Using Lacing Cards to Promote Fine Motor Skills

Good control of the hand/wrist muscles makes learning to write SO much easier. Kids who struggle with fine motor strength and/or stamina can find it very frustrating to hold their pencil correctly or be able to write and draw. 

When fine motor skills become strong,learners can focus on what they are doing and learning instead of struggling just to hold their pencil or think about being tired. 

There are many ways to have kids work on their fine motor skills, such as cutting, play-dough  painting, picking up small objects, etc. 

I have found that lacing cards are a  fun, engaging and painless route to increasing hand and finger strength, dexterity, and stamina . I have used them in small groups, centers, morning work, rotations and for early finishers. 

Just remember, the goal is not perfect sewing! The goal is fine motor work which is all about process not product. If cards get tangled, find a couple of able helpers to detangle!

The prep is not a lot, but it is prep, (I like to do my cutting and hole punching while I'm sitting on the couch at night!) I have included a note in each of my lacing card sets to send home with parent volunteers to prep for you! When my kids were little, I loved it when their teachers did this, since I was teaching and couldn't go and volunteer in their classrooms. It helps people feel invested and that they are contributing, even if not physically able to come to school.Plus, the kids are SO proud that their parents are helping out!

Here are some activities I have created to promote fine motor skills in fun & engaging ways!

Lacing mats are very calming as well! There is something about sewing that brings a peaceful feeling. Another fringe benefit to adding them to your centers, morning work, 

small groups, or early finishers tub!

Play-dough is another calming activity. So many fine finger muscles are used to form the

dough, rolling in different ways to get the desired shape is fine motor practice at it's finest!

Cutting activities are great for fine motor too, since building content into the activities is

easy and can be purposeful for practice. An example would be our Magazine Numbers
resource. Cutting out numerals to match to quantities builds fine motor skills while working
on number sense!

I hope your are inspired to intentionally add some fine motor building activities! Your kids will love them and they will make great gains in their hand and motor skills. They'll have so much fun they won't even know you're helping them work-out! :o)

Fall is my Favorite!

There's just something about fall... even here in Arizona where the leaves are NOT changing, it is NOT cooling off yet, but.... there's a subtle shift in the sun, it's getting dark much earlier... you can tell it's coming! Enough to make me want to burn a fallish candle and start breaking out the fall decor! I also love all of the fun fall things to do in the classroom!
I've compiled a bunch of ideas on one of my Pinterest boards! If you haven't followed Little Bird on Pinterest yet, go follow! I share new ideas every week!
The ideas below are from my board "October in the Classroom"board.

If you're ready for fall and need a little inspiration to get started, grab this Happy Halloween FREE printable to print and post up in your home or classroom! I hope you are enjoying fall so far!


Winter Close Reading for Little Learners & A Sweet Note

Yesterday I got the sweetest note from a teacher named Ann in New York. She was telling me about how much her kids love my close reads! That made my day! She said they love the "big words" and all of the animal facts...  I do too! I invest lots of time writing passages that are "worthy" with lots of juicy vocabulary, and double-meaning words. I want the passages to be truly interesting so that deep engagement with the text comes naturally and intrinsically! I am excited to write a note back to Ann's class with a fun surprise for them!

Even if you've never tried close reading in your classroom before, I think you'll find my resources fun and easy to teach! I include lots of directions and tips to support you, even if it's new for you!

Ann also told me how she loves the easy prep and even how she used the Polar Bear passage and annotation pages for her formal evaluation! So glad to hear it went great!! Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me, Ann!

One of the things I love best about doing close reading is how much it helps to grow writing skills. They LOVE annotating!! The passages give them something meaningful to write and report on. The forget about trying so hard and just do it! Soooo fun to watch! :o)