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Final Freaky Friday!

Hey folks!

Yes, I am still alive!  I had to take some time away from online ventures as life has been pretty crazy these last few months!  Where to start?!

Well, let's begin with the best news!  Baby Harry, grandchild number 10, was born on Sept 13th.  Such a mix of emotions, but such a blessing!  If you follow my blog, you will know that our youngest grandson Jay passed away from cancer just after his first birthday.  Everything went as smoothly as could be with baby Harry's birth and we now have the most gorgeous addition to our family!  

Please welcome Harry! Isn't he just adorable?!

Next up, we have been renovating our home, both inside and out - long overdue!  The house has been like a building site for almost 2 months.  Although we were only making small changes, we have been hit by delays.  In the midst of this, we had some family members to stay for a few days, straight after being brought down by the most awful shingles!  Four weeks and still ongoing nerve pain, but much improved!

Now you can laugh freely at this bit - we are having a gym built!!  We made part of our garden into a courtyard area and laid foundations for the gym - now delayed by a number of weeks!  I can't wait for it to be finished and kitted out!  Although the pic doesn't show it, there is a lovely fishpond and fountain to the right of the area shown.  We have since added some lighting and birdhouses - hubby has the tripod and camera at the ready!!  There are still some bits and pieces to finish off completely, but you can see the foundations (back right) where the gym will be.

So, that's it on the personal side!  We are hoping to have everything finished by Christmas, so we can relax and enjoy the holidays!

Back today and straight into a great promotion!  This is the final week of Freaky Friday deals, so be sure to check them out, as you don't want to miss a great bargain!  By clicking the first link below, you will find over 40 $1 deals to snap up!  The second link will direct you to my contribution! 
The deals are only available today.

LINK 1:  All $1 deals on TpT: http://bit.ly/2eGKEO2

LINK 2: Discussion Wheels: http://bit.ly/2ejyE40

I hope you find something useful - have fun browsing!

Speak soon!

Why Teach Cursive Handwriting?

I have had a number of requests to create a cursive handwriting workbook – this has been on my list for such a long time. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have finally completed this. I can be a horrible perfectionist and those guided lines nearly drove me crazy – I had to redo them a number of times before I was satisfied. However, now that this baby has been launched, I am glad that I saw the process through. 

Just click on the image above to find this resource in my store.  
The good news is that I have set it at 50% for 48 hours!

This Cursive Handwriting Practice Workbook was created for both second and third graders. I hope it proves to be both challenging and fun for your students as they practice reading, tracing, and writing in a progressive manner, as well as learning some unusual country and animal names!

This workbook would also be suitable for fourth and fifth graders who may require further practice. I have only included Dolch second and third grade sight words, mainly because the resource would otherwise become quite large and therefore more expensive. However, if you wish to purchase with fourth and fifth grade Dolch sight words, please contact me at teacherstoolkitblog@gmail.com and I will add these to the document for you, without any increase in the purchase price.

The structure of the main workbook comprises 4 practice pages for each letter of the alphabet. These pages can be printed ‘back to back’ and stapled together to make a complete workbook. The workbook can be finished off with the workbook cover on Page 4.
Please note, I have added a second set of pages for the letter X, should you wish to use more familiar words ending in X.

You will find a useful ‘Contents’ page which informs you of which pages to print depending on what you wish your students to practice. I have included a range of add-ons – these can either be practiced separately or included in the workbook. Please note: I have added some nouns for formatting purposes.

So, why teach Cursive Handwriting?

My last post focused on the importance of teaching handwriting – you can read the post {here}. I wanted to follow that up with a little information about cursive handwriting, as it is this knowledge which prompted my original plan to create the duo of workbooks – the print manuscript and cursive.

To summarize my last post: Advances in technology have made the process of writing more convenient for many. However, evidence is mounting that putting pen to paper has benefits that typing just cannot replace. Researchers have found that writing by hand has led to improvements in language skills, memory and critical thinking.

According to the neurologist William Klemm, in an article written for Psychology Today, the neurological benefits of writing by hand are compounded when writing in a cursive hand. “Cursive writing, compared to printing, is even more beneficial because the movement tasks are more demanding, the letters are less stereotypical, and the visual recognition requirements create a broader repertoire of letter representation.”

Furthermore, the researcher Diane Montgomery, in her article “The Contribution of Handwriting and Spelling Remediation to Overcoming Dyslexia’, noted that the connected letters and fluid motion of cursive handwriting are especially beneficial to students with disorders such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Other reading experts are in agreement it seems. According to an article in the Washington Parent, "the connections between letters required in cursive writing may reduce letter reversals."

Cursive handwriting also has the added benefit of being extremely artistic and highly personal – the process of acquiring an expressive and unique cursive hand is an important step in developing individual personalities. It should therefore be a requirement for educators to utilize tools that encourage students to develop their own style and voice in a confident manner.

So, I hope I have persuaded you that teaching cursive handwriting should feature in our yearly plans -regardless of what may or may not have been said by those at CCSS Towers!

I am adding a little video here, so you can see exactly what this resource includes - I hope you find it beneficial.   

And last, but not least, the winner of the rafflecopter giveaway - many congratulations, Elizabeth! An email with an attached handwriting resource is winging its way through the ether as I type!  
Thanks to everyone who took part!

Speak soon!

5 Reasons To Teach Handwriting

We live in a world where technology abounds and even the youngest of students is adept at using anything from a computer to a tablet. The art of handwriting has gradually become lost with the advancement of technology, causing a decline in the ability to write competently and legibly. While technology serves a vital purpose, it is important that children are taught early in life how to master handwriting skills for the following reasons.....

1. Research has shown that there is a positive correlation between good handwriting skills and increased academic performance in both reading and math. A study by Dinehart and Manfra (2013), ‘Handwriting in Early Childhood Education,’ examined whether the fine motor skills of over 3,000 preschoolers predicted their future academic achievement. They concluded that Pre-K students with good fine writing motor skills outperformed their peers in both reading and math by second grade.

2. When we write something down, it tends to resonate better in our brains. A study by Mueller and Oppenheim (2014), entitled ‘The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard’, tells us that “Longhand note takers engage in more cognitive processing than laptop note takers, thus selecting more important information to include in their notes, which enables them to study this content more efficiently.” This subsequently enables a better retention of facts.

3. Time devoted to the teaching and learning of letter formation in the early years will eventually show results. Legible writing that can be produced comfortably and at speed, allows a child to attend to the higher-level aspects of writing composition and content, with greater focus. This is important when assessments are based on written work, particularly in written examinations with time constraints. Without fast and legible handwriting, students may miss out on learning opportunities and under-achieve academically.

4. There are just some things we NEED to do with paper and pen. Think about those handmade cards you are planning to make in your classroom this year - these mementos will be even more special and meaningful to parents when they contain their child’s own unique handwriting. As adults, jotting down a shopping list, writing a birthday card, taking down a phone message, completing a form at the bank shows us that handwriting is part of our daily lives. Also, beyond formal education, most employment situations will involve at least some handwriting and may require the communication of critical information (e.g. medical notes, prescriptions).

5. Not so serious – lol! The last reason to teach handwriting - you can win my handwriting workbook 'Practice Makes Perfect' by entering the rafflecopter below! Just subscribe to my email list to enter.

Click on the image above to view this resource.

I will leave you with one last thought - handwriting still forms a unique part of our culture and identity - this is something that we should not forego so easily.

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