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Teaching the Moving Child

Teaching the Moving Child

OT Insights that Will Transform Your K-3 Classroom
Author: Sybil M. Berkey M.S., OTR, LOT

ISBN: 978-1-59857-064-9
Pages: 208
Copyright: 2009
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Paperback $34.95 Qty:

Size:  7.0 x 10.0
Stock Number:  70649
Format:  Paperback
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Because sensorimotor and environmental factors have a profound effect on children's learning, every teacher should know how to weave strategies from occupational therapy into their everyday instruction. This is the guidebook K–3 teachers need to "think like an OT"—and form effective partnerships with OTs in their schools—so all students can achieve their full potential.

A clear and reader-friendly guide from an OT with nearly 35 years of classroom experience, Teaching the Moving Child gives elementary educators the solid foundation of knowledge they need to

  • maximize the link between movement and learning
  • meet the needs of students with sensory processing issues by modifying the classroom environment and task demands
  • improve students' writing skills (includes an easy-to-use, five-step process for handwriting instruction)
  • facilitate children's fine motor ability, including using pencils and scissors and drawing lines and shapes
  • optimize learning through strategic use of classroom seating, space, lighting, and visual and auditory stimuli
  • promote imaginative play as essential to every part of the learning process
  • recognize and minimize students' stress, especially during transitions and waiting times
  • decrease restlessness and increase attention through environmental planning strategies
  • collaborate skillfully with OTs to address sensorimotor issues before they become a barrier to learning

To help inform their instruction, teachers will find thorough, research-based explanations of the movement-learning link and the effect of sensory processing issues on school performance and outcomes. Plus they'll get a wide range of simple tips and strategies they can use to support their students' motor skills, task engagement, and management of sensory issues.

As this eye-opening book puts the wisdom of OTs in their teaching toolbox, educators will expand their perspective on how children learn—and break down the preventable obstacles to positive academic and social outcomes.

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Review: Midwest Book Review- California Bookwatch
"Elementary educators receive a fine guide to improving student skills, minimizing stress, and optimizing learning through seating, lighting and visual and auditory stimuli."
Review: The Midwest Book Review - California Bookwatch
"An invaluable guide recommended for any early education collection."
Review: The Midwest Book Review
"A solid way to add fun for elementary school students…a read that should be considered by every primary educator."
Review: Iceberg Newsletter
"An excellent resource for educators in terms of the rich and 'user-friendly' theoretical and foundational knowledge that is presented."
Review by: Paula Kluth, author, "You're Going to Love This Kid"
"I love this book! I have already recommended it to dozens of teachers. Teaching the Moving Child is filled with hundreds of unique ideas for play, expression, and preventing behavior challenges. It is a gem."
Review by: Amy Wagenfeld, Senior Lecturer, Social Sciences Department, Lasell College, and co-author, Fingergym Fine Motor Skills School Readiness Program
"Timely and well organized. This book is an invaluable addition to every early childhood educator and pediatric occupational therapist's library."
Review by: Barbara Hanft, Developmental Consultant, Silver Spring, Maryland
"A gem of an inspirational guide to effective collaboration between occupational therapists and their educational colleagues . . . [will] support early childhood educators in ensuring their classroom teaching results in student learning."
Review by: Suzi Tortora, Dance Movement Psychotherapist, author, The Dancing Dialogue
"Practical—insightful—thoughtful! Berkey skillfully translates her depth of therapeutic knowledge about the sensory and motor foundations of learning into easy to apply, creative activities that will support, stimulate and enhance the classroom environment for all children."
Review by: M'Lisa L. Sheldon, Director, Family, Infant and Preschool Program, Morganton, NC
"A must read . . . Ms. Berkey's book gives me hope for happier students, teachers, therapists, and parents."
About the Author



  1. Crossing Paths—Foundations of a Collaborative Prevention Model
    The Collaborative Framework: Student, Environment, and Task
    Theory in Context: Education
    Occupational Therapy Theory
    School Readiness and Developmentally Appropriate Practice
    The Brain: Lab to Classroom
    Dynamic Assessment and Dynamic Performance Analysis
    Policy: In the Driver's Seat
    Caution: Kids and Stress
    Final Thoughts
  2. Movement, Occupation, and Learning
    Investigating the Movement–Learning Link
    Confirmation in Neuroscience
    Functional Implications
    Music and Rhythm: Movement Partners in Learning
    Why We Let Them Play
    Recess: Is It Still There?
    Boys in the Link
    Movement and the Classroom Environment
    Neurobehavioral Disorders and the Movement–Learning Link
    The Observations of an OT
    Final Thoughts
  3. Little Hands in School
    The Motor-Sensory Hand
    In-Hand Manipulation
    Which Little Hand?
    The Pencil in Hand
    The Use of Scissors
    The Sensory-Motor Hand
    When Little Hands Draw
    The Nuts and Bolts of Lines and Shapes
    When Shapes Come to Life
    The Role of Private Speech
    Step-by-Step Drawing and Other Strategies
    Final Thoughts
  4. When Little Hands Write
    The Reading-Writing Connection
    Shared Linguistic Processes of Reading and Writing
    Handwriting in the Writing Process
    Handwriting and the Shared Linguistic Processes
    Self-Regulation as Defined in the Writing Process
    Handwriting and Spelling: Transcription Partners
    Handwriting in the Spelling Task
    Motor Proficiency and Handwriting
    Influence of Grasp Style and Hand Preference on Handwriting
    Visual-Motor Integration
    The Drawing–Writing Link
    Ready for Instruction: Where Do We Start?
    A Word About Cursive and Keyboarding
    Planning For Success
    Final Thoughts: The Prevention Frame of Mind
  5. Seven Senses In School
    Organizational Strategies of the Brain
    Movement, Learning, and the Far and Near Senses
    Sensory Processing and the Adaptive Response
    Theory, Terminology, and Confirmation of Sensory Processing Disorder
    Assessment of Suspected Sensory Processing Disorder
    Patterns of Sensory Processing Disorder
    The Sensory Diet
    Designing a Sensory Diet
    The Paraeducator in the Classroom
    Final Thoughts
    Appendix: Common Classroom Modifications for Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD): Rationale and Effect on Adaptive Response
  6. The Knowledge-Sharing Team in Action
    The Changing Relationship Between Teachers and Occupational Therapists
    Collaboration at All Levels
    Restructuring the Collaborations of the Education Team
    Student–Environment–Task and the Movement–Learning Link
    "Writing" Without Writing
    Assessment and Student–Environment–Task Conclusion


Study Guide