Kwik Stix continue to be one of my most favorite supplies I have in my classroom. I think I am currently hoarding 6 to 7 brand new boxes of Kwik Stix in my supply closet!! I just love how versatile they are and because they come in 3 different “flavors”; classic colors, neon, and metallic, there is always a project we can use them on!
Enter the beginning of Kindergarten this year…we needed a way to decorate our letter D as we worked our way through the letters of the alphabet. Kwik Stix to the rescue! The paint surface inside was the perfect thing to help us make dots! Lots and lots of dots to decorate our D’s! We also used them to make zig-zags on our Z’s, squiggles on our S’s, and lines on our L’s! Sadly, I forgot to snap pictures of all those experiences. 😦
This was the PERFECT opportunity to introduce my students to Kwik Stix and how we use them.
Each student took a Kwik Stix and we practiced how to gently twist the bottom up to raise the paint up so they could use more. We also took the time to learn how to twist the paint back down so that we didn’t have any smooshed into the lids that would later bring us sadness. 🙂
Many times if we are all using our Kwik Stix for a project (such as in this case), I will pull the entire plastic case out of the box and leave one set on each table for my students to use. They will have access to a variety of colors that way, (learn to share!), and can easily get another color they need.
We also talked about where to put the caps! This is a perpetual problem we have and to solve this problem, we corral our Kwik Stix in an empty deli food container. Each time a student uses a new Kwik Stix, they place the cap in the container so they don’t lose it (and it can’t roll away)! I also save the caps anytime we have a Kwik Stix that runs out of paint. That way if we really can’t find the cap, we can look to the box of extra caps and find one that we can replace it with.
My students have access to Kwik Stix everyday during our free play time and they will always choose them over traditional paint and markers. 🙂 They get super excited that they can paint and that their paintings will be dry in less than 2 minutes so they can take them home on the same day!
I love that the short chubby size fits my Kindergarten students hands perfectly and that we don’t have to leave stacks of papers around the room to dry overnight! Right after my students are done, they just pop their papers into their mailboxes and go on with their next task–while their paper takes a few more seconds to dry. 🙂
Stay tuned for another way to use Kwik Stix next month–this one is going to be super cute and perfect for fall holidays!
I’ve got a few beginning of year ideas to share with you today using some super scissors (and punches)!. My friends at Fiskars sent me some of their cutting products so that I could share how I use them to get ready at the beginning of the year and to help my students beef up their fine motor skills!
First up, these Preschool Training Scissors are the most fabulous beginner scissors! I love using these scissors with my students who have little to no previous experience with scissors before they come to my classroom. We use them to cut modeling clay or dough. This helps my students “sharpen” up their cutting skills. The dough provides just enough resistance that they begin to understand the open and closing motion of scissor cutting. The Preschool Training Scissors also have a nifty arrow located on the side of the handles that let you convert the scissors to regular scissors when your students are ready for that. Between the arrow on the side of the scissors that provides resistance and the dough, my students quickly develop their cutting skills (and have some fun cutting those dough snakes into smaller pieces)!
Next, to help us practice fine motor skills, we used the Paper Edgers. My students love that these scissors can cut fun edges on their papers! I give my students scraps of construction paper and card stock to cut up. They love cutting the paper into little bits and using those little bits to create designs on their paper.
I also place scraps of paper into a clear bin and let them snip at the paper as one of our center choices. They love trying to cut the paper into small pieces and they don’t know that they are developing their fine motor skills at the same time. We also bring out the Paper Edgers out anytime we need to make thank-you cards to give the sides and edges a fancy trim! There are 6 different Paper Edgers included in this set and there is a design available for almost any need. My own boys love the Mini-Pinking and Lightning pairs of scissors to make teeth on all their monster creations!
Finally, as a way to help organize myself, I make several sets of name and picture cards. I use my 3XL Square Lever Punch and some card stock. I measured out from the first opening in the punch out 3 inches and drew a line. I then insert the card stock (that I cut to 2 and 1/8 inches wide) and bring it to the line and punch. Then, its just as easy as punching and cutting a whole class set! I then take a picture of each of my students and cut those out with the punch as well and glue them onto the bottom of the card. I then write each student’s name at the top of the card and surround it by a dashed border.
I laminate 4 sets of these cards and use them for lots of different reasons in my classroom. I use one set for bathroom cards. I attach magnets to the back and my students place them on an aluminum board when they leave the room to use the restroom. I use two sets to help my students rotate through our literacy and math stations/tubs. I have one set of cards on blue card stock and one set on green card stock. I have each student paired with another and I keep them side by side in a pocket chart. I move each set of partnered cards down to the next station/tub each day so the students can complete new activities.
The last set goes in the “pick-me deck”. I keep this deck on my table in the front of the room and use it to help me choose students to complete different tasks. Sometimes I use the deck to choose who is next when we are playing a game on our whiteboard, I sometimes use them to choose partner pairs for games we are playing, and I sometimes use them to help me keep track of who I’ve already called on to answer a question and who I still need to call. This deck is also handy for guest teachers. They can easily call on a student and see their picture next to their name. It helps them to know who is who by their name and face.
I hope you’ve gotten some ideas you can use to help your students develop their fine motor skills and to help you get organized for the upcoming school year! What are your favorite Fiskars products? They are my favorite brand of scissors both at home and at school!
Thanks to my friends at Fiskars for providing me with all the goodies! All opinions expressed in this post are my own.
Do you know about these AMAZING bowls from IKEA? They are from the KALAS collection and are currently $2.49 for a 6 pack–which is a great deal! I may or may not own 10 sets of these bowls. 🙂
I use these bowls for everything in my classroom! I use them to sort out math materials, prepare materials for group work, and use them to organize materials in work tubs.
They are terrific for quickly passing out materials! Our new math adoption has lots of games that my students play and having these bowls helps me to prepare them the day before. I have enough bowls that we can all use one set individually and still have another set leftover. I might be a tiny bit obsessed with these. 🙂
There’s also a set of plates and cups that are in the same line (along with silverware!) and I have class sets of those too:
We used the plates as trash plates when we were doing activities that had lots of little scraps to throw away. The children can just put their scraps on the plate and empty it when they are done.
You can see how we use the cups to store our crayons. They are very easy to transport when we want to work in our science notebooks or for writer’s workshop.
They are a GREAT organizational tool for any classroom! And, I love that after we use them, I can bring them home and put them in the dishwasher to clean them and take them right back to school. 🙂