Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Family Corner - meals

The usefulness of utensils!

Getting together for a family meal is important in many ways. Not only has it been shown to be a factor in lowering teenage substance abuse, it is also a great time to practice hand skills. How, you say? Encourage your children to hold the spoon and fork appropriately. The grasp of a spoon or fork mimics the pencil grasp. Introduce cutting with a knife to practice two handed coordination. The more kids utilize good hand skills at the dinner table, the better they will be at holding a pencil and using other classroom tools. Dig in!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cool School Tool - water bottle weights


Weights are a great way to build hand and arm strength, but did you realize they also have a calming, organizing effect? Drink your water and then fill up the bottle with sand or kitty litter. Glue on the cap and you have 1 lb. weight. Use these weights to help a student transition to different areas in the school (especially helpful in keeping those waundering hands off walls and other people).

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cool School Tool - the tennis ball

Last month the Boston Globe printed an article on two "do-it-yourself" magazines, Make and Ready Made. These magazines are for people who look at everyday items and think, "How else can I use these objects?" They encourage reinvention and reuse - finding the strange but perfect beauty in everyday things. OTs as a group have embraced this concept in order to adapt items to meet their clients' needs. The next several posts will focus on common place objects that can be used a school tools.

The first featured item is the tennis ball. By now you have seen several classrooms with them on the bottoms of chair legs (not our original idea, but certainly admired by us). They allow the chairs to be pushed in with minimal effort and without a sound...a quiet classroom!

Another use is the hand puppet. Cut a slit for a mouth, draw a face and squeeze to open. Have the student store pennies or other manipulatives in them. At home, stick your child's lunch money in and give them a chance to build their hand strength daily.

Find someone who belongs to a tennis club and give them an empty bag to fill up. Tennis balls lose their bounce and they get thrown away.

The Family Corner - pencil skills

Would you like to improve your child's pencil skills in just minutes a day? Before starting homework, try a few Pencil Olympics (see School Function Quick Tip below). If you would like a handout, send a note to your teacher and we will send one home.

The School Function Quick Tip - pencil olympics

Pencil Olympics!

No need for fancy items to practice hand skills needed for writing. Use the common everyday pencil! Pencil Olympics are few quick exercises to do before a writing task with the whole class. They include skiing (walking up and down your pencil with your fingers), the flying camel (rotating the pencil in the air), and weight lifting (straightening and bending fingers as you hold the pencil). Are you curious to see the "triple flip" and the "balance beam"? Come by room 213 and get a handout from Lynda or Beth. We guarantee your students will write longer and more efficiently if you schedule this in your day.