Monday, August 30, 2010

Review--Peterson Directed Handwriting

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Recently I had the chance to review a handwriting program called Peterson Directed Handwriting. I decided to use this program mainly with the 3 year old that I watch because he is just beginning to show some interest in print, and has the least exposure to different handwriting methods, so I thought that trying this program with him would be a great opportunity.

Peterson Directed Handwriting has several unique products, including handwriting tools for those just starting out through advanced cursive workbooks. They also sell different pencil grips, pencils, and other writing tools that will aid in teaching your child to write beautifully (including a software that allows handwriting practice on a tablet connected to your PC). You can view their products here. For this review, I was able to access 3 e-workbooks. I started my student on the very first one, meant for beginning handwriting. A complete handwriting kit for Pre K or K is priced at $44.70, and comes with a variety of tools to help your little one learn to print. You can access their website to browse products or contact them via phone: (724) 837-4900.

What I liked:

--Peterson Directed Handwriting is unique in that it teaches the child names for each stroke (tall down, small down, slide right, hook, etc). The names, along with the motion of the hand as it finger traces or writes provide the child with a mental image of how to write each letter. I found that my little charge really responded to the names Peterson Directed Handwriting gave him, and was able to remember the name along with the stroke quite easily. Of course, given his age, I only introduced two basic stroke names that are used in many of the letters of the alphabet.

--Excellent customer service. The staff at Peterson Directed Handwriting are available to you all the times to answer questions and help any way they can. I had a question about my older son's grip, and they were very prompt in recommending a product to me that would work for my little guy. If customer service is important to you, then Peterson Directed Handwriting is definitely a company you would like.

--The workbooks are available in an electronic format. I love that I can reproduce the pages as often as needed and use them with multiple children. This is a great cost saving advantage.

--Their website is full of information, tutorials about their products and advice on teaching handwriting. When you browse around their site it really shows how much they care about teaching children how to write, and how much thought they have put into their product.

Overall, I think this is a great program, and one that is very well thought out and researched based. Of course, it's important to remember that learning to print is a skill that can only take place when a child is developmentally ready. No program can make a person ready; they must be ready before moving through any handwriting program successfully. This was something I had to keep in mind when trying this product with the three year old I watch. He is not highly motivated to write (yet), nor does he show many of the physical signs of readiness. He needs more time developing his fine motor skills and attention span before I would continue a program like this with him. That being said, I think Peterson Directed Handwriting is a great program for children who show all the signs of readiness and are eager to learn to write.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some of you may remember...

Some of you may remember that I am a surrogate mom and was pregnant with a little boy. I say was, because I delivered this last Saturday at 37 weeks 1 day! So, yes, I've been a little busy, and probably won't have too many posts up in the coming week or two as I recover. It was an amazing experience and the birth exceeded any hopes I had for how things would go. I had a successful vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean) without pain meds. I arrived at the hospital 6cm dialated and delivered him within an hour and a half of arriving. Baby boy is home with his parents and older brother and sister and is doing great! Maybe I'll post more of a birth story some time for those who are interested.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Color Activity--Secondary Colors

After learning about primary colors the other day with our color quilt, I decided to delve into secondary colors with the kids. We have covered this before, but they needed review, as they didn't really remember anything.

I set up some clear glasses with red, yellow and blue food coloring in a circular fashion. In between each primary color on the wheel was a cup of clear water. So the formation was similar to a color wheel. We then added food coloring to the clear cups, using the two colors that each cup sat between.
As we mixed the colors, Miss O used colored pencils to fill in the secondary colors on her color wheel that is already attached to her color lapbook.
They seemed to need more to really believe that the primary colors made certain other colors when mixed, so I whipped up this little worksheet right then. They liked this so much they did it twice!
I squirted a bit of red, yellow and blue paint in the rectangles to the right. Then I labeled the circles with the first letter of the color they were to paint in that circle. For the last circle, they dabbed their brush in both colors and then mixed it on the paper.

Both these and the primary color quilts are hanging on the door of our pantry. It's a good reminder for them and they tend to reference the projects when I ask them what the primary and secondary colors are or when I ask them what two colors make when mixed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Color Activity--Background is Important

Here's another activity we did for our color lapbook--focusing on contrasting colors. This activity again came from How to Teach Art to Children.

I introduced the concept of contrasting colors by using an orange and a blue and orange piece of foam paper. We learned that background is important! You can see an object much better if the background color is much different (or contrasts with) the object.

Then I gave the kids a box of different items and some different colors of foam paper. They tried each object on the papers and decided which objects showed up best on the different colors. We learned that generally speaking, cool colors show up better on warm colored backgrounds and warm colors show up better on cool backgrounds. We will solidify this idea more later on when we talk more about warm and cool colors (looking back, I should have covered that first, but forgot!).
Later, I gave the kids several different colors of construction paper and the same colors in smaller rectangles. They experimented with contrasting the small rectangles with the bigger ones and once they were satisfied, they used a glue stick to glue their choices down. Finally, I stapled their choices into a little book.

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