Mrs. Raimo's 1st Grade Intervention Group
Please reference this tab weekly, as I will update you on the activity your children engaged in during the Friday afternoon Intervention Group. This is a 6 week session.
First, here is a little language you can use to carry over and reinforce the use of a tripod grasp. I get this language from the Handwriting Without Tears Program. When you hold a pencil or crayon, we bend our thumb, our pointer points to the tip, tall man sits to the side and the last 2 fingers are tucked in for a ride. You can use something as simple as a bean, bead, or a small pompom to help your child keep those "last two fingers tucked in for a ride". Simply place the small item at the base of the ring finger and pinky and then ask your child to hold the item there (by tucking their fingers in) while coloring or doing handwriting practice. To start, just have you child do this for short periods of time, as it can be difficult. This activity and pompoms/beads have been used in all 1st Grade classrooms this year, so it is familiar to your child.
Here is a picture of at tripod grasp with an open web space between index finger and thumb.
Week 1 (December 6th 2013):
We used nuts and bolts to work on isolating the movements in the 3 fingers we use to hold our pencils. We held pompoms (as described above) while completing this task. Each child had 4 nuts and 4 bolts that had to be assembled and then taken apart. I did just see a post on pinterest that involves creating words with nuts and bolts. You can write letters on the nuts and then have your child put a few nuts onto the bolt, placing the bolts in order to spell a word.
Week 2 (December 6, 2013)
We are in our second week of the fine motor intervention group. Today we worked on hand and finger strengthening with Silly Putty. We first kept the Silly Putty in one side of the red egg and used a toothpick (while holding it like a pencil....and with the pompom) to poke 20 small holes. We then took the Silly Putty out, rolled it into a ball, a snake, and then used those 3 important fingers to pinch along the top of the snake. Finally, we squished the Silly Putty into a pancake and used the toothpick to scratch letters and words into the putty. I am sure you all remember that fun trick with newspaper comic strips and Silly Putty. You could have your child make the imprint and then use the toothpick to trace parts or all of the picture or press holes along the outline of part of the picture.
Week 3 (January 10th)
First, I want to apologize for posting this so late. During our last fine motor group, we worked on isolating finger movements and in-hand manipulation. We used dried beans to do this by "squirrelling" them. I had the students pick up the beans one at a time until they had 2-3 beans in their hand. Each time they picked up a bean with their thumb and index finger, they were asked to move the bean under their ring finger and pinky (by only using the thumb to do this). Once 2-3 beans were "squirreled away", the students were asked to then use their thumbs to push the beans to the tips of their thumb, index, and tall man before placing the beans in the small hole on the lid of the container shown. Following this exercise, we also used shortened colored pencils to color in small spaces to promote the movement of their fingers when coloring/writing, rather than depend on the movements of their entire hand. Using shorter utensils such as golf pencils and Pip Squeak markers (by Crayola) can be easier for little hands to control.
Encourage your child to use their thumb as the "bulldozer" to push the beans to the tips of the index finger and thumb.
Use index finger, thumb, and tall man to place the beans through a small hole punched in the lid of the container.
Also, Save the date! I will be presenting at the Principal's Chat on Tuesday, February 11th at 9:00AM. This will be a good opportunity for you to see and try additional strategies I use to facilitate fine motor development.
Week 4 (January 24)
During our fine motor group today, we started with some yoga poses that involve weight bearing on the upper extremities. All of us need strong and stable shoulders in order to maintain distal control. Some poses included cat, cow, downward dog, and plank. I used the flashcards from The ABC's of Yoga. We also used the large dice (i.e. from curriculum night)to determine how long we were to hold the poses. We added the 2 digits from the pair of dice to get a sum. This was the amount of seconds we held the pose. After our warm ups, we used small clothes pins to pick up pompoms, while holding a small bead under the ring finger and pinky. We were working on increasing finger strength and isolation. We also used the dice to involve math. All children had 10 pompoms and then I rolled 1 die. We subtracted the number rolled from 10 (while using the clips to transfer the corresponding number of pompoms) in order to come up with the answer. For example, I rolled a 6. The students then used the clothes pins to transfer 6 pompoms back into the container. The number sentence would then be 10-6 = 4. We finished with some coloring in small areas and I distributed pencil grips to students that would benefit from them. I will be sending some grips home with instructions in the next week.
Place the bead at the base of the ring finger and pinky.
Tuck the ring finger and pinky to hold the bead in.
Use the tips of thumb, pointer, and "tall man" to open and close the clothes pins.
Week 5 (February 7)
Greetings! We missed last week due to the All School Meeting. We have one more session of the intervention group scheduled for next Friday, February 14th. We started this week with yoga poses again, focusing on proximal stability. We then used modelling clay. This is a great resistive material to help strengthen little fingers. We used 2 different colors to create a new color. We twisted the 2 pieces of clay together (using the 3 important fingers for pencil use) for 2.5 minutes (while listening to Chubby Checker's The Twist). It was great fun....and a great workout. Since it is the official first day of the Winter Olympics, we finished up with some Pencil Olympics. Each child was asked to hold their pencils as if they were ready to write. They "walked" their fingers up to the eraser (with just one hand) and then back to the pencil point. They also turned the pencil (like a baton), in addition to doing pencil "push ups". This involves bending and straightening the thumb, pointer, and "tall man" while holding the pencil. All three of these exercises address fine motor dexterity and isolation of finger movements necessary for writing.
I also sent home StetroGrips and instructions in your child's backpack or take home folder. Please encourage your child to use this during writing tasks. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Please try to join us for the Principal's Chat next Tuesday, February 11th at 9:00. I hope t see you there.
Week 6 (February 14)
For our final session of this 6-week intervention group we continued with some weight bearing activities and crab walked around the room for beanbags. You can have your child do this at home if you have beanbags or even puzzle pieces. This adds an extra step to completing a puzzle. If you have the beanbags with letters on them, you can have your child gather the beanbags to spell words (i.e. spelling words). After the crab walking, we completed a picture hunt. This required both visual perceptual skills and precise finger movements in order to color specific areas.
I will be screening students next week to see if continued intervention would be appropriate. Thanks for allowing your children to participate in this group with me!