by Carol/KR/RW, Right & Left Laced Shoes by Meredith
Printer Friendly Version of Shoelace Poem
"They come in many colors and styles."Sara Luman
"They are a fashion statement, but they can be a frustration for kids' with disabilities."Kim Little
"They hold shoes securely."Carol Foss
"But they often come untied."Karen Libby
"Causing you to trip."Andi Jasion
But from Bryan Kerachsky, our soccer coach, "The best thing about shoelaces is it keeps soccer players feet nice and tight so they can get a feel for the ball and the worst thing about shoelaces is that you have to stop everything you're doing just to tie your shoelaces."
Just for fun KidsRunning interviewed many teachers including the ones quoted above. KR also surveyed schoolchildren from 2nd - 4th grade at the Parker School to find out thoughts and opinions on shoelaces, the most popular means of keeping those running shoes on and here's what we found:
1. Teaching the kids to tie shoes is a job for the child's parents not for the teacher.
60% of the kids were taught to tie by a parent.
25% were self taught.
5% were taught by siblings. The remaining 10% were taught by teachers, aunts, cousins, friends, grandparents, and one learned from a book!
2. Kids prefer shoelaces over slipons and Velcro.
60% prefered shoelaces.
31% prefered slipons.
9% preferred Velcro.
The kids felt that shoelaces were fun to tie, were colorful, held their toe tokens, and kept their shoes on securely UNLESS they came untied, which they often do
AND some kids and adults (including the editor of this Web site) just loved the curly (boing-boing, bouncy, coiled) laces.
Just for a little more fun, KR posted a note on the Teacher's Net asking for anecdotes and we got plenty along with comments from the teacher's point of view. Here they are:
I think Velcro sneakers/shoes should be part of the elementary dress code! I was tying many laces at the beginning of the year, but now that it's half over, I find that it doesn't matter as much (as long as we're not doing a gym-type activity). Slipons don't work unless the parents buy them tight enough.
Velcro is absolutely the best. When I taught kindergarten I always said in my parent orientation, "I will NOT tie shoes. If your child cannot tie his/her shoe, get Velcro." We would do lessons on tying shoes but I always made the kids find another one who could tie.
I like Velcro unless I've got a kid who loves to fasten/unfasten it during storytime...then it drives me nuts!! I don't mind tying laces, but HATE untying knots. After five seconds I'm ready to get the scissors and cut! Blended classes are great if you are trying to teach first graders how to tie laces - second graders love to help...and have soooo much patience. I sure miss them this year. :-)
I keep a nut picker in my desk at school. It makes a handy tool for getting knots out of those sneakers.
K students can not tie. 1st grade students can tie, but not tightly. Some are still not tying at this point in the year, but only a couple in each class. Some 2nd graders have difficulty tying tightly. Almost everyone can tie at this point in 2nd grade. Of course some of the special needs children may need help.
After nine years of day care I tell the kids, "I don't tie shoes. If you can't tie find a friend who can." Somehow the first graders get their shoes tied. I suggest those curly elastic laces for kids who don't tie. The kids seem to play with the Velcro A LOT. Whenever I see a good deal on fancy laces (dollar store etc.) I pick up several pairs and put them in my prize box.
Jared (preschooler) can't tie his shoelaces yet but he really wants to! He pretends that he is tying but he really just makes a garbled mess.
There is an amusing anecdote oft repeated in my family about when I was a student in Year 1. My lunch hadn't been eaten and Mum wanted to know why. I explained that I didn't have time. Again she questioned why this was so. I explained that after swimming lessons, (I live in Australia), I was the only kid in the class who could tie their shoelaces and so I was helping Mrs. Morgan tie all the kids' shoes up, and I had used up most of my eating time doing this. Then, last year, when I taught Year One myself for the first time, Dad rang up the first night and asked how it all went. My reply was "It's exactly the same as the FIRST time I was in Grade One - I'm STILL the only person who can tie shoelaces!!"
I teach first grade. Kids who come in tie shoes are at a real disadvantage. Their recess time is much shorter as it takes them longer to get their shoes on, tied up and outside. I hate constantly nagging kids to tie their shoes up! Tie-shoes can be dangerous, too, especially with these laces that are so long! Last year I turned around in my classroom and accidentally stepped on a child's long laces which were undone and he went flying!
One time I tried to tie laces that were in really bad shape (frayed with no tips) and I guess I pulled too hard. The lace broke and the parent got upset. I learned to keep a supply of kid-sized laces in the classroom.
My favorite pre-school memory is of my teacher letting me sit on her lap while helping me learn to tie. It took me forever! My pet peeve is teachers who refuse to have sympathy for left- handed kids! I hate to hear a frustrated parent or teacher say things like, "This kid's NEVER going to be able to tie!" A left- handed child can watch a teacher tie a shoe over and over and over, but the child has difficulty repeating the actions. The same is true for learning to use scissors, but that's another story.
SHARON IN THE MOUNTAINS
I live dangerously. One student tied laces of opposite shoes together. I cut them apart, relaced and tied a very small bow. The parents were just happy the child could walk the rest of the day.
When children ask me to tie their shoes, I politely say, "I'm sorry, but I don't tie shoes for first graders, maybe you can find a friend who can show you how?"---an excellent first grade teacher taught me this many years ago---it falls under my number one rule: Never do anything for a child that he/she is perfectly capable of doing for him/herself. When you do, you rob them of the opportunity to feel competent.
After about two weeks, everyone in class pretty much knows how to tie, or the parents have gone to Velcro, spiral ties, etc.
High schoolers are NOT into shoelaces; if they have laces in their shoes they generally leave them untied.
AND JUST FOR SOME CREATIVE FUN...Spencer (4th grade) let us know some of his favorite things to do with shoelaces:
The best thing about shoelaces is that you can use them for more than tying.
1. You can use them to hang stuff on.
2. You can use them to make a snake.
3. You can use them as branches when you make a paper tree.
4. You can use them as an ornament.
5. You can use them to make shoelace people!
And KR's friend Andrew told us something very important. Andrew only wears shoes with laces and he needs to be very good at tying for he is a KR Hundred Miler, a KR Run the Seasons ribbon reciprient, and he is now doing the RED RIBBON program. Here is how he learned to tie his shoes. His father had a little game and the told Andrew that the loops were bunny ears. We're hoping that Dad will give us the whole 'lesson' someday.
Thanks to all the teachers who participated and thanks to all of the kids too. It's fun to collect data and according to Janet Fuller, grade 2 teacher, the students enjoyed being asked their opinions.
Visit Ian Fieggen's Shoelace site where you can learn to tie all sorts of new shoelace knots, including the world's fastest and most secure.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with comments on this column.