Thursday, June 30, 2016

Is it just me?!

Please tell me it isn't just me.  I love summer.  Time for projects of all kinds - fixing things, painting things, organizing ALL the things.  I finally have time to go buy the supplies I need or get the missing pieces for all of my half done {or only imagined thus far} projects.  I love it!  I feel like a free woman.

My husband, not so much.

This is basically me in July when I realize I've spent more in the past 3 weeks than in the past 5 months...minus school supplies.

And now I'm being watched.  Woopsie!  That's really all I have today.  I just need some emotional support.  ;)  Remember to pin from the previous post to win 1 of 2 free giveaways!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Pencil Grips & Paint Sticks {Giveaway}

{pin this pic to win 3 Step Training Kit}
When The Pencil Grip, Inc. contacted me about doing a review on pencil grips, I was like "Really?  Pencil grips?" because either you need one or you don't, right?  Or we'd buy them from the school store just so we could trade colors or collect the little rubbery ones with glitter in them.  Apparently, no.  The fact that I'm just learning this is a little embarrassing {please don't tell my OT!} but when you think about it, it makes sense.  The pencil grip is just like any other teaching modification...use it as support when needed, then slowly back it off until it isn't necessary anymore.

Lightbulb moment, you guys.  Big time.  Pass the sunglasses.
The Pencil Grip, Inc. offers multiple grips that offer different amounts of support.  In my classroom, we worked from the 3 Step Training Kit, which is what I will review for you here.  There is also a Jumbo Grip, which offers support up to the 2nd knuckle, a writing C.L.A.W. which actually gives each finger a specific pocket to fit into and those classic triangle grips we remember from school.  Okay, plus also an assortment of funky, colorful grips in case you {I meanyour students} want to do a little trading on the playground.

The nice part about the 3 Step Training Kit is that if you know a child's grip isn't correct but you have no idea how to go about fixing it, you can work through each grip and see which has the best results for each individual student.  You'd start with the green one on the left, the Crossover Grip. The wings on the sides keep the student's fingers from crossing over one another.  This is an easy one to figure out by watching your students write.  If their fingers lay on top of each other, this is the grip for them.  Next you would move to the red one, the Pinch Grip, which helps stabilize that tripod grasp.  This is one I can see using a lot in my classroom for students who need just a little bit of structure in knowing where to place their fingers.  It gives them freedom in writing with just a little bit of support.  The final grip is the blue one on the right, the Pencil Grip.  This is another one I can seeing using frequently in the classroom because it still provides a little bit of control assistance but basically just makes writing more comfortable for all students.  Maybe it would be an incentive for your students who just don't like to write or need help with stamina.

The only warning I'll give is to pay attention the R and L marked on the grips.  I had a hard time knowing what meant at first...does it mean for right and left handed kids?  Does it mean put that on the right or left side of the pencil?  I had to check the website to find the answer but I did see the markings are actually helpful, once you know what it means.  If your student is a righty, they put their thumb on the R.  If the student is a lefty, they put their thumb on the L.  Easy peasy.  And awesome that the same grips can be used for all students.

You guys.  They also sent me a new product called Kwik Stix.  Order them now.  If you like crafts, order them now.  If you hate crafts, order them now.  They are so easy & clean {it's paint?!} & nice.  Order them now.
My first use was to trace my students' hands on a clipboard for one of the teacher assistants who helped cover me when I need to "go to a meeting" or "call a parent" {ie. pump for the baby in the library closet} twice a day.  I traced their hands, any residue came off with a simple paper towel wipe, and they were done!  I threw it in an organizer bag with a thank you note & a school mascot {make it personal} and they worked great.  I knew it was a nice product.  But I wanted to really test it out.
Enter the 2 year old.  :)  One morning when she lost her TV privilege, er...she was bored...I decided to get the Kwik Stix out and see what mess she could make with them.  She loves to color, paint, whatever and is obsessed with tracing her hand on things so if nothing else, I figured I could get some kind of Father's Day card of it.  Immediately I was impressed with how well they glided and moved smoothly on the construction paper.

She was able to pull the lids off with minimal struggle and switch out her colors easily.  I noticed that the colors kind of layer on top of each other, so you don't end up with an entirely brown paper which is nice for those students who like to paint where they already painted and then paint another color on top of that again.  We did a little color mixing experiment and blended a few together.  There could be a really cool art lesson on primary and secondary colors in there!  The Kwik Stix did get a bit of the other color on them but after a few marks on the paper, they were clean.
The most amazing thing is how UNMESSY these things are!  Even when she really went to town and colored over and over the same place, it never created a really wet spot or puddle.  The box says it's dry in 90 seconds but for the most part it's dry much quicker than that.  She freely flipped her paper back and forth to paint on both sides and we only had one little spot on her placemat where it was really layered on.

You'll notice that when I turned my back to check on the baby, she decided to paint her hand and see if she could make handprints on her own.  You know, since 2 year olds with paint in their control have little to no patience for waiting on help.  ;)  She did make some prints & the clean up was still super easy.  I took a baby wipe to her and it was done!  Super easy clean up.  Super. Easy.

So...who wants to try it next?!  The Pencil Grip Inc. has agreed to give away BOTH products, the 3 Step Training Kit of grips and a set of Kwik Stix.  Just pin one of the pictures on this post that say "pin this pic to win..." and leave the link to your Pinterest board in a comment on this post.  Sharing is caring.  That's it!  :)  If you don't have Pinterest, you can share it on your blog or website instead.  Still leave the link.  And then seriously...get on Pinterest.  It is a game changer.

I'll choose 2 winners on July 9th: 1 who pinned the pencil grips & 1 who pinned the Kwik Stix.  Yes, you're welcome to pin & enter for both.  ;)
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