Horrible Handwriting

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Christine3, May 22, 2007.

  1. Christine3

    Christine3 Cohort

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    May 22, 2007

    I do not expect 1st graders to have neat hand writing at all! I just get so frustrated when having to put the paper to my face.

    What do you all do when a student's hand writing is just so horrible you can't even understand it? If you teach older grades I would still like to hear.


    I have tried letting the student read me what they wrote verbally. What techniques do you use?
     
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  3. AnnaJ

    AnnaJ Rookie

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    May 22, 2007

    is he holding the pencil correctly? could he need a pencil grip, weighted pencil or some other device to help keep the pen under control while writing? do you have access to the trace along handwriting software or other handwriting tools where he can trace words for practice?

    If he is just in a hurry and unconcerned about the appearance of his writing maybe you could play a game with him. Write the assignment in your own 'first grade handwriting' and have him try to match it as closely as possible on his paper. Tell him its a game, your going to try to see if he can make his writing so neat that another teacher or aid or whoever (i wouldn't include classmates, it might embarrass him?) wont be able to tell who wrote which paper. at least this way you can tell if its an ability issue or a focus/effort issue.
     
  4. grade1teacher

    grade1teacher Companion

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    May 22, 2007

    I know what you mean, some students have absolutely neat, consistent handwriting, and others... well... it makes you wonder.

    *First, consider that some students' hands might not be developmentally ready to hold the pencil with the correct grasp, or with the right intensity to produce the gorgeous handwriting that other students are able to produce. Their muscle tone just might not be strong enough yet. But pressure from teachers to produce neater handwriting in higher grades, (after their muscletone has developed further) will probably do the trick.
    *Until then, a pencil grip might help them hold the pencil properly.
    *You might also want to spend extra time with these students just to make sure that they are formimng letters correctly, if not neatly. Concentrate on reversals, directions of slants, which letters go above or below the line etc. This could make a big difference.

    *On the other hand, (no pun intended) many of my students are perfectly capable right now in first grade (I've seen them do it when they are interested) so I need to provide extra motivation (outside of the "Don't you want to hand in beautiful work?" lecture). Every once in a while, out of the blue, if a struggling student produces work that is neater than usual, I comment on how neat it is, pointing out a line here and there, and give a fun/cool sticker that recognizes neat work ("Super neat work" etc).
    *When I practice handwriting with these students I also ask them to tell me which letter they think is best and put a start next to it. Gets them to be more self aware about what is neat and what is not.
    * My student with the worst handwriting recently got into making all her letters with fancy curls all over. I thought "Hey she's finally getting iintersted in what her handwring looks like!" Even if it isn't what I had hoped for! So every once in a while I let her use these letters on specific assignments or small portions, if the rest is standard, and relatively neat. I want her to stop thinking of it as a chore, and more something to be proud of.

    * Lastly, some students might actually need an evaluation for occupational therapy.
    Good luck!
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 22, 2007

    We use handwriting worksheets. We put a sticker by their best letter for each page (every time they do them) so that they see that we recognize good work. If a student does really bad on their regular work, I ask them to redo it (even a few times) until it is the best I can expect from that student. I don't do this all the time. I do it when it is obvious they weren't trying to do their best. We use spacers (popcicle sticks) to teach how to space their words. We teach them where to touch. We refer them to the alphabet line. We also have laminated alphabet charts using upper and lower case on elementary lined paper available for some students. We give it to them if we think they need it. Sometimes we circle which letters to redo. There are a couple who still struggle, but they've improved.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2007

    I teach much older kids (grades 7 and 8) and a few of my boys have handwriting that is next to impossible to read. Add to the poor handwriting, the poor spelling that is part of their LDs, and reading anything handwritten is guaranteed to give you a headache. They use computers for almost all of their written work so that they are able to get their ideas across clearly without the frustration that handwriting creates.
     
  7. Christine3

    Christine3 Cohort

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    May 22, 2007

    Yes, most of the students in my classroom with the messy handwriting are the immature students. It is funny how their handwriting almost reflects who they are.lol There is this one girl who is absolutly so neat and proper, her handwriting is always just right the O connecting just righr. Then the students who act up in class have the no effort look to it...just all slopped together.
     
  8. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    May 23, 2007

    This year I had some horendous handwriting to read. It was so bad that some of the kids couldn't read their own writing. I have no suggestions. I did notice that many of the poor writers were lefties, not all though. Maybe they were never taught properly? Everything I tried was useless.
     
  9. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    May 23, 2007

    I have middle school students, and some of them have HORRIBLE handwriting. A few use assistive devices and type everything as part of their IEP. Others are just too lazy to write neatly. For those, I hand the paper back and tell them to re-write it neatly if they wish me to grade it. They whine, but they always give me back a nicely written paper.
     
  10. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    May 23, 2007

    I always tell the students I want quality work. That means I can read their handwriting. With the older students most of the time I make them type their work.
    I personally have horrendous handwriting. The kids always know when I rushed to write the morning message. They say it is messy haha.
     
  11. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I had one mother this year who would not allow her child to type his work. I suggested that for writing assignments (ie rough drafts of essays and stories) he type everything out so that 1. I can read it to edit and help with revisions and 2. it would be faster for him to fix. She shot that down in a heart beat. I was worried that a paper that was required to be typed would come to school handwritten.
     
  12. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    May 25, 2007

    Give them some tools to see if it helps....I use the following:

    -raised lined paper! The lines are raised and they stop the pencil. the child can feel them! Ask your learning resource teachers to check into it...also...you can buy it at WalMart in some places.

    -I saw that WalMart also had lined paper that had little "boxes" for each letter. This was near the reg. school paper.

    -pencil grips-little rubbery grips that slide on the pencil to correct the grip

    I have two students who have used these and they helped....not a miracle....but at least I can read it!
     
  13. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    May 25, 2007

    My Jeannie couldn't care less about her handwriting, and we duke it out everyday. She also needs to do better with size and formation, but it's a thing of slopping her way through her work. I'm going to look for that raised paper.
     
  14. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    May 26, 2007

    In first grade handwriting is a developmental issue. Don't be too hard on them. What I do to help them:

    -do lots of fun things that help develop small motor skills: Legos, beading, clay, pattern blocks, you get the idea. There is more than one way to help them develop those skills! Make some of it fun.

    - give them lined paper for second or third grade. It is easier for some of them to make the letters properly if they can make them smaller.

    -have 15 minutes of handwriting practice every day. No matter what. And my kids love the idea of choosing their best letter - I circle it in red or give a smiley for the best letter.

    Be patient! Not everyone is ready to make neat handwriting in first grade. Keep them practicing and praise for the good stuff. Yes, the sloppy handwriting is related to maturity, so those more mature and well behaved kids will have better handwriting usually. Just be patient. Expecting neat handwriting from everyone at that age is the same as expecting them all to reach a certain height by a certain time, or lose the same number of teeth by a certain time - it is their individual development that will bring all these things about.
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    May 26, 2007

    I mean give the first graders paper designed for second or third grade - the lines are smaller.
     
  16. Christine3

    Christine3 Cohort

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    May 26, 2007

    Thanks for everyone's input!!!! :) :)
     
  17. 6thgradeteacher

    6thgradeteacher Rookie

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    May 27, 2007

    Ditto!!


    Amen! Amazingly, most of the time, in my classes, it's just working too quickly, so I have no issues with handing it back and having them write it again.
     
  18. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    May 27, 2007

    I make MY kids re do their pages!----- Ohhh, I'm a mean mom, I mean teacher!
     
  19. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    May 27, 2007

    My theory is that we are putting pencils in their hands too soon. Preschoolers are learning to write their names before they have the fine motor skills to hold the pencil properly and develop these funky grips that are very hard to break. Also since the curriculum has become more advanced-Pre-K is more like Kinder and Kinder is more like First Grade. Teachers can't devote the time to things like fine motor skills that they used to, it's not one of our objectives anymore. I did hear of one school here that barred Pre-K teachers from teaching writing; always wondered if that helped their handwriting in the long run.
     

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