I used to be one of those teachers who thought it wasn't necessary for kids to practice coloring in school. Boy do I think differently now! I see some of my kids who scribble and use only one color, some who hold their crayon so tight and color so dark that I think the paper will rip, and some who color lightly, staying in the lines and changing to lots of colors. I see now that coloring helps their fine motor movements which works on pencil grip, paying attention to details, and showing more effort to do their best.
To help my class practice all of these skills we not only color, but we use many tools to help our hands develop and grow more able to do their best.
I asked my parents to donate playdough to our class and my kids love to use it. I think more parents aren't using it at home and that's why it's a big hit for them to use it at school.
We have letters that we can press the clay into and then pull out to show the way the letter is formed. We also got these cool letter templates to roll the playdough on and make the letter themselves. I picked them up from Teach With Laughter. You can grab them too. Just go to her blog and you'll see where to get them.
Another area that we practice in often is matching a number to a set of objects. Each child must count out enough objects to match that number. At this part of the year many students still don't recognize what the number says. With a lot of practice doing this I'm hoping it will help them make connections between numbers symbols and objects.
We use a variety of junk boxes to count.
You can get your own set of number cards by clicking here. I made a set for each person. Each set was a different color. So each table had 5 different colors. It made it easy to pick up and be sure that the cards were all in the right place. If you grab them, please let me know in the comment section. I love to hear what others think of my stuff so I know if I'm on the right track or not!
Lastly, this week I wanted to help those who are still not quite getting the hang of number sense. So I showed them how to lay down a certain number of Smarties. Then they lifted the last Smartie, colored in a circle inside the square and then placed the Smartie back on the plastic wrapper. (if they ate one Smartie, I said I would take away the whole pack . . . I know. . .I'm a meanie! But if they didn't eat any, when we were finished, they could eat the whole pack! So maybe I'm not so mean!)
They continued removing a Smartie and coloring where it had been until they reached back to the number on the left.
We started by doing almost half of the page together. Soon some kids said they understood how to do it and wanted to go on by themselves. I love this independence!
And finally, Yes, I did let them eat their Smarties once their page was done!