Saturday, February 20, 2016

Five For Friday on Saturday!

Why did this four day week seem soooooo looonnnng? It wasn't bad. In fact, it was a lot of fun! It just seemed to be a bit draggy! Maybe it is the mid-winter if the ground hog saw his shadow why isn't it spring yet blues! As long as it is too cold to head outside, I'll link up with Doodle Bug Teaching for a little Five for Friday fun.

Did I tell you I'm having a Give Away? Consider yourself told! You can find out more about it HERE!

Wondering what to do with old calendar pictures? You know they are two beautiful to throw away, but what can you do with them to turn them into a learning tool? I've recently started to cut mine into strips to help students practice skip counting and putting words into ABC order. They have been a big hit in my room. I have so many bird calendars that I'm having them do double duty...My kiddos are learning the names of some amazing birds, and what birds aren't amazing?

Chinese New Year is coming to a close. My Owlets and I loved celebrating it's coming in and we'll celebrate its going out with a festival of lanterns. A friend of mine lived and taught n China for five years. She visited and brought many beautiful items that delighted and thrilled us. We loved dancing around with dragons over our heads. Of course we came up with a long list of words that begin like dragon and used them to decorate our own dragons.

I found the template for the head and tail HERE! You'll find a plethora of pretty cool ideas at that site to explore!
Long noodles for a long life, anyone?

Do your students like or love Mo Willems? Mine happen to love everything about the guy. So when I stumbled across Diva and Flea on a Friday night, I couldn't wait until Monday to start reading it. It is perfect for every reader in your classroom. Even if the reader happens to be seventeen years old. Ah... The joys of having my own personal chauffeur! After buying said book, my chauffeur drove me home while I happily practiced my read aloud skills. She was, my daughter who also happens to be my driver, laughing and so engaged, I almost had to stop reading. The friendship between two unlikely characters, who are really quite a bit alike, will find their way into the hearts of your youngest reader. I've already gifted this books several times. Oh, Mo...You've done it again!

I wish I had loved numbers as a first or second grader. It may have helped my math curse as I had grown older. I do a good job of hiding my disdain for math. It's probably because I've changed my thinking about math. I've changed my mindset and have come to fully love math and numbers. I've been helped tremendously by Bedtime Math. If you don't know about this website you must click HERE to check it out. I frequently read the daily Math Problem of the Day to my Owlets. The story and three questions take only five minutes at the most and are easily incorporated into a Morning Meeting.  I love the videos and ask to watch them over and over again. My kiddos love them too so they put up with my watching them again and again. Please, Bedtime Math folks, more videos, please!!
Look! They have a section just for us!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pencil Grips and a Give Away!

What is squishy, * "feels like a booger without being slimy" * and comes in some pretty cool colors?  If you guessed a pencil grip you may win a set of your own! When asked by The Pencil Grip Inc. to review their pencil grips, I had just been given two of these same grips by our occupational therapist. She has been at her job for a long time and I feel she is one of the best in the business. She gave them to me saying she had tried many over the years but these are by far the best...So would I be willing to review them? Yes, please!    *Directly quoted from a first grader!*

Look at that concentration! 

I had an eager batch of students ready to try them. Their excitement did wear off when they realized that they would not be able to hold their pencils the wrong way. Over the years I've noticed more and more students struggling with correct pencil grip. I can only guess that it could be that children are asked to do more and more writing at an earlier age than they once were. Perhaps their fingers are not developmentally ready for such small motor skill tasks causing them to form pencil holding habits that are quite difficult to break. I can see that these pencil grips may be a great tool to helping break some of these bad habits.

I would recommend several practices when implementing them into your handwriting instruction. Make sure they are placed low on the pencil. Keep your initial times using the grips short and keep it fun. Sit with your students and show them the right way to grip the grip! I used pens to introduce them making it even more fun! Monitor their grip as they begin using them. The grips won't do what we want them to do if they are not used properly. Our goal of course is to get students to be able to grip the pencil correctly and not fatigue too quickly. I would highly recommend these grips and found them to be an effective tool in handwriting instruction.

 Which grip is right for you?  From the left is the  Crossover Grip  provides support while keeping fingers from crossing over each other. The middle Pinch Grip is possibly my favorite for my students. It guides fingers to the right position without being too rigid.  The far right is The Pencil Grip that worked great for my over grippers! I liked using this one the best myself. I was able to hold the pencil comfortably and had good control all while feeling that my pencil was riding on a pillow!!
And look at all the cool colors...
 The most amazing part is you could win a set of  the three grip training kit for yourself. I'm able to give away three kits. I hope you are one of the lucky winners! To enter, just comment below. Please leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you are a winner.
Can't wait to get some of your own? You can buy your own right HERE!  Winners have been notified!