Saturday, November 14, 2009

Adding a Dash of Math to Handwriting Lessons

I find new, better and—for me—exciting new ways to do things I've always done even after nearly three decades in this work.

We've had to make very extensive use of chalk on wood-framed slates as we wait for the Dunham-adopted Handwriting Without Tears workbooks to arrive. I submitted the requisition for them last September. I think the order got placed Friday. A two-month trip through the business office.

Anyway, the handwriting program directs the students to write only one letter at a time on the slates. It's all very scripted and detailed, and that's a good thing. But students don't get a whole lot of practice writing the letters. It can get boring, so we've been spicing it up by adding some emotion to the letters like this smiling uppercase G that Alex did. I wrote about that in October.

As you can see the G's horizontal line got a little smiling curve on it.

Writing one big letter at a time helps make sure the students get the overall form of the letters they're learning right, but they don't get a lot of practice making them....

That's when I got the idea to ask the students to write smaller letters so as to fit more of them on one slate and to get more repetition. (The workbook asks the students to write each letter about 10 times per page.)

My idea was to have students write the letters small enough to fit 5 of them at a time. Like this:

Done this way, we can count their letters by fives. Students can hear that 5, 10 15, 20, 25, 30.... sequence on a daily basis as we write 500 G's as a class.

Later on we can write two rows of 5, count by 10's and make 1,000 letters collectively. Lots of practice and no trees have to give up their lives to make the paper.


Barbra Stephens said...

So you are "Going Green". Incorporating math and writing....very resourceful.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Barbra—

Yes, and what is more green than a piece of chalk and a slate that might last 40 years in the classroom, serving three generations of students?