Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Fight For Your Write"

A Campaign to Highlight How Writing Benefits a Child's Learning and Development

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the importance of teaching handwriting in school.  My colleagues and I have become very frustrated with the quality of students' handwriting. 
And with good reason.  
It's terrible!
With all the emphasis on testing, common core, RTI, etc.,
there is not time to teach handwriting.
But at what cost?


BIC Consumer Products USA is spearheading the
campaign to highlight the importance of writing in our lives.


From a recent article from Edutopia, 

"There has been much debate on the use of laptops for note taking in classrooms. The pro side sees laptops as an efficient way of collecting and storing information. The con side sees laptops as an opportunity for distractions and multitasking. What's missing is an understanding of how taking notes by longhand influences the brain. Recent studies have shown that students taking notes with laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than the students taking notes by longhand. In short, they had the information on their computers, but did not have an understanding of that information in their brains."

So how do we best incorporate handwriting instruction in our extremely busy digital classrooms?

According to Ainissa Ramirez,
"So let us not confuse efficiency with the real goal of teaching. Teaching is not a job of cramming as much as we can into a brain. It is about learning. And getting students to learn means that we must use every pathway to connect them with the information. Using laptops reinforces the Industrial Revolution ideal that every kid should get the information in the same way, and that it should come out the same way. But by occasionally replacing the laptop with a pen, learning happens, which is why we got into this business in the first place."

So what about cursive writing?


There are some practical and scientifically-based arguments for keeping cursive in the curriculum.  
It helps to develop motor skills.  It also "helps children develop skills in reading, spelling, composition, memory and  critical thinking.

I highly recommend taking a look at the BIC campaign site, and both of the article mentioned.  They were really interesting reading.  I would love to know your thoughts.

In conjunction with their Fight For Your Write campaign,
BIC sent me some fun writing tools to try out.
Ever since grade school, one of my favorite pens to write with are the BIC Cristal Stick Pens.

Remember these fun 4 Color Pens?


My students still love writing with these pens!
And I ALWAYS have plenty of correction tape on hand!

I also got these great Atlantis retractable pens, medium and fine point.


They write so smooth!

Add some

with these fun Xtra Shine Mechanical Pencils and Magic Dry Erase Markers.


I think my favorites though are these new 
pencils, pens, and stylus
designed just for little hands!  
They have a special grip with a yellow guiding line for proper finger placement when holding them.
My Littles could REALLY use that!


Would you like to receive a goody box from BIC too?
Well you are in luck!
Just comment below with your take on the handwriting controversy, 
and I will choose a lucky winner on Sunday evening
to win a gift box from BIC.

Congratulations to Stacy G. for winning the BIC Goody Box!

Since I have not heard back from Stacy G. this week,
I am choosing another lucky winner to receive the BIC Goody Box.
So...

Alexxe please email or message me with your address and I will have the box of goodies sent to you!






80 comments :

  1. I am glad someone else sees the importance of handwriting. It is still part of our curriculum for Grade 3 students but many people don't teach it. I teach it to students every year and most are excited to learn. I believe students need to be able to at least write their name and read handwriting. It is a fun skill to teach! Cheers,
    Terri
    Terri's Teaching Treasures

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree! I'm glad to see others who see it as a valuable skill!

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  2. My district doesn't have a handwriting curriculum, and I never received any training in handwriting. It's not even one of our standards! I've seen a TON of "printing" worksheets where the students trace the letters on a page a heap of times, but often with incorrect strokes and incorrect pencil grip. That's not the answer! I'm teaching pre-k this year and I'm hoping to instill good handwriting, without using tracing worksheets! Oh! and my older children (15 and 12) don't know cursive because there was no time for them to be taught it. It boggles the mind that we can get rid of something so important! I've never seen the Bic Kids line - I'll have to check it out!

    Jennifer! Herding Kats in Kindergarten

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  3. I think handwriting is super important. I tell mine from day 1 to take pride in their work and do their best. My district has adopted the Handwriting Without Tears lessons. They are age/grade level appropriate. So far my kids are enjoying the lessons and not complaining. I like to show off their work so they are doing their best. Handwriting needs to be part of education. So many kids can't print much less use cursive. I do think it is a skill that needs to be taught. I am so excited to try out the ideas of the cool pens!! Love!!! Thanks for your thoughts and ideas!

    Libby
    Staying Strong in 4th!

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  4. I think handwriting is important and I think it is sad that some schools are no longer teaching their children to write in cursive because there is no time.

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  5. I was so glad to see you write a blog about this problem. Handwriting Without Tears is a good program that I have used in my special ed room and had good success with as well, Olivia. I see incorrect pencil grips everyday and do my best to make sure that is addressed in my room. But what do you do when it is the classroom teacher with the incorrect grip and she is teaching children. We show more by our actions than our words and her students are learning more than she realizes.

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  6. Definitely still necessary and I would hate to see this lost art. I have letters and recipes handwritten by my grandmother which mean a lot more to me than typed ones! People say we don't need it because of technology? I still have to sign things all the time. What about the importance of at least teaching handwriting for signatures?

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  7. I teach in a self contained classroom and we do handwriting during our day. My older students are beginning to write in cursive. Yes, we have the computers and iPads and the students love to use the technology, but they feel a sense of accomplishment when they write with pencils---like in the old days ;)

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  8. I think handwriting is so important, but I struggle to find time to teach it in my room. Additionally, many of my fourth graders enter with habits that are hard to break (letter formation, pencil grip, etc.) I try to address pencil grip issues with grippers, but other than that, I really can't find the time. I'd love to have some special pencils or pens to use as rewards for good handwriting.

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  9. As a middle school teacher, I see the negative effects of the move away from handwriting instruction. My students' handwriting is illegible and they have no idea what a signature is!

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  10. I think handwriting is very important. It is a skill that needs to be practiced daily!

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  11. I've been teaching for 25+ years and have always taught handwriting on a daily basis. Our district finally fully adopted a handwriting curriculum for K-3 this year after 2 years of piloting it. It's great to finally have consistency within our district. I can, through observations the first three dqys of school though, see the need to go back to basics and teach the proper way to hold a pencil. I love the idea of the tri color pens and remember them from my younger days...maybe that would be an incentive for students who pur effort into their writing assignments.

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  12. I believe that handwriting is an art form that is linked to learning in ways we have yet to totally understand. If you look at most adults they have their own unique style and form. I loved seeing how my grandmother's style became a part of my mother's style and how my mother's has become a part of mine. Good penmanship takes practice and time, and sadly time is an issue, however, our district has made the commitment to continue to teach cursive.

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  13. I have been teaching for 25 years and I still think handwriting is so important ! There are no standards in my state for having to teach it but I do as it is necessary . This year is is embedded in the second half of our writing curriculum. So glad to see it!!

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  14. I think handwriting is VERY important! I teach first grade and am working with kids on letter formations and reversals! It is so important to be able to have writing that others can read. My 11 year old daughter is having a hard time reading her Grandmother's cursive handwriting. That concerns Grandma but I have had to explain that no one makes them write or practice reading it really. Handwriting is very important to keep teaching!

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  15. Yes! Even before I was a teacher, I always said that handwriting is a good predictor of a person's intelligence and work ethic! Not that I had any evidence, just my opinion :)

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  16. I am a new teacher this year. I just graduated from college this past May. During my first two weeks of teaching in first and second grade I see how important it is to teach writing. The teaching of handwriting started to go out the door when I was in elementary school. I am always comparing my handwriting to those who are only a couple years older than me. I feel like my handwriting is still in need of improvement, let alone the future generations. I believe that handwriting is an essential skill to learn. My brother who was never taught handwriting has a hard time signing his name on a check because he was never taught. These are essential skills that need to be taught in schools today. I am big into technology and think typing skills are important as well but we as a country are losing the art of handwriting. We as teachers need to make sure our students are getting what is best for them to become a functioning and valuable member of our society.

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  17. I teach 1st grade and I know the importance of handwriting. They are just learning how to write and put their thoughts on paper. We were told last year that we could not teach handwriting. I didn't agree with this and taught my little ones handwriting.

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  18. I feel that handwriting is very important and needs to practiced daily in fun ways.

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  20. I feel that handwriting is very important but that teachers are pressured to get so much in in a day that handwriting falls to the wayside.

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  21. How can anyone think writing is not important, I consider writing as important as reading, goes hand in hand.

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  22. As a writing teacher in the 4Th grade I totally see the value in it. I also have so many kids who hate to write and have terrible penmanship. Writing is such a chore for them. It is sad.

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  23. When handwriting is fluent, writing becomes more fluent! Handwriting is important!

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  24. Agree 100%! My kids would love fancy pens!

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  25. I feel that handwriting is important to student learning. Although I do not grade their handwriting, I do require my students to complete certain assignments in cursive. With ipads in the classroom, I try and find a balance between technology and handwriting/cursive.

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  26. I love this article! I believe when students learn how to handwrite they improve on other various skills. I remember in my grade 5 placement I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my mentor teacher teaching his students cursive writing. Through this experience I also learned how I could incorporate this into my own classroom. It is encouraging to know they are other teachers who see the importance and value of handwriting.

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  27. Such a tough topic. I feel like handwriting/cursive is a dying art. I understand that we are moving to the digital age. However, it seems like we should still be teaching cursive and requiring kids to use it occasionally. I am so sad that kids cannot seem to be able to read cursive anymore. It's sad that kids can'r read a card written in cursive by an older family member. :(

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  28. I write my daily plans in cursive. I figure if I cannot teach they can at least learn to read it.

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  29. Our legislature recently passed a law requiring cursive writing be taught in elementary schools, so we practice weekly. I think it's important, so I don't mind at all.

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  30. Handwriting matters even high school. I teach AP English and the exam is still done the old fashioned way--ink pen and three hand written essays in 120 minutes. Since my students struggle with hand writing their essays, each student is now required to do all rough drafts and grammar work in a composition notebook in pen.

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  31. There is so much more to handwriting than just perfect penmanship. Writing with pencil and pen is crucial to small motor development and helps to make important connections in the brain. Putting thoughts on paper by physically writing the words helps develop the thought process that is an important step in becoming a proficient writer. These developmental steps cannot be duplicated by using a keyboard or a screen. Students who miss out on the critical muscle/brain connections created through handwriting will struggle with the writing process throughout school.

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  32. I believe that handwriting and writing are important for my students. I teach kinder and we work on both of these each day. I also make my writing center fun by using a variety of writing tools and papers. I wish we had more time each day to spend on writing but we do the best we can.

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  33. I teach 1st grade and we have spent the last two weeks teaching proper formation and handwriting skills. As a former Kinder teacher, I know firsthand the impact explicit handwriting instruction in the early years can have on a student's development and confidence. It is vital to start our students off on the right foot and continue to spiral those lessons throughout their elementary years.

    Thanks for the link to the article. I am definitely going to check out the BIC kids line.
    Brittney
    brittneymae119@gmail.com

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  34. I am trained in the Handwriting Without Tears program and like some it's creative ways of teaching the students how to write their letters. We use large wooden pieces in shapes that when manipulated it becomes upper and lower case letters. The students can then use chalk boards and white boards to practice. I have seen the new BIC pencils for little kids and LOVE them. I actually bought one for each of my twin 5 year olds to help them learn the better grip!

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  35. I am not sure of my comments went through the first time. The jist of my post was - THANK YOU! Thank you from a high school biology teacher who mandates that her students write.

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  36. There is more to writing than just the writing. I used the keep cursive vs. get rid of it controversy as a springboard for a writing assignment where my students discussed, researched, and wrote their opinion on the subject. I was amazed at the passion these third graders had on the subject! The vast majority of them wanted to keep it n the schools and had a great time reading and discussing different arguments for both sides. Thoughtful discussions+great tools=amazing writing. Go, cursive!!

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  37. I don't know if my other post went through, but as a 6th grade teacher who has to teach note taking skills I can't say how valuable handwriting actual is. I am at a low-income Title 1 school so reliable technology isn't readily available for each class so we hand write most of our assignments. Students are now coming in not even know how to write in cursive, which I hope I can squeeze into my morning routine this year. I feel that handwriting is actually an essential tool to succeed in the working world, adults seem to forget how much they actual write on a day to day basis.

    I am so obsessed with office supplies, I get excited getting pens as Christmas gifts!

    Courtney
    mcnierney08092012@gmail.com

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  38. This is just what I needed to read, I have been teaching 3rd grade for 6 years now, and this is the 1st year I see students already writing in cursive, I do not want to discourage them from keeping it up. I can't wait to be able to have them all writing cursive. This article goes to show how research evidence backs up good handwriting skills, an excellent resource (excuse) to spend time on handwriting,too!

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  39. I saw the articles over the summer and totally agree. I taught 6th grade for 14 years and have seen a steady decline in penmanship. What will they think of pens and pencils in the future when they dig them up if we give up on writing???

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  40. I believe handwriting is very important. I homeschool my daughter and she learned how to write in cursive in kindergarten.

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  41. I think it is so important to reinforce handwriting in the young years. I teach Kinder and I can tell which students have had fine motor practice with things like play dough, scissors, clothespins, etc., and their grip strength, stamina, and handwriting are leaps and bounds better than students who have not had that practice.

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  42. As a Pre-service teacher just about to graduate, reading blogs like this really is my favourite thing to do. I came across this post and just immediately had to share it! Although I completely agree with the importance of hand writing, on my last practical placement I completely struggled with the idea of having to learn 'Queensland Cursive' myself in order to appropriately teach it to my students. It was so difficult to learn after already having your own handwriting style. Not only that, but I don't hold the pen the 'correct' way (although I try and stay away from calling it that). This is because I was incredibly premature and my early years teachers really didn't provide me with the support I needed to catch up developmentally with my peers. Therefore I just ended up holding the pen the way that I felt comfortable (and that didn't hurt me) and here I am today still being questioned about my 'pencil grip'. Pens like the Bic Kids pens would have really helped me as a child and its just made me even more determined to help those kids in early years who really need that extra help with their writing skills! I always explain to them why I hold the pen differently and that 'its okay to be different' but at the same time I always make sure they understand the importance of neat handwriting that they feel proud of. Sorry for the long post, this is just something really close to my heart :) Thank you for this.

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  43. I completely agree with this. It has been suggested that I find alternative ways to teach handwriting, not to use pencil and paper. Very frustrating.

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  44. As a special education teacher, I have Jr. high students whose writing is more or less illegible. I would love to have some special writing tools to help their handwriting improve (some already use special paper). There isn't really time to implement handwriting lessons, especially as most of the students do write legibly.

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  45. I have always been an advocate of cursive, but do not get support from the lower grade teachers. The students have developed very bad habits by the time they get in 4th grade,

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  46. I have mixed feelings.
    I dont want to teach handwriting but I dont like struggling through their papers either!

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  47. We absolutely should teach cursive. From attention to detail, fluid movement and thought, self-discipline, hand-eye coordination, self-confidence and pride in one's work, cursive practice helps students develop integral skills.

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  48. I think writing in cursive should be mandatory. I also think it's eloquent and mature. Also I had to learn it school. Why shouldn't our children learn it also.

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  49. My two oldest children have atrocious handwriting. Almost no time has been dedicated to it in their school. My daughter can barely string together her own signature because they don't even teach cursive here. My two youngest will be homeschooled, and I have been spending a lot of time lately researching techniques for teaching both print and cursive. I think it is a VERY important part of a curriculum that is being neglected with all of the new Common Core standards, and emphasis on standardized testing. There are so many wonderful parts of my elementary education of just 25+ years ago that have become all but obsolete. I look forward to introducing my younger children to them once they are old enough. In the meantime, I try to work with my older two at home on their handwriting as much as possible. It has started to improve some. I think the Bic Kids writing utensils would be an awesome tool to add to the arsenal, and would love to try them out!

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  50. I teach fourth grade, and it's such a struggle to find time in the day to teach handwriting. I am determined to make it a priority this year, especially after reading all of these articles about the benefits of writing in cursive. It's becoming such a lost art form as we become more and more dependent on technology. I'm thrilled to read about this campaign!

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  51. I could not agree more! I think there needs to be a lot more emphasis on student handwriting. A lot of my students hate writing, so I'm always looking for different ways to make it fun for them. I love these ideas and will definitely implement them in my own classroom. Thank you!

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  52. This topic is all to vital for my class this year. I have several children with fine motor deficiencies who struggle daily with handwriting. They have such good stories and thoughts to get on paper, yet fight through the boundaries their handwriting has built. I appreciate that you are reminding people of the importance of handwriting, and the fact that it should be a remaining focus in education. I am excited to even be a part of this contest. Thank you for developing awareness, and for your consideration. I truly appreciate it.

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  53. As a first grade teacher, I feel handwriting is especially important in the younger grades. Now that my kiddos are past kindergarten, they know how to write their letters but need refining. With no handwriting curriculum, many form letters in odd ways and it is nearly impossible to re-teach the correct way to form a letter. Great blog and thank you for the chance to supply my classroom!

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  54. Here in FL, handwriting is back for 3rd grade!!

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  55. I just saw an ad for Bic's new campaign, and I am totally on board! Out of my 32 students, I have 2 who can write in cursive. I have been working to change that.
    I think handwriting should definitely be taught in schools.
    Great giveaway!
    Lori

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  56. Love the new line from Bic! Unfortunately, not only are my students unable to write in cursive, they cannot read it either. As a 5th grade teacher, I have noticed a significant decline in handwriting over the years. Students used to have pride in their handwriting. No more. Sad.

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  57. I incorporate handwriting activities into my kindergarten classroom daily! We just finished fun activities that help develop fine motor and prewriting skills during these first few weeks of school. Last week we learned proper pencil holding and we traced lines and found lines in letters. Next week, we will begin forming letters on the handwriting lines! :) I think handwriting is extremely important…I am on a handwriting committee in my school district (Citrus County, Fl.) and we just looked at research this summer about how much more active your brain is handwriting vs. typing!

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  58. I am a special education teacher and many of my students have difficulty with handwriting. I am interested in anything that may be useful in helping them become better writers.

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  59. I know with more technology in the classroom, it is harder for students to write with paper and pencil. However, I would love to see them do it more.

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  60. I agree that teaching handwriting benefits our kids. I review cursive handwriting in the fourth grade, and my students use it all the time at the end of the year. I think it's a dying breed and so sad. Thanks for sharing how teaching this skill can benefit our students!

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  61. We must fight for the right to write, Go the extra mile to teach them form and style, Handwriting we know is worth the fight, The importance of which we should not make light, Show that it is worth while, And what better way to make it all stick than with a fancy Bic, Oh how I'm hoping me you do pick!

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    Replies
    1. Stacy G, 2nd grade teacher to handwriting champs!

      Delete
    2. Congratulations Stacy! You won the BIC Goody Box! Please email or message me with your address and I will get this on its way!

      Delete
  62. I work handwriting practice into my day. I feel like it is important to know how to sign your name, to write legibly. We have a 1:1 technology program and with that even less handwriting takes place.
    I think/know that kids would love some fancy pencils and pens. :-)

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  63. I agree that we must fight to keep cursive in our schools. I try to include basic cursive instruction in our daily activities. As the school year gets going, I have students use fun activities on my promethean board to practice cursive skills as well as practicing in a notebook. My students ask to write in cursive, so I'm glad the interest is still there.

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  64. I think handwriting and letter formation are very important developmentally. When I taught special education students worked on forming all if their letters properly, first with printing and then with cursive. Sadly, I now teach general education and there is no time for that!

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  65. It is a shame that handwriting gets pushed aside. My students will often ask..." How am I going to be able to sign my name when I grow up?"

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  66. I am a first grade teacher and am so applaud at the way children hold a pencil and how they form their letters. Over the past few years, I have worked on handwriting but not happy with not having the time to spend on it. This year I am making a concerted effort to work in handwriting into my daily schedule. Writing with a pencil or pen is so good for fine motor development. I am always praised by my colleagues about my fine penmanship and I owe that to my teachers many, many years ago.

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  67. As a 4th grade teacher, I have to agree with what has been said here. When I first started teaching in 4th, the majority of students had legible handwriting with only a few illegible. Now it has completely shifted. Each year for the past few years I have only a handful of students with legible handwriting. I think it's awful. My 4th grade team colleagues and I are struggling with this idea. I still feel it's very important but I'm afraid that most of my team feels otherwise. :(

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    Replies
    1. I'm finding the same situation at my school!

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  68. In my second and third grade classroom, my students are taught the correct letter formation for printing and then it is reinforced in all we do. As the year progresses, cursive is introduced and used during class. Students continue using cursive in fourth and fifth grade, but after that it is not used. This is frustrating to me, but I will not stop teaching it!

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  69. I think that handwriting is so important but we don't even teach it at my school anymore. My kids can't read cursive because they can't write it and they have no idea how to sign their name. Just because they'll be typing a lot doesn't mean they won't need to write!

    -Caitlyn
    Fourth Grade Lemonade

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  70. I have always thought that teaching handwriting is important, now I have even more reasons why. Glad to hear all of the brain connections and how it helps our students learn!

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  71. I strongly believe handwriting is important! The children are always being reminded even how to sit, hold their pencil, use the other hand to hold their paper in place, and to write correctly and neatly...and these are 4th graders! Handwriting books, cursive handwriting books, were ordered for the first time during my 5years in 4th grade. Indiana has a handwriting standard

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  72. This year my district adopted a phonics program with a strong handwriting component (Spalding). More than ever, I am noticing how many students (second-graders) grip their pencils very awkwardly and sit awkwardly while trying to write. It's obvious they need more instruction and practice in how to write neatly with automaticity. I'd love to try the BIC Kids pens with them!

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  73. I've read several studies on the brain that prove handwriting skills are essential for learning to read. I believe handwriting must be taught. When they get older, they can add keyboarding, but it should never replace handwriting.

    Sally from Elementary Matters

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  74. Handwriting is something I really loved in school. It is a skill that must be taught and practiced throughout the school years.

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  75. I believe it is important to take the time to teach handwriting. My second graders love to learn cursive. I only wish it was maintained in third and above.

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  76. I'm all for teaching handwriting. There is a district by Me where the teachers told parents they don't care about spelling and penmanship. Having legible handwriting is a must when students get a job. Sometimes I have to put on special glasses to decipher some student's handwriting.

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