Saturday, October 23, 2010

Salt Box for Early Penmanship

**  I have been having problems since Thursday, trying to upload photos with blogger.  Sorry.  Photos may be added later...***

When I started actually working on "school" work with the kids this year,
I was surprised to see how Gillian was struggling with her pencil. 
I got her a cool grippy finger positioner.
And, I thought tracing letters would be with her pencil would be no problem.

Even though she is a super smart kid (she is, really, I am not bias),
writing isn't something that just "came naturally".
I was too optimistic.
(Or maybe I was too lazy - thinking I wouldn't have to actually teach!)

I realized I needed to stop & do a rewind. 
So, we made a salt box.

In saying I "made" a salt box,
all that means is I bought a document box at Walmart for $5
& 3 canisters of $0.38 table salt.
I poured the salt in the box.
Done.  Made.

Check out these Montessori links on early penmanship.
Here a teacher talks about sandpaper letter tracing & a sand box.
(I think the sand box & salt box idea are pretty much the same thing.)
Here's a word to teachers on dealing with struggling penmanship.
There are ideas to help train fine muscle control & teach early letter formation.

The salt box has been fun.  I think it is making a difference.
Plus, Gillian loves salt.  So, she likes to lick her fingers afterward.

Something I am still trying to figure out for her is her "handedness".
She has always used both hands interchangeably.
We are watching & asking her how it feels,
after she uses her right & her left.
We're not sure yet, but we think she leans towards the left.


Stef said...

Ethan was the same way, Erin! He would avoid writing and just stick with work he could do in his head and that's when I caught on to it.
We started using Handwriting Without Tears and he LOVES it! I've seen great improvement in his writing...
and mine :)

Brittany Martin said...

After 4 years now of teaching preschool, there seems to be a time around age 4-5 where handwriting "clicks" for kids. I have them start with tracing letters, and then move on to their names and the date. Usually they need pencil-holding help until they're at least 4, but tracing practice (especially the repeated movements, like doing one letter 10 times) really seems to help.

Charlotte said...

What a great idea! Using a document box...why couldn't I think of that? Thanks, Erin!

Charlotte said...

Erin, I had a question about the salt you leave the salt in the box when you are not using it, and where do you store the box? I was thinking it would get crusty or hard, but for me it would be easier of I didn't have to pour the salt in every time I used it. Thanks!

Erin said...

Good question, Charlotte! I have been leaving it in the box. But, it has only been about a week since we started.
I am hoping the salt will be fine, since there is a lid for the box. We shall see!

Charlotte said...

I'll look for a document box with a lid....I was thinking of those file things that were 8x11 that you could put papers in to file....but those are open.

Thanks, Erin!