Monday, October 20, 2008

In years past, one of the introductory sloyd projects we've used in the wood shop at Clear Spring School has been the "kindergarten pointer" from the Nääs fundamental series and as shown below.

But what is a kindergarten pointer and how is it used? It was the sloyd knife in my Woodcraft Catalog that first made me curious about the interesting history of sloyd education. The pointer, like the sloyd knife is an artifact with deeper meaning. And again, it has to do with the hands.

Speed reading experts tell us that a pointer used in reading helps to speed the process of reading. The hand brain partnership brings benefit to both. In fact, you can actually read as quickly as you can point. Put the pointer away and do without when your reading speed has accelerated beyond the rate your hand can maintain.

But there is another use more specific to the kindergarten pointer. Air writing! By taking a stick, students can write cursive forms in the air before they begin work on paper. So the pointer does double duty, in both reading and in learning to write.

Tomorrow the first and second grade students will make kindergarten pointers, but we won't call them that. Instead we will call them reading sticks or wands. And watch the magic of the hands involvement in learning.

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