How many times a day are you asked “Can you tie my shoes?”. If you teach little ones, you spend a considerable amount of time at the beginning of the year tying shoes. When I was pregnant with my daughter, this became an issue for me because it was uncomfortable to bend over tying shoes. I always included a message about either work with your child or send them with shoes with velcro until they learn how in my Back to School night speech. But, not all parents followed this suggestion. At the time, I was teaching kindergarten in San Antonio, TX. I wondered if children there learned to tie shoes later because the weather is warm most of the year so they wear flip flops and sandals most of the year.
You know how McDonald’s markets to children with Happy Meals. I decided to take the McDonald’s approach with this skill. To do this, I created a “Wall of Fame”. I hung up a simple sign – nothing elaborate. I told my students that when they could show me that they could tie their shoes, I would give them a shoe to decorate and write their name on. The name would be placed on the “Wall of Fame”. Plus I would give them a piece of shoestring licorice. Shoestring licorice is hard to find. In Texas, I found it at CVS or Walgreen’s. I now live in California and looked at these stores but they don’t carry it. I spoke to the manager of one of the stores and she suggested pull ‘n peel Twizzlers or Sour Punch straws. These both look like shoelaces.
The McDonald’s approach worked like a charm! Suddenly my students (according to reports from my parents) were wanting to practice tying their shoes at home. It was completely worth a little time to make the Wall of Fame and the cost of the candy.
The unexpected benefit to this was the goal setting that my students learned from this experience. Our Wall of Fame grew to include other skills. You can read about it HERE.
I made a freebie for you.
You can use this as the sign on the Wall of Fame to tell the goal or you can use it as a cover for a class book. Students can write the steps of tying their shoes on the page below and then you can combine the pages into a class book.
Click HERE to download this freebie.
How do you encourage your students to learn to tie their shoes?