Inclusive Teacher: Sensory Umbrellas.

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When you listen to a speaker you need to be inspired, your mind needs to fill with ideas as they speak. I had the pleasure of listening and watching Flo Longhorn at a conference late last year and came away with a desire to rush out and put these ideas into practice. The idea that particularly grabbed me was that of the sensory or story umbrella. I have added this to my Collaboroo resources as well.


How fantastic to create a sky full of planets for your space theme, or aircraft, helicopters, and ET for your transport topic. These can be revealed as slowly as you like, in the dark of the sensory room some cheap LED bulb stars create a immersive self contained story telling prop. There are no demands, this is not a worksheet.

If you have a tube of planets you can attach each one with velcro and each planet can be plucked from the sky and felt or rolled away.


We struggled for a while a few years ago about age appropriateness at our school, Flo summed up what we now do “Person appropriate” quite right. What stimulates and engages your student? Use this build on it. Capture their imagination then give the power to the student to use your resources how they want. Who says your idea is the best? Who says there is only one way to do things? The first thing my daughter said when I had made the planet one was “Where’s the sun?” So for the plane one we used a see through umbrella so we could use the light as the sun (or even take it outside to use the real sun).

Below is our “silent firework umbrella” from bonfire night. Not everyone likes the bang but the lights – maybe.


The problem with £land umbrellas is they scrunch up into themselves, I feel a beg, borrow and um.. scavenge approach is good, huge golfing umbrellas are great.

These from Amazon are good for planes etc so the sky can be seen behind.

Anyway you have seen my attempts here are some Flo and her colleagues have designed.

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  1. You actually make it appear really easy together with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually one thing which I believe I would by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and very broad for me. I’m taking a look forward in your next submit, I will try to get the dangle of it!

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