Question on Handwriting Without Tears

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by Grammy Teacher, Oct 9, 2005.

  1. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    7,775
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 9, 2005

    I believe you can help me with this. For the past 15 years I have taught my class to write their names successfully. I teach them to start with a capital letter and use lower case for the rest of their name. Well, my problem is, one of the Preschool Teachers in the Public School system has decided to use the Handwriting Without Tears Method and I have a few children who attend her afternoon classes. I have them in the morning. Well, they were just getting the hang of writing their names the way that I teach them and now she is using this other method and they are really getting confused. They are now starting to use half capital letters and half lower case letters. What would you do if this happened to you? They were doing just great until she started them on this all capital letters ...
     
  2.  
  3. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 9, 2005

    Ugh.........once they learn that way(upper/lowercase mixed), it is too hard to reteach the correct way! I have kids coming into my classroom using half capital, half lower case. I work on correcting it, and by the middle of the year, they are all doing it correctly. The first grade teacher is very thankful for that. I don't know anything about handwriting without tears........but it sounds like it causes lots of tears if they get confused and are learning it incorrectly! What is the philosophy behind not teaching it correctly from the start? I'm ignorant to that method, sorry!
     
  4. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    95

    Oct 9, 2005

    Handwriting Without Tears does not teach the kids to write their names with all caps. Formal instruction starts with capital letters, so it may be that they are wanting to practice the things they've been learning. I would reinforce that their name should begin with an uppercase latter and the rest should be lowercase. They can practice their newly learned uppercase letters during centers or whenever, but when they write their names, the proper way is with a capital letter only at the beginning. If they are stubborn about it, you could do a lesson on how names always start with a capital letter and the rest lowercase by finding examples in books where character's names are always written that way. (I often referred to "how it looks in a book" to help them determine the proper way of writing.)
     
  5. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    2,409
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 9, 2005

    We use HWT and have for 5 years now. We start with the uppercase letters and then move on to the lowercase. My problem has always been they never really learn how to write their names with Upper case/lower case because it takes us so long with HWT. So, what I've been doing is teaching upper and lower together. It's been such a struggle.
     
  6. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 9, 2005

    As I said, I'm not very familiar with it, but to me, it would make more sense to teach them together, upper and lowercase. I think kids can relate and make more sense out of it, seeing that is how it is in books, etc. Just my two cents! :)
     
  7. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    7,775
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 9, 2005

    Yes, that does make more sense to do it the way it is supposed to be written. I have thought of talking to this teacher , but she does not have a very nice disposition. Can you imagine how furious I am? The kids come back from school and i always check their backpacks for notes, etc and here I see this letter to the parents stating they are teaching all capital letters and that the children will learn to write their names with all capitals because capital letters are easier to make. So, the ones who already were writing with my method, come back with their paper smeared with their names all in caps...
     
  8. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 9, 2005

    If they are already able to do it...........why make them go backwards for pete sakes??????? I would be furious as well!!!!!
     
  9. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    95

    Oct 9, 2005

    I checked the HWT manual and it specifically says that children should be taught correct capitalization... So it's the teacher, not HWT... I didn't realize they were formally practicing their names in all caps. That would be quite frustrating.
     
  10. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    95

    Oct 9, 2005

    Since she is not someone you can talk to, this may be one of those situations where you have to say, "When you're in MY classroom, we do it THIS way..." :)

    I've always taught kids how to write their names individually alongside the whole-group lessons for specific letters... It takes too long to get through all of the letters. Actually, now that I think of it... I start the first 20 days of school by doing a name a day, and the whole class learns how to write the name. Then I move to specific letters whole-group and meet with individuals who need more practice writing their names.
     
  11. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 10, 2005

    Maybe you should have a talk with these few parents and explain the situation. If they already know how to write their name a certain way, and the right way I may add, why make them do it wrong? It makes no sense. Maybe you can get the parents to understand your situation and ask them to talk to the other teacher. Or better yet, talk to her principal.

    I have always taught my kids with the capital and then the rest lowercase. It may take a bit longer, but they do finally get it and then they don't have to relearn it again when they get to school. It only makes sense to have them do it right the first time instead of having them relearn something over again. Why go through the hassle if it isn't going to be correct anyway?

    I have some HWT materials, but I don't use them to teach them how to write their names. I use them for learning centers and manipulatives in general. It's a struggle to teach them with that program with lowercase letters. I mainly use tracing materials with them for name writing and lots of one on one when I can.
     
  12. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 10, 2005

    You know, it's funny Grammy that you mentioned this. This is the 4th instance I have found recently that the daycare teacher is doing a more practical job than a ps preschool teacher. Not that I don't have respect for them, I do. I don't mean to offend anyone out there. It's just that parents think that the ps preschool is so much better because it's in a school. They don't take consideration to other aspects.
     
  13. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    7,775
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 10, 2005

    ditto, Jen
     
  14. Ghostofachance

    Ghostofachance Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 10, 2005

    I had two students start writing in all uppercase last year after I had seen them write in upper and lower. Now that I think about it they both went to the ps preschool in the mornings. I wonder if they where using hand writing with out tears? I'll have to keep an eye out for this happening this year. Thanks for the heads up.
     
  15. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    95

    Oct 10, 2005

    It's not Handwriting Without Tears, it's the teacher.

    Teachers should be teaching children proper capitalization if using HWT correctly. HWT formally introduces capital letters first, but this is not an excuse to have the children use all caps to write their names. The handbook specifically states that children should be taught proper capitalization.
     
  16. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 10, 2005

    Amanda, if all the capitals are introduced first, how do you teach them to write their name using lowercase......are you introducing lowercase then as well? As I stated before, I am not familiar with this program, so I am interested on how you approach name writing? Thanks for explaining! :)
     
  17. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    95

    Oct 10, 2005

    I only used parts of HWT, but it's a good program. I don't want people to think that HWT is to blame for bad teaching.

    I am not sure what HWT specifically says about teaching names, other than that they should be taught using proper capitalization, but what I have always done is teach kids how to write their names individually and go through specific letters whole group. A few posts up (go up to #9) I mentioned about going through the kids' names one by one when school starts. They always enjoy learning each other's names and they get repeat practice for those common letters.
     
  18. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 10, 2005

    Thanks. I've heard favorable comments on it as well both on this site and by others. I think you are right, it all depends on the teacher. Hopefully they are teaching the kids to write their names correctly from the start.......so then teachers like Grammy, don't have to reteach what they've already taught! :)
     
  19. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    95

    Oct 10, 2005

    I'm trying to find info about names in the teacher guide, but I haven't found anything specific. I have the kinder one, so I'm not sure if the Pre-K guide differs. I do see a sentence about modifying teaching order individually so you can teach a child how to write his or her name, but that's it.

    I'm going to write the author of the book and see if I can get an answer on this. It's easy for me to adapt and overlook the stuff that doesn't make sense for my kids. Maybe I'm just overlooking the obvious.
     
  20. mccwen

    mccwen Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 10, 2005

    Those of you who do use HWT what some things that you like/dislike about it?

    I've been looking into getting some of the materials and using it along side my reading program. We use ReadWell Kindergarten and it doesn't really get into how to form the letters very much. It basically just has them trace the each of the letters when we're studying them. I'd like to have some formal instruction on letter formation and materials for them to "play" with.
     
  21. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 10, 2005

    Also, this may be a very silly question, but does it matter what manuscript style you use? We use D'nealian at my school. Is this for Zaner Bloser?
     
  22. Ghostofachance

    Ghostofachance Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 10, 2005

    Amanda, thank you for the info on HWT. I guess I need to do some research.
     
  23. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    95

    Oct 10, 2005

    HWT teaches continuous strokes for lowercase letter formation - That's one thing I like about it. I used some of the beginning capital letter strategies for HWT. I had a set of the mini chalkboards for teaching letter formation in small groups. I found that in K, most kids progress past that stuff so quickly. I used it in small groups with the kids who had no prior experience in writing. The lined paper is a bit different, so it could be confusing if kids are used to writing on regular lined paper. You might be able to see some examples at www.hwtears.com. I never used the workbooks or the lined paper. I only used some of the strategies and ideas. It has some cutesy little sayings for letter formation, but I ended up using more simple language. Our school used descriptions for forming letters out of a book by Linda Dorn called Shaping Literate Minds. It was very simple and worked really well for the children. Here's an old post I made telling more about that:
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showpost.php?p=19187&postcount=6
     
  24. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    95

    Oct 10, 2005

    There are some discussions about D'Nealian in the past on the forums. Our school switched from D'Nealian to a Zaner-Bloser style, but we taught continuous letter formation - See the post I linked to above for more info. We switched from D'Nealian because it is more difficult for young children to make slanted lines and tails, and it is very confusing for the struggling readers when the handwriting is so different than text they see in books. The slanted lines and tails are also harder for struggling readers to read.

    I will update this post if I can find out how names are supposed to be taught in HWT.
     
  25. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 10, 2005

    Thanks for posting that thread, it was quite informative!! I love the song for starting letters at the top........I was just talking about that today, I could have used that song!!!!!! Next time I will use it. Thanks for all the info on this.....very interesting. :)
     
  26. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 10, 2005

    I agree.........I see those same difficulties with my strugglers. I wouldn't choose it if I had a choice.
     
  27. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 11, 2005

    Thank goodness our district uses ZB. Although whenever the kids see a letter that is in D-Nealian I do explain to them, like the letter a for example, that it's another kind of little a. Even a lot of storybooks use the D-Nealian A so I think it's good to have them know that as well so they aren't confussed.

    kinderkids, can you say something to the person who makes those decisions? I would think it would be more practical to use the ZB.

    The one thing I like about the HWT is that it has been a blessing for my kids who are physical learners. It's real hands-on (the wood letters) and it has helped my one girl who went from not knowing a single letter, to knowing all her letters in two months. If someone were to use it in their classroom I think it's great, but you can't center it all around just that program, in my opinion. You have to use other things as well or else everyone will run into a situation like Grammy's. I'm never about sticking to one kind of program for anything. I like diversity.
     
  28. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 11, 2005

    Jen, I wish I could have a say in it.........but at this school........no way! The other teachers like it (particularly 2nd and third, ) because it makes their job easier when teaching cursive..........they don't get that this is confusing to my strugglers.............and if I say something, I'll hear........well, that's how it's ALWAYS been........stubborn Germans around here never change!!!!(no offense to any Germans out there.........I'm half German myself :p )
     
  29. Mr. Mike

    Mr. Mike Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 11, 2005

    in my opinion a prek'r learning there name is not important. its more about social skills and independence.
     
  30. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 12, 2005

    Yes, but it hinders the child to not be at a certain level when entering kindergarten. It doesn't mean a preschool teacher should not teach them what is required to know.
     
  31. Mr. Mike

    Mr. Mike Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 12, 2005

    i agree w/ you i teach the kids their names but i let them go at there own pace. i see alot of teachers ridicule and belittle the kids, they seriously are No No No your doing it all wrong. Or they will do "Hey everyone like at chad and hes not doing anything right" which kills there social skills. I use puff paint to right there name in. then i have the children trace the pain w/ there finger and when they are ready they try to right there name about 4 times i guide there hand on the first one. but you are right they should know what they are gonna be learning in kindergarden. i just focus mostly on social skills
     
  32. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 12, 2005

    Ugh!!!!!!!! That IS NOT a teacher............that is a nasty person! Who on earth would say something like that? Anyone who would talk like that to a child should definitely not be in a classroom! :eek:
     
  33. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 12, 2005

    I agree. That's not positive reinforcement.
     
  34. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    95

    Oct 13, 2005

    I STAND CORRECTED!!!! As I said before, I may have been overlooking the obvious (since it didn't make sense for my kids) and I WAS. I sent a question through the HWT website about our concerns with names being taught in all caps, even after children had learned proper capitalization, and asked for clarification on how HWT handles names... This is the response:

    "Yes, we introduce all capitals including when learning their names in Kindergarten. Lower case letters are introduced in the 2nd half of Kindergarten, and they can start writing their names in title case at that time."

    I can't believe lowercase letters are "saved" for the 2nd half of kindergarten. That would never fly in my class. :eek: The kids are entirely capable of writing in lowercase much sooner. I assume preschoolers NEVER would get to try lowercase. Sounds like you have a fun year to look forward to, Grammy Teacher! ;)

    I do like many of the HWT activities and strategies, however. In light of this info, I would NOT recommend rigidly following the program!!!
     
  35. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 13, 2005

    If my 3 year olds can write their names in lowercase, so can others. I think the HWT program was originally designed for children who struggle with writing. Maybe that's why it's "slow". I'm on board with you Amanda. I wouldn't be following it rigidly, but I do like their products.

    I also wondered why they never made the wood pieces for the letters U and J. I also found it wierd to not be able to buy the wood letters in lowercase. I like their products, but some things are a little backwards.
     
  36. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 13, 2005

    Even in light of this info. though, these teachers shouldn't be trying to erase things that these kids have already learned the correct way. That still doesn't make sense to me.
     
  37. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 13, 2005

    I agree!!!!
     
  38. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 13, 2005

    Thanks for checking on it Amanda..........:)
     
  39. MomtoWyatt

    MomtoWyatt Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 13, 2005

    I have liked some things in Handwriting without tears such as starting at the top etc. but I think that some children are going to form letters differently and get their own handwriting style. It takes SO long to go through the formation of every letter! What does it matter how the letter is formed as long as it is readable? Some teachers are so dogmatic on handwriting formation, that they forget that some children get so stuck on formation, it dampers their thoughts when trying to write! Sorry to get on my soapbox!
     
  40. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    7,775
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 13, 2005

    Thank you, Amanda. Now I am not sure what to do. The K. teachers are not friendly when confronted so I am not into doing that. The parents will be totally confused...as are their kids at this point, and I am feeling a great deal of resentment, which is not good for me. So, I am thinking of doing nothing...BUTthat goes against my nature.
     
  41. Mr. Mike

    Mr. Mike Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 13, 2005

    i have to ask what is writing w/ tears
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Missy
Total: 447 (members: 2, guests: 420, robots: 25)
test