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TEACHERS.NET GAZETTE
Volume 3 Number 2

COVER STORY
Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "...effective teachers do not employ tricks of the trade, the latest fad, or untested opinions..." This month the Wongs feature Liz Breaux, a most effective teacher...
COLUMNS
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Bridget Scofinsky
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
The Visually Impaired Child by Dave Melanson
ARTICLES
Seussational Reading Excitement - NEA's Read Across America: Too Much Reading Fun for Just One Day!...
The 100th Day of School
100th Day Activities
Television--Don't Trash It--Control It
Remediation Doesn't Work
Behavior Management Tips
Stress
Children and Stress
Children Do Grieve
Infuse Test Preparation With Life-long Learning
Technology Integration Has No Hope of Succeeding!
Technophobia to Technophilia
Cooperative Learning
Why All Students Need Fine Motor Skills
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 3)
The Role of EFL learners' Heterogeneity in Terms of Age in Their Use of Communication Strategies
The Importance of the School Administration to Student Achievement
Using Non-Fiction to Motivate Reluctant Readers
Quantity over Quality--The Problem with Writing Instruction in Our Schools
Tips for Substitute Teachers
TEACHER INSPIRATION FEATURE
From "I Don't Care" to "I Did It!"
ON-SITE INSIGHTS
Rules for Secondary Classrooms
Block Scheduling
REGULAR FEATURES
Special Days This Month
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • Exceptional Normalcy
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    Featured Lessons from the Lesson Bank
  • Famous Black Americans
  • Valentine Village
  • Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    Chatboard Poll
    FYI
    Arecibo Radar Gets 11th-Hour Reprieve
    Planetary Society Offers New Scholarships
    Gazette Home Delivery:


    Teacher Feature...

    Why All Students Need Fine Motor Skills

    by Kathleen Fedele


    After much thought, discussion, reading and research, I believe what we are missing is thorough development of fine motor skills. Ask yourselves how many of your struggling students have fine motor difficulties -- poor hand writing, trouble copying from the board, poor cutting and coloring skills, low visual-perception skills, difficulty with puzzles and mazes, trouble identifying letters and numerals, as well as poor reading and writing ability. My guess is that nine times out of ten students who are struggling also have poorly developed fine motor skills. Students need fine motor control for eye muscles to focus and distinguish letters, crossing midline, and tracking -- all essential skills for reading and writing.

    With times ever-changing in American education -- higher standards, more content, smaller budgets -- we are often left wondering what we can do as teachers to provide the kind of education we know all children deserve especially for those children who are struggling. Over my years of experience as a special education teacher many teachers have asked (including myself), "What is it that we're missing? What more can we do? What is the common thread that will enhance or increase my students' learning?"

    After much thought, discussion, reading and research, I believe the part we are missing is thorough development of fine motor skills. While working with toddlers and preschoolers who were developmentally delayed, I observed a common thread -- their cognitive development paralleled their fine motor development. This can be seen in the assessments that are used to evaluate the skill and in research done by Piaget, Montessori, and others. This was also evidenced by my years of watching toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary students develop. Ask yourselves how many of your struggling students have fine motor difficulties -- poor hand writing, trouble copying from the board, poor cutting and coloring skills, low visual-perception skills, difficulty with puzzles and mazes, trouble identifying letters and numerals, as well as poor reading and writing ability. My guess is that nine times out of ten students who are struggling also have poorly developed fine motor skills.

    Often we dismiss the fine motor skills because we are so concerned about the students' ability to read and write but what we fail to recognize is that fine motor skills are necessary for both reading and writing. All of the brain research has shown us that as learners we need to be able to connect to our world through our senses and continually make more sense of it through strengthening and building upon neural pathways. This can only be done by using our bodies to connect to the world. Therefore, we must reexamine our lack of focus on fine motor development. Students need fine motor control for eye muscles to focus and distinguish letters, crossing midline, and tracking -- all essential skills for reading and writing. And beyond that, they need eye-hand control to develop good hand writing skills so that they can express themselves in written form.

    What I am proposing is that we question what we are doing and why we are doing it. Where can we inject more fine motor activities into our daily routine? Where can we ask students to use their bodies to connect to the world of learning? Where can we allow students more time to explore their environment using all their senses? The benefits that we will reap from the development of fine motor ability will not only increase and enhance their ability to read and write, but improve their ability to be problem solvers and better thinkers. What more could we ask for?


     

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