Teaching D'Nealian to 3 year olds

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by skyone, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. skyone

    skyone Rookie

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    Dec 1, 2009

    We are required to teach the 3 year olds to write all their letters and their name by the end of the school year and must use D'Nealian font. Some of the letters, lowercase k for example, are very difficult. Does anyone currently teach this font to three year olds and have any suggestions?
     
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  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Dec 1, 2009

    All I can say won't be much help: a. I don't think what you are required to do is developmentally appropriate for 3 year olds, 2. many of our local schools are moving away from that style of writing in Kindergarten because they have determined it is too hard and have returned to traditional font. I don't think there is a good way to do it because it is too hard for 3 year olds, imo.
     
  4. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    Dec 1, 2009

    I agree with scmom...I worked in a pre-school once that required us to do this also with 3's and 4's (because the school district used it) and they wanted them familiar. I think it's a HUGE waste of time and competely inappropriate. You are talking about a group of kids that can barely hold pencils the right way, let alone recognize letters that don't even look like the the letters they are learning. At that age, and even in K (which I teach now) should still be traditional font, for recognition and for fine motor skill development first!
     
  5. skyone

    skyone Rookie

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    Dec 1, 2009

    I agree with all of you but unfortunately was unable to talk the prek, k teachers and director into using block style or starting writing 1st semester of prek. Most of the kids can barely sit for 10 minutes, let alone to learn to write their name for any period of time. We have really focused a lot on fine motor but most of the boys won't color, let alone begin writing. We really aren't supposed to use shaving cream (because licensing says it is flammable) and sand is discouraged in the classroom but we do it outside. I have used mats with their picture that they sit on anytime we are doing circle activities in hopes that they will recognize their name. Unfortunately, I didn't have the D'Nealian font on my computer so it is just in block font.

    Any ideas to teach writing to 3 year olds, let alone D'Nealian writing, at all would be greatly appreciated.
     
  6. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Dec 1, 2009

    Can you get D'Nealian cards and have them roll playdough into "snakes" and form the letters? Have them draw the D'Nealian letters in sand, pudding, finger paint etc.

    That way you are showing them the letters and building the fine motor skills the children need to write.
     
  7. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Dec 2, 2009

    Another one is to use "gel bags." Fill zipper bags with some hair gel (I double bag) and let them draw letters or whatever in the hair gel... erases easily. I've also had a lot of kids who truly enjoy writing when they use white boards or handheld chalk boards. You can even do tracing by laminating sheets and use washable or dry-erase markers. I've done that for name sheets before. The kids could erase and try again, or try someone else's name or a different letter or whatever. They were still practicing but it wasn't always a paper they could take home.

    Paint letters... with a brush or fingers. Use toothpicks or yarn or whatever you can think of to form letters.

    I've had 3's and 4's that LOVE to write, and CAN write the alphabet, their name, etc. Never an entire class... but you're exposing, and, frankly, if they don't get it yet, they'll get it again next year. And the following year. That's the way I look at it. I'd rather focus on following directions, paying attention in a group, and enjoying learning :)
     
  8. Miller59

    Miller59 Companion

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    Dec 3, 2009

    On top of all the good suggestions you have - remember to keep lessons short. One letter at a time for specific instruction and practice. Let exploration of the materials be a long time, just the letter formation practice should be kept very short.

    And I do have to say that I agree that this goal isn't DAP. I have one 3 yr old and several 4 yr olds who just don't have to fine motor skills to write well formed letters. I keep modeling and encouraging and loving what they do. I don't require that they write their names very often, and never have "name writing" lessons.
     
  9. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Dec 3, 2009

    Skyone- Can you talk to the PreK and K teachers about building grip strength as a pre-writing activity? Explain the children need to build grip strength in order to have the correct crayon/pencil grip in Pre-K and K. That way you can continue with you DAP activities that build grip strength- playdough, manipulatives, punches, etc.

    Then you can present the D'Neilian letters in class so the children are exposed to them.

    Regarding D'Neilian and teaching "block style", I am the Pre-K feeder to a K-8 which uses D'Neilian. I present the alphabet in "block style", use Handwriting Without Tears which is "block style" and my children write in "block style". They have no problem switching to D'Neilian in K. In fact they are ahead of the game because they have good fine motor skills, hold a pencil/crayon with a tripod grip, and always start at the top when writing letters.
     
  10. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    Dec 3, 2009

    highlighter!! I have found the most effective way to help the children practice writing letters is to use a highlighter and let them trace it. I also made up some papers with the letters on it, laminated it and let them use dry erase markers to trace it-- can be used over and over again and the kids think it's fun to use the special markers. and yes, I did this with 3s. by the end of the year all my 3s could write their first names and could copy (not trace) all the upper case letters of the alphabet
     
  11. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Dec 5, 2009

    I'm sorry you are in that situation, it must be difficult. If you need something to use to try and persuade the powers that be here is a link to the new handwriting page on my site. This is the philosophy our public school district follows in pre-k.
     
  12. PrekCAteacher

    PrekCAteacher Rookie

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    Dec 13, 2009

    For the first time this year our program enrolled three year olds, so what I would say is that the D'Nealian is not Devolopmentally appropriate, however here is what I do to compromise for my three year olds, since they are in class with four year olds. When I teach handwriting I do give them the ryhmes monkey tails and all for the D'Nealian, and show the top middle and bottom lines. However we do shaving cream writing and the only rule that is enforced is starting from the top. There is a program we use along with the D'Nealian, which I love and is more appropriate called Handwriting without tears the threes love this program!
     
  13. duribe100

    duribe100 Rookie

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    Nov 8, 2010

    the best d'nealian fonts I know are at
    Fonts 4 Teachers My students love them! We are using them all the time!!!
     
  14. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 8, 2010

    Shame on the director and K teacher for insisting that 3's be required to write. It is not DAP, and I would argue. It is like asking a baby to walk before he can crawl.
     
  15. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
     

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