EASY TRICKS FOR EVERYDAY DIFFICULTIES IN THE CLASSROOM

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1 EASY TRICKS FOR EVERYDAY DIFFICULTIES IN THE CLASSROOM By Jaime Spencer, Occupational Therapist Levittown School District April 2014

2 SCISSORS SKILLS 1. The thumb is the bus driver, he sits by himself at the small window. The rest of the fingers are the children, they sit in the back at the big window. Thumbs up for good cutting The thumb should be up on BOTH hands. Many children have difficulty with this. The immature position is thumbs down. You may notice children doing this

3 ELBOWS IN! Children who hike their elbows for cutting are not using the right muscles. Give a verbal cue. If that doesn t work, try a block or ball in between the arm and the body. Another trick Sometimes kids need a visual cue to remember. Glue eyes that look at your child when they are holding them correctly. They will fall off eventually, but hopefully the child will have already developed the proper habit.

4 FIDGETY, FIDGETY! THERE ARE TWO MAIN REASONS A CHILD CONSTANTLY FIDGETS. 1. The desk or table is not properly sized Follow the rule Feet should be flat on the floor at a 90 angle Knees at a 90 angle Hips at a 90 angle

5 ELBOWS & FEET This desk is too big, encouraging the child to display poor posture. Notice how he appears tired. Switching the chair and lowering the desks is the easiest way to adjust. If that is not possible, try some telephone books or foam blocks that are available at every elementary school. The district vocational program made us wooden foot steps for our students who need extra support at their feet. They are available in every elementary school.

6 FIDGETY, FIDGETY! THERE ARE TWO MAIN REASONS A CHILD CONSTANTLY FIDGETS. 2. They simply can t help it Hyperactivity and/or Sensory Seeking Excessive need for movement, constantly sharpening their pencil or needing a drink Getting out of seat, dropping things so they can pick them up Chewing, sucking on pencils, shirt sleeve, etc. Fidgeting; fiddling, tapping pencil, kicking feet, ripping paper, breaking crayons

7 ARE THEY DISTRACTED OR DISTRACTING?

8 DISORGANIZATION! Personal Space; desk, cubby etc. Supply Box Try a box top as a pull out drawer it can stop fiddling and is easier to pull out and see what s lurking in the back. If the child is always knocking the supply box off the desk, try gluing some cabinet liner on the bottom. It helps limit the sliding.

9 PENCIL GRIP 1. The thumb is the dad. He drives the car, sitting up front in his seat. The mom (index finger) sits next to him. The rest of the fingers are the children, they sit in the back. The children are never allowed to sit in the front. The driver is never allowed to get out of his seat and sit on anyone else s lap! Proper Pencil Grip Incorrect

10 DEALING WITH GRIP ISSUES Slippery grips that slide down the pencils? Try using a tiny hair rubber band before and after the grip as a stopper. Fingers in the wrong spot? Try drawing a face on the pencil. The thumb and the index finger need to sit on the Eyes INCORRECT! Remember the trick from the last slide? The thumb (driver) is not allowed to sit on the other grown up!

11 GRIP TRICKS FOR CRAYONS AND MARKERS Crayons and markers have a bold stripe in the front. This is the front seat. The thumb and the index finger always sit in the front; they are the grownups. The other fingers are the kids; they never sit in the front seat. Using two small stickers or one sticker cut into two pieces is a good visual cue for where fingers need to sit.

12 SPACING Use a visual cue to help with spacing. Children love to place stickers or pennies after each word as they write. It also reminds them to leave enough space! Once they develop the habit, you can phase it out. For those few students who still have trouble, give them a popsicle stick with a sticker on it to use as a spacer.

13 SIZING & PLACEMENT Try narrow lined paper. Try raised line paper. Try graph paper to emphasize tall, small, and falling letters. Try boxes for individual words. Try wiki sticks and/or bendaroos to emphasize the bottom line. Try highlighting margins with a bright red marker. Try offering a different writing position to increase motor control.

14 COPYING Try writing each line in a different color. This helps with tracking left to right. Try a vertical stand or an easel for children who have difficulty copying far point. To add a challenge for older kids, type your lessons in a variety of fonts. Children need to recognize that an a is an a and an a is also an a! Teach chunking when working one to one or in a small group.

15 APRIL IS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AWARENESS MONTH! Please tell someone what you have learned!

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