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An educational company providing resources for teachers, therapists, and other support staff focusing on collaboration and intervention strategies for preschool and school age students.

Hands-on Implementation Project (HIP) Lesson Two: Two Halves Make A Whole, The Figure 8

Staff Chat

Brief, informative lessons to share with staff and students.

Hands-on Implementation Project (HIP) Lesson Two: Two Halves Make A Whole, The Figure 8

Debra Em

The Five Big Ideas...and I'm not talking about:

1. vacay at the Maui Sheraton

2. retiring to Costa Rica

3. embracing tiny house living (3 dogs, 2 cats, and 4 kids included)

4. using a smoke alarm to determine when dinner is ready (my choice)

5. quit teaching to become a contestant on the Bachelor


No, it's nothing near as exciting...

The five systems that S'cool Moves focuses on include support, focus, sensory, auditory, and visual systems. All these systems come together to create the fully charged academic battery. The Five Big Ideas of reading instruction include phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. If we put the Five Big Ideas on top of this battery, it serves as a visual image to explain how the battery comprising the energy from all the different systems illuminating the light bulb representing the Five Big Ideas. S'cool Moves activities and interventions help students reach their goals within the Five Big Ideas. What this brief video to learn more.

Debinar: A Deeper Look at Figure 8s in the Classroom

This "Debinar" highlights why using the Figure 8 is an important strategy for supporting student goals. How does this work? Deborah Sunbeck, Ph.D. provides the evidence base needed to validate using Figure 8s in our daily activities. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor discusses serial and parallel processing information in her Ted talk. I cover this briefly in this video.

What will I observe with students when working on Figure 8's?

When students have a hard time making a Figure 8, it's usually indicative of how the brain is processing information. For instance, when students in the classroom make a Figure 8 on paper, you can observe the students who make odd shapes or two separate circles unable to integrate at the midline of the body.

Yes, there is a correct way to do Figure 8's, and I'm a stickler for doing them perfectomundo.

I always have students go up the middle and around to the left because this is the way we teach children to write. For instance the Magic C in Handwriting Without Tears is made going up to the left. Students should be doing Figure 8s while sitting or standing with the paper or image at the midline of the body. If you are going to do Figure 8s, please do them correctly and reinforce the way we make our letters.

Gotta Test? Do great with the Figure 8!

The Figure 8 can be used exceptionally well before a test. Figure 8s don't have to be large to be effective. Sometimes I have students turn over their papers and make Figure 8s on the backsides of the tests. When they do this, they are getting both hemispheres integrated and ready for the test by keeping them from the brain stem response of flight, flight, or freeze. Drawing the Figure 8 helps to focus the brain's energy and attention in the frontal lobe where students can access higher level thinking and executive functioning skills.

Whenever we do cross lateral movements like Cross Crawls, that are very popular now in today's schools, that's another way that we are getting that brain integration essential for flexibility of thought and completion of tasks.

Can Figure 8's be a useful fashion statement on your school walls while hiding cracks in the drywall?

As part of S'cool Moves, we use large Figure 8s on walls, in hallways, quiet rooms, or the office so students have access to the activity when needed. We also use Figure 8s in the form of 5 x 8 cards at desks so students have access at any time and can use them when children are feeling stressed or feeling like they don't understand a concept. On the back of our Figure 8 card, there are rapid naming dots. The rapid naming dot activity is a way to improve brain processing speed, essential for reading fluency.

Can Figure 8's help children sleep better? You betcha!

Click here to download the I Sleep Deeply routine combining deep pressure touch with Figure 8s. This sleep routine can be sent home to parents or guardians to help children sleep well.

Please watch the short Debinar to increase your understanding of the Figure 8 and it's value for helping students meet their academic and behavior goals. These are designed to be quick "Staff Chats" for staff meetings, PLCs, or other staff communication.

You can order a set of full color Butterfly 8/Rapid Naming cards here (set of 25). Use GET15 to receive 15% off your order. Remember, our order fulfillment is done through Miller’s Crew, a non-profit that provides vocational training and jobs for adults with disabilities. You can feel good about ordering from us.

Thanks for all you do for children!