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Handwriting in the Classroom AT Ideas and Solutions Sarah Crosbie, MS.Ed, OTR/L.

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Presentation on theme: "Handwriting in the Classroom AT Ideas and Solutions Sarah Crosbie, MS.Ed, OTR/L."— Presentation transcript:

1 Handwriting in the Classroom AT Ideas and Solutions Sarah Crosbie, MS.Ed, OTR/L

2 Handwriting is a lifelong skill that affects every academic area in school. Handwriting or written communication is the number one concern on IEPs 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 1.Random shapes and scribbles 2.Coloring 3.Crayon drawing 4.Letter formation 5.Printing words and sentences 6.Cursive words and sentences 7.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 4th – 8th Grade Review and refinement of cursive/manuscript in content Neat connections, appropriate spacing Speed Self-evaluation of skills Development of personal style Sample Handwriting Continuum

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 1.Gross Motor/Fine Motor High Tone (Spasticity) Low tone (Flaccidity) 2.Proprioception/Kinesthetics Body sense in space 3.Eye-hand coordination 4.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

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

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

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

17 Problem: Student shows letter reversals when writing Reversals are common in kindergarten and 1 st grade, should diminish in 2 nd 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 students 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.

18 Problem: The student writes too slowly to keep up with the class Students ability to form letters automatically is not adequate. Continue instruction/remediation. Reduce the writing load Provide keyboarding instruction

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!

20 Handwriting Curriculums 1.Handwriting Without Tears: 2.D'Nealian Handwriting : 3.Zaner- Bloser : 4.Hooked on Handwriting : 5.Callirobics: 6. Write-On Handwriting : 7.Palmer Method Handwriting 8.Loops and Other Groups 9.Big Strokes for Little Folks

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