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Teacher Appreciation Week - 2022

11 Tips for Teachers by Teachers on Teacher Appreciation Week

May 2, 2022

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5 mins

 

Teacher Appreciation Week is here! We'd prefer to celebrate teachers year-round. We’re just a bit more loud about it this week. These classroom leaders deserve special recognition. They are committed heroes who guide students to academic success through all the hurdles and celebrations that come with childhood education.

This year, we wanted to help make teachers' lives just a bit easier. So, we asked teachers: What's a sure-fire way to energize your classroom using Learning Without Tears products?

Assembled below is a curated list of strategies—by teachers, for teachers—featuring advice on proper grip technique, mastering crucial readiness skills using Mat Man, all of which you can use in your classroom throughout Teacher Appreciation Week!

1. Let Mat Man and the program do the heavy lifting

“Something that ALWAYS gets the classroom excited is MAT MAN! We learn about him in the beginning of the school year and sometimes you just need to hear that song and the class will freeze with excitement.  We make our own "mat self’s" and then the kiddos will use just about anything to recreate Mat Man!  
 
"Also, when describing the program to future students and parents I like to say, 'Handwriting Without Tears—no tears for them, no tears for me, and that means no tears for you!' It's always a win-win!”

2. Encourage students to explore their imaginations using a Wood Pieces Set

“My students love to play charades with the wooden letter building sticks and they love to create their favorite characters from them!”

3. Play the Mat Man song to reinforce learning with the hands-on materials. 

“I love building Mat Man with the song. The students get so excited and then in their play all sorts of Mat People emerge in creative ways from different materials. I also love the Flip Crayons. I use a pom pom as a "fuzzy friend" in their hand to help them with crayon grip.”

4. Allow for free play time using the Wood Pieces Set to support structured learning. 

“My teacher tip has to do with the wooden pieces. I recommend that kids are given plenty of time to play with the materials. Then, when it’s time to focus on building letters deliberately with the wooden pieces, they’ve already had a chance to explore them freely first. They’re more likely to focus and be engaged with the challenge of letter formation when they also had time to play with the pieces however they please.”  

5. Think outside of the box and adapt to individual student needs.

“I love using Mat Man and different shapes to teach Pre-K shapes as well as directions, and body scheme awareness. Sometimes when I start the song the little one that I am working with starts to yell but most all the time I get a smile. By the 3 or 4 times of playing Mat Man, the kids are able to draw a complete person with all parts in the correct space.”

There were also a ton of great tips from teachers in last year's Class Cash Contest. Here are some additional encouraging tips you can roll into your classroom routine.

6. Continue student learning outside of the classroom using at-home activities.

“I love using Mat Man and different shapes to teach Pre-K shapes as well as directions, and body scheme awareness. Sometimes when I start the song the little one that I am working with starts to yell but most all the time I get a smile. By the 3 or 4 times of playing Mat Man, the kids are able to draw a complete person with all parts in the correct space.”

7. Showcase your favorite hands-on materials for families to experience.

“I display Mat Man and wooden pieces (big and small line and big and small curves) during open house, so parents and families can  see and experience what their child will be learning in the classroom.”

8. Curate a consistent learning environment with supportive curriculum visuals.

“Visuals of proper letter formations everywhere help students feel safe and comfortable with trying letters they have not yet mastered. This leads to amazing success.”

9. Use My First School Book to get students engaged.

“I am a developmental skills teacher. Many of the Learning Without Tears products are perfect for my students’ learning levels. I especially enjoy having a green My First School Book for each of my students who are just learning how to hold a pencil. The pictures are engaging and the simple lessons just right!”

10. Implement unique, inclusive activities that all students can participate in.

“Do you have more students in your class than pieces of Mat Man? I have a fun solution, when handing out the different pieces of Mat Man, add in a little pompom to be the ‘belly button’. Once the Mat Man song has ended, all the kids sing to add in our last part, ‘Mat Man has one belly button, one belly button, one belly button, Mat Man has one belly button - so that he can be tickled!’ and the student with the pom pom places it on the body and the rest of the students tickle their belly buttons and giggle. :) My students loooove it! and it's a great way to include everyone.”

11. Schedule curriculum to fit your instructional plans.

“My First School Book (green book) handwriting routine. I do one letter a week (LOW) beginning with L and using play doh to roll the big lines and little lines and place on letter cards. Tuesday, we use magnet boards with big lines and little lines then writing tool. Wednesday, we use a bilateral glue and place activity with themed cut outs of tag board or heavy weight paper to make the letter using copies of the wood pieces card.”

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