Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting the Wiggles Out

Sedona has trouble sitting still.  She's only in kindergarten, so that's not a huge deal.  However, I have learned that she does better with school work if she is able to get up, move and take frequent breaks from anything that requires sitting still.

The problem is Secora.  She's just over 2 years old now and has hit that perfect age for interfering with school work.  It's safe to assume she'll be stealing pencils, writing on worksheets and erasing white boards for the next year, at least.  This exploring is completely normal and age appropriate behavior that I don't want to fight any more than I have to.  Sure, you can channel it into fun and exciting activities, but that still only buys you small chunks of time.

So our solution is for me to keep her out of the girls' hair while they do their independent work and then to cram as much one-on-one teaching as possible into her nap time.  We usually end up with about 2 hours of toddler-free time.  We have to cover both girls' math and science lessons, reading for Sedona, spelling for Sierra, and sometimes history in those hours.  In short, I need Sedona to work hard with few breaks during those 2 hours. 

To keep her focused, I put together "take a break" dice.  I bought blank dice at a local teacher supply store.  On the two regular sized ones, I labeled each side with a number from 0 to 5.  I labeled the larger die with activities such as run, wiggle walk, skip, roll, jump and scooter.

When she finishes a subject, she gets to roll the dice. 
She has to add the numbers together (nothing wrong with sneaking in some math review!) and then do that many "laps" in our back room in which ever way the large die says.

As you can see, she's a big fan.

The first day, things got a little crazy and it only got her too excited to sit down and work again. Now that she's used to it, she happily does the activity, then she's ready to return to her work. In the past, I was just sending her off to "take a break" and she wasn't ready to sit with me again for 15 or 20 minutes. This gives her brain a rest and gets her wiggles out in only a minute or two.

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