Quick Tip – Tracing letters and shapes made easy

Looking for a simple way to practice drawing basic shapes or printing letters?  Try writing it in highlighter for your child to trace.  They can see what they need to write or draw and you can see their pencil lines when they are done.

Tracing highlighter

Here’s one more highlighter tip…..use a highlighter to let students know that they have a simple correction to do.  If they reverse a letter or number or forget a capital somewhere, simply print over top of the error with highlighter.  When they go back to it, it is easy for them to see their simple mistake, erase and correct it.

Teaching Kinders to Hold Scissors Properly

If you are like most kindergarten teachers, the beginning of the school year brought you a handful of students who are still learning to hold and use scissors properly.  If you are looking for a strategy to help them remember how to hold those scissors, try using these six cues that our OT used with my students.  I have made them into a poster with visual cues that my students are able to read independently as a reminder to themselves and each other.  (No chicken wings means keep your elbows down).

One other little trick that I sometimes use for students who are having a hard time keeping their elbows down is I have them lie down on their stomach while cutting.  As they need their elbows to support themselves, they are forced to keep their elbows down and in turn, use their helper hand to steer.

What do you do in your class to help your students learn scissor skills?  If you have another trick or idea, please share it below.

Teaching kinders a proper pencil grasp in five simple steps

At the beginning of every kindergarten year, I have at least one child who fists their pencil.  Here is my favourite way, in 5 simple steps, to teach most children how to hold their pencil with a proper tripod grasp.

1.  Make an elastic pencil holder (as you can see, I made this one out of a black and a blue hair elastic, a big star bead and a small zip tie).

2.  Have the child slide their dominant hand through the black elastic.

3.  Have the child hold the bead with their middle, ring and pinky fingers.  This gives these fingers something to do and gets them out of the way.

4.  The thumb and pointer finger become “pinchers” to hold the pencil.  I find using a Start Right pencil grip, makes “pinching” easier at first and stops the thumb and pointer from wrapping too far around the pencil.

5.  For most pencil fisters (or students who use too many fingers to stabilize their pencil), the pencil will often lean forward when they try using only their thumb and pointer to hold it.  To fix this, simply thread the un-sharpened end of the pencil through the small loop you created in the black elastic.  The pencil will be tilted back and held in the web space between the thumb and pointer.

Do you have a different tried, tested and true way of teaching your students proper pencil grasp?  If so, I’d love to hear about it.