Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pre-writing is FUN! Week #4

Hi Everyone, and welcome back after a much needed February vacation!

Wooden Pieces

This week in the Apple Room, Pre-writing is FUN! continued working on a lot of vocabulary around the wooden pieces used to make letters and Mat Man™(see previous posts).  This includes: Big Line, Little Line, Big Curve, Little Curve. Ask your kids to tell you how to make the first letter in their name, and I guarantee you will hear this vocabulary! 

Backing it up a bit……Starting this morning, the kids were wiggly, talkative and were having a hard time listening. Granted, they are 4 and 5 years old, but what I have seen in regards to attention and motivation to learn has been amazing, and it was clear they simply needed to MOVE! It's been a long winter here in Vermont, and I think the frigidly cold weather has gotten to everyone - cabin fever! So, we stood up and did some marching, pretending we had weights on our feet, performed cross crawls, slow and with purpose, and then lined up for some wall push-ups, prior to reconvening in a circle on the carpet. Upon sitting back down after those simple movement activities (incorporating some cross brain activity and heavy work) I now had new class working with me! 

They were now ready for our pass the putty activity, which we have done since week one. This week I passed around green putty, which is more resistive than the tan passed around in previous weeks. All I had to do today was hand the putty to one of the students and he immediately started talking about going skiing on Saturday. He did this without any cues from us. Repetition and routine are so beneficial with the pre-school age and incorporating a sensory motor tool gives them a nice connection as well. Children learn through their senses, beginning in infancy, and this has been the basis of Pre-writing is FUN! in the Apple Room and is the base of Get Set for School® from Handwriting Without Tears®. Learning through play and sensory motor activities helps the learning "stick" and meets children at their developmental level.

While passing the green putty around and listening to their peers. I also handed out some other sensory tools. The kids loved squishing and squeezing tan putty while listening to their friends plans (they needed cues that the person with the green putty was the one talking about their weekend!) and also enjoyed trying out a weighted lap pad. It was really amazing how these 2 modalities calmed some nervousness, "fidgetiness" and talking out in a matter of minutes.

The kids were now ready for our songs. We sang Where do you Start Your Letters? to start, which I mentioned in Week #3 post. This song reminds the students that all letters start at the top, it teaches a top down approach and also helps to encourage some body awareness, as they learn about top, middle, and bottom. When you are done reading this post, get out a pen. Now, make 5 lines top to bottom and then 5 lines bottom to top, as fast as you can. Which were more efficient and neater? The top to bottom lines, right? Getting children in this habit young will provide benefits for years, even when carrying over to learning cursive writing. The Apple Kids already get it, you don't start at the bottom :)

Next, I introduced a new song; Tap, Tap, Tap! We focused on holding 2 big lines while following the directions to the song. During Tap, Tap, Tap, the kids consistently sing about the "big lines" they are holding while motor planning directions. They need to have body awareness when touching big lines to their toes and their nose, muscle control and proprioceptive awareness tapping loudly and then softly, and good auditory processing to follow directions. They were amazing!!

I then held up each of the 4 various wooden pieces singing and then having the kids repeat. There's that repetition again!
Michelle: "I'm holding a big line" …..little line, big curve, little curve
Apple Kids: "I'm holding a big line"
Michelle: "In my hands"
Apple Kids: "In my hands"

Lastly, we went around the circle and each child told me exactly how to make the first letters in their name using the Handwriting Without Tears® vocabulary. They visualized the letter in their mind and then explained where to start (the top ;) followed by what wooden pieces to use, phenomenal! I can't wait for Week #5! Please don't hesitate to contact me if you are thinking about ordering any materials for home.

Click here to order the cd from Handwriting Without Tears® 

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