Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Muscle Memory - a kinesthetic skill

Humans begin acquiring muscle memory from day one. The first big accomplishment is learning to control the neck muscles to turn our head. From there all other muscle development continues, grasping, pushing up shoulders and head, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, then pulling ourselves up to begin learning balance and walking.

The same thing happens when we learn to hold a pencil properly. We generally are taught with larger pencils and wide-ruled paper because we have less control over our small motor muscles. As we become better able to control our muscle movements we use finer writing implements and regular or narrow-ruled paper.

The repetition of printing and writing the alphabet is the conditioning we need to be able to automatically write each letter recognizably. Just as we practice basketball again and again to perfect our body's movements to make the shot, we want the same automaticity knowing how to shape letters and words.

For kinesthetic students it is very normal to feel and recall the muscle memory of how the word is formed. We want all students to be aware of their muscle memory to recall the accuracy of writing out a word. It is an important skill we can rely upon to help ourselves determine if we are spelling correctly.

Muscle Memory Game - A fun game to develop "feeling" the letters. 2 or more players: 1 writer, 1 guesser at a time or in pairs. The guesser has to figure out what letter or word the writer has made on their back. The writer must be accurate in making the letters.

Beginner - print letters with index finger on each other's back. Intermediate – 3 -5 letter words, use index finger on back. Skilled - write spelling words in cursive with index finger on back.

Parents who play with students - you must also change off between writer and guesser. The writer role is using muscle memory; the guesser role is using brain memory to recall how the letters should be formed - two different but important methods of recall.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Creative Writing Worksheets from A Tasteful Cliché - for only $2.99 each

  • Character and Setting Writing Prompts
    Creative writing prompts for your students (120 worksheets in all). These fun creative writing prompts involve a given character (from history, mythology, etc.) and a given setting. The student has to write a story about, or from the perspective of, the character in the given setting. An example: Write a story about a werewolf in a galaxy far, far away. Another example: Cinderella in a logging camp.

  • Alien Observer Worksheets
    A fun creative writing exercise for your students. Creative writing prompts (100 in all) for your English students. They are tasked with describing an activity or object on Earth as if they were an alien scout sent to describe everything on Earth to their fellow aliens.

  • Puppy Dog Tails Worksheets
    Give your students these fun writing exercises for a different kind of creative writing assignment. The students have to create a recipe for three occupations per worksheet (over 100 worksheets in all!), similar to the poem in which boys are made of "snips, snails, and puppy dog tails".

  • Dull Product Advertisement Worksheets
    A creative writing and art assignment for your students. Students have to create an advertisement for an otherwise-dull household product like bow ties and door knobs. 100 prompts in all.

    Visit A Tasteful Cliche | Read the rest of the AVKO Blog | Visit the AVKO website

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Printable Writing Worksheets from GoPromo

Check out these fabulous printable worksheets that you can use to help teach your students to write from GoPromo.com

Meet and Greet Times with Don McCabe Available!

Don McCabe will be available for meetings in various international locations. Please e-mail Don to set up a time to meet.
  • Johannesburg, South Africa, August 10-12
  • Cape Town, South Africa, August 13 -17
  • Sydney, Australia (available in the evenings Thursday & Friday, October 21 and 22.
  • Available from 10am to 4 pm Fjordland, New Zealand Tuesday October 26.
  • Available from 10 am to 4pm Fort Chalmers, New Zealand Wednesday, October 27.
  • Available 10 am to 4pm Akarroa, New Zealand October 28. Available 10-4, Wellington New Zealand 10/29.
  • Available 10-4 Auckland, NZ, 10/31.
  • Availale11-3, Suva Fiji 11/3. 10-2, Pago Pago 11/4.
  • 11-2, Moorea, French Polynesia 11/7.
  • 11-2, Papeete, Taihiti, French Polynesia, 11/8
  • 11-2, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, 11/9
  • 10-5 Honolulu, Hawaii. 11/14
  • 11-2 Maui (Lahaina), USA 11/15

Friday, June 11, 2010

How to Get the Most Out of AVKO Spelling Program in 3 Easy Lessons:

Lesson 2 - How to use the Membership Books
to their Greatest Potential

Membership? What’s that? Why should I bother with it?
As a non-profit organization, AVKO exists to HELP adults and kids learn how to read and spell. AVKO has an annual membership which provides the REFERENCE MATERIALS every child’s classroom (even at home) should have available. Membership also gives you a 25% DISCOUNT on all AVKO books and DVD’s. For only $25, you can receive the E-book version of 6 books. We suggest you download the e-books to a CD, so no matter what happens you will have a copy of the six books.

The AVKO Philosophy: The Why
The Teaching of Reading and Spelling: A Continuum from Kindergarten to College
It contains the whys and wherefores of the AVKO philosophy and method of teaching spelling, reading, handwriting, and keyboarding. A book for the parent/teacher, it not only gives the background on WHY but lets you begin to see that the flexibility of AVKO is why this method works so well for all ages and people with spelling and reading difficulties. It is a common sense, down-to-earth book on teaching all the parts of learning to communicate through the English language. As a supplementary textbook for Education Majors/parents/tutors/teachers, the learning to read process is defined, phonics in teaching reading and writing is discussed, an explanation of what part learning-to-write-letters-and-words has in the reading process, plus the spelling and reading connection information is given along with practical diagnostic and prescriptive tests. The second part – the “how” of this book is Starting at Square One.

The AVKO Philosophy: The How
Starting at Square One – for Kindergarten and 1st Graders
The only curriculum ever devised to teach reading, spelling, handwriting and keyboarding AS the students are learning the alphabet NOT after!
This 313 page book is filled with lesson plans for teaching a Kindergartener/1st graders the letters, the sounds they make, how to print the letter(s) that represents the sound(s), beginning keyboard lessons, and reading using only DECODABLE words.
The alphabet is not introduced going from A to Z. McCabe introduces the letters intelligently according to common sense by the first few a child might know by rote and then the next few are the most common letters used. So it goes A, B, C, D, then R, S, T. With just these first seven letters student can begin to learn words and sentence parts, like /a cab/, or /a dad/ or /a car/, /a card/, /a bad cab/, /a bad car/ as well as names like Barb, Barbara, Cara, Brad, Bart and words like add, brat, arc, crab, radar, cars, sad, bass, scads, crass and lots more. This text can also be used for an older student who has some gaps in letter-sound recognition, such as the sound made by x , qu, digraphs or certain consonant blends. AVKO suggests you make yourself familiar with the entire book before starting to teach.
When done with this book, they should be reading at a beginning second grade level, the student is now ready for Sequential Spelling 1.

For Readers at 2nd & Up Using ANY AVKO Spelling Program
The Patterns of English Spelling and
New Word Families in Sentence Context - 10 Volumes
Recently combined, these two books are now over 1600 pages. McCabe was not content with just the word families that fit cleanly into rimes, he also explains spelling oddities of w- and r- controlled clans, basic suffixes, -y families and their relatives, advanced suffixes, advanced patterns of /k/ spelled –qu, -ch, and /sh/ spelled –ch and other miscellaneous relatives, and even Greek and Latin prefixes, roots and suffixes. It contains EVERY word family in the English language and is a universal resource for the entire list of spelling and reading books AVKO produces

How to Use: (alphabetic index pgs 23-93)
Pages are numbered 101A, 101B, etc. A pages: Word Family& Power Words. B pages: Sentences
1. Find and review the ENTIRE word family you are studying. Sequential Spelling has a selected grouping of the word family, NOT every word; therefore this book allows you and students to review all word family words, not as spelling words, as vocabulary.
2. Power Words - listed on the same page, these can be used for developing multisyllabic pronunciation and comprehension.
Great Vocabulary Game: Go over the words and their meaning in the dictionary. Students write the word on one side of paper, on the other they draw the meaning of the word. Be sure the drawing expresses some feeling of the word meaning. Hang up drawings around schooling area. When you have five or more pix start a weekly game where you either show them the word and they have to tell the meaning of the word by describing the picture OR they look at the picture and tell what word it represents.
3. On the opposite (B) page, you will find sentences using the word family words in context. Divide into four sections. Use the sentences for dictation, typing, handwriting and reading comprehension practice. Each of these functions is an important learning tool and beneficial for mastery of higher education. (For additional practice go to Spelling city.com (free website) enter words and play games or use new sentence writing selection.

Use with 4th Grade and above - Check What They Know and What They Don’t
The Reading Teacher’s List of over 5,500 Basic Spelling Words
Parent/Teachers can create their own Sequential Spelling Tests based upon their own students' needs and difficulty levels. This book helps parent and teacher find students true reading level and can therefore be a wonderful tool for checking decoding and comprehension skills. It also contains the most recent National Spelling Survey results.

To Teach A Dyslexic
Don McCabe, the author of almost every book the AVKO Foundation sells, wrote his autobiography to help parents and teachers who are NOT dyslexic, better understand what their children who ARE dyslexic or learning disabled, may go through during their lives. He emphasizes the need for excellence in teacher training, and how he developed his own teaching strategies based on spelling patterns. Don is himself, dyslexic. He found ways of coping when learning and not only survived his own school days, but thrived as a teacher and Director of AVKO.