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February 23, 2016 Handy Handwriting Help for Any Style By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Handwriting has been a hot topic lately. Should we still teach it in the digital age? Should we still teach cursive? The reality is most teachers are told whether they will teach handwriting or not. When I began teaching first grade, I had to teach handwriting basics of letter formation. This year, moving back to third grade, I found myself responsible for cursive again. Here are 10 ways to squeeze in handwriting time with time-effective strategies that kids actually enjoy!

     

    Boxes

    Teaching letters that reach from the top to bottom of a line versus letters that hang below the line can be very tricky for young writers. Use the drawing toolbox in word processing programs to create boxes that extend up for tall letters and down for hanging letters. Have students write spelling words or high-frequency words in pre-made boxes to train writers to size and place letters appropriately.

     

    handwriting with boxes

    LEGO Building

    What kid doesn’t want to play with LEGO bricks?  Have students create the shape of the letters using LEGO bricks. A 4-dot brick can be a short letter and an 8-dot brick can be a tall or hanging letter. After students “build” the shape, they can write the corresponding letters. Using a worksheet with brick boxes can help the youngest writers.

    building for handwriting

    Quotes and Quotables

    “My spelling is wobbly. It’s good spelling, but it wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.” – A. A. Milne

    Kids love quotes! My students love learning what famous people have said from the funny to the powerful. Scholastic’s Cursive Writing Practice: Inspiring Quotes helps my students' handwriting while teaching them important values and providing inspiration. One a day is an easy way to squeeze in meaningful practice.

    Fridays are fun days. It is nice to let students relax a little with fun-but-educational activities. Friday handwriting practice gets a fun upgrade with jokes. Handwriting Practice: Jokes & Riddles lets students practice real word writing while having a bit of fun.

     

    Cursive writing practice inspiring quotes

    Cursive handwriting practice jokes and riddles

    Kinesthetic Learning

    Here’s the tip you expected: get hands on. There’s an endless variety of ways to do this, but a few fun ways we have explored include spreading shaving cream on tables and writing letters in the foam, creating letters from dough, and using highlighters to trace letters. My kids love anything that uses a dry erase marker, a craft supply, food, or is in any way out of the ordinary. Capitalize on that engagement by giving students fun options for practicing letter formation. Even throwing a bunch of new markers on the table is a good excuse to practice handwriting!

     

    kinesthetic handwriting practice

    Daily Routine

    According to an article in American Educator, as well as my own non-scientific observation, having students practice frequently is key. “The most effective method for facilitating handwriting fluency is to have children write frequently.” Fitting in those few minute of practice is important, but can be hard to do. My students have review work for handwriting on the top of their morning work. I add in a few spiral review math problems and a spiraling science review. This keeps kids writing every morning, even if the rest of the schedule ends up out of whack.

     

    handwriting morning work

    Show Me

    The ShowMe app is just one of many learning communities where teachers can upload video instruction on any topic. One of my co-teachers created a ShowMe tutorial for cursive writing. Students can pull up a video and get instruction or a reminder any time they need it and the teacher is free to work one-on-one or with small groups at the same time.

     

    Show me handwriting app

    Pen Pals

    Not only are pen pals a fun way to learn about other places and cultures, they are a great way to promote good handwriting. Students only have to write “good enough” for classwork, but when they are going to show their work to the world, they start to write much better. My students want their handwriting to appear neat and be able to convey their message to others.

     

    Pen pal handwriting practice

    Functional Writing Games

    Just like real life needs to infiltrate math and reading lessons, it is an important part of handwriting too. Grocery lists become a fun handwriting game to encourage handwriting fluency. Cut and laminate grocery ads from the local paper. Have students make a list of five items a teammate needs to retrieve from the “store.” If the teammate can’t read the list, they won’t be able to complete the task fast enough. Encourage students to help make the grocery, chore, or to-do list at home too.

     

    handwriting list game

    Air Write

    One of the easiest ways to practice handwriting requires no tools: air writing. Review how a particular letter is formed. Then, stand with your back to students and have them use a pointer finger for a “pen.” Write the letter with your finger in the air while students copy. Use directional words such as down, over, or loop to guide the direction. Students love making big swooping movements that help ingrain letter formation.

    Air writing for handwriting

    With Common Core State Standards, you might be asking if cursive is still relevant, or you might be the kind of teacher excited about National Handwriting Day. You've just read 10 ways how handwriting can be taught to squeeze into a packed day. What other ways do you get students excited and ready to write?

    Handwriting has been a hot topic lately. Should we still teach it in the digital age? Should we still teach cursive? The reality is most teachers are told whether they will teach handwriting or not. When I began teaching first grade, I had to teach handwriting basics of letter formation. This year, moving back to third grade, I found myself responsible for cursive again. Here are 10 ways to squeeze in handwriting time with time-effective strategies that kids actually enjoy!

     

    Boxes

    Teaching letters that reach from the top to bottom of a line versus letters that hang below the line can be very tricky for young writers. Use the drawing toolbox in word processing programs to create boxes that extend up for tall letters and down for hanging letters. Have students write spelling words or high-frequency words in pre-made boxes to train writers to size and place letters appropriately.

     

    handwriting with boxes

    LEGO Building

    What kid doesn’t want to play with LEGO bricks?  Have students create the shape of the letters using LEGO bricks. A 4-dot brick can be a short letter and an 8-dot brick can be a tall or hanging letter. After students “build” the shape, they can write the corresponding letters. Using a worksheet with brick boxes can help the youngest writers.

    building for handwriting

    Quotes and Quotables

    “My spelling is wobbly. It’s good spelling, but it wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.” – A. A. Milne

    Kids love quotes! My students love learning what famous people have said from the funny to the powerful. Scholastic’s Cursive Writing Practice: Inspiring Quotes helps my students' handwriting while teaching them important values and providing inspiration. One a day is an easy way to squeeze in meaningful practice.

    Fridays are fun days. It is nice to let students relax a little with fun-but-educational activities. Friday handwriting practice gets a fun upgrade with jokes. Handwriting Practice: Jokes & Riddles lets students practice real word writing while having a bit of fun.

     

    Cursive writing practice inspiring quotes

    Cursive handwriting practice jokes and riddles

    Kinesthetic Learning

    Here’s the tip you expected: get hands on. There’s an endless variety of ways to do this, but a few fun ways we have explored include spreading shaving cream on tables and writing letters in the foam, creating letters from dough, and using highlighters to trace letters. My kids love anything that uses a dry erase marker, a craft supply, food, or is in any way out of the ordinary. Capitalize on that engagement by giving students fun options for practicing letter formation. Even throwing a bunch of new markers on the table is a good excuse to practice handwriting!

     

    kinesthetic handwriting practice

    Daily Routine

    According to an article in American Educator, as well as my own non-scientific observation, having students practice frequently is key. “The most effective method for facilitating handwriting fluency is to have children write frequently.” Fitting in those few minute of practice is important, but can be hard to do. My students have review work for handwriting on the top of their morning work. I add in a few spiral review math problems and a spiraling science review. This keeps kids writing every morning, even if the rest of the schedule ends up out of whack.

     

    handwriting morning work

    Show Me

    The ShowMe app is just one of many learning communities where teachers can upload video instruction on any topic. One of my co-teachers created a ShowMe tutorial for cursive writing. Students can pull up a video and get instruction or a reminder any time they need it and the teacher is free to work one-on-one or with small groups at the same time.

     

    Show me handwriting app

    Pen Pals

    Not only are pen pals a fun way to learn about other places and cultures, they are a great way to promote good handwriting. Students only have to write “good enough” for classwork, but when they are going to show their work to the world, they start to write much better. My students want their handwriting to appear neat and be able to convey their message to others.

     

    Pen pal handwriting practice

    Functional Writing Games

    Just like real life needs to infiltrate math and reading lessons, it is an important part of handwriting too. Grocery lists become a fun handwriting game to encourage handwriting fluency. Cut and laminate grocery ads from the local paper. Have students make a list of five items a teammate needs to retrieve from the “store.” If the teammate can’t read the list, they won’t be able to complete the task fast enough. Encourage students to help make the grocery, chore, or to-do list at home too.

     

    handwriting list game

    Air Write

    One of the easiest ways to practice handwriting requires no tools: air writing. Review how a particular letter is formed. Then, stand with your back to students and have them use a pointer finger for a “pen.” Write the letter with your finger in the air while students copy. Use directional words such as down, over, or loop to guide the direction. Students love making big swooping movements that help ingrain letter formation.

    Air writing for handwriting

    With Common Core State Standards, you might be asking if cursive is still relevant, or you might be the kind of teacher excited about National Handwriting Day. You've just read 10 ways how handwriting can be taught to squeeze into a packed day. What other ways do you get students excited and ready to write?

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