Handwriting Practices and Procedures

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1 Rationale Handwriting Practices and Procedures Handwriting is one of the many important skills that help to create effective and competent communicators. Good handwriting helps the reader to read what has been written and helps the writer to write more quickly. Clear, well formed handwriting does not develop naturally. It needs to be taught carefully and sensitively so that all children are helped to form and join letters quickly, easily and legibly. Principles Teachers should teach the handwriting, as much as possible, in the context of language. E.g. related to spelling lessons, modelled writing Teachers should, as much as possible, provide real reasons to students for making their handwriting legible through having a real audience and a real purpose for writing. Teachers should expect good handwriting from students but it shouldn t be emphasised to the detriment of creativity and love of writing Teachers will individualise feedback based on the needs of both left-handed and right-handed students. Teachers should emphasise good presentation when children are writing final drafts, but not every piece of writing children produce needs to be perfect. Teachers need to be aware of the style of handwriting used for displays and writing on the whiteboard because their writing provides a model for children Teachers should allow for different handwriting styles of new students entering TISA. Teachers should encourage students to improve on this handwriting style. In time every writer will develop his or her own personal style of writing and this should be encouraged. Teachers can choose which handwriting style they use for writing on the board or on flip charts. In handwriting lessons in P5 P8, the teacher must model both Nelson and styles. Progression of handwriting skills at TISA Class Skills Format P1 Teachers should encourage the development of the students fine motor skills through activities such as painting, using plasticine, play dough and fine motor control through activities such as threading and drawing, pulling bricks apart. Children should have a range of writing implements to choose from: Pencils, Felt pens thick and thin, Wax crayons, Chalk, Pencil crayons, Biro pens Marks

2 Class Skills Format P2 P3 P4 Students explore letter formation patterns (wavy lines, zig-zag lines etcetera). Teachers should demonstrate the formation of letters through writing letters in salt, sand, the air or using sandpaper letters or finger paint. Towards the end of the year the focus shifts towards correct letter formation on paper. Letter formation patterns Nelson Print Lower case Teachers initially teach handwriting using print, as the typeface in Nelson books is usually print. Younger children are more familiar with these Print letter shapes. Teachers should provide both lined and unlined paper Lower case and coloured paper to use. Unlined paper gives younger children the Introduce freedom to experiment with letter formation Lined paper helps correct flicks orientation, size and formation. Teachers should teach letters in groups, according to the way that they are formed. E.g. i, t, l; u, y, j; n, m, r, h; c, a, d, g, o, e; b, p, k; s, f; v, w, x, z Teachers should emphasise the starting point of each letter and correct letter formation when teaching these letters. Teachers should teach flicks (hooks). Teachers introduce students to joined letter strings when modelling or Nelson discussing their spelling. This reflects the links between letter sounds in Print phonics and spelling and fits in with the children s process of language Lower case development. Joining letters for together sounds means that these and Upper sounds are reflected in a together shape, e.g. ch, sh, th, wh, ck, qu, case ph, oo, ee, ea, oa, ai, Start joining Different joins should be very carefully taught in order to promote a letters fluent style. The majority of children should reach this stage by the end Joining letters of P 4. Lined guides can be used when the children are making books or consistently writing final drafts. The different joins are: Diagonal joins to letters with ascenders eg. ab, ul, it Diagonal joins to letters without ascenders eg. ai,ar,un Horizontal joins to letters with ascenders eg. ol, wh, ot Horizontal joins to letters without ascenders eg. ou, vi, wi Recommended practice: at least 2 x 15 minutes per week. In P2 to P5 all students learn the same letter type: Nelson. For this age level, the difference between Nelson and is minimal. From P5 to P8 the students choose whether they prefer to use the letter format or the Nelson format. We expect that the majority will continue writing Nelson since that is the format taught in previous grades. The choice of the handwriting can depend on the format used in previous schools as well as the preference of the parent. Both letter formats can be taught by the teacher in

3 the same handwriting lesson, alternating instruction and feedback for the two different groups in the class. In P6 to P8 handwriting will be taught through instruction, practice and specific feedback. Practice may take place in the class or at home depending on the professional judgment of the teacher which will be based on the assessment of handwriting samples. The teacher will provide ample opportunity for students to use the full joined up / cursive style in their writing. Class Skills Format P5 P6 Students start joining up letters. Introduction of loops towards the end of the year for students learning Weekly instruction. At the end of P6, students will meet the minimum expectations, listed below, for either the Nelson or the letter type. Students learning further develop the loops into a full cursive style used consistently. Students learning Nelson join up letters consistently. Joined up letters Nelson or Nelson or P7 Further practice of Nelson or Nelson or P8 Students develop their own personalised handwriting style but still need to meet the minimum expectations described below. Develop own style, considering minimum expectations Minimum expectations In P5 P8, our minimum expectations for final handwritten products: Correct letter formation Letters sitting on the lines Adequate spacing between letters and words Consistency in size Consistency in slant Correct format Correct use of lower / upper case Reasonable speed of writing Not all work that will be displayed on the wall needs to be a final product. It is also possible to display first drafts or the results of group work which will not necessarily meet all minimum expectations described above.

4 Posture Students need to sit comfortably while writing. In order to facilitate a comfortable position, teachers should encourage students to Sit straight Keep both feet flat on the floor Sit on a comfortable distance from the desk (a fist should fit loosely between the table and the body) Tilt the paper either to the left for right-handed writers or to the right for left-handed writers Left-handed writers Left-handers may have particular difficulties with handwriting. The following practical considerations all help: Light: Ideally a left-hander needs the light to come over her right shoulder so that she is not writing in the shadow of her one hand. Paper: A left-hander needs to have paper on the left side of the centre of the body. The paper needs to be titled to the right side so that the writer can see what she is writing. Pencil hold: Encourage a left-handed writer to hold the pencil or pen a little further from the point than a right-hander so that the writing is not obscured. It may be helpful to introduce children to a pencil grip to find the right place for their fingers. Position: make sure that a left-hander is not sitting too close to the right-hander when writing. This will avoid their arms colliding. Seat a left-hander on the left, a right-hander on the right. Speed: Allow for slower writing until competence increases. Teaching: Demonstrate to left-handers with your left hand whenever possible.

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