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4th grade math - bad fine motor skills


EmilyGF
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I'm hoping I can switch up math for ds9 to make it less exhausting.

I've always used RightStart or MEP with my older kids. He was fighting me like crazy on RightStart last year, so I switched him to MEP, which his older sister had really done well with. Now he's fighting me like crazy on MEP with the additional problem being that he doesn't have the fine motor skills to write on the worksheets. We've been doing the problems on a white board, but I don't think he gets closure from doing it on the white board. 

What math is out there for 4th graders who can't really write smaller than the average first grader? He also (for some reason I can't figure out) thinks he is bad at math and gets overwhelmed easily. He can spend 15 minutes telling me "I CAN'T DO IT!" before having the lightbulb go off, after which he finishes the "impossible" problem in a minute. Sigh.

Despite his lack of confidence in his math skills, though, he's quite gifted at math. Sigh.

Emily

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For MEP, we found the copymasters to be extremely helpful for fine motor skills.

But we ultimately switched to Gattegno because it's very oral/tactile, with minimal writing, and what writing there was we did in a centimeter graph paper notebook.

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Seconding the large format grid books - I sometimes copy out problems for my 8 year old so he has more room to write (and so he doesn't use up his "writing miles" on math before we get to actual writing!).  Some kids really love some creativity here too - if you don't need to keep them as evidence that he did the work, you might write the problems on a window with a glass marker, or outside with sidewalk chalk, or just on a whiteboard or boogie board.  You could do some orally if you're available to listen to his answers.  If you have a large format printer, you could photocopy the pages at 144% (this turns A4 to A3 for instance - doubles the size).

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My youngest is naturally good at math and has struggled with pencil to paper. Beast Academy online has been a really good fit for him. He can finger draw problems right on the screen if needed. It's quite likely to make that "I can't do it!" worse at first, but starting down half a level or so really helped my dude get over that hurdle. He's a 5th grader in level 5 now and only really psychs himself out every couple months. 😄

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Is it possible to get a wide-ruled book, number problems and then work the answers there? Then you can have whatever paper-based math program you like. (Of course, if you go for Beast Academy Online like Not_A_Number suggests, the book would be used for the occasional note, if that, because most working would involve typing and that's a skill worth picking up in any case).

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He sounds like my 9yo. Mine is using Singapore right now, which has a good amount of white space for each problem especially compared to Mep. Before that he did BA Online successfully, but if you go that route, I'd suggest occasionally have him practice writing math answers somewhere. Mine used blank paper with BA Online, and his writing would take up the whole sheet. You can draw a 2x4 or 2x3 grid to help him learn to organize his math answers into an appropriate space.

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On 9/15/2021 at 3:51 PM, EmilyGF said:

What math is out there for 4th graders who can't really write smaller than the average first grader?

OT and vision evals

https://www.creativeteaching.com/collections/workbooks?constraint=math  I'm using some o the Power Practice math workbooks with my ds this year. I put the Math Logic and the multiplication/division in his independent work packet. 

https://www.evan-moor.com/daily-word-problems-grade-4-teachers-edition-e-book  I have this series love affair with Evan Moor. 

On 9/15/2021 at 3:51 PM, EmilyGF said:

He also (for some reason I can't figure out) thinks he is bad at math and gets overwhelmed easily. He can spend 15 minutes telling me "I CAN'T DO IT!" before having the lightbulb go off, after which he finishes the "impossible" problem in a minute. Sigh.

With my dd (who was quite aggravating to teach btw, despite great test scores) we didn't get those answers till we finally did psych evals. I don't know where you are with this, but you could consider them. They don't have to be all negative. Sometimes it's about getting better information for how our brains think and how we can work together better. 

You could be seeing executive function issues, processing speed, anxiety, things the psych could help you sort out and make a game plan for. Sometimes the dc needs more tools and it lowers their stress to be heard, to have someone GET why they're frustrated, and to get the adults on board with what the dc was perceiving but couldn't advocate about.

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