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Teaching The Children To Write!


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Quite a large number of my reception children have very poor pencil control - any great ideas on how to teach them this. I have been doing the pencil control activities today with the wiggly lines etc. Also writing their name sin yellow for them to write over - any other wonderful suggestions. I am an NQT needing some inspiration.

Chris

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Pegs on a basket. I get children to put wooden clothes pegs round a basket using just their thumb and forefinger to open the pegs. It helps to strengthen their writing finger muscles. They usually do this in pairs with a sandtimer and see who can place the most pegs using just one hand before the timer runs out. Simple but effective. It sounds a bit dull but the children really enjoy it and there tends to be a queue for this activity. Also general colouring, painting and using any 'mark making' implement helps. A lot of children come in to school with poor pencil control because the foundation stage is now all about play based activities rather than sitting down doing worksheet kind of activities where a pencil is used. I would have thought as an NQT you would have had lots of inspiration and instruction from college about how to teach children the basics such as pencil control etc. But then again I'm out of touch with TT these days.

 

mousebat

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Maybe they have to go back to basic activities that most of use in Pre-school i.e. writing name in different mediums with finger or brush. I always have lots of activities to encourage both large motor skills and fine motor skills like small beads. The rest seems to come naturally after that. I have just taken over another pre-school and combined it with mine and these children are a lot different to ours. When I visited before I combined I noticed there was no activities for large motor skills at all and nothing to encourage using the pincer movement so I have to start at the very beginning with these rising 5's. I have now realized how beneficial working within the learning goals is to a child.

In the past I have used a pencil grip to help a child control a pencil.

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Taking a pinch of dry sand and trailing it is good for pencil grip. Or glitter, anything really where the children have to take a pinch and let it fall gently.

Linda

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Hi

 

If you draw a pattern similar to a motor racing track all bendy etc using two pens so that the lines are parallel and mark a start and finish line, I have found my little ones like trying to draw all the way round the circuit without going on or over the lines.

 

Quite easy to produce with 2 felt tips, a piece of paper the the patience to stand at the photocopier.

 

Sue

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There are some really good ideas here. The trouble lies in the fact that lots of kids just aren't as physically active as they used to be and aren't developing their gross motor skills, which they need to have before they can develop their fine motor skills. This is a particular problem in Scotland with obesity in children becoming a real issue. :o

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What child needs scenery when you can have TV and computer games. xD Not to mention all the fried food. My daughters boyfriend never eats fruit and hardly any vegetables. He thinks we're some sort of crazy 'eco warrier' family! :o

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Hiya Carol!

My son is the same, but has NEVER eaten them, even as a baby being weaned! :o At least he's consistently been a pain! Never eats fried food either - come to think of it, how has he managed to grow up at all, never mind to the size he has??? (height, not girth!! xD )

 

Sue :D

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Hi Kate,

 

You mentioned 'Theapeutic putty which is really elastic playdough' - did you make this or did you buy it from somewhere it sounds very interesting

 

Ladybug :D

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I love the pegs idea so i am doing that this week. Amazing coincidence but my mum (90) gave me 3 packets of pegs yesterday which she bought from lakeland plastis. they are very well made, don't mark things and look indestructable ..so i'll see how they go down with my kiddies!

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We use pegs alot in pre school and it is always popular. Can be made a little more exciting by using a range of coloured pegs - we use for colour recognition and fine motor control. We have some that are quite easy to open and some "stronger" ones for more able children. One of the cheapest resources I know!!

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I have on my wall at nursery a quote from one of the "Little Book" series (Mark Making I think!!) about how children need to develop gross motor skills before they can be expected to control a pencil. When I go in tomorrow I will copy it down (although I printed it from my laptop, I did not save it and I have lent the book to my sister,who is overhauling the mark making area in her class!!)

I put it up in our mark making area to let parents see that pencil control is not a simple thing, but uses lots of other muscles shich need to be refined too!!

In having gone to college our tutor told us that until a child shoulder muscles are sufficiently developed there is no point in using "tracing" sheets or anything else.

 

I hope that this info is useful to someone, whilst in the PS department of the nursery I threw away all "writing" tracing, follow the line etc, worksheets, and instead introduced lots of exciting mark making activities, both in the mark making area and indeed throughout the department generally.

 

 

Jan

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iomcc would love a copy of that if you could put up a link or email xD

and bubblejack you mention you've lots of ideas could you pop some on the board pretty please with sugar on the top :o

 

We use good old shaving foam on the table and a great balst of Holtz'The Planets' (or other similar stirring stuff) to encourage some gross motor movements

 

HAve you heard of Write Dance' I'm sure its been mentioned on the forum before. It teaches writing using physical movements through dance (Ithink you can get it at www.luckyduck.co.uk (go to shop and 'writing')

liza

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Will post the info tomorrow.

I am currently struggling to make the staff utilise the mark making area properly, They see the need for pencils (coloured, probably blunt and a sheet of paper) but thats it!!!!!!!

I have spoken to many people and done lots of reading and I am struggling (especially since promotion and my removal from planning meetings) to extol the benefits of a properly resourced mark making area (this is another page I read in the Little Book Serires) NO SCISSORS - they might cut hair, NO STAPLER - they may staple their fingers, ONLY SHEETS OF A4 WHITE PAPER - where is the fun in that?????????. CHALK BOARDS - the children get dirty!!!!! PENS - who ever heard of a child using any sort of pen!!!!!!

Little moan coming, since promotion my role of senior staff is to WASH JUICE CUPS, AND STAY IN THE KITCHEN. NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN PLANNING AND TO ANSWER THE PAYPHONE!!!!!!!

 

I do it with a smile on my face though

 

Jan

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Hi Ladybug

 

The putty is bought from Nottingham rehab ( a catalogue) and comes in various different strengths; very soft, soft, medium and hard. Each strength is a different colour. Yellow and green are the ones that we use at school. If anyone's interested and technology and ability willing, I can post some of the exercises using it on the site. Beware though, you cannot do them with ordinary plydough as it breaks. The elasticity means that the children really have to use their muscles .

 

It's great. Try it :D

 

Kate

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Sorry it's taken so long - I have tried a couple of times but my post has never arrived (I know I must be doing something really wrong) I have had another look and think I might be doing it right this time........... here goes

 

Developing Skills.

 

In order to become confident, competent writers, children need to have control over the muscles in their hands, bodies and eyes.

They develop this control in many ways.

Some ways to aid development are:

 

They need time and space outside every day to stretch, run, jump, balance, pedal, swing and climb in freedom.

 

Working with dough, clay and other malleable materials develops strength and muscle control in their hands.

 

They need group activities to develop knowledge of writing – writing in the air, on each other’s backs or in sand, paint and gloop.

 

They need music and dance to develop rhythm and flow in their movements.

 

Chopping, pouring, mixing, spreading in cooking all give pleasurable practice in fine motor skills.

 

They need to build, construct, cut, stick, and mould.

 

Drawing, painting, making marks and symbols help them to understand the meaning that can be attributed to their marks.

 

Finger games, songs, ring games, small world play, construction puzzles all help with hand control.

 

Writing in role can bring meaning to a symbolic activity.

 

 

 

Hope it is useful to someone.

 

 

 

Jan

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Thanks Kate - I will look into it!

 

I'm not sure whether anyone has mentioned this yet but has anyone heard of writedance? It's produced by Lucky Duck and aims to develop gross motor skills for writing.

 

I have also recently read a book by Gunther Kress titled 'Before Writing: Rethinking the pathways to Literacy' (I think!) which also has some interesting opinions about this topic!

 

I believe that first and formost children need to understand that print carries meaning and that when they write they are empowered to communicate in a different way to speaking!

 

As pracitioners we constantly need to be making links between the little pieces e.g. learning the letter formation and sound of 's' to 'I want to make a sign for my role play / book / poster / label that has an 's' sound in the word.

 

Ladybug :D

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'Write Dance' is an excellent resource for developing both gross and fine motor skills, with the added benefit of working with music.

LDA also produce a scheme called 'Write from the Start' which has been produced to develop fine-motor and perceptual skills. It works very well for children in Reception and older children who have poor pencil control.

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Thanks for those words of encouragement. To know that I am "doing" things right reassures me no end.

I have lots of other stuff regarding what might happen, may be seen, and the benefits of a mark making area and mark making activities that I am in the process of typing up to distribute to both staff and parents. It includes things like "you may see staff "writing" dicatation given by children in either picture or word form." or children "writing for a purpose" (marks on a shopping list, plans for a construction) you all know the stuff.

It also lists the equipment necessary to stock a good mark making area, this I struggle with at work because "children don't know how to use hole punch, ruler or a sellotape dispenser do they, what a waste!!!!"

 

I can post it to the forum, or send to individuals, whichever is easiest.

 

Jambo

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