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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Handy Handwriting Tools

    After reading The Teacher's Wife's handwriting post on creating homemade Handwriting Without Tears letters, I was inspired to post some handwriting materials that I found a few years ago. I purchased them for my twin sister to use when she was teaching resource room and myself a few years ago when a large majority of my class was struggling with reading and writing. I would spend a lot of extra time conferencing with certain children in writing workshop and noticed that the students who struggled the most also had the worst handwriting. EVERY single child that had difficulty seemed to form most of their letters from the bottom up instead of top down. Since we used plain writing paper, it was hard to tell students where to start forming their letters. Here are some materials that helped:
I just loooove these tactile letters. Children trace the plastic letters with their fingers and get feedback on whether they traced in the right direction or not. If you trace in the right direction, the letter feels smooth. If you trace in the wrong direction, the letter feels rough. What's even better is the vowels are red and the consonants are blue. In fact, my 7 year old niece just saw this post as I was typing it and asked, are those vowels?!
These sandpaper letters are great for my 5 year old niece, who needs the visual cues on which direction to trace because she hasn't had enough writing practice yet to know on her own. You can make these on your own very easily with index cards, glue, and a marker or pen. The white dot on the bottom is used to help them position the card so it isn't upside down or sideways.


Once I corrected how their letters were being formed without actually writing, I started using Stationery Studio to make the actual writing paper more appropriate for where my third graders were. It's a great way to increase enthusiasm and motivation for writing and a fabulous way to differentiate decorative writing paper. You can print out several types of the same paper, deciding how far apart the lines are, if you want a midline, and even what color the lines are! Students can barely even notice a difference. It also allows students type their story using the software and print it out!


Now that I'm teaching third grade again, I also make my own handwriting practice sheets for our spelling words using Spelling City.

Try the following sites for more materials:

http://www.searchfreefonts.com/categories/dotted.htm


http://desktoppub.about.com/od/freefonts/tp/Free_Handwriting_School_Fonts.htm


http://www.handwritingforkids.com/handwrite/manuscript.htm


http://www.internet4classrooms.com/kplus_writing.htm

Link to this post if you have any other ideas you'd like to share!

2 comments:

  1. Love the tactile letters. Could you tell me where you found them? :)

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  2. I believe I got them at Boslands Learning Plus store in NJ. They have a catalog, but appear to have changed the design into a full card. Here it is: http://catalog.boslands.com/tactile_letters_kit-p-1533901.html

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