Handwriting Without Tears

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by sva, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. sva

    sva Rookie

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    I was reading the wikki strips post and someone mentioned Handwriting without Tears. (I am sorry I didn't get the name.)
    I am wondering if other preschool teachers are using this program (HWT) and what they think of it. I think 3-4-5's should still be exploring with pre-writing and using different things to write/draw with. This program feels very prescribed to me. I do like the music though.

    s.
     
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  3. teach4Knsc

    teach4Knsc Rookie

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    We use it with our fours and we really think it works well. My co-teacher had used it before when she taught special ed. and had wonderful results. We take a part of the program each day, like the letter pieces on Mon to introduce the letter and the pieces used to make it; chalkboards on Tues, with the wet sponge/dry and chalk; and Wed we write the letters on the sheet (I let them trace them first with a crayon for stroke practice, then use a chubby pencil). We copy the same on the back and they take it home to practice. Each child sits for about 5 minutes each day- it doesn't take long and doesn't seem too "formal" to us, but it does give us a system to follow for the letters. I also like the way they order the letters based on stroke sequence. We certainly allow the children free explore with paper and other writing utensils, etc, and I find them actually using the letters they know how to write. Check out their website and maybe go to one of their workshops- www.hwtears.com
     
  4. Mrs_Barrett

    Mrs_Barrett Cohort

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    THis is my first year that I'm using it. I took a class this summer, and learned lots about it. So far I have only used the songs with the wooden pieces. I did see a huge difference with using the wooden pieces and making mat man. I had a student with Down Syndrome draw a picture of herself, and before she just drew circles on a piece of paper.
     
  5. MsAnn

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    I have used it for 2 years now and I really like it. My son caught on a lot quicker with it and I've now incorporated it into teaching it my preschool class.
     
  6. Stephen McDow

    Stephen McDow New Member

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    How do I join?
     
  7. Stephen McDow

    Stephen McDow New Member

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    I would love to speak with Teach4Knsc, I liked what she said and would love to use her for an article idea.
     
  8. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    I like the products but I would never recommend using the program by itself to teach preschool. It does not use lower case letters (unless it has changed) and I think any program that does not use lower case letters is not worth it to use solely on it's own. It does a dis-service to the children.
     
  9. MsAnn

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    Actually it does have lowercase letters as well.
     
  10. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    For pre-k? I have yet to see lower case letters in any of their pre-k stuff. Has it changed within the last year?
     
  11. tracieann

    tracieann Rookie

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    Our school district began using this program last year. While I understood the letter order presentation, I did not really like the program but was going to begin using it this year. Over the summer we heard that the district did not find the program helpful and was retraining staff in the Fundamentals program. We have researched this program and will be using it this year. We feel it is important to support our district and it will be easier for our children to transition to kindergarten in this way.
     
  12. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Let me also add, what I have added in past threads about HWT, is that the program was made for children who have a difficulty in writing and reading fundamentals. Read the background of the program. That being said, being that not all children have difficulty learning in this area, it is doing a dis-service to children who do not have issues. Just my opinion, I still would not rely just on the program itself. But I do still like a lot of the materials, but I feel using them incorporated with other things is much better for the children and allows more room for growth for those children who need it.

    Also, the program teaches children to begin writing their names using all capital letters...in my opinion...a BIG no-no! The pre-k workbooks do not spell things phonetically correct (using first capital and rest lower) which is another huge no-no I learned in college. Things, in my opinion, should always be spelled the phonetically (is that the right word?:confused: ) correct way from the start!

    Bus is not spelled BUS.;) Off my soapbox now.;) If Grammy Teacher reads this, I'm sure she'll give you the same earful as I have.
     
  13. MsAnn

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    I have and use the K curriculum. I used it with my son when I homeschooled him 2 years ago for the remainder of this Kindergarten year.

    In my own defense, I do not use the entire curriculum. Just the formation of letters and the letter worksheets. My son caught on quickly and we never really needed to do all the handwriting practice, he did enough on his regular worksheets. In my preschool class we do not press handwriting so they just do the letters. (Pretty much the same as what my son did)
     
  14. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    I believe in the K portion they start to do the lower case and I like the program for the upper grades past pre-K. I agree that the program has many benefits and I have many of the materials, like the wood letter and roll-a-dough. I just don't like the fact that if someone uses only that program for pre-k, that the lowercase letters are being left out until later grades. I just wasn't trained like that I guess you could say.
     
  15. MsAnn

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    I totally agree. It drives me nuts when kids write in all uppercase. :)
     
  16. mccwen

    mccwen Comrade

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    I do not use the program in my k class however I do have the wood pieces and the letter mats for them to make the letters with. I would like to use the program but just do not have nearly the time to do it. I don't think the offical HWT program uses lower case but you can get lowercase pieces on ebay.

    Here's a link to a seller that I bought my pieces from:

    http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ25QQsassZdruekegames
     
  17. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I did not read the other posts. But I LOVE hand writing with out tears. It was used the school I worked at a few years ago. I think it is so much better than some of the other programs. The students' hand writing was so much better than the students I had last year that didnt' have that program.
     
  18. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    My only problem with the program is when teachers don't teach children to write their names properly right from the start. Our names begin with a capital letter, followed by all lower case.
    Last week, one of my children's parents told the teacher at the school that her child knew how to write her name "properly" and would she please allow her to continue writing it that way instead of this teacher making her use all capitals. The teacher rudely told her, "NO."The mother then pulled the child from school and put her fulltime in my program. That's the problem with HWT and nitwit teachers.
     
  19. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I can't believe that Grammy. That is silly. When we used handwriting with out tears we always had the kids write their names the proper way.
     
  20. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    That is a perfect example of how a teacher uses that program rigerously (sp?) by itself without thinking about anything else. UGH!
     
  21. Mrs_Barrett

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    The reason why it doesn't teach lowercase, is because it's not developmentally appropriate. They must first learn the uppercase letters. It is much easier for students to write with all uppercase letters. Then they learn the lowercase in Kindergarten.
     
  22. Mrs_Barrett

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    The reason why they say PK students should write in all uppercase, is because it is developmentally appropriate. It is so much easier for a 3 and 4 y/o to write their name in all caps. I don't have my students do that, because my kids are in a dual placement. I wish I could, because I really agree with this. It is much easier for a student to write big lines instead of little lines and etc.
     
  23. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    That's what you think.
     
  24. Mrs_Barrett

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    No...I have heard that over and over again....Have you taken a HWT class or anything like that? I did this past summer, and they stated time and time again that it is developmentally appropriate.
     
  25. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Well, THEY don't always know what THEY are talking about. I don't need to take the class to see it is being pushed for no good reason. I have taught my Pre-K kids to write their letters both upper and lower case for 16 years and they DID and CAN do it. The program was designed for kids who just couldn't do it and it is being used inappropriately in many schools. Just wait and see...down the road THEY will be changing their tune and saying that kids can write the lower case letters just as easily and when THEY do, THEY will act like it is their own idea and many will fall for it all over again.
     
  26. ECD Teacher

    ECD Teacher New Member

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    I like the HWT program, my special education students do also. This is my second year to use HWT. I think attitude and presentation make up a big part of teaching and children pick up on that.

    I do teach my kids to write their names with lower and uppercase letters. My Kindergarten teachers love me for it.

    We concentrate on recognition of the uppercase and writing the uppercase while doing the HWT program. Remember that the paper and pencil tasks should not be the only part of the program that you use. It is the less developmentally appropriate parts of the program. The slates, play dough, wood pieces, and music are more preschool age appropriate activities and do just as much to teach the alphabet and writing appropriate strokes as the activity books.
     
  27. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Grammy, you said exactly what I was thinking. I totally disagree that it is not dev. appropriate to teach lowercase. That just sounds totally ridiculous!!! All my 4 year olds have been writing their name APPROPRIATELY (first upper and the rest lower) since they were only 3 years old. Just because some big wig with a doctorate says it's not appropriate doesn't mean they are right, it's only their OPINION. Everybody with a theory thinks they are right! Children can't do things properly if not given the chance to do so.

    Plus, just because something is "easier", doesn't mean it's right. I have found too many kids struggle to write the lowercase letters in their names after learning the inappropriate way first because they have to relearn it. It's hard to break "habits".
     
  28. Mrs_Barrett

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    I agree with you. I teach special education students. They also have fine motor issues and using the whole program has really helped them!
     
  29. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    That is the difference between regular ed and special ed. This program is designed for special ed and children with issues in writing, not the standard classroom. If I had a child who was struggling or in special ed, this program would really help them on the whole. However, for the majority of kids in regular ed classrooms, I find it absurd that someone could lead others to believe that teaching pre-k students lowercase letters is not appropriate. Talk about leaving kids behind that don't need to be.
     
  30. gracieh

    gracieh Rookie

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    our center does not teach handwriting in the threes and only at the middle to end of fours... we do teach lower case letters first... we do try to have all of our fours writhing their names well by end of year but do not stress them... it has been proven that some children do not master neat writing until around age 8 (it was true with 2 or my 3 children}
     
  31. FriendshipTeach

    FriendshipTeach Rookie

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    I was very interested in hearing what many of you had to say about Handwriting Without Tears. I was simply going to read what was said and take it with me. However, I decided that I finally had to add my two cents in. The first thing is that as educators we need to all remember that all children learn differently and one way may not be right for everyone. We also have to realize that the best teaching comes from a variety of sources, not simply one magic book.

    For some of you to say that HWT is wrong is not fair to those of us who have used it and had success with it. I have success using the workbooks, the wood pieces, the cd and mat man. Teaching uppercase letters before lowercase letters makes sense since it is easier to form those letters first. It is developmentally appropriate and you can ask many OT's and they will agree. Our OT here agrees with HWT and actually stresses that writing letters should not be a sole focus of Pre-K. I for one would rather have students who recognize letters and the sounds letters make than being able to write them.

    I think some of what people said was harsh and unnecessary. The bottom line is you can do whatever you want in your classroom, it's simply your opinion. No one person on this forum is "right." You have to use what is right for you and adapt what you teach and how you teach it based on the student.
     
  32. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Where did anyone say that? Did I not say that I also use certain materials from them? With all due respect, I think you need to go back and read the posts more clearly. What those of us are making a point in saying is that the pre-k portion of HWT does not AT ALL include lower case letters, ever. Period. It is my opinion that this is not appropriate for standard classrooms, and everyone is entitled to their opinion.
     
  33. FriendshipTeach

    FriendshipTeach Rookie

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    I never once said that HWT pre-k version introduces uppercase letters, which I know they don't. I also did say that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I simply wanted to voice that each classroom has positive and negative experiences with this program and you have to use it to fully understand it. Whatever I say or you say is just words. Teachers need to use it first hand to have their own opinion of it.
     
  34. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I didn't read it the way you read it. I was reading that people thought children should be taught how to write their name using a captial letter for the first letter and than lower case letters. Not that they didn't like the program. The OT I worked with also said that HWT was one of the best writing programs. I love it but have never used the pre-k program. Also, think children should be taught right from the start how to write their name properly.
     
  35. JenPooh

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    Thank you Jamie.
     
  36. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have noticed that children can form a small circle just as easy as they can draw a straight line...so, I don't agree that is is easier to make the uppercase letters. I have proof of that in my Pre-K classroom. So, to state that is easier to make the capitals is a false statement and I don't like it when I hear people say things that are not true.
     
  37. FriendshipTeach

    FriendshipTeach Rookie

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    I believe that capitals are easier than a lowercase letter. The letter Q is less complicated than q. E is less complicated than e. I also want to clear up that I never said that I teach my students to write their names in all caps. I actually don't stress writing their names. Many of my students are so young that recognizing their name is an accomplishment (which I do write in both caps and lowercase).

    I guess I will have to end this by saying that I agree to disagree. I do not think it was fair to say that what I was saying was not true. That's like calling me a liar and that was an unfair statement. I could have said that what you had to say was untrue. I simply said that I didn't agree. I guess I am disappointed by how some people have made comments made on this thread.
     
  38. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    There is no proof in saying that it is easier to make a captial letter than a lower case letter. I have been teaching 16 years(Pre-K) so I do know what I have seen...children can just as easily make either one if they practice. No one called you a liar. Someone can make a false statement innocently without realizing it...that does not make you a liar. As for not liking some of the comments, well...we all have that happen to us...it's just part of participating in a public forum.
     
  39. teachingmomof4

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    I don't know about the HWT program or how it works at all. I do, however, know that when a student is taught to write his/her name using all capitals, it is harder to break them of the habit, especially when they get into first and second grade, which is what I teach. I have only had a handful of student who have mixed capitals in the middle of words but I can tell you...it is a BEAR to get them to stop, if you even do. I think that they are capable of writing both capitals and lower case letters and learning them at the same time. In fact, I know they are because I have a classroom full of kids who have been doing so since kindergarten.
     

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