Fine Motor Activity-Water Beads

Water Bead Transfer: Fine Motor Activity

Materials Needed:

  • Handy Scooper, spoons, large tweezers etc.
  • Multiple bins cups or containers for scooping
  • Water beads (follow directions on the bag)


Water Beads or “orbits” as I have heard them called are small, spherical, jelly-like beads which have endless uses in the early childhood classroom. I came across water beads when I was working with students with autism. I put the water beads into plastic bottles which I called “sensory bottles” for students to look at, shake, and watch as the beads move around in the bottle. Students marveled at the way the orbies danced around the plastic bottle.

I wanted to show a fine motor activity you can do in class if you are fairly certain your students will not put the orbies in their mouth. They are very colorful and look like candy so be careful with students who tend to “mouth” objects…



  • If you have time allow students to “make” the water beads. They start as very small balls and over time 6-10 hours absorbed the water and can become large. Allowing students to be part of this process can encourage them to follow directions, learn to wait and watch the slowly growing and seemingly magic process of the water beads puff up.
  • Once you have the water beads at the size you would like them, (the longer you keep them in the water the bigger they get). Find a container to store them in. A container with a lid will help them stay the same size for weeks.
  • Provide multiple scooping items for students to use to scoop and transfer the beads from one container to the next. Provide multiple cups, containers and bowls for transferring the water beads.
  • Once students become more adept at using the handy scoopers have them sort the beads into containers based on color.
  • Encourage students to touch the beads with their hands as an added sensory experience. Many students instinctually want to crush or squeeze them with their fingers and the bouncing effect makes any student want to throw them across the room.

This activity is considered a fine motor activity because it encourages students to use their hands or a tool such as the handy scooper to transfer water beads from one container to another. This activity builds hand strength and coordination and is simply a lot of fun!

Here are some links where you can get water beads and handy scoopers:

Handy Scoopers:

Water Beads:



Library Day-Treasure Hunt

The story is about a young boy who visits a library and learns about all of the fun and unique things he can do at the library. This is a recent book from Anne Rockwell (2016) and Lizzy Rockwell the illustrator, embeds some of Anne’s older books in the illustrations. After reading Library Day by Anne Rockwell, visit your public library and complete the “treasure hunt” and see if you can find the following items/areas of your library. Continue reading

My ABC Book-Letter Identification

Ages: Preschool-Kindergarten

Materials Needed:

  • Spiral bound composition book with blank pages
  • Child size scissors
  • Magazines
  • Marker

Skills Addressed:

  • Initial Letter identification
  • Fine Motor Skills: Cutting & Gluing

A great way to start letter identification is by making this ABC book with your child or students. Spend time together looking through magazines or catalogs. When you see a picture that catches your eye, ask your child to identify the picture. Ask him or her “what letter does it start with?” Continue reading

Inclusion: Children with Autism and the Playground

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Mainstream Playground

When we think about inclusion, we typically think about the classroom setting. For many students with autism, social skills are a known area of deficit and an area for IEP teams to write goals and objectives. In the article, Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Mainstream Playground, the authors do a nice job detailing the value of the playground as an important area for inclusion. With schools placing an increased importance on academic instruction and minimizing the importance of play, early childhood practices need to advocate for the importance of playground time, especially for students with ASD.

Physical Improvements: Students with autism typically have slower motor development compared to their typically developing peers. Continue reading

Goodness of Fit-Teaching

“The match between a teacher candidate’s personal attributes, values, and dispositions and the demands of teaching.”

-Dr. Koch


Many of us remember when we were children and played school with our siblings and friends.  We imitated our teachers and early classroom experiences hopeful that one day we could be the teacher standing in front of the class. Others don’t know until much later that their personality, interests and passions line up well with the profession of teaching. Regardless of the starting point, let’s look at what makes a person destined to become a teacher? When we talk about “goodness of fit” what qualities do we possess that match the demands of teaching?


At my kindergarten parent teacher conference, my teacher told my mother that I have been a good “teacher” to my twin brother who needed extra support at a young age Continue reading

Professionalism in Teaching: Cell Phone Use

As a teacher, one of my biggest pet peeves is when my staff would text on their cell phones while the students were present. I was perpetually the “bad guy” asking them to please not text while the students were present. The time the students are with us remains, and will always be, the students’ time and never our personal time. Many of our students come to us with so much need, requiring all of our attention and focus; maintaining a safe classroom, facilitating play, working on their IEP goals and objectives and teaching them. There is simply no time for texting during the school day. There are some schools that have a no-cell phone policy for staff such as Head Start classrooms. The staff’s cell phone must be put away during the school day and if they are seen using the cell phone, disciplinary action may be taken. Besides not texting here are some guidelines pertaining to cell phone use by teachers and staff in schools: Continue reading

ADHD Support Strategies for Teachers

I wrote up a few strategies that have worked for me when teaching students who have ADHD. Check first to see if the student has an IEP or a 504 plan. If they have either of these plans, the accommodations may already be in place in which case it’s the teacher’s legal obligation to follow through on the plan. ADHD is not one of the 13 categories of disability under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Students with ADHD might be eligible under “Other Health Impaired” for special education services.

If you are a student teacher, check with your collaborating teacher before trying any new strategies.  It’s important to take data to see if the support strategy is effective. The information you collect can be given to the behavior support teacher and collaborating teacher to help modify how you are supporting the student. Remember if a strategy is NOT working over a period of time (for example, repeated verbal redirection), take data to support that it is not working and try something new.  Students who hear too many negatives and commands may eventually refuse to cooperate. Remain positive and supportive, and focus on progress (however small). Continue reading