Planning and coordinating finger movements involves
remembering the steps needed, forming a motor plan, and implementing
For example, if a student wants to move a chess
piece, he needs to first think about where he wants to move it
and how to move it. He must then ‘send’ a message
to his hand and fingers to move his hand to the piece, close his
fingers around it, pick it up, and move his hand to the desired
place on the chessboard. Finally, he must place the piece on the
board, let go of it, and move his hand away.
A student must also plan and coordinate finger
movements when playing a musical instrument. In addition, she
must be able to remember which sequence of movements produce which
note. This processing needs to be done rapidly so that notes can
be played one after the other.
The more a student practices his or her fine
motor skills, the more likely it is that the skills will become
automatic, so that a student can focus on other important elements
of the task, e.g., coming up with the best strategy for winning
the chess game, or listening to and coordinating with other band
members while playing.
- Introduce activities where students combine
fine motor practice with visual discrimination, for example,
stringing beads in various patterns, fitting puzzle pieces together,
- Help students strengthen hand muscles by having
them manipulate materials with a thick consistency, such as
cookie dough or clay, or having them do rubbings or drawings
over templates or other textured materials.
- Encourage students to strengthen finger muscles
by creating rubber band designs on geoboards, doing papier-mâché
activities, using precise tools such as tweezers and clothespins
for pinching objects, and even trying squirt gun target practice
(undoubtedly an outside activity).
- Encourage students to take the time
to plan a systematic approach to complex fine motor activities,
such as playing a new song on the clarinet or making a clay
pot in art class, and to monitor their performance at each step
of the activity.