allowed to eat a marshmallow! Talk about playing with your food!

With so many different skills addressed, in effect, this activity was a MATH-SNACK-ART-SOCIAL-COMMUNICATION lesson. MSASC! Maybe this will catch on!

Awesome job, Room 8!



Here, Ms. Susanna has the students choosing rhythm instruments from a bin.


What’s So Important About Social Skills for Children?Recycle with Clynk. Raise funds for Crossroads.