Hi everyone! I’d like to thank Rachel for allowing me to guest post on her blog today. What an honor!
I’m Amy from Cahill’s Creations. I’ve been a teacher for 11 years with the last 6 spent in kindergarten. I’m always searching for new ideas, tips, tricks, and resources to help my kinder kids achieve their goals. I also LOVE creating fresh new resources that are useful in the classroom.
I’m here today to share my experience with handwriting this year.
At the beginning of kindergarten, I spend a lot of time making hands-on activities to help strengthen their fine motor skills. Here are some things that have helped get warmed up for beginning handwriting:
*Hole punch exercises – I had a whole bunch of hole punchers and the kids practiced using them by squeezing. We used these in reading and math centers. You can hole punch letters/numbers, identify rhyming words, beginning sounds, shapes, or just about anything you can think of!
*Tweezers – We used tweezers in math centers. Kids had to use these to pick up fuzzies and place them in an empty water bottle.
*Shaving cream – Kids LOVE getting messy with shaving cream. Spread it out on tables & kids practice writing letters/numbers/words through the shaving cream.
*Play dough – roll it out and use to make your name or other words.
*Clothes pins – So many different uses! Make math games to match the number to the quantity, match beginning sounds to letters, etc.
*Beads & Pipe Cleaners – This is perfect for math centers. Kids have to put beads on pipe cleaners to match number and quantity.
*Tear art – kids have to tear construction paper into little pieces and clue on their name. It looks beautiful and it helps with their fine motor skills.
*Q-Tip Painting – Use q-tips to paint your name, letters/numbers, sight words
*Cutting/Gluing – We always have a bunch of cutting and gluing practice worksheets at the beginning of the year. I love using these because I can see who needs the extra support and how they are performing these skills. I find it extremely sad that some schools in my district do not allow ANY cutting and gluing because it is not academic. We are doing a disservice to our kids if we do not allow them to develop these skills.
I’m going to be honest here and say that, unfortunately, handwriting is one of those areas that doesn’t get enough attention in my classroom. It’s not built into our schedule nor do we have a handwriting curriculum. There are so many content areas/standards that we’re responsible for teaching that handwriting is put to the side. Since kindergarten is the foundation year, I knew I had to really concentrate on handwriting more.
At the beginning of the year, I highlight for the kids who need the extra support. This helps them to trace what they want to say and fosters their confidence while making them feel successful. I’ve also used all different kinds of pencil grips, but I’ve never seen any dramatic results with those. Maybe I’m the only one who hasn’t found these helpful?!
This year, I ran into some cases where the kids handwriting was not developing and I needed to find different, more creative ways to help them.
Here’s what I did:
I created these ABC handwriting pages to help reinforce letter formation. Some of my kinder kiddos were having difficulty with this skill. These have helped tremendously! You can put them in page protectors to save paper and practice on a daily basis. Send them home and have parents work on handwriting. I hope you find them useful.