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Seven Ways to Use Matman in Language Therapy

Matman is a part of the Handwriting Without Tears program that Occupational Therapists and teachers use to teach children how to write. One of the first steps they use is to introduce children to Matman.  Children are encouraged to make Matman with lines and curves.  Eventually, children will draw Matman.  As usual, I have no affiliation with the Handwriting Without Tears program other than they are used in the classrooms I have worked in. 


Here are seven ways to use Matman:


1. Teach body parts.  There is a song to help teach how to make Matman.  It is excellent for working on body parts.  Once the children are more familiar with the song and body parts, I will draw the body parts in the wrong location, or I will miss drawing a part of Matman.  The children then tell me what I have done wrong and help me fix it.   When Matman "has to leave,"  I will erase body parts, or the children will tell me what to erase, or they will close their eyes and tell me which body part I have erased.

2.  Greetings. Because Matman is a frequent visitor, I will have the children greet him at circle time or during centres and then say, "bye" when he has to leave.  It's a fun way to practice this skill.  

3. Teach emotions.  One of my favourite activities is to make Matman look happy, sad, mad, scare and calm.  I with either have the children identify the emotion that I have drawn or tell me which emotion I should draw.  When they are able, I have them draw the feeling. We practice sentences such as, "Matman feels scared today." 

Later I tell a short story about Matman's day.  For example, "Matman's favourite toy broke."  The children then tell me how Matman feels.  Reversely, I have the children tell me about Matman's day and how he feels.

4.  Working on action words.  I will draw Matman doing an action.  The children would then tell me what Matman was doing.  Versly, the children would tell me what Matman was doing and I would draw it.  

5. Working on associative vocabulary.  Matman loves to take trips.  The students help plan the clothes and equipment he needs to bring as he goes to the desert, or the ocean, or the Arctic.  Matman also likes to go to work.  The students help tell me what Matman needs when he is a policeman, firefighter, chef, etc...

6. Working on He, She and They. Drawing Matman and Matgirl is a great way to work on "he," "she," and "they." This works great when doing activities with associative vocabulary or when making a story.  E.g. "Matman is a fireman.  He needs a firetruck." or "Matgirl is a doctor.  She needs band-aids."

7. Narrative language. A teacher I used to work with had "Adventures of Matman" centre time in her class every day.  This was where the children practiced drawing Matman, and then a staff member would transcribe a sentence.  As the year goes on the children, start making up stories about what Matman is doing. 

Do you use Matman in therapy?