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!



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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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First Grade Family!

Hey!  Just a quick post today!  I wanted to let you know about something I am secretly very excited about, although maybe I also need to get a life - lol!

I have been reflecting lately and it struck me that the majority of my online activity is directed towards improving my business.  I love collaborating with other teachers and have made many very close friends online, but all of that activity has come about because I sell teaching resources and want to be successful in this area.  Absolutely nothing wrong with this - I have great fun, meet amazing people and learn so much, but I have been feeling that I need to give a little more to the teacher community......

So what could I do?  As I spend the majority of my working day at the computer/online, the logical answer seemed to lie in the area of social media.  Now, I really am not the most confident of people and I do worry that this is going to be a complete flop, but I wanted to give it a chance and take a leap of faith - I have created a private facebook group!!  (I do have dreams of this becoming the most supportive, engaging, interactive online space, but well....... I have always overreached myself - lol!)

However, that is not to say that this space could not become a safe haven for teachers to collaborate, share, ask for advice, rant if needed, seek validation, find answers etc.  I am always up for meeting new people across the world - I love how we are all so different, but have one important goal in mind!

So..... here it is!


I really, really hope you will consider joining me and some others already in this group.  I would like to keep it relatively small, so that we can get to know and trust each other.  Just click the image above, hop over to facebook and request to join. 

I hope to be welcoming you to the group very soon!

Also - winners from the Oceans giveaway!  This has been the biggest promotion I have ever taken part in and has been so much fun!  Sadly it has come to an end, but we have a ton of giveaway winners!  Thanks to everyone who took part and supported us.  

Many congratulations to the winners of this final week!



Speak soon!


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OCEANS OF STEALS, DEALS AND GIVEAWAYS! Last Week!

I am teaming up with some amazing friends this week to bring you the very last installment of Oceans of Steals, Deals, and Giveaways! Trust me, this is an event that you won't want to miss! There will be new deals, steals, and giveaways every day, so stop by my Facebook page and Instagram to check out all the fun! In the image below is what you can expect through the week! Excited yet?!

Let me give you a little preview of what you can expect each day.

Monday


Monday you will definitely want to stop by for some $1 deals! Now that's a 'steal' you can't say no to! I will have 2 products listed for sale on Monday, both only $1! You can check them out below. You can also search on TPT using #ManicMonday to find these great $1 deals, along with many more from all those participating in this fun promotion!

       
Click on the images above to check out these products in my store.

Tuesday


Tuesday is half off day! I will have 2 products on sale for 50% off on this day only. I chose these two products specifically thinking about Back to School time and what teachers might need and appreciate, especially at a discounted price! You can check them out below. You can also search on TPT using #Two4forTuesday to find all of these great 50% off deals!

     
Click on the images above to check out these products in my store.

Wednesday


I think Wednesday will be the best day ever!!! Who doesn't love FREE!!! This will be a surprise so you will have to check my Facebook page throughout the day. I will have multiple Flash Freebie deals throughout the day. But hurry, these deals will be gone in a Flash!

Thursday


It's Bundle Thursday! I will have one of my bundles on sale for 50% off! This is a deal you won't want to miss! You can check out the bundle below. You can also search on TPT using #ThankfulThursday to find all of these great bundle deals!

Click on the image above to check out this bundle in my store.

Friday


Friday is Giveaway day!!!! You can enter to win tons of gift cards! You can enter the rafflcopter giveaway in two ways:
Option 1: Teacher's Toolkit Facebook page or... 
Option 2: Just enter the rafflecopter below.
I hope you will be able to find some amazing deals this week! Check back every other week throughout the summer for more Oceans of a Deal, Steal, and Giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Room Themes and a Giveaway

So..... it's that time of year folks!  Many teachers have already have done it, some are currently in the midst of doing it and many are planning to do it!!  
What strange thing could teachers be up to?!! 


Spot on - decorating your classroom!

Why do we do it though? I was always crazily obsessed with organizing my classroom - I loved getting everything just right for the next set of newcomers - it was always my favorite time of year.  My room always felt like a home from home - it was our space and I was very territorial - lol!  I would look at those blank walls and bulletin boards and wonder what I could conjure up that would engage my students and make them feel comfortable and at home.  My room tended to reflect my personality, but more profoundly my teaching style and ethos.  I love a fresh start and have always been drawn to color and creating special areas and seating so that every child could be comfortable.
Over the years I have had a mish mash of anything and everything that caught my eye.  Students were beyond organized, as was my classroom set up, but everything else was a bit random!  One evening, whilst reading a teacher blog, I saw a room reveal for the first time and was left with my mouth hanging open!!  I had never, in all my years of teaching, seen a completely coordinated room theme - I honestly did not know it was a 'thing'!!  Of course - I caught the bug - lol!

But then, I had to explore a bit further!  I found some research which suggests that there are certain types of decorations that supplement daily learning, and certain types of decorations that detract from daily learning. Which ones do you have?
It isn't just about the atmosphere - we want to make sure that our decor goes some way to enhancing student learning.  I think we sometimes underestimate the long-term impact of what hangs on the walls - we want students to feel a sense of community and ownership.

Three key things to remember:

1.  Passive absortion of information:  if students are engaged in different areas of the room, what will they see?  Posters, signs, materials that reinforce learning or meaningless colorful decor?

2. Student work:  leave a space to display their work.  It is such a postive affirmation of how hard they have tried - they will feel a sense of pride and ownership.  Don't just choose the best work for administrators to admire, choose the best work for that student - celebrate their best efforts publicly.

3. Sense of community: everyone can see those walls!  Hang visuals that contribute to a sense of belonging and mutual understanding.  Ask students what they would like to see - do they want their goals to be posted?  Do they want to ask questions? Do they want to compliment someone? Ask for their ideas, so they feel that this is their space too.

I have seen many rooms with lots of cute things and have admired the complete scene from a creative perspective, but we have to remember to ask ourselves if there is value in what is hanging from the ceiling for example, or is it just a colorful distraction for students to try and take a swipe at!  We want classroom decor to invigorate and assist student learning.

So, jumping off my soap box and returning to the real world, I have some small announcements to make regarding classroom decor.  I have two new additions in my store, which may interest you and they are currently at half price.  You get 164 pages of coordinated gorgeousness for $7.50!  The themes are intended to benefit both teacher and student with printable and editable files.  

       
Just click on the images to hop over to my store.

PRINTABLE FILES (PDF)
• Alphabet Posters (Print)
• 2D Shape Posters
• Days and Months, plus 'Today is'; 'Tomorrow will be' and 'Yesterday was'
• Calendar Numbers and 20 Special Days
• Wordwall (Upper and Lower Case)
• Number Word Cards (one-twenty)
• Ten Frame Posters (1-10)
• Welcome to K-5th (just in case!) Grade Postcards
• Birthday Certificate
• Large Schedule Headers
• Schedule Cards
• 100/120 Chart
• Word Help Mat
• Welcome Banner
• Bulletin Board Border
• Nameplates
• Various sized labels suitable for cubby tags, book baskets/bins signs, centers etc
• Letter Stationery Template
• Newsletter Template - I have included 2 versions: color/blackline
• Birthday Chart

EDITABLE FILES (PPT)
• Labels
• Nameplates
• Schedule Cards
• Special Days
• Letter Stationery
• Newsletter template - I have included 2 versions: color/blackline

***GIVEAWAY***

Over on my FACEBOOK PAGE you can win your favorite theme - just comment with circus or ocean and you could be one of the lucky winners - 2 will be announced tomorrow! 

All my other themes are included in the TpT sitewide Back to School sale - everything is 28% off and don't forget your redeemable feedback points!


I have been experimenting with making videos - I still have a lot to learn!  I am trying to find software that will make the images clearer.  The video above was my first proper try and the one below is my second - let me know what you think!!
Bye for now!!
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