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Monday, November 3, 2008

Update Handwriting Without Tears/November

Hi everyone. Well, it is a new month and I wanted to give you a quick Handwriting Without Tears update. This month we don't have many letters because our Pre-K class celebrates Thanksgiving with a luncheon and program, so there is a lot of preparation for this big event.

The children are actually adding curves this month. They are concentrating on two letters. The first week is letter U and the second week is letter C. I was at the school today while they were doing letter U. The manipulatives they used were two lines and a small curve. They put these together to make the U.

My colleague and Pre-K teacher went to a Handwriting Without Tears seminar last week. She really enjoyed it. The purpose of doing HWT(Handwriting Without Tears) in Pre-K is to give children activities to develop a strong foundation of READINESS skills. The skills is Pre-K should be hands-on and concrete, these are preparations for writing in kindergarten. The main objectives are learning letters, starting in the correct place, sequence of strokes, all capital letters, and the learning strategies helps to avoid letter reversals.

I have a couple other things that she shared with me that I will be doing with my class. First we are purchasing the wooden blocks to make the letters. The leader of the class said that having children "polish" the wooden blocks is a highly recommended activity. By polishing it helps to establish a dominate hand, it allows the children's muscles and movements to become accustomed to up and down and also the formation of curves. There is the aspect of large motions for large shapes and small motions for small shapes. Who knew polishing had so much positive aspects?

Another aspect this teacher came home with was using smaller writing utensils. The leader of the seminar stated that she feels Pre-K children should be writing only with crayons. Jan Olsen, the developer of the Handwriting Without Tears program, stated that to Pre-K children, "Pencils are big pointed weapons." So our teacher came back, got all our crayons and broke them all in half. Hey, didn't I just buy all those brand new crayons? (Just kidding). Then she said when the children point out that the crayon is broken, you tell them that they are Power Pinchers. She tried this out and they were fine with it.

I plan on purchasing a book myself and sharing other things with you as I try them, or she tries them. We are excited to try Mat Man and she has done many songs from the CD which she loves. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

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