Random capital letters: a hill to die on or not?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Backroads, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    So I have a Kiddo in my class. He has very severe ADHD, but is very bright and holds his own academically. However, like many second graders, he still has a few minor bugs to work out in his work.

    One of them involves writing his letters. He still reverses a few letters, as do others, and from my research I hear this is nothing to worry about until 3rd grade.

    However, he rarely uses a certain lower case letter. have convinced him to heed reminders to use this when a capital is not needed, but he also has letter in the middle of his name. He always capitalizes it. Always. After I noticed my instruction and reminders weren't working, I asked him about. He said his name was supposed to be spelled with a capital in the middle. Since his name is unusual and we live in Utah, land of unusual names, I took his word for it and double-checked my student information to see if I had in a hallucination misread his name.

    No, student data has his name with only the customary capital beginning the name. Well, I had a student last year whose mom spent the better part of two years trying to get his name spelled correctly in the system, so I convinced myself it was the school database's fault.

    KiDdo insists his mom writes his name as KiDdo.

    Except, due to his severe ADHD, I'm always emailing Mom and she has never spelled his name KiDdo in our communication. Finally, I asked her point-blank, and she says she has no idea where he got this idea from.

    Neither of us can get him to spell his name with out that confounded capital smack in the middle of it.

    So... we have an otherwise bright student who is in 2nd grade, is reversing other letters, and also deals with severe distraction issues. And ultimately and eventually have the right to do whatever he wants with his name.

    And yes, he also often capitalizes this letter in other words.

    Should I let this go as a developmental thing, a personal choice, or continue to focus on it with him?
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I can't stand the random capitalization! It will lower their writing score in my grade, so I would push the student to stop.
     
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  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Do you have him correct it when he does that?
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Not always, it's a hard thing when he puts his name on everything.
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Maybe the act of correcting it every time will inspire him to start writing it correctly.
     
  7. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Can I ask what letter it is? A B or D by chance? I start to get on them about these sorts of things in grade three, but I would tend to leave them for now... but that's also based on our curriculum/standards.

    Often I find kids use capital letters to prevent reversals... They would rather write BaD, because they are confused about lower case and don't know whether to spell it dab or bad. I like to teach my kids the "bed" rule. They can picture the word bed, which should look like a bed (the sticks on the b and d are the headboard and footboard respectively. Some years I've even posted a picture of the word bed for students to consult. They can also think of the word bed as they hold their fists in a thumbs up in front of them. Their left hand should form a "b" shapel while the right hand should form a "d" shape.
     
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  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Make him fix it.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I have a student who does sticks in random capitals too. One day, I sat down with him and nitpicked every.single.letter he wrote to make sure he wrote it correctly. It was an irritating experience for him, but also useful for both of us, because I learned that he does actually know when to use capitals, he just doesn't care to be that careful most of the time. I think that the earlier you can address this situation, the better. A second grader who does this will become a third grader who does this, and so on. I don't imagine the habit gets any easier to fix with age.
     
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  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Maybe. I could just hand him back his work and have him fix his name.

    The letter in question is L.
     
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I've also found, by upper elementary, it can be easier to restart handwriting instruction by teaching cursive.

    You might try that with this boy's name. Teach him how to write the name in cursive, and make sure he's writing it correctly. This might be easier than changing the way he prints his name.
     
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  12. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    This would be the simplest solution, but only if he will actually comply when asked to do this.

    I'd think that after 10 or so reminders he'd start checking himself.
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Wow, I'm surprised I'm in such a minority here. I'd let it go. Especially since you are not 100% sure that his mother didn't teach him that this was the correct way to write his unusual name. If you do ascertain that that is not the case, then the only modification I would use would be to entice him by offering him a glitter pencil or marker or something else fun to use when he wants to write his name correctly. Then I'd drop the issue after giving a positive response to him when he does choose the fancy pencil.
     
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  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I actually did confirm this. Mom and Dad have no idea where this spelling came from.
     
  15. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    If it was only the name, it might not matter so much, but it sounds like this writing style is carrying over to his handwriting.
     
  16. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    This is typically how I deal with reversals and confused letters. I teach 6 year olds, so this is very common, but definitely the time to correct it. As I go around and check their work, or as I'm working with them during writing workshop I have them correct it as I see it.

    Oh, another idea.....We use writing checklists all the time. Maybe if he has a checklist that includes the appropriate use of capitals and lower case letters (even if it has to be specific for him to include the lower case "l") that might help....Even if you tape it to his desk, and then remind him every time that he must check for that. The idea would be that eventually he would internalize that and begin to automatically self check...initially it will be somewhat of a pain for you, but then he should become more independent and self check himself.
     
  17. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Thank you, Backroads, for clarifying the situation for me. And I did see that he capitalizes the letter in other words at times. I just don't think he will still be doing this in 5th grade.
     
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  18. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I had a fourth grader that I had to "fix" this year.
     
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  19. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I have several students every year in fifth grade who capitalize random letters. Nobody ever makes them stop, so they continue. They do actually know they aren't supposed to be capitalized, as they will fix it when I call them out for it. Yet they continue to turn in work with random letters capitalized.
     
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  20. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    I'd let it go.
    second grade is young still, it's how he wants his name to be... I try to pick my battles and this wouldn't be one I'd fight
     
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  21. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I really don't want this kid to be doing this in 5th grade.

    Actuality, I suppose if he masters the rules for the rest of his writing but decides that's how he will write his name, that'd be fine.

    But wow, 5th graders still not out of the habit.
     
  22. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    One thing you can do is raise awareness with a poster activity. I did this with safety rules. We did these to show the younger students how they could keep safe. After brainstorming ideas that would keep students safe, I did a lesson on poster making. After looking at several examples of professionally made posters, we discussed high contrast colors, limiting the number and shades of colors, using conventional spelling to avoid confusion, and lettering. All caps are hard to read. [That's why the really nasty parts of your credit card agreement are in all caps; you won't read it.]

    Your students will want the little kids to be safe, so they will pay attention to their lettering. Later, when students insert random caps, you have a strong basis for discussion: random caps can cause confusion to their audience.
     
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  23. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Something I've noticed recently. Typed font sometimes uses the "l" shape to represent "1" or even "I" (a capital "i"), which I just noticed is happening on this forum. An ADHD mind often focuses on little details like this, and perhaps this is causing discomfort. An off the wall idea I also thought of, ADHD kids sometimes develop superstitions about certain physical processes; I had that when I was 12. It feels scary or uncomfortable if you don't do something a certain way. A third idea is that he might be experimenting with letters; perhaps the capital "L" is more fun to draw, or perhaps he really likes the sound or feel in his mouth when he pronounces the "l" in his name; (I'm trying to think like a second grader).
     
  24. monkeyrun

    monkeyrun Rookie

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    At the school I'm at now, this is a huge problem with most kids, even in 4th and 5th grades! It drives me absolutely crazy. It doesn't help that a lot of teachers use those fonts that have random capital letters in it, so that's the stuff the kids see. I really try to make sure everything I make/use is correct so they have examples to use.
     
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  25. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oh, PLEASE, correct this syntax issue. I'm still seeing this with my high school students.
     
  26. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Those fonts are definitely pet peeves of mine.
     
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