Friday, January 22, 2016

Punch, Snip, Cut...

Fine Motor Skills
Last week we focused on fine motor skills using paper punch tools and scissors.  Did you know that the opening and closing motion of cutting with scissors helps children develop the small muscles in their hands otherwise known as fine motor skills? These muscles are crucial for holding a pencil or crayons and gripping and manipulating objects.  Cutting also helps develop eye-hand coordination as children hold the paper with one hand and cut with the other while tracking the movement of the scissors with their eyes.  
I found this helpful poem to chant with students while cutting.  I also use the words, "Open, shut, open, shut" as they hold scissors to reinforce the motions of the hand while cutting.  Another tip I find useful is putting a little piece of tape on the thumb side of scissors or drawing a smiley face on the thumb.  That way I can remind and encourage students to keep the tape side on top or look for the smiley face on top.  This helps them correct their grip if they have rotated the thumb down.  
I posted everyone's self-portrait on the bulletin board and the class really enjoyed looking at them, finding their own, and guessing who drew each one.  
Flannel Boards
Preschoolers love using flannel board pieces to create scenes and tell stories.  We had four different themed flannel board options last week; under the sea, safari, dinosaurs, and The Three Little Pigs.  If your child has a favorite story you might consider making your own flannel board at home, or check Michaels craft store for a flannel board set (that's where I purchased these.)  
A buzzword in the early childhood education field right now is STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.  Our set of ramps, cylinders, and balls provides students with exploration of those concepts.  
Our set of ramps is from Kodo Kids. ( They list concepts and topics common to work with ramps:
Physical Science: Force, Momentum, Trajectory, Cause and Effect
Data and Analysis: Prediction, Probability, Hypothesis, Test, Result
Engineering: Design, Structure, Foundation, Stability, Mapping/Planning, Slope, Chain Reaction
Number and Operations: Quantity, Quantitative Relationships  (more, less, etc.)
Geometry: Shape, Spatial Relationships (higher, lower, near, etc.)
Direction, Angle, Pitch, Course
Measurement and Patterning: Speed, Distance, Height, Length, Order

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