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Hi everyone! It's back to school time and I'm sure you're busy getting all your classrooms prepared and supplies organized. I work with students all year round, but I certainly use the BTS season to rethink some of my teaching strategies, purchase new materials and set a plan to help my kids in a way that works best for them.
As an Orton-Gillingham teacher, I use an Orton-Gillingham approach in my lessons. This means I create multisensory activities in everything I do with my dyslexic students. Think of a triangle when you picture multisensory instruction. Here is a visual I created with Jason from A Sketchy Guy to illustrate what is happening when we employ a multisensory approach or The Orton-Gillingham method. It involves saying, hearing and writing and/or touching all together, as much as possible.
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One of the multisensory tools I use during a lesson is a sand tray. This is a great tactile tool to use when introducing new phonograms. Children can trace it in the sand while the vocalize the name, the sound it makes and a key word. Recently, I had a student declare he HATED using the sand tray. He literally cringed at the idea when I took it out. I was a bit surprised because we used it all the time. Some kids just don't like the feel of sand on their fingers. It may stick to their skin or get under their fingernails. So today, I am sharing THREE alternatives to the sand tray that you are going to LOVE. Are you ready?
1. Use tactile sheets.These plastic canvas sheets are new to me. I just found out about them in my Orton-Gillingham Instructor's Group. It's a sheet of plastic canvas you can use for cross stitching or embroidery. You write a phonogram or in this case a sight word on a regular sheet of paper. I did mine in red down below. Slide the paper under the plastic canvas. Then your student will trace over the letters. It provides a nice bumpy surface for tactile feedback. This is my one of new FAVS! :)
2. Use gel bags.I picked up some Ziploc storage bags, a huge bottle of hair gel, and some glittery Duck tape. Fill the bag with all the hair gel. I taped the bag down onto a piece of white cardboard I had. Your student can trace with the TIP of their finger, not their nail for this one. Nails can puncture the gel bag and that equals a hot mess. ;) If you just want to use the glitter Duck tape instead of a gel bag, peel a long piece off and stick it to the bag of a composition notebook. It has a nice tactile surface, too!
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