Lisa's comments on my last post are very true. PreK-K teachers are so worried about meeting objectives right now that they forget how critical the fine motor development is for children. Good teachers realize that you can do both. There are many preschool and kindergarten standards that can be addressed using fine motor development activities. In Lisa's situation as a first grade teacher, I would suggest some of the following activities, even in first grade.
1. I would still acquire some large pencils and crayons. Have the first graders do some of their writing activities with the larger instruments. It is not a step back! It will just reinforce those fine motor skills.
2. Have the children form the letters of the alphabet out of clay, play dough or even wet sand. This is a great cognitive training as well as a wonderful fine motor reinforcement.
3. Allow the children to write with their pointing fingers in a shallow cookie sheet filled with a thin layer or salt or sand. You could also use the old colored hair gel in a ziplock bag approach, as well. Mark the tray or bag in the top left corner to indicate which direction the child should write.
There are other fine motor suggestions that I could cover. If you want additional ideas, please email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to share.