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Handwriting in the Classroom

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Presentation on theme: "Handwriting in the Classroom"— Presentation transcript:

1 Handwriting in the Classroom
AT Ideas and Solutions Sarah Crosbie, MS.Ed, OTR/L Let’s think what a special needs student may have to face when presented with a simple writing assignment

2 Handwriting is a lifelong skill that affects every academic area in school.
Handwriting or written communication is the number one concern on IEP’s today. Students who struggle to write often miss content while focusing on mechanics.

3 Writing is….. The physical act of dragging a trail across a piece of paper.

4 Physical Sequence Random shapes and scribbles Coloring Crayon drawing
Letter formation Printing words and sentences Cursive words and sentences Typing

5 Sample Handwriting Continuum
Pre-K Body awareness Sensory motor/gross motor experiences Fine motor and manipulative tasks to strengthen fingers and hands Teach foundational strokes and basic shapes Work on vertical surfaces Drawing Kindergarten Continue to teach/reinforce Pre-K skills Proper pencil grip Proper posture Teach age-appropriate shapes Use multi-sensory method to teach upper case letters and then lower case letters with correct starting points and directionality Basic sentence writing ** Children in Kindergarten spend 42% of fine motor time on paper/pencil tasks

6 Sample Handwriting Continuum
1st Grade Daily handwriting lessons Proper pencil grip & posture Increase automaticity of letter formation Punctuation , grammar, spelling Appropriate sizing and placement 2nd Grade Review and refinement of letters and numbers Word and sentence skills Practice smaller letters and narrower lines Increase speed.

7 Sample Handwriting Continuum
3rd Grade Review of manuscript Introduction of cursive letter formations Sentence and paragraph skills Refine size Increase speed 4th Grade Cursive mastery Increase quantity Introduction to Keyboarding

8 Sample Handwriting Continuum
4th – 8th Grade Review and refinement of cursive/manuscript in content Neat connections, appropriate spacing Speed Self-evaluation of skills Development of personal style

9 Barriers To Teaching: Handwriting instruction is difficult- most teachers/ therapists are trained in one method and prefer using that method Not standardized within districts or states

10 Physical Issues Gross Motor/Fine Motor Proprioception/Kinesthetics
High Tone (Spasticity) Low tone (Flaccidity) Proprioception/Kinesthetics Body sense in space Eye-hand coordination Visual Acuity

11 Low-Tech Strategies The LoTTIE Kit (Low Tech Tools for Inclusive Education) Highlighter tape See It Right (colored filters for visual impairments) Ergonomically shaped pens Page holders Pencil Grips Keyboard Labels Magnifiers Paper Writing Guides

12 Problem: Student demonstrates poor sitting posture when writing
Provide proper seat and desk height Good base of support for arms Non-skid surface on chair Warm-up exercises to activate muscles needed to maintain good posture Attach “posture card” to desktop Low muscle tone? Seek advise from OT/PT non-skid materials..footrests 90/90/90 desk should be right height to offer base of support for arms…posture card is visual cue…seated push-ups, wall push-ups, calisthenics, blackboard, easel, standing helps improve shoulder stability, increase attention and improve wrist /hand position

13 Problem: Student demonstrates poor pencil grip when writing
Encourage use of dynamic tripod grasp Early intervention is optimal Utilize adaptive pencil aids Practice cutting with appropriate scissor grasp Try writing with broken crayons or small pieces of chalk Write on slanted surface to increase wrist extension and visibility Take into consideration students age, cooperation and ability to cooperate..tough to change grip when beginning 2nd grade (but not impossible)…scissor great exercise for pre different aids                                          

14 Adaptations and Modifications
Improve ability to hold and manipulate Enlarge handles or writing utensils with wooden dowels, foam hair curlers, pipe insulation, film canister, tennis or plastic golf ball.

15 Problem: Student has difficulty with spatial organization when writing
Color-code margins If students have trouble staying within lines, try increasing or decreasing space between writing lines. Use a spacer to measure space between words (finger, ice pop stick) Use graph paper Emphasize lines on paper with visual or tactile cues Draw a green vertical margin down left of page and red down end of line. teach green means go and red means stop…zaner bloser has software program that lets you print out lines in many different styles , height, etc.

16 Problem: Student shows poor letter formation when writing
Always demonstrate how to write a letter. Have student repeat aloud verbal directions for forming a letter as he writes it. Be sure they understand directional terms Have student write on chalkboard or other vertical surface to reinforce directionality and prevent confusion Provide daily practice to reinforce skills Loops and groups..up, down, over, across..self talk is very helpful .. Self-correction “pick out your favorite 3 letters/words and tell me why you like them” on horizontal surface down means toward self up means away from self

17 Problem: Student shows letter reversals when writing
Reversals are common in kindergarten and 1st grade, should diminish in 2nd grade, and be infrequent in third. Letter/word reversals are, for the most part, due to a weak memory, the lack of enough previous experiences, or a lack of left-right awareness. Place cue card of letters typically reversed on student’s desk for easy reference Use multi-sensory activities to learn and practice letter formation (textured letters, sandpaper, sand, shaving lotion) If the child is confused about his own left/right, use a ring, watch, ribbon or band on his writing arm.  Reversals common In young children and usually diminish around 6 or 7 in don-disable students ..Use cartoon drawing to help depict this concept..trace over textured letters with fingers with eyes closed and then open. Have him repeat aloud verbal direction for forming the letter..when writing letters in air stand next to student

18 Problem: The student writes too slowly to keep up with the class
Student’s ability to form letters automatically is not adequate. Continue instruction/remediation. Reduce the writing load Provide keyboarding instruction Speed should not be addressed until letter formations have been learned..compensatory strategy

19 Problem: The student hates to write
Identify areas of difficulty so that remediation can begin. Teach handwriting separately (not with written assignment). Emphasize quality of handwriting not quantity. Reduce the writing load. Comments on students paper should emphasize the positive. All alternatives- oral reports, typing, video Make writing fun! Talk to student, listen to his reasons..the more you know about handwriting ,the more you’ll know of how much of this is behavior or a disability..separate mechanics of writing and formation of activi..tic tac toe with letters..list writing ..journal writing..

20 Handwriting Curriculums
Handwriting Without Tears: D'Nealian Handwriting : Zaner- Bloser: Hooked on Handwriting: Callirobics: Write-On Handwriting: Palmer Method Handwriting Loops and Other Groups Big Strokes for Little Folks

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