Monday, January 15, 2018

New ideas for teaching handwriting



Teaching handwriting to kindergarten students can be challenging. Beginning writers need to not only identify letters, they need to be able to write letters  automatically and with fluency.   Teaching handwriting is so important in kindergarten because it's a strong predictor of quality writing in the upper grades. 

There is extensive research that states that explicit instruction of handwriting is required for kids to master the mechanics of writing. Reproducing letters quickly and effortlessly is a critical skill our kindergarten students need.  When a student says a letter, learns to make the strokes of the letter, and attaches the sound to that letter, it helps them put all the critical pieces together, motor, phonological, and visual. Before we had technology, teachers had to accomplish this by sitting one on one with a child. But technology has changed all that!

Using flipped lessons help provide the nesessary direct instruction. Writing letters correctly takes substantial repeated practice. Our students need to identify the letter by name and memorize the formation. Sure, some children come to us already able to write their name. But many students arrive with limited handwriting skills. We can use technology in our classroom to help those students become successful.


Flipped lessons provide our young learners with videos that can do the teaching for us. Using flipped lessons for letter practice helps kids because they hear the repeated verbalizations while they are writing. You can literally "talk them through it".  

It's easy for our kindergarteners to use. All we need is a QR reader on our IPads ( free from the app store). Each lesson has a worksheet that has a QR code. The kids simply scan the QR code and they are brought directly to the video. The video provides that critical direct instruction.  The worksheets can be used at school or they can be sent home for homework.




Things to consider when teaching handwriting
Should we teach upper or lowercase first? 
The uppercase letters are often easier because of the straight lines, but kindergarten students see primarily lowercase letters while reading. When using flipped lessons you can teach both at the same time. 

What order do we teach the letters?
 Believe it or not A is one of the hardest letters to master. There are diagonal lines which are so difficult for kids. You've seen that child's first attempt at the letter A. It  really looks like an H with a bridge.  Not to mention the lower case looks nothing like the upper case. So give the students a break and start with easier letters like T, and F.

How easy is it to make a letter? 
Are there straight lines, curved lines both kinds of lines??? When practicing letter formation keep this in mind. I like to teach letters like c, and o, at the same time.

We need our kindergarten students to master handwriting so they can focus on the higher level skills they'll need when reading and writing.

Using flipped lessons has been a life saver for me. and my kids.  Click here to grab a sample of how flipped lessons can transform how you teach handwriting.

You can make your own flipped lesson with an app called Explain Everything. Don't have time? don't worry, I have it for you. If you haven't tried flipped lessons before you can try a sample here




You can grab the full resource here

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