Have you ever been in a really, really cold place and struggled to move your fingers and toes? There is something that happens to our muscles that makes it a lot harder to move certain parts of the body when they have not been warmed up.
Experts say that the same thing happens to beginner writers – holding a pencil and writing isn’t as comfortable as what you might think. We cannot assume kids will pick up a pencil, hold it correctly, feel comfortable when writing and love it. Maybe some do (although I am yet to see it!) but writing is complex, there are many things to teach and many more things for kids to learn when it comes to writing.
A few years ago we adopted a daily practice in our learning space which we found to become very, very useful. ‘Warming up those fingers’ became a 5 minute warm up exercise before any major writing session. It can be used when conferencing kids one-on-one, in small focus groups or as one big whole group. We used these printables to show us what picture we needed to make and made them using a soft type of plasticine.
I spent ages finding the right type of plasticine because I felt if you used play-doh it was too soft and didn’t give enough resistance and if we used plasticine it was too hard. I stumbled on a robot making kit from Kmart and in it contained packets of different coloured soft plasticine which had the perfect amount of resistance to get those fingers warmed up before writing. It really helped kids prepare to write without feeling as though their hand was hurting.
I used to compare this little exercise to athletes. No athelete would run onto the field, track, court without completing a warm-up first and same goes with writing!
*Featured image via pinterest