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Teaching Tips

Frequently Asked Questions from Learning Without Tears Workshops

June 3, 2020

by: Mark Putney

1 minute


As a National Presenter for Learning Without Tears, I’ve traveled across the country teaching teachers, occupational therapists, administrators, etc., all about our products. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions that have come up throughout the trainings.

Q: Does it matter that my Pre-K student just can’t hold the pencil the correct way?

A: Our program, Get Set For School, does a wonderful job at giving teachers many different opportunities for students to hold their writing utensil the correct way, either in a tripod grip or a quadrapod grip. Keep in mind that some of our Pre-K learners’ hands are very tiny, and might have difficulty grasping them with the tripod grip right away. My suggestion is to keep doing all of the activities that are taught (musically led, small group, whole group) to give them many chances to be successful at holding their writing utensil the correct way at such a developmental age.

For more grip tips, check out this blog post from my fellow presenter, Katrina Erikson.

Q: Do I have to sing and play ALL of the songs in the program?

A: Our programs, whether it be Get Set For School or Handwriting Without Tears, know that research that our brains do well when learning “jingles” or “songs” to help us learn tasks in many different areas (not just handwriting). While you might not feel comfortable actually singing the songs that are in our programs, you will find that the students will gravitate to them and want you to play them more (sometimes over and over) because it helps them feel comfortable with a task that otherwise might be difficult for them. Who knows, you might even develop that “voice” after playing them a few times, and your students might not even realize that you were hesitant in the first place!

Q: I don’t have enough time to fit this program in. How do I justify the 15 or 20 minutes that you suggest that I teach these skills?

A: When you see the benefits of teaching these skills over a period of time, you will see that not only will the students become more proficient at handwriting, you will actually be saving time in the long run when teaching other subjects! The students will be more comfortable at taking notes in English, Social Studies, and any of the other core subjects, and won’t be behind because of their lack of handwriting skills. Plus, you will find that they are smiling more, because they will have had success, not only in handwriting, but in other core areas. And you know what that means...more time to play!

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