Monday, April 13, 2015

Session 6: Fine and Gross Motor

Burlington Public Schools Early
Childhood Information Series:
Session 6
Fine and Gross Motor Activities

Fine Motor
-Fine motor control and hand strength are important to young children as they learn to grasp small
objects, fasten clothing, and pre-writing.
-Fine motor development is essential in not only play and writing tasks but ease in allowing children to
become more independent as well.

Handwriting Without Tears
-Aim and Scribble
-Mat Mat
-Lines and Curves
-Terminology(Big Lines/Little Lines)
-Using your hands in a controled way

Handwriting Without Tears Tools
-Newsletter (Frog Jump Gazette)
-HWT app on ipad (wet dry try)
-songs (pick a crayon, tap big line, mat man)
-give a defined space/starting and stopping points

Fine Motor Progression

Fine Motor at Home
-Playdough/Theraputty Activities
-Roll like a hot dog and cut with a scissor into small pieces
-Hidden Treasure (put small objects hidden in putty and have child find them)
-Making munchkins /Donuts
-Stringing Beads
-Squeezing water with little sponges
-Picking up tiny objects like beads, beans, small sponges
-Writing on paper on an incline or paper on a wall(vertical surfaces)
-Pom Pom Pick up game
-Cutting fun materials such as straws, yarn, playdough
-Painting with Q Tips, cotton balls, acorns, and dandelions
-Putting Straws in grated cheese containers
- Using clothespins

Gross Motor
-Strength and stability throughout the trunk and shoulders set the foundation for fine motor.
-Gross Motor activities can assist in developing fine motor skills.
-Increasing gross motor skills are important in enabling children to perform everyday functions such as
standing, walking, running, and sitting upright.
-It can also include eye hand coordination skills such as throwing, catching, or kicking a ball.
-Other factors in gross motor can include motor planning, coordination, balancing, crossing midline,

Gross Motor Activities
-Washing the Car
-Animal Walks
-Pulling a wagon
-Take the stairs instead of escalators when possible
-Jump over objects such as a sprinkler, chalk lines, tape lines, hula hoops, etc.
-Running and Jumping
-Obstacle Courses

Monday, March 2, 2015

Session 4 - Morning and Nightime Routines

Burlington Public
Schools Early Childhood
Information Series:
Session 4
Morning and Night Time Routines

Why is it important to create routines?
● Allow everyone to understand what is expected
● Routines create an increased number of practice opportunities
● Gives a clear starting and ending point

How to establish routines?
● Make a list of everything that needs to be done during a given amount of time
● Prioritize the order in which you want things to be done
● Figure out how long the routine will take
● Make sure that there are aspects of the routine that involve skills that they have
already mastered

Teaching and Implementing Routines
● Never assume that kids (or adults!) know what is expected of them unless it’s been taught.
● Children will need to be taught not only what is expected of them, but how to flow through routines in the order you want them to
● Make sure everyone knows how to get help
● Build in supports as needed

How to teach the routine?
● Skills Training Model
○ Instruction - Tell what to do
○ Model - Show what to do
○ Practice - Give practice opportunities
○ Feedback - Give information on how it went

What supports can be used?
● Visuals
○ Schedule
○ First/Then
○ Check list
○ Reminders
● Small Reinforcement Systems
○ Adding in small incentives for various aspects of the routines
■ Can be individualized to each person’s level of

Being Prepared for Challenges
● Give yourself ample time (especially in the teaching phases)
● Set up clear expectations for everyone before starting the routine.
● Have all supports in place before you begin the routine
● Predict difficult moments when possible

Questions and Workshop
What questions do you have about routines in your home?
What supports could be helpful for you?

Session 3 - Setting Up Structure At Home

Burlington Public Schools Early Childhood Information Series: Session 3
Setting Up Structure at Home

● Kids succeed and thrive on structure
● Predictability allows for independence and
self confidence
● Structure helps kids make sense of their

● Rules
● Routines
● Expectations

● Create rules using the language of what you
want rather than what you want to avoid ○ Instead of don’t, use do
● Pick rules that will benefit your family most
○ Think of times of day where having some consistency will help everyone
● Give choice when it’s appropriate

● Routines support house rules
● As you start, pick one routine to focus on at a time - it will need to most likely be taught!
When first introducing a new routine
● use visuals - real objects when available; images from the internet
● provide practice opportunities (not only when it’s the real time to do it)
● model
● let them know how they did!!

What to do once you’ve set the rules and routines...
● follow through - no matter how hard
○ if you say it, mean it
○ make sure the whole team is on board
● think about how to tie in fun family activities based on the kids doing what you want them to

Your kids do what you ask them to do/follow the routines
● Praise them
● Reward them (random)
● Let them know how they’re helping the

Your kids do not do what you have asked them to do
● Continue to follow through
● Stay Calm
● Limit their access to other things until the
expectation has been follow
○ This is not a negative, but rather a clear black and white contingency

Schedules and routines need to change unexpectedly
● Explain why things are changing
● Create a new plan
● Praise the kids when they follow the new

If you child has a hard time when things change, think about doing some practice...
● set up changes in routines under low stakes situations
● model what to do when things change for them
● let them know how they did, and provide rewards
under these low stakes

● Chore Monster
● i Create
- social story
- schedule maker
● Classroom Dojo
● Social Story Creator and Library

What can we help with?

Session 2 - Life Skills and Social Thinking

Burlington Public Schools Early Childhood Development Series

Behavior Supports in BPS - All Schools
Positive behavior classwide systems
a. Explicit instruction of routines and rules
b. Strategies to promote engagement
c. Explicit instruction of Life Skills/social skills
d. Motivational system
e. Behavior management

Preschool Life Skills Curriculum
● A curriculum with an approach to teaching critical social skills to early learners.
● Skills have been proven to prevent problem behavior and often replace problem behavior with a functional social skill.
● Skills are divided into 4 groups which make up a total of 13 skills all in a specific sequential order.

What does the Research Show?
● The selected skills are similar to the skills taught once kids demonstrate problem behavior
● Teachers are able to implement the program with fidelity
● Problem behavior was reduced by 70% and there was a 400% increase in observed critical skills

Unit 1 Skills: Instruction Following
● Responding appropriately to name
● Complying with simple instruction
● Complying with multi-step instruction ● Requesting assistance
● Requesting attention

Unit 2: Functional Communication
● Framed requesting to adults (when item is not available)
● Framed requesting to peers (when item is being used)

Unit 3: Tolerance for Delay
● Tolerating delay imposed by adults
● Tolerating delays imposed by peers
Unit 4: Friendship Skills
● Saying “Thank you”
● Acknowledging/complimenting others ● Offering/Sharing
● Comforting others in distress

How Skills are Taught
● Instruction ● Modeling ● Practice
● Feeback

How we modify
If a student isn’t successful with the classwide teaching model...
● Skills are taught with greater frequency (more practice opportunities)
● Skills may be taught at a different pace
● Skills may be taught in isolation first

Social Thinking Curriculum The Incredible Flexible You
● Thinking Thoughts and Feeling Feelings ● Thinking with Your Eyes
● The Group Plan
● Body in the Group
● Whole Body Listening

Session 1 - Opening the Worlds of Learning

Burlington Public Schools Early Childhood Information Series: Session 1
Opening the World of Learning (OWL)

What is OWL?
● Created by Judy Schickedanz, Ph.D. and David Dickinson, Ed.D.
● A comprehensive early literacy program
● Every classroom in the Burlington Early
Childhood Center uses this program
● Arranged into six thematic units

Six Thematic Units
● Family
● Friends
● Wind and Water
● The World of Color
● Shadows and Reflections ● Things that Grow

What is each unit comprised of?
● Story time books
● Information books
● Predictable books
● Key vocabulary words
● Let’s find out about it
● Songs, wordplay, and letters
● Small groups
● Choice time center activities

Story Times
Books are related to unit and read multiple times.
•First reading- To explain events in story
•Second reading- Discuss thoughts and feelings of characters •Third reading- feeling related to events
•Fourth reading- Relate story to personal experiences or act out by assigning characters (often in dramatic play)

Choice Time
Relating Play Experiences
to characters in stories.
Other OWL Facts
● 5 day cycle
● Supplemental materials including books,
music, and activities are often used
● Program provides tools for monitoring
Songs, Word Play, and Language
● Includes large group to help children develop phonological awareness, alphabet letter knowledge, and vocabulary
● Through song, using props, utilizing Touch-It board, movement, and manipulating oral language.

Language Based Curriculum
● Gives opportunities for children to engage in conversations about curriculum
● Books lend themselves to rich discussions including the use of questioning
● Key vocabulary words are used across activities

Let’s Talk About It
How to care for babies
Comparing our birth length with a friend. Who was longer? Who was shorter?
Related to our book, we listened to videos of children playing harmonicas then examined a real harmonica.

Specific Activities
Even though the curriculum is language based, it is comprehensive in that it focuses on literacy, math, motor development and social development

Center Activities
● Sand and water (sensory)
● Book area
● Art area/table
● Art area/easel
● Blocks
● Puzzles and manipulatives
● Dramatic play
● Writing center

Small Groups
● Typically three small groups per day that children rotate through at their own pace. This varies by classroom.
● Small groups focus on academic, language based skills
● Cross-curricular

Supplemental OWL Units
● Created by the teachers of the Burlington Early Childhood Center
● Based on the format and content of the published OWL curriculum
● Comprised of seven thematic units
Seven Thematic Units
● Farm/harvest
● Family traditions ● Snow
● Community
● Transportation ● Five Senses
● Camping

● No one curriculum is a perfect fit for every child
● Teachers adapt and differentiate instruction based on the individual needs of each student
● Accommodations occur in all areas of a child’s development, not just academic tasks

Transition to School
● What’s going well?
● What questions do you have?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Session 8 - Summer Activities

Slide 1 - Structuring The Summer
Ways to establish a routine during Summer break
·        summer will be less structured, but try to develop a basic routine
·        calendars/schedules
o       monthly family calendar
o       weekly calendar of activities
o       child’s individual schedule for the day
·        prepare child for any predictable disruptions - bbqs, family gatherings, day trips, weekend trips, extended travel, time with new/different caregivers
  • although summer is a time to relax, basic structure will help children to understand expectations
Slide 2 - Activities At Home
Get Outside!
·        water and sand tables
·        nature walks - even in own backyard
·        anything you might do inside, try to take it outside
o       art projects, sensory experiences, etc
·       gardening
·        obstacle courses
·        scavenger hunts
·        picnics
  • kiddie pools
Slide 3 - Activities in the Community
·         Burlington Playgrounds
o       Wildwood - Bedford St
o       Rahanis - Mill St
o       BECC and elementary school playgrounds
·        Simonds Park wading pool
·        Recreation Department Programs
·        Burlington Public Library
  • Burlington Reservoir
Slide 4 - Activities in Surrounding Communities
·         Water Parks - Belmont and Billerica
·        Indoor Playgrounds - VinKari Safari in Woburn, Jump On In in Woburn, Inside Playground in Watertown
·        Walden Pond
·        Acton Discovery Museum
·        The Butterfly Place, Westford, MA
·        Boston Children’s Museum
·        New England Aquarium
·        Stone Zoo
  • Museum of Science
Slide 5 - Challenges and Concerns
·         travel
·        transition from school to summer break
·        transition back to school at the end of summer break
·        transition to a different classroom/building at the end of summer break
  • behavior regressions from change in routine
Slide 6 - Resources
·         Burlington Recreation Department -

Monday, March 10, 2014

Information Session 5: Fine and Gross Motor Skills

Motor Skills Overview

  • There is a vast range of what is considered typical for motor skill acquisition
  • Skill development can be influenced by exposure, interest level, individual development 
  • Common to see bursts of development 
  • Children enter preschool with a base of motor skills, these skills are fine tuned and built upon during the preschool years 
  • It is OK for a preschool student (3’s and 4’s) to descend stairs non-alternately, they will first ascend alternately (takes less strength and control than descent) 
  • Encourage active gross motor play, but also activities that require the child to slow down, balance and steady their body (Simon Says, Follow The Leader, etc.)

  • If w-sitting is primary sitting posture work to incorporate other positions (see w-sitting blog as well as core activities blog to help with this)

  • Certain skills, such as scissor use and coordination,  are not a part of natural development and  will only develop through direct teaching and exposure.
Fine Motor Skills

  • Small Muscles 
  • Hand Strength 
  • Grasp Development 
  • Sensory Integration 
  • Motor Planning 
  • Visual Motor Integration 
  • Bilateral Coordination 
  • Daily Living Skills – dressing, tooth brushing, feeding 
  • Oral Motor 
Gross Motor Skills

  • Big Muscles 
  • Heavy Work 
  • Core Strength 
  • Motor Planning 
BECC Supplemental Curricula

  • Handwriting Without Tears
    • Mat Man
    • Grasp Development
  • Brain Gym
    • Series of 26 movements designed to optimize learning
Fine Motor Activities

  • Writing Implements – crayons, markers, colored pencils, paintbrushes, etc 
  • Cutting 
  • Crafts using pincer grasps 
  • Tactile experiences – putty, play dough, sand and water play 
  • Tweezers 
  • Peeling Stickers 
  • Lacing 
  • Puzzles and building manipulatives 
  • Mazes/Magnet Mazes 
Gross Motor Activities

  • Obstacle courses 
  • Balancing – beams, therapy balls, rocking horses, stepping stones 
  • Climbing Structures 
  • Trampolines 
  • Scooter Boards 
  • Get outside when you can! 

  • Writing Tasks 
    • Small, broken crayons 
    • Slanted surfaces/easels 
    • Hold a pom pom with pinky and ring finger 
  • Verbal and Visual Cues 
    • Alligator fingers 
    • Helper hand 
    • Visual task analysis to facilitate motor planning 
Therapists Blog -

  • Great resource for activities and ideas 
  • Our Speech and Language Pathologists, occupational therapist, physical therapist and BCBA contribute to this blog 
The following are the gross motor posts that may be useful:
·         Benefits of Physical Activity (1/13)
·         Core Strengthening Activities (3/13)
·         Motor Planning (4/11)
·         Indoor Gross Motor Activities (11/13)
·         Fun Inexpensive Outdoor Games (5/13)
·         Why Should I Stop My Child From W-Sitting? (10/13)
·         Coming Soon in March blog post on bilateral integration and sequence

The following are the fine motor posts that may be helpful:
·         Developing a Dominant Hand (11/13)
·         Fun February OT Activity Ideas (2/13)
·         How to Work on Prewriting Skills Without Picking up a Pencil! (3/13)
·         Scissor Skill Development (5/13)
·         Summer OT Activity Ideas (6/13)
  • Fun Hand Strengthening Activities (11/13)