Many students struggle with handwriting, but that shouldn’t keep them from progressing academically. Whether you are a teacher in a school or homeschooling your children, using a label maker can give your student equal access to typical curriculum programs.
Provide students who can’t do worksheets on their own with a label maker or pre-print the options to provide equal access to the curriculum. With a label maker, students who can’t write at their academic level can sidestep the worksheet.
I’ve been using a label maker as an option for my son in his studies, which has opened up the world of pre-made curricula. While it won’t work in all situations, it’s a great tool to have in the armory of learning accommodations.
How A Label Maker Can Help Kids With Disabilities Do Worksheets
There are many reasons students may be unable to write at the academic level they achieve in other aspects of their work. They shouldn’t be held back by this mundane aspect of doing their work, especially when other options are available.
These may include learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and physical disabilities. Depending on the reason they cannot write, they may still be able to do some fine motor activities.
Some students may be able to write, but the task is time-consuming, and they struggle with the task.
A label maker may remove a barrier to accessing the curriculum, at least partly, no matter the core reason.
There are two options for doing this: have the teacher create the labels ahead of time or allow the students to create them as they progress. The option you choose will depend on the worksheet’s content, the student’s ability, and the label maker’s technical aspects.
I prefer to use clear labels with thermal printing. If the label is not placed directly on the blank, the writing near it may still be read.
The labels don’t need to be fancy with emojis, drawings, and other fun additions. Simple black text on clear or white labels is easy, simple, and effective.
Which Kids Might Be Helped By Use Of A Label Maker
The reason why students need a label maker is as individual as the student themselves. How you, as the teacher, wish to use them will depend on several factors. Age, disability, and level of ability are all factors.
My son needed help with fine motor skills, especially worksheets when he entered public school at age 5. While his peers were learning how to write, he was hitting a wall where his hands and brain weren’t working together properly, and he fell behind.
He fell behind, but it wasn’t isolated to the physical act of writing. He lost out on the instruction of how to put thoughts on paper as well as losing academic instruction in all areas. He would have benefited from assistive technology at that time, even though it was typical for students to learn to write at that age.
Here are a few reasons why kids might be held back by writing:
- Specific Learning Disability
- Vision Problems
- Brain Injury
- Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
- Developmental Co-ordination Disorder
- Down’s Syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- and many others
Each student will have a different set of abilities, even within the group of students who struggle to write so much that it limits their academic progress. Some students won’t be able to use a label maker physically, while others will.
It is worth a shot if you think it might help the student.
See the video below for a demonstration of how to use a label maker for worksheets.
How To Use A Label Maker For Worksheets
A label maker won’t be appropriate in all circumstances, as discussed above, for a student’s ability. It also won’t work for all types of worksheets.
The best type of worksheet to use a label maker is the extremely short answers or matching words to a blank. Worksheets with longer answers will be better to allow students to type their answers or otherwise provide their answers.
Premade Label For Worksheets VS Allowing Students To Create Labels
There are two main ways to use label makers for worksheets: premade labels or create them as you go.
Pre Planning Time. Making them ahead of time will take much more time, so this is a point in favor of allowing the students to make them as they go.
Time To Complete Worksheets. If students make them, the time to complete the worksheet might increase dramatically over other students’ completion time. This is a point in premade labels’ favor.
Technical Problems. If there are problems with the label maker, it would be much easier to handle by the teacher during preplanning than by the student in the class. Point in favor of premade labels.
Technical Abilities. Consider the student’s technical abilities and whether teaching them how to use the label maker is appropriate.
Worksheet Needs. If the worksheets are fill-in-the-blank, you may not have a choice in making them ahead of time.
What Kind Of Labels To Use For Worksheets
There are a variety of label makers and labels to choose from.
Ink vs. Thermal. I suggest going for the thermal printer, so you don’t need to worry about replacing the ink.
Keypad vs. App. Some label makers will come with a keyboard to program the labels, others will use an app. We prefer the app. The keys can be small and difficult to handle. But it requires another device to operate.
Clear vs. White. I suggest choosing the clear ones. They are the best if the student accidentally covers instructions for another problem.
Colorful vs. Plain. Go for the most plain possible. Don’t include emojis, colorful paper, or other creative bits. It will likely distract the student from the worksheet.
Help Kids Do Worksheets Without Writing
If you think the student you are working with can use stickers, a label maker might be what they need to access the curriculum.
A label maker is inappropriate for students who cannot put a sticker on a paper with some degree of accuracy. It doesn’t need to be exact, but it should be pretty close.
Finally, you should consider whether doing it all on a tablet or computer might be a better solution.