Does anyone grade handwriting? We have no curriculum, standards, or materials for this, but are expected to teach cursive (this is 3rd grade). It is not stressed at all; in fact, no one seems to care about it. A few of my kids still have barely legible manuscript.
What are the standards (manuscript or cursive) in your district? How do you judge the quality, or are you not supposed to? Should I crack down on those kids who have messy handwriting? How? Do you count handwriting as part of spelling tests and other assignments, or do you just grade on the content? Does anyone else think this is important!?!?
I am a first year teacher and I hate teaching handwriting! I also have a hard time grading it, we dont have any standards for it...and I personally find that it is hard to...i feel that as long as it is neat...then its okay...i mean how much can you change a persons handwriting??!
Also , if any first grade teachers have a handwriting program that they like...let me know..i am going to attempt to convince my principal to get something new for next year!
I am in private. We don't grade handwriting individually, it is included in language arts. In our school, cursive is introduced in second, practiced in third and fourth, and required for all work in fifth. I wish that teachers in third and fourth did more correcting and retraining. Seems like they just let it go. However, another problem is that parents begin to teach children writing incorrectly before pre-school and then the children can't seem to change their grip or bottom-up manuscript. We use D'Nealian manuscript and cursive. I like the cursive, it isn't frilly. My fifth graders ask just about daily, "Do we have to write it in cursive?" Their maturity is the key. The youngest students have the hardest time. Most are ready to implement it, though. I expect it to be legible and close to D'Nealian style, but some individuality is to be expected. I write all notes on board and papers in cursive. Handwritten tests are in cursive as well.
I teach fourth grade and I also detest grading handwriting. I make piles when I grade. The "A","B","C" etc. piles. If it is a actual writing assignment the students know that letter formations must be good or I'll have them redo the assignment. I heard lots of moans and groan at first but now they know what I expect and it is usually turned in looking good.
Our school system is parochial, but we have a set guide for handwriting. We use the Zaner-Bloser publisher edition and this teaches the proper loops, curves, etc. There are a few categories I use as suggested by the book: size, shape, smoothness, slant, and spacing. I tend to assign an overall grade for the handwriting (separate from the grade for the assigned work,)and perhaps every other week, I do the 5 categories breakdown, which is averaged. I try to correct the grips on many students, but, by 4th grade, their pattern is fairly set. I strongly encourage the parents redirect the grip with a soft triangular tube that encourages the proper grip. I also explain why it is important. When you grip a pencil or pen with the thumb, first and second fingers, they move independently from the third & fourth fingers, which are curled next to the fist and form a base on which to rest the hand. The free-flowing movement required of the cursive style is enabled by this type of grip. I also tell them that, no matter what they think of their own handwriting, when they take notes in the upper grades and high school, they have to read their own writing to review or write papers from their notes, cursive or printed. Their own sense of pride in their best work is encouraged and I award certificates for improvement and for effort, as well as for quality. They know the difference, and they want to show their parents how well they can write when there is a grade involved. I know that I'm in a system where the parents are active and interested, but, I also believe that the students follow your lead and assimilate the attitude about pride in workmanship. I'm lucky to have found a great school, even though I get paid less than other positions for which a degree and certification is required. It's all a trade off. maxine
I am also in a catholic school...and we are currently using the D'Nailan handwriting, I hate it, only because in pre k and k the chlidren learn and see letters in regular manuscript, and then when they come to me in first i have to re-do everything they learned over the past 2 years and teach them something totally different! Its the pits! Hopefully we will be getting new books next year so that all the grades are teaching the same thing~
I am at a public school. Because of all the "testing" done in third grade, 'they' have moved teaching cursive to second grade, which I teach. I can't stand teaching cursive to my 2nd graders. Developmentally speaking, they are NOT READY! Luckily, there is no grade for handwriting on our report cards. I usually use the last 15 minutes of they day to work on handwriting, and stamp their books if it is their individually best. It is hard to tlel at the beginning of the year, but you get to know what your kids are capable of. If they need some additional help I photo copy some practice pages and they work on them durinf reading groups in the morning.
If you want fun, developmentally-appropriate activities to teach your little ones cursive, get "Teaching Cursive Writing" by Scholastic. I borrowed my copy from the local library. I am actually excited to begin teaching it in Jan. because the ideas and worksheets are soooo good.