# Real Teaching Tools That You Can Use

*N.B. For the next long time, I am going to be writing blogs that will provide you with specific strategies to help your child in reading, writing, math, reading comprehension, spelling, grammar, composition and creative writing.*

During the past year in my weekly blogs, I have described each of the pieces of the Maloney Method. They are as follows:

- Behavioral Objectives – a road map from here to success
- Behavior Management – Getting students to comply and work hard.
- Direct Instruction – Presenting concepts and operations using explicit rules, examples and non-examples to teach the student to discriminate between instances
- Precision Teaching – Determining progress every day using frequency as a measure
- Directed Practice – Monitoring the student’s progress to eliminate errors before turning the work over as an independent activity.
- Independent Practice – Employing practice strategies to reach fluent levels of performance.

While providing an overview is helpful in getting and keeping people on track, at some point you have to get to where the rubber hits the road.

Each week I will provide you with a specific strategy or tool in one of the areas listed in the heading.

Let’s start with something as simple as how your student holds his or her pencil.

## Helping Your Child Hold a Pencil

Kids have lots of ways of grasping a pencil. Some of the ways a student holds a pencil inhibit their ability to work quickly and efficiently.

**Behavior Objective** – The student can print or write 150-160 digits or per minute with no more than 2 errors. An error is a character that you could not read if it were on a price tag.

**Task **– Ask the student to write the numbers from 1 to 10 across the top of a piece of lined paper. Ask the student to write as many groups of digits from 1-10 as s/he can in a one minute period. Count the total number of symbols written. Deduct any that are illegible. Write the correct and error score in the child’s record book or chart.

There are lots of potential problems.

- The student may not know how to write some or any of the numbers.
- The student may have formed the numbers incorrectly by writing them from the bottom up.
- The student may have held the pencil in a grip that slows him or her down.

We will solve each of these problems in order. The basic problem is in how the student holds the pencil. To correct this, turn the student’s paper over. Draw an oval shape on the left or right side of the paper depending which hand the student uses for writing.

Ask the student to pick up the pencil make a tally mark (/) and set the pencil down in the oval again. Do this for 30 seconds. Count the tallies and double the score to get a count per minute. By the time a student can make 20 -25 tallies in 30 seconds, they will be grasping the pencil and using it properly.

Try it yourself and see what happens.