Yesterday I attended a Handwriting without Tears workshop and it was awesome. To start off, upon arrival, I was given this canvas bag stuffed with materials that are mine to keep ( a teacher's dream! Free stuff is always appreciated!) The bag contained teachers manuals and practice workbooks for grade levels K-4, both a small slate and larger blackboard with lines, wooden pieces for building letters, and a terrific cd with kid friendly songs to help students remember concepts such as starting capital letters at the top and using spaces in between words in a sentence. Below are some photos of my goodies!
Teacher manuals and workbooks
First Grade manual and workbooks
Wooden pieces for building letters
Small slate board helpful for preventing reversals
CD with great songs about letters and writing
The presenter was an Occupational Therapist and provided a lot of good information about the development of handwriting and students' needs. The most surprising thing she mentioned was that little kids need little pencils. I have always seen fatter pencils and crayons used for little kids and she said those are actually more difficult to use and require more strength, not less. She said golf size pencils are actually ideal. I had NO idea! She also showed paper with 2 lines, rather than the typical paper with two solid lines and a dotted line down the middle. She said kids are more successful with two lines and I am excited to try that.
The Handwriting without Tears program makes learning how to write letters fun, and provides an organized meaningful sequence that groups similar letters together. There are diver letters, frog jump letters, magic c letters and more. She explained how teaching similar letters together helps kids remember how to correctly write them. Simply showing letters in alphabetical order does not work as well.
Although I wish that my school would adopt this program, I do not think we have enough time in our daily schedules to make room. I know that I want to, and I plan to, but I will have to tackle that myself. It would be great if students would begin this program at an early age when pre-writing skills are emerging, but I still think that it is a useful tool for me to use in helping some of my students who could benefit from further instruction on handwriting. I am excited to try it out of a few of my students, particularly for reversals such as b and d as well as the numbers 5 and 6.