Fine Motor Matters

Fine motor activities for the primary classroom
First grade fine motor skills can always use a tune up now and again. We like to keep things in the class circulation that are disguised as fun, but double as fine motor practice. Here's a few of our favorite tricks of the fine motor trade that have become popular with the little fingers in our classroom. 
Fine motor activities for the primary classroom
Lacing activities hit the Dollar Tree every once in awhile. They can be found on Aisle Impulse Buy...Next to the containers, stickers, and seasonal decor we don't necessarily need. :D But, these ended up being a great find! The kids love the colors and have fun tying on what they've coined the "Giant Shoe". 
Fine motor activities for the primary classroom
Given a box of beads and some pipe cleaners, these kids would rule the world. We pulled these out in December and the kids loved making wreathes, candy canes, bracelets, necklaces, headbands...You name it, they were bedazzled. 

This could easily be done any time of year, with any color pipe cleaners and beads. The kids loved it and we loved how they were using their fine motor madness.
Fine motor activities for the primary classroomOnce we get over the initial shocking (and teacher depressing) question, "What is that?!", we relive our 80's Glory Days by schooling our little ones on the amazing Lite Brite. It's great practice for patterns, pictures, build a letter, build a number, spell a high frequency word...But, above all else, it works those little fingers!
Fine motor activities for the primary classroom
We've got a few of these bendy bands for the kids to manipulate. We don't actually know the name of them, but bendy bands sounded good to us...Did you buy it? ;)
Fine motor activities for the primary classroomLegos in the classroom may look like uneducational play to some, but we beg to differ. We offer these up during choice time sometimes and they are great for working their little fingers. 
Fine motor activities for the primary classroomFine motor activities for the primary classroom
A few more Dollar Tree finds, but these we meant to buy. Pom Poms, tweezers and ice trays. Done! The kids pinch the poms into the tray and if they had it their way, they'd do it all day. 
{Yes, we realize that totally rhymes...As we've said before, it's a curse.}
Fine motor activities for the primary classroom
Printing development continues through first grade. Sometimes our first graders need a little extra support with printing and this trick has worked wonders for us for many years...
Fine motor activities for the primary classroom
We truly want them to learn how to print their letters, not just repeatedly make the same mistakes, so at times we model for them by grabbing a highlighter and helping them out. They dictate the words, including spelling, and we print it with a highlighter on their paper. This can be done for journals, workbooks, worksheets, and even homework. We've shared this tip with a few parents over the years and they've implemented it at home too! Fine motor activities for the primary classroomThen, they print on top of the highlighter words with a pencil for printing practice. 

Though we don't do this for a long period of time, we have seen repeated success and allowed a sense of pride and accomplishment in an area that our students need support and confidence in. As they grow more comfortable with the highlighter, we wean them off by only highlighting some of their words, each time decreasing the amount. Or, we have them write the sentence twice...Once with the highlighter and pencil on top and one underneath on their own. 

Every little bit helps when it comes to fine motor skills. What activities do you love for practicing fine motor?  

Snowmen, Snowflakes and Snowballs...Oh My!

Winter is one of our favorite seasons in the classroom
From snowmen to snowflakes, snowballs to snow days...
We love winter! :)

Some of the first activities of the new year come from our Snowtastic Snowman unit.

Here's What's Included:
Step by Step lesson for Snowman Directed Draw
How to Build a Snowman Brainstorming Page
How to Build a Snowman Rough Draft Page
How to Build a Snowman Final Copy Page
Snowman Cards 1-99
Snowman Pile Up Game
Base-10 Blizzard Game
Snowman Before and After

We also focus our winter Workshops around the story Snowmen at Night. This is one of our all time favorite children's books, so of course we had to create Booktivities to go along with the story.
Our class had a blast with Shape Elf before winter break, so we're reviewing our 2-dimensional shapes learning with Shape Snowman in January.
Post winter break, it's an addition avalanche in our class. They need to learn their math facts! So, we'll also be working on our Add-a-Snowman activity from our Frosty in First Grade Centers for the Season pack. 

Who doesn't love a snowball fight? You can see {here} how us 
So Cal Gals do it and grab a freebie to go along for your own indoor snowball fight.
Snow disguised as shaving cream (Dollar Store) is an all time favorite class activity this time of year. It is the perfect medium for spelling, practicing addition and subtraction equations, free doodling...Just about anything you can think of for them to do! Oh, and it cleans the tables too.

We found this snowman science activity the other day from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and are excited to try it this year in our class.
It fits perfectly into our science curriculum for changing states of matter. We will predict, perform, and process a class experiment to see how long it takes for the solid to change to a liquid...AKA for Frosty to melt away. Do you want to build melt a snowman? 

We whipped up these experiment pages to go along with our own snowman melt in class. Ideally,we would run the experiment for 5 days, but of course that depends upon where the snowman sits and how fast it takes him or her to melt...But, for the 5 day goal, we created this experiment worksheet. They will observe, draw and write each day as our snowman changes. 
But, we like to give ourselves options for differentiation...
Sooo in case you can't swing the 5 day melt away, we've simplified it to before, during and after the experiment is conducted. Take your pick. :)
You can grab these Snowman Melt science worksheets for free by clicking the butterfly below. Enjoy!

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