Spiders & Handwriting!

Whew! What a day! It seems like today was a catch-all day for everything - 1/2 hour in the library, 1/2 hour in the computer lab,  a 45 minute lesson from the counselor, picture retakes and about a dozen interruptions due to students moving in or moving out. I felt like we  had very little time to actually DO anything!

One thing we did manage to get around to was to start our Spider KWL chart from my Colorful Spiders unit. Have you seen the super cute KWL charts floating around Pinterest? I always wondered how teachers managed to created these charts and I've discovered the secret!

Here's how I do my KWL in class:

Yep, I just write it on the SmartBoard, sloppy handwriting, abbreviations, funky slant and all! This way I can keep up with all of the ideas popcorning from my kiddos. Once we have it all down, I go home and enlist the talents of the artistically inclined members of my family (I am definitely challenged in that respect) to create something along the lines of this:

Much cuter isn't it? And now we can keep it on display and eventually add the "L" part once we finish up our Spiders unit!
We also managed to fit in a little bit of work station rotations:
Play dough stations - word families and spelling words.
Stamping stations - stamping words with digraphs.

Hot Dot station - love that I have cards that range from "reading readiness" to "blends/digraphs" to "vowel dipthongs" so I can just switch out the cards for each group!

I was chatting with a friend on FB earlier about activities to help develop fine motor skills for handwriting. After discussing the merits of torn paper crafts, hole punches, playdough, beads and small golf pencils, I threw out "monkey bars". She had never heard of monkey bars helping with handwriting and so I thought maybe some of you haven't either. This is one of my first suggestions to parents for things they need to try at home to help improve handwriting. Often time I'm asked for worksheets for the children to trace, but I usually won't send any of those home because I find that children will learn to form letters incorrectly if they are just tracing them without actual  instruction. So instead I give parents this advice: "Let them rip up your junk mail into small pieces, buy them some play dough, and make them PLAY ON THE MONKEY BARS!" 

Here is a great blog article on the benefits of monkey bars. I love how he describes the necessary development of the muscles involved in writing!check it out...then when you decide you absolutely must have an extra 10 minutes of recess for your own sanity you can use the excuse that you are "improving their handwriting"!

I am off to snuggle up with a warm blankie and lots of lamination! Have a great night!

3 Rustle Up A Response!:

Kelly said... Reply to comment

I love the KWL chart your family helped you with, it looks fantastic! I'll have to remember that about the monkey bars, my whole class may need some fine motor development! hehe I also like the idea of having them tear up the junk mail...kills two birds with one stone.

Kelly @ I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

Greg Smedley said... Reply to comment

I make my kids do the monkey bars at least once during recess every day! Did you know that laying on their stomach and writing also build muscles needed for handwriting!

I had never thought to do Kwl charts on the smart board! How did the family do the writing?? LOVE IT!


Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten

Jennifer K. said... Reply to comment

@Greg Smedley

Hey Greg - I actually did the writing - it's a Gold Sharpie for the letters and then the Silver Sharpie for the spider webs and dotted lines. The metallic Sharpies show up really nicely on black, plus I used my Staples ink cartridge refund check to buy them :)

Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

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