Friday, June 15, 2012

Fine Motor and Fine Arts, Part 18

Today FINE Motor really will lead to FINE Arts!

photo of: Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts (continuing series) Part 18

Welcome or Welcome BACK!!! 
This is the 18th installment in my on-going series. 
Let's get started with some fun-time workout for those fingers! I LUV making my Author-Illustrator School Visits. These next fine-fingers are those of kindergarten students in Westerville, OH. At the end of our time together, after I'd shared my songs + books -- their day was nearly finished. In the twenty minutes before the buses arrived this is what their room turned into: 

photo of: Fine Motor Maze Game

It was a genuine bee hive of activity through out the room, as the children went and selected their favorite fine motor fun. I had never seen these next 'games' which Mrs. Rose told me are in the Lakeshore catalog of goodies. Bones to feed a doggie, carrots for the rabbit and bananas for the monkey. WOW! Three stars to Lakeshore. The kids were having a ball with these perfect child-sized tongs.... all the while working those muscles.

photo of: Fine Motor Skill Development in Kindergarten with Tongs

photo of: Fine Motor Skill Development with Pegs on Pegboard, Creating an AB pattern in Kindergarten

photo of: Toys that Develop Fine Motor Muscles

photo of: Group Cooperation in Kindergarten

photo of: Using Lego Building Blocks to develop Fine Motor Skills

It was all I could do to get around the room fast enough to get the photos snapped. Just as quickly as my camera could click: Legos, gears, monkey-eating-bananas, pegs into classic AB patterns, those colorful tube gizzmos! The kids were having a ball with all of the choices, all of the color, all of the fun of building, all of the possibilities. 

Then right there in the middle of Lego-land I saw it!!! I nearly laughed out loud. I know that I'm easily entertained, but seriously. There it was. The proof in the pudding. "Old school" tennis shoes with shoe strings!! ANTIQUES!!!

photo of: Tying Shoes: Art of Fine Motor Development

In this day and age of 'VELCRO' fastened shoes, the concept of learning to 
tie-your-own-shoes is no longer the kindergarten rite-of-passage that it once was. In my travels and presentations at conferences around the country, I hear over and over again that with all of the expectations brought on by 'testing' that there's just not enough 'time' in the school day to work on such old-school classics as handwriting skill development. 

Many schools are no longer even teaching cursive writing -- because its not 'required' in the Common Core of standards, because there's no time. Because. Like the rotary phone. Gone. Seems to me to be a variation on:
  • why teach spelling words when we have spell check? 
  • who needs to know their multiplication facts if we have calculators? 
  • what is the purpose of being able to 'write' out letters, forming them by hand, if we have keyboards? 
What I know for certain as an author-illustrator, is that I need to be able to convey my ideas through my craft, through my Art. I use my hands. I need my fingers. I am of the generation that needed to know how to tie my own shoes. In that effort my hands developed skills that translated to my own professional work decades later. How do we get children from here to there?

Preschool Drawing of Happy Face Smile with Tissue Paper Embellishments

photo of: Kindergarten Drawing Practice, Coloring with Magic Markers

photo of: Kindergarten Child's Drawings for ABC Book

This young author-illustrator above has all the makings of an ABC book worthy of posterity. Those ideas are being conveyed to share. They can be developed for future story telling efforts on down the road. From simple line drawings in preschool to more developed thought in kindergarten -- these ideas literally transform before my very eyes as I travel room to room!!

photo of: Child's Drawing of a Flamingo, Fine Motor Skill Development in Children

When Zaner-Bloser, the landmark company on handwriting -- with over 100 years of focus on the subject, commissioned me to create songs to support fine motor development, they knew that there was change in the air. They were well aware of the debate raging over the relative 'value' of handwriting in the educational landscape. I would be the one brought along to the discussion. 

Here's one of my favorite 'pin' finds of this last week. When you have time, follow the pin to a link that leads to an article written by an occupational therapist on this very subject. It takes you on further to the NY Times article and findings connecting the 'act' of writing to the 'quality' of what's written. So I'll stay on my bandwagon.

While I continue marching in the fine-motor-parade I'll continue to seek out the best practice that I see during my author-visits. My hope is to offer you insight into what's happening around the country as you come to your own conclusions for what is best for the children you care about most. 

photo of: "Write Around the Room" Wipe-off boards for use in Kindergarten

Back to my friends in Westerville. I have been in their building for nearly a decade, returning each spring during their final wrap up of the school year. We are a great team, the teachers and moi!! They have prepared the students in anticipation of my visit, by familiarizing them with my work. I created the illustrations for my first picture book 'by hand' as small quilts. The students have created their own work in response to mine. LUV it!! LUV LUV LUV it!!

photo of: "Our Wonderful Quilt" Kindergarten Art Response to Debbie Clement's book "You're Wonderful"

photo of: Debbie Clement makes Kindergarten Classroom Author-Illustrator School Visit

Here are the amazing quilt pieces they've constructed. Think Art. Think Geometry. Think Color. Think Shape. Think Design. VOILA!!

photo of: Kindergarten Geometric Art Response to Debbie Clement's Author Illustrator School Visit

Quilted Kindergarten Creations in response to Debbie Clement's picture book "You're Wonderful"

photo of: Kindergarten Group Collaborative Art Project using Quilt Squares in Preparation for Author Illustrator School Visit

photo of: Kindergarten Art Project combines Math and Art into one Cooperative Mural

photo of: Kindergarten Bulletin Board Group Collaboration in Preparation of Author-Illustrator School Visit with Debbie Clement

In my mind its a good thing that these five-turning-six year olds have the fine motor materials they have at their disposal. Their hard work and craftsmanship is evident in their quilt pieces. YEAH Kindergarten!!! 

photo of: Fine Motor Extravaganza in Kindergarten, Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts

-- Debbie --
The first 17 editions of this series are in the link: Fine Motor Friday. 

As always you can visit my website for access to my materials. 
Use the promo code: GREAT to receive 10% off your order. 

photo of: "Debbie's Ditties 6: The Handwriting Mix" CD of songs by Debbie Clement


  1. Hi! I am your newest follower. I would love to have you stop by mine when you get a chance.


    1. Thanks so much April!!! I'm excited with each new follower. I'll come right over and see what's happenin' at the Wolfe camp.


  2. Sometimes people take their blessings for granted. I believe that we need to start counting our blessings, and this independent study project will allow people to realize that there is a whole world out there that needs their help.


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Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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