On This Day and Every Day

This Day and Every Day

Have you read Psalm 118 lately? It’s a fantastic one for gratitude and month we’re thanksgiving is on our minds. But, it’s also great for any day.

And that’s one thing we can learn from Psalm 118.

We have some pretty strong reasons to be grateful this day and every day. To pray. To praise. To love.

Join me at Do Not Depart and read about Psalm 118, particularly verses 22-25. Take a look at all the posts this month to follow the whole study on Psalm 118.

On This Day and Every Day

3 Ways to Motivate Handwriting Practice - plus tips for special needs and a review {undergodsmightyhand.com}

3 Ways to Motivate Handwriting Practice

My son has special needs and seems to understand that he has difficulty with prewriting and handwriting skills. He can actually complete many activities his occupational therapist and I give him, but motivating him to practice for any length of time takes some creativity.

Here are three ways we’ve found to increase interest.

3 Ways to Motivate Handwriting Practice - plus tips for special needs and a review {undergodsmightyhand.com}

3 Ways to Increase Interest in Handwriting Practice

  1. Provide scaffolding. Offer a few ways to guide handwriting practice rather than just copying. You can draw the shape or letter first, then have your child go over your marking with a highlighter or marker. You can also draw bubble letters to provide a “box” for your child to write within. (See this post at I Can Teach My Child for other scaffolding ideas.)
  2. Integrate sensory options. My son is a sensory seeker and needs almost constant deep sensory input. Having your child draw (with a finger or with an implement) in sand, shaving cream, oobleck, etc. can increase interest. You can even write the letters/shapes on fine sandpaper or another textured surface and allow your child to trace it with a finger. The caution here: Sometimes the sensory method becomes too enticing and he can’t focus on writing! We have to balance this, which is really just trial-and-error so far for us.
  3. Use specific tools to change the writing surface. Through tablets, we have access to so many amazing writing and prewriting apps. My son loves several of those and thrives using them. However, he also knows what else sits on an iPad desktop (more games!), and that can be a bit distracting for him at times.

We were recently introduced to the Boogie Board LCD eWriter.

Review of the Boogie Board eWriter, plus tips for increasing interest in handwriting practice

This tablet-sized device is solely an LCD screen with a stylus. It’s easy to hold, thinner than most tablets, and feels very smooth to write on. You easily jot any note down, then erase it with a simple push of the button at the top of the device.

Most importantly for our situation: my son loves writing on this device.

How We Use the Boogie Board LCD eWriter for Handwriting Practice

  • Tracing – I write the letter or shape first, then my son traces over it. (My youngest practices, too!)
    Review of the Boogie Board eWriter, plus tips for increasing interest in handwriting practice
  • Copying – I first draw a model of the letter or shape, then my son draws one beside my model.
  • Connect-the-dots – I draw a simple connect-the-dot image, number the dots, then my son does the connecting—and practices different line directions at the same time!
  • Smiley faces – My son’s occupational therapist helped him draw a smiley face (“circle, dot, dot, smile”) with arms and legs and a simple body. She first drew with him using hand-over-hand assistance, then had him complete certain parts on his own in subsequent trials.
  • Mazes – I create simple mazes that change direction, add curves, and more. So far, he loves these the most out of any other writing exercises.

Review of the Boogie Board eWriter, plus tips for increasing interest in handwriting practice

We generally just practice for 5-15 minutes each time. I’m aiming for 3 times a week or more with this device right now. We also allow him to have freewriting time before and after each mini-session. He mainly just scribbles (and erases repeatedly), but he allows us to position the stylus correctly, so he’s still getting practice controlling a writing implement!

Review of the Boogie Board eWriter, plus tips for increasing interest in handwriting practice

A few considerations:

It’s marketed as an environmentally friendly-alternative to taking notes on paper, but with just an 8.5-inch screen and no way to save the notes, I’m not sure how practical it is for general/daily adult use. However, as evidenced above, this device has great potential for special needs populations, schools, and therapists. My son’s occupational therapist says she could see many therapists using this as an alternative to a tablet device. My husband (a public school teacher) says he’d love a class set of these to use for group work, silent class-wide answers, and in-class practice. (Although he did say they’d need to be twice the size and half the price.)

For us, this device offers enough screen-like input to interest my son to write, but without the extra distractions of a tablet. We’re glad to have it for handwriting practice!

We’re going to use this device during December when we use our Grapevine Studies packet for study on the Christmas story. We love the “Birth of Jesus” traceables for our preschoolers, and we can use the Boogie Board to motivate my son to do the tracing and perhaps even freehand drawing of the story figures. (This particular study from Grapevine is 20% off from now until December 15th!)

How do you motivate your beginning writer or child with special needs to practice handwriting?

Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of the Boogie Board LCD eWriter from Stone’s Education in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I only share what I believe to be helpful or useful.

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I am an affiliate for Grapevine Studies. If you click on a Grapevine Studies link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-UpHomeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten Corner, In Lieu of Preschool’s Tuesday Tots, UpsideDown Homeschooling’s Hearts for Home linkup, and the Weekly Kids Co-op, Show and Share Saturday, and .

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A birthday campaign for TWLOHA

How Words Can Help (and One Way You Can Help)

I’ve been thinking about the value of words. And the effect of words.

Words can be empty.

Words can be false.

But, honestly, even empty and false words can be hurtful.

So if words can hurt, can words truly help?

Yes.

Words have the power to encourage, to share love, to offer hope.

Words (read or heard) can cause a physical reaction – be it fear, anxiety, sorrow, hope, love, joy, blessing.

But words also help because they spur action. (Why else would motivational speakers and inspirational words have jobs?)

Want to learn to work after dreams that make a difference? Read Jon Acuff’s words. And then hustle.

Want to be inspired to explore your art and see the world with a slightly different perspective? Read Emily Freeman’s words. And then dream.

Want to be motivated to change your parenting for the better? Read Rachel Macy Stafford’s words. (And listen to your own children’s words!) And then change.

Want to remember that life is for loving and living? Listen to Switchfoot’s lyrics. And then love.

Words matter.

(Which is one reason I keep writing.)

Last month, the world learned and talked about suicide prevention with World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th).

To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is an organization that works to “present hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” They share words, amazing words like this. (<– Seriously. Read that.) But they also act in various capacities. (Read more on their vision page.)

TWLOHA amazes me. My husband and I are both regularly in awe of their hearts, their words, and their actions. We shared in our community, families, and work about TWLOHA’s message of “no one else can play your part.” That message is still lingering and working in our lives.

A birthday campaign for TWLOHA

Birthdays always make me feel grateful (because isn’t it a gift to celebrate another year?), and gratitude easily overflows.

One of my favorite ways to celebrate is support a favorite cause. (I have more “stuff” than I need, so why not put the day and the money to better use?) For my birthday this year, I’m raising funds for TWLOHA.

Please consider visiting my campaign page and donating to support TWLOHA and their amazing mission. Any and every bit helps. Thank you. (Read this page to find out how your donation helps.)

And, please, remember. Both your words and your actions matter. No one else can play your part.

“The soothing tongue is a tree of life…” – Proverbs 15:4

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24

If you donated, THANK YOU. I know TWLOHA will use that money well and lovingly. How have you seen in your life that words do indeed matter?

The Greatest High Priest

What is a High Priest?

When you read Hebrews 4:15:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

What do you think of the term “high priest?” Do you read over it with minimal thought? (I have. “High priest,” the greatest one. Cool.)

When I studied it for my Do Not Depart post up today, what I read helped me consider the historical weight of that position and what differs about Christ in that position.

The Greatest High Priest

Join me today at Do Not Depart to learn about why He was the Greatest High Priest, how that shapes how we learn about Him, and what that means to His followers.

What do you think of when you read about Christ as High Priest? Share in the comments at Do Not Depart!

Cybils awards!

Nominate Your Favorite Book!

The Cybils awards are the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards. Bloggers from various avenues take your nominations and choose winners in different categories of children’s literature.

Cybils awards!

I’m honored to be a Round 1 panelist for the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. That means I read a lot of books (that you nominate) between now and the end of the year and help provide a shortlist to the Round 2 judges who choose the final winners.

You nominate. We read. And winners are listed!

Today is the last day to nominate your favorite children’s books. Want to see what’s already nominated? Read here. Then go here to nominate your favorite (that isn’t already nominated). You can nominate one book per category.

But, you only have today left to submit your nominations! Share your favorites and stay tuned at the Cybils site to see what’s chosen.

Did you nominate a book? Which category?