Saturday, 14 December 2013

Cursive Writing Set

This year I made a set of cursive handwriting activities for my elementary class. So far the children have only been working with the Sassoon Montessori font and regular print. However, after much discussion in my college, I have decided that writing in cursive is much better for my class. Since my children are all elementary aged [6-11yrs] and I do not have to give them much instruction, I have set up these activities so that the children can naturally progress without much support from me.

This photo shows all the materials in the set. In the top left are the control cards which show the correct placements and formation for all lower case and capital letters. Below this are a few practice handwriting sheets that I downloaded from here.  These sheets focus on individual letters. These are the sheets the children start off with. Everything else is handwritten. I felt it was important for the children to see real writing instead of perfect printed text. In the top middle are a few lists of words which the children can copy out once they have practiced with all the letter sheets. In the top right are cards which contain phrases written on cursive paper. The children can choose a card and copy it into their cursive handwriting book [bottom of pic]. The final cards are phrases written in pen on plain paper. The children are shown how to place the line guides behind their plain paper and copy a phrase or choose their own phrase.

 Cursive writing control cards made using a download from here.

This is an example of a saying I wrote using a pen on plain paper. I have never before written in cursive and was surprised that it looks so lovely. Making the handwritten materials took a very long time but it has paid off. The children are so eager and excited to work through all the materials. Even the children who showed not interest in handwriting are now spending long periods of time practicing. In fact, last week I had two boys who worked on their cursive handwriting for almost the whole workcycle.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Homophones, Homonyms and Homographs

Little-N has been working with homophones, homonyms and homographs. I introduced each group of words using concrete materials. For the initial homonyms presentation, I used a model of a dog [for the word bark], Bonsai [bark of a tree], a small tennis bat, a model of a black bat [animal], a bell [for ring], and an amethyst ring. Although the elementary child is older, they still find great pleasure and excitement in lessons that use concrete materials. Each objects was placed on the mat and labelled appropriately. The children then guessed what the lesson was about. After defining 'homonyms' the children spent time thinking of their own examples. I also encourage the children to use the dictionary to find new ones.

As follow up work, I have many drawers filled with word pairs which can be matched. Each word card has a definition which the children read and match. Since Little-N is 9 years he is ready for a more advanced look at homonyms. For him, I prepared sentences which contain homonyms. His job is to find the matching sentences and then symbolise the homonym using the grammar symbols.
Little-Ns next step is to write a poem or story full of homonyms.

P.s. As you can see Little-Ns hair is very long. He won't let me cut it. He is getting mistaken for a girl 80% of the time now, yet he doesn't seem to care!