Monday, September 17, 2012

Squares, Stars, Scissors & Sensory...Table

After a few weeks in school I finally opened the sensory table. I don't usually open it up this early because it's normally filled with rice. For the first time in while, I emptied out the rice to make way for other activities. At a workshop a couple of years back, I heard a story about a teacher who brought in a hard-plastic kiddie pool - she filled it with nothing but paper (office paper, scrap paper, etc), attached several scissors with string to the edge of the pool, then let the kids sit inside and cut away. This sensory table activity is a modification that idea.

Today I thought I'd blend some fine motor scissor skills - and number work. It was pretty simple, and the kids had a great time cutting and chatting.  I lingered there for a little while to catch up on the latest gossip in kindergarten.

I gathered the supplies: scissors, 1 inch square graph paper, star-matrix grid (that I whipped up using a word processor) but this could be normal dot-matrix paper, and five random jars that I had in my supply cupboard. I labeled the jars numbered 1-5. Total cost...FREE!

I told the kids to cut out any amount 1-5 of the graph paper squares, or stars, and place them in the corresponding number jar.  And that's it! While they're working on number sense and simple counting - they get the benefit of working the muscles in the hand, and scissoring skills. It turned out to be a great "math-talk" activity. Some kids counted and cut too many (i.e., 6 instead of 5),  so we did a little problem solving. "Could you cut off some squares/stars so that you can put them in two separate jars instead?"  It was great to hear their thinking as they problem-solved.

I imagine a variation of these activities like cutting out colors in magazines and placing them in color jars (great to save for color collages later). Kids could also cut words or letters out of magazines and newspaper. Put different textures, and thickness of paper, for kids to cut and really work the muscles in the hand.

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