Posts Tagged 'writing'

Handwriting Worksheets: Beware! #2

MP900309049
<When writing on unlined paper with his eyes closed, the second grade student's letters are 3/4 inch high.  The space on the worksheet is unlined and allows for 1/4 inch high letters.

Problem:  When a child writes letters with their eyes closed either for fun or for professional observation, the height of the letters produced can represent the “comfort level” of his finger movements.  If the height of the letters are 3/4 inch, this is more appropriate for a kindergarden student than for a second grade student.  As he must tighten down his fingers to place the letter in the worksheet’s smaller space, hand fatigue and decreased writing speed can result.

Solution: Copy the worksheet allowing for larger spaces or allow the writing on an extra page.  If ask to write on the back of the worksheet, two problems appear: 1. usually there are no lines on the back.  We all write better with lines. 2. Flipping the worksheet from front to back and then back to the front can be very distracting as well as taxing on the child’s memory as he attempts to remember the question and answer, flip the sheet and then write.

To help with improving the size of his writing, a program such as “Callirobics” (www.callirobics.com) may be helpful.  Also it would be important to look at his pencil grip which may be a cause (though not only) of the larger writing.

Handwriting Worksheets: Beware!

MP900049596Handwriting worksheets vary according to the writing program that is being used.  Let’s look at the first of several worksheet “glitches” and how to fix them:

1. A worksheet has four lines for practicing a single letter..  A “model” letter to be traced is at the beginning of the first line but is not repeated at all.  Dots are placed for each letter on the lines.

Problem:  The child will trace the model letter and hopefully make the first independent letter correctly.  The second independent letter is modeled after the first independent letter.  The third independent letter is formed according to the second independent letter not the model. As the child loses focus on the model letter especially on the fourth line, the letter will more than likely be formed incorrectly.

Solution:  Place a model letter at the beginning of EACH line as well as in the MIDDLE of each line.  Make sure the model letter is traced correctly!  Once the letter formation is in the tactile (touch) and proprioceptive (body movement) systems, it’s almost impossible to change!

Note: This pencil grip is highly inefficient!  But that’s another blog!:)

Puzzles, Parquetry and Writing: Math Modifications

For children with visual perceptual issues, math may be challenging!  Here are some suggestions:

Number charts: When using a number chart, many children with visual
perceptual weaknesses cannot distinguish individual numbers.  Adapt the chart by placing a space in between each line or row of numbers.

Lining up numbers: Many children have difficulty lining up rows of numbers as they solve math problems. Try graph paper or turn a piece of notebook paper sideways to create vertical columns. Graph paper may help with spacing but be aware that a student may be overwhelmed by the multiple lines.

Math Signs: Highlight math signs if they change on a math worksheet. If the problems switch from addition to subtraction, have the student first highlight all the addition problems and work these first.

Worksheets: Block out portions of the worksheet by using an index card or ruler or by folding the paper in half. This will help with “too much on the page”.

Visual horizontal tracking problem: If this exists, many children prefer to work their math worksheets from top to bottom (1, 11, 21, etc.) rather than side to side (horizontally 1
to 10).  Make the child’s teacher aware of the tracking issue so he is not penalized for “jumping around the page” or not following instructions.

Puzzles and Writing: Is There a Connection?

For older children, puzzles with multiple interlocking pieces offer more advanced
concepts.

  • Spatial concept of “corner”: As the child puts sides pieces together with top or bottom
    pieces, this concept is learned. Interesting we don’t use the word “corner”
    much anymore in our conversations!
  • Attention to details: “Part to whole”: Details/ parts can come together to make a picture.
  • Visual memory: This is encouraged as the child looks at the picture on  the box,
    remembers a part of it, and goes to find pieces.
  • Figure Ground: The child is able to find one piece among many pieces.

Interlocking
multi piece puzzles

Writing

 Concepts of corners  Names are written in the left upper corner of the paper
 Attention to details on the pieces  Attention to details that make a “b” turn into a “d”
 Visual  memory  Ability to picture and remember the “looks” of a letter (Writing of a
letter comes through motor memory.)
 Figure Ground  Ability to sort out words from a busy blackboard or a letter from the
middle of a word; ability to write on a line without being distracted by the
line (letter will be flat on the bottom if distracted by the line).

Puzzles and Writing: Is There a Connection?

Puzzles and writing? What could be the connection?!

We just explored how concepts are developed with block play.  A child learns to make a square out of blocks before they are able to draw one from memory.  Puzzles offer many opportunities to develop concepts of space just like blocks do (vertical, horizontal, diagonal, around, over etc.).  There are two types of puzzles we will consider:  the inset puzzle and the multiple piece
interlocking puzzles that make a picture.

For younger children the inset puzzle introduces:

  • Visual discrimination: shapes of objects and  matching spaces. A shape and space can be the same or they can be different.
  • Visualizing as they move a piece to place in the hole: A shape can be turned to make it fit into a like space. However, they also learn that a circular piece will never fit into a square hole even if you  turn it.
  • Size and color discrimination:  A large piece will not fit in a small area!  The color of an object may or may not determine where it should be placed in a puzzle.
  • Many other concepts: can you think of some?

Our next blog we will look at the more complex interlocking puzzles and what a child can learn from them!!!


Handwriting Questions

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