Fine Motor Practice and Collaboration Through Word Work and Literacy Centres
"Having the chart paper sized Wipebook allowed students to collaborate while doing their writing, rather than independently writing on their own paper. It also allowed students to make mistakes and quickly erase, which helps build their confidence with writing and letter formation."
How can you keep students engaged in early literacy when they spend so much of the day using paper, pencils and crayons? Using these tools over and over throughout the day can become boring for my young students. I have been looking for different ways to continue their fine motor practice but keep them engaged, and then I found the Wipebook flipchart. Students are able to make mistakes, quickly erase and try again. There are so many different engaging activities you can come up with for the Wipebook flipchart.
In primary students work continuously on their fine motor skills in a variety of ways, to be able to write and form letters correctly. Many students come into primary school not being able to write their name, some struggle with holding a pencil correctly and how much pressure to place on their writing utensils. We use many different methods and activities to practice our fine motor skills throughout primary school and one of their favourite tools is a whiteboard and marker. There is something exciting about whiteboards, the ability to erase something so quickly and the possibilities of what they can draw are endless for my young friends! We use our Wipebook Flipcharts to practice our letter formation, write our names, collaborate during writers workshop and during math centres as well.
Things we focused on:
● The verbal path for each letter
● The letter name and sound
● Connections: Where have you seen this letter before? Do you have this letter in your name?
Students would work together in small groups either on their writing piece for writers workshop, or letter formation practice for literacy centres. Having the chart paper sized Wipebook allowed students to collaborate while doing their writing, rather than independently writing on their own paper. It also allowed students to make mistakes and quickly erase, which helps build their confidence with writing and letter formation.
Using the Wipebook Flipcharts together in small groups allows students to collaborate by seeing what their group members are working on, getting feedback or input from each other. In small group for writing students were able to suggest edits in their sentences or things students should add to their pictures to make it a more detailed story. They were able to edit their sentence and picture while working, easier than with traditional paper and pencil, and this small group method allowed for greater collaboration rather than each student having their own paper and working independently. Then once we were complete students got to wipe it off and were ready to try again next time!
I also love using non-permanent surfaces to practice our writing and letter formation. Students will watch me form a letter on my main whiteboard then write theirs on their smaller whiteboard and hold it up and show me when they are done. This allows them to hear the verbal path as I form the letter, watch my formation and then practice on their own. Using the whiteboards to practice their formation allows them to make mistakes and then try again, it is great for building confidence!
Another favourite use of Wipebook flipcharts is to have students use this as a centre during math. I am able to do groups of 2-4 with the flipchart and have students show me numbers in different ways. I asked them to represent the number 3 in as many ways as they could think. Having them all work on the same chart made it easier for students to collaborate, they were able to discuss different ways to represent numbers, ask and see what their group members had done so far.
Then when they are done I love giving them a few minutes of free drawing time to see what they come up with. They love drawing on the Flipchart together, rather than traditional individual whiteboards because they’re able to merge their drawings together and add details to each others art work. Wipebooks flipchart has been great for helping my students practice their knowledge across different subjects, I am able to use it for many different outcomes and it allows them to build their confidence in a low risk way. They are always highly engaged when they know they will be using the Wipebook Flipchart.
Cassadie Day, Harbour View Elementary School, Halifax Regional Center for Education
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