Friday, 2 March 2018

Handwriting, Pen Grip and Spelling Strategies

As well as teaching full time I also take on private students who are falling behind in their studies or just not making as much progress as expected. many of my current students also have learning differences around fine and gross motor skills which means that holding a pencil correctly is difficult. This in turn has an impact on handwriting and even spelling.

I have tried lots of strategies with my students to help them overcome their difficulties. I have found that steering away from pen and paper altogether is the most effective, instead focusing on developing language through technology. There is a huge choice of software on the market that is designed to do exactly this, but I have found that it doesn't go far enough to develop creative writing. My fall back resource is a website called Communication4all. Created by Bev Evans, it delivers excellent quality resources that are fully inclusive and are all free! My favourites are the traditional tales and Storymaker powerpoints. In the traditional tales section children can read an interactive book and retell their own version using drag and drop.

Or they can write their own story from start to finish using one of the high quality interactive powerpoints.

Sadly, Bev is no longer with us, but you can make a donation in her memory to help with the upkeep and hosting of the site.

Technology is great, but there are times when children need to work with traditional writing implements. Channie's Quick and Easy Writing Pad will help children to develop motor skills and form letters in preparation for cursive handwriting. 
Channie's Quick & Neat Cursive Pad - 1
The pad has angled guidelines for proper slant and consistent letter size, and green shade to assist in lower case positioning. Adapted for quick and easy learning, the pad has 80 pages of strong blank practice worksheets and full  instructions inside the front cover. Channie's visual Cursive pad make cursive writing fun and easy with vertical lines and angle blocks for consistent slant and letter sizes! You can get hold of yours for just $11.21 by clicking the image. 
Grotto Grip-5 Pack - 2

Grotto Grips are great for teaching pencil control. Finger guards and special angles place and hold the hand in a mature tripod grasp. They facilitate an open web space between the thumb and index finger, targeting, training and activating the proper muscles for writing. The guards maintain arches in the palm of the hand for dynamic finger movements for increased pencil control. They discourage hypermobility at the joints of the index finger and thumb, decreasing hand fatigue and pencil pressure. The guards can be used by both right and left handed writers, are non-toxic and latex free, and come in a range of neon colours and sleek designs to invite children to use the grip. $12.99 for a pack of 5. 

Finally, I just love this Fun-Schooling Spelling Journal for children aged 5 and up.

and up. This spelling method is best for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade, but with help it can be used for children as young as five years old. The activity book can be used for Dyslexic children and children with ADD, ADHD or Autism. Struggling learners thrive with this method!

There are 180 activity pages so you can use one page per day during the school year. The method used is a unique approach for teaching visual learners who are artistic and intelligent, but may not be doing well with phonics and memorisation. It has been said that if children can not learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn. That is why this book is so different from other spelling books.

You can get your copy for just $27.50 by clicking the button below.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

World Book Day

Today was World Book Day! It was also St David's Day - patron saint of Wales. The Beast from the East and Storm Emma put paid to any thoughts of celebrations. There have been threats of snow for a few days but today they raised the weather alert to red - "take action". It all sounds apocalyptic with shades of Armageddon. So we've battened down the hatches, brought in the animals and have prepared for blizzard conditions. Snow days are great, aren't they...?

We Brits like to draw on bulldog spirit during times like this, and, never defeated, many schools will pick up the baton when they reopen and celebrate in style. Not to be outdone, I have extended the closing date for my little gift card promotion. It's easy to sign up and the winner will be able to treat their class to some fabulous new resources to make up for today's disappointment.

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Another chance to enter!

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper by Fiona Ingram

Have you checked out Fiona Ingram's series of adventure books yet? "The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper" is the third in the series and is a great read, appealing to boys and girls alike.

Title: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeepers (The Chronicles of the Stone, Book 3) 
Author: : Fiona Ingram 
Publisher: Bublish, Ing 
Publication Date: November 17, 2017 
Genre: Children's Adventure  
Number of Pages: 318

Continuing the adventure that ended in Britain just a short while ago, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair, with their friend Kim Maleka, are now hunting for the third Stone of Power, one of seven mysterious stones lost centuries ago. The third stone might be located in an ancient city, hidden in the depths of the Mexican jungle.When their small plane crashes in the jungle, Adam, Justin, Kim, and James are rescued by an uncontacted tribe. James, who is wounded, must stay behind as the kids, with only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the city. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task.

Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on in search of the lost city of stone gods. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice. Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?

About the Author

Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and Fiona thought that she'd write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her MG adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! Fiona also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors which she finds very satisfying. Relaxation time finds Fiona enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

Facebook ~ Book Website ~ Twitter ~ Author Website ~ Blog
Google+ ~ Amazon ~Goodreads 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

1st March is World Book Day!

World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

Keep reading for details of how to win a TPT gift card to spend on goodies for World Book Day.
This is the 21st year there’s been a World Book Day, and on 1st March 2018, children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading. Very loudly and very happily. Here in the UK and Ireland the main aim of World Book Day is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. That’s why  schools (including those nurseries and secondary schools that have specially registered to participate) will be receiving packs of Book Tokens and age-ranged World Book Day Resource Packs (age-ranged into Nursery/Pre-School, Primary and Secondary) full of ideas and activities, display material and more information about how to get involved in World Book Day.

Keep reading for details of how to win a TPT gift card to spend on goodies for World Book Day. 


Thanks to the generosity of National Book Tokens Ltd, publishers and booksellers, the people at World Book Day  send millions of book tokens to children and young people (some 15 million, in fact: that’s one for nearly every child aged under eighteen in the country).


They can take their book token to a local bookseller and can use it to pick one of TEN (exclusive, new and completely free) books. Or, if they’d rather, they can use it to get £1 off any book or audio book costing over £2.99 at a participating bookshop or book club (terms and conditions apply).

Keep reading for details of how to win a TPT gift card to spend on goodies for World Book Day.


The website contains lots of new downloadable resource packs based on favourite books, brands, characters and authors.

It’s all about getting kids closer to the books and authors they already love, and letting them discover more books and authors they’ll love every bit as much in the future.

What Are you doing for World Book Day?

Let me know what you will be doing to celebrate World Book Day and you could be in with a chance of winning a free TPT giftcard. All you have to do to is leave your comments on my Facebook page and share with your friends. I'd love to see your pictures too! Click through the golden ticket below to enter. The winning entry will be drawn at random on Friday 9th March. Good luck!

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