Monday, August 5, 2013

Let's Get Those Shoes Tied!

Shoe tying... it's one of those things we really don't have extra time to teach.... but it's a life skill and something our kiddies need to learn. I do ask parents to work on it at Back to School Night, but it's really the kids we need to motivate to keep practicing, right?
Enter the Shoe Sheriff! Last year, I came across this AMAZING, FREE Shoe Sheriff motivating kit on Marsha McGuire (A Differentiated Kindergarten)'s TpT shop.
Click the picture to go to her shop and download it FREE!
Let me tell you... it worked like a charm in my classroom. We have a "rule" in my school (or, actually, a loose agreement among the 9 first grade teachers) that we as teachers stop tying shoes after Halloween. We tell the parents at BTS Night and the kids know there will be a shoe tying "test" after Halloween. That has always motivated some of them, but not nearly all, and I didn't want it to be a chore or a negative. I needed to find a motivator. So I hung up the Shoe Sheriff bulletin board letters on an empty wall in my classroom in between two cork strips that the custodians had very nicely hung for me. We had an official "test" week but kept it informal for those who were nervous or not ready. Here's how I tested - at snack time, I asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to show me that they could tie their shoes. Luckily, there are always some kids who are pros and excited to prove it! So those kids got a Shoe Sheriff certificate to bring home and got to cut out a large shoe and put their name on it, and we hung the shoes on the wall around the wording.
This picture is from a few weeks later when all of my kiddies had put up their shoes!
The wording says "Shoe sheriffs on duty" and the blue signs at the bottom say "Wranglin' and ropin' shoes all over class". Oh boy, were those kids who passed the "test" the first day excited!!!  I let five kids "test" each day at snack time, which let those not ready off the hook. After the first week, I would test on Fridays only to give those who needed more practice the full week. For kids who tried to test a few times and were still having trouble, I sent home a baggie with a note and a cardstock shoe with a shoelace for practice (I know some of my kiddies don't have shoes with laces):

I hole punched and put the lace through. If my laces had been longer, I would have laced up all the holes!

So once the first round of Shoe Sheriffs were certified, I no longer tied ANY shoes ALL YEAR!  Anyone who needed help was allowed to ask any Shoe Sheriff to help or to tie for them. The Shoe Sheriffs clamored to be the ones asked to help their friends, it was great for community building!

One last cool thing... yesterday, Curly Jones (my 6 yr old) was at a birthday party half an hour from home at a gymnastics place and it was a drop-off party so I had some time to kill. Which meant I had to go to the Home Goods about a mile away.  I mean, twist my arm! Anyway, guess what I found there for $7.99? This has already made its way to my classroom. I love it!

It's Melissa & Doug's Wooden Lacing Shoe, also available on Amazon, etc.

I will definitely use Shoe Sheriffs again this year and still can't believe something this valuable to my class was a free download.  Here is another link to it on TpT, where it is still free! Shoe Sheriff pack
(Again, I didn't create this pack, but it's one of my favorites!!!)

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