If your students are anything like the students we work with, the first couple of weeks back after winter break they are full of energy! And if you’re like us, you are looking for ways to help them get that energy out in a productive way. When you keep a rebounder out or in the back of the room, it will allow students to jump while they’re listening to your lesson.
Jessica, from Minneapolis, is incorporating Vision Activities into her small groups. She shared that while she is getting groups started at centers, the group at her center is doing Loop de Loos or Over and Unders. Jessica printed off the Winter Themed Loop De Loos and Overs and Unders (downloads available below). She placed them in sheet protectors so they can be used multiple times with dry erase markers and so her students can be independent while they wait for her.
Other teachers have informed us that they are doing Tactile Trackers or Wagon Wheels before small groups so that they can monitor their students. Check out the Vision Activities in your CORE and MORE Guides or Curriculum Guide for a variety of options to add into your small groups.
Pre-K CORE Guide pgs. 61-83
Pre-K MORE Guide pgs. 53-68
Curriculum Guide pgs. 141-179
Loop de Loo Winter (PDF)
Overs and Unders Winter (PDF)
Scanning Game Winter (PDF)
Steph, from Kasson-Mantorville, uses her Nutty Noodle to dismiss students at the end of the day.
She does this so she can watch their Visual Tracking and to prevent a traffic jam at the cubbies. Steph slowly moves her Nutty Noodle in a small circle, from side to side, up and down and diagonally. As she moves Nutty, she’s watching each student’s eyes to see if they are smoothly tracking the movement or if they are jumping. If she notices that a student’s eyes are jumping, she knows she can add in more Eye Movement Activities to her small groups to help her students develop the smooth eye movements necessary for reading.
Eye Movement Activities:
Pre-K CORE Guide pgs. 63-80
Curriculum Guide pgs. 148-158
As some transition to Distance Learning, it may feel like S.M.A.R.T. Vision Activities are going to fall by the wayside. EyeCanLearn.com is a website that provides eye exercises to promote visual health and school success. The website shares information on the importance of tracking, perception, teaming, and focusing. Eye Can Learn has examples of what a person with eye teaming difficulties might be seeing when they are trying to read. They have online exercises related to saccades, pursuits, visual discrimination, visual memory, visual closure, and visual forms.
The proprioceptive system helps us understand the organization of our body parts. That’s because this vital system processes all the automated signals our muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and bones send us about the stress they are experiencing. Without this information, we wouldn’t know how to orient ourselves or move in the space we occupy. We wouldn’t know how much force to use or or how to time movements. Proper development of the proprioceptive system in the brain stem is critical to children’s ability to navigate their bodies through the world.
How do we ensure our students are building a strong proprioceptive system? Creeping! This activity, which involves purposeful movement of all body parts, stimulates the Brain Stem and supports creation of vital neural pathways that carry the needed information to help children move.
In addition to strengthening the proprioceptive system, use of the Creep Track or Slap Track also helps with students’ visual development. Creep Tracks develop eye movements needed to move from one line of text to another, visual perception needed to recognize objects in different positions or levels, depth perception needed to know how close an object is, and integrates the visual and motor systems.
Educators who are doing In-Person Learning can use their Creep Track or Slap Track to support visual development. Using Domino Dot Cards on the tracks adds an academic twist by helping students recognize numbers. So what happens when we combine Domino Dot Cards, Creep Tracks, and fall? We get Acorn Domino Dot Creep Track cards! We’ve made them in easy to print and download PDFs for a variety of ages.
S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K CORE Guide pages 50-51
S.M.A.R.T. Curriculum Guide pages 69-71
Acorn Domino Dot Creep Track cards 1-2 (PDF)
Acorn Domino Dot Creep Track cards 3-4 (PDF)
Acorn Domino Dot Creep Track cards 5-6 (PDF)
When the proprioceptive sense does not receive or interpret input correctly within the muscles, joints, and tendons, children may be uncoordinated or clumsy. Some common signs include: