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Tuesday 28 April 2015

Learn with your Craft Stash - Clothespins

Today I am linking up with Kim over at Life Over C's to highlight different ways to use regular craft supplies to enhance learning.  This is going to be a 21-day event covering many different craft materials you might have stashed at your home or classroom. I will not be blogging for each of the 21 days, but I will be linking up with her several times throughout the month. Each blog post will feature a different craft item. You don't want to miss a day, so make sure to click on the image to hop on over to all the action.

Today is all about learning with clothespins. Clothespins are not just for working on fine motor skills and building hand strength.  You can also use them for lots of different learning activities and easily target multiple learning skills.

I use clothespins for teaching a variety of skills in my classroom.  I love that they can be used with students across abilities for a wide range of learning activities.  I think I should mention that before I introduce learning activities to my students using clothespins, I make sure that they know how to open the clothespins and can clip them onto card stock, popsicle sticks, craft foam, etc.  I have seen many of my students try to attach the clothespin to the material presented using the end that doesn't open and get frustrated because it doesn't attach.  So, before using clothespins with your students, make sure they have enough fine motor coordination and hand strength to open them and know which end to squeeze.

Once, I know a student can use a clothespin to attach it to different materials, I will use them for a variety of different learning activities, beginning with matching tasks.

These were quick and easy to make using large craft sticks, stickers, wash tape and of course, clothespins!  I made these to target matching colours, letters and numbers, but you could  also use the same materials to make matching tasks for shapes, upper to lowercase letters and counting.

In the craft section of my local dollar store, they had clothespins in different sizes and colours.  These are perfect for making learning activities that focus on sorting by size and colour.

Another way that I use clothespins is to create count and clip cards.  Students count the pictures on the card and clip a clothespin to the correct answer.  I made these for our spring unit, which you can download for free by clicking on the picture.

One final way that I use clothespins in my classroom is to teach addition and subtraction.  These are difficult concepts for my students, so they need extra visual supports to help them understand.  I made these templates that includes a number line at the top so they can clip the clothespins there to use as counters.  I also used number cards to attach to the template using velcro for students beginning to learn this skill or who have difficulty with handwriting.  The teacher makes up the equation for the student to solve, and the student uses the clothespins to find the answer.  The student is taught to read the first number and then clip on the correct amount of clothespins.  Then they read the second part of the equation, "+ 2" and clip on two more clothespins.  Next, they read the entire equation, "3 + 2 =", and count the total number of clothespins to get the correct answer.  Then they find the correct number card and place it in the box.  If they can print, then I have them write in the number in the box.

The method is the same when teaching subtraction, except the students remove the amount of clothespins indicated by the second number in the equation.  This method works very well for teaching these concepts to visual learners.  If you would like these templates for your students, click on one of the pictures.

How do you use clothespins in your classroom?  I'd love to hear from you!  Leave me a comment below!  

Thanks for stopping by!

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