Miss Galvin Learns

May 30, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin
0 comments

Handwriting Placemats

MGL-HandwritingPlacematsDue to popular demand, I’ve got a copy of my Handwriting Placemats in Vic Modern Cursive available in my TPT store.

If you read my Bright Ideas Blog Hop post back in February you would have seen my updated handwriting bags, featuring this placemat.

Featuring dotted thirds and Vic Modern Cursive, this is perfect for Victorian teachers, but I hope to have a more generic handwriting placemat available soon for others to use. Keep your eyes peeled!

This .pdf placemat does not student names on the page – simply write them in for students to trace, or leave the line blank so students can practise writing their name independently or practise writing sight words/etc.

Slide3Check it out in my store now!

Happy Saturday, all!

 

 

February 22, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin
8 Comments

A Bright Idea for Handwriting

BrightIdeasButton1

Thanks for joining the Bright Ideas Blog Hop this month.

Almost two years ago I wrote a blog post about the handwriting bags I was using with my class and it’s one of my most popular posts that I receive comments and emails for.

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Today I thought I’d share the revised version of my Handwriting Bags for my brand new class of Kinder/Foundation/Prep kiddos.

These are bags full of handwriting goodies that the kids keep in their chair bags so that they always have the tools they need ready to go.

Slide2

I start with a large ziplock bag to pack all the goodies in. This keeps everything neat and tidy and stops little pieces from being lost. Also, because the bags are clear, it’s easy to work out WHO dropped WHAT on the floor.

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What’s included in the bags:

  • 1 mini whiteboard
  • 1 A4 laminated handwriting page –  this has our school’s handwriting font (Vic Modern Cursive) in upper and lowercase letters, plus a larger version of their name to practise correct letter formation.
  • 1 little tub of playdough
  • 1 whiteboard marker
  • 1 piece of Magic Eraser sponge

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The play dough is there for warming up little fingers. I have quite a few kiddos with very poor fine motor skills this year and I intend for them to use the play dough for the first minute or two.

The mini whiteboards are normally used during whole class instruction, where students record the letter under focus and can then hold the board underneath their chin so I can see how everyone’s going. (Also, it’s a bit easier than having everyone argue about coming up to the teacher’s board to practise writing their letters.)

The A4 laminated pages are usually for warm-ups or early finishers to practise forming each letter correctly, following the arrows provided in the tunnelling font for Vic Modern Cursive.

The Magic Eraser sponges are AWESOME at cleaning whiteboard markers off both whiteboards and laminated sheets and I can buy a couple of packets, cut them up and have really inexpensive erasers for everyone.

Thanks for stopping by this blog hop! I’d love to heard your ideas for handwriting, so don’t forget to leave a comment below. I’d also love for you to stop by my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for more bright ideas!

For variations on the handwriting bag, head along to this post, which has a few different ideas!

For more bright ideas, don’t forget to visit these wonderful bloggers and leave them some love!


July 4, 2014
by Ms Stefanie Galvin
1 Comment

Throwback Thursday – Handwriting Bags

Originally posted March 16, 2013.

05 TTT Summer Bloggin-66-2

Last week in my Five for Friday post I shared a picture of my student’s new handwriting bags. I thought I’d share a bit about how we’ve been using them.

In the P-2 early years area at my school, we try to include a specific handwriting session each week to focus on letter formation, thus, I’ve been modifying how I’ve previously taught handwriting (very paper-based!) to make it a little less damaging on the environment!

What’s included:

  • A name-tracing card in our State font (Victorian Modern Cursive, for those not from Australia), laminated
  • Lowercase and Uppercase alphabet and numbers in our State Font (this is from one of our handwriting books), laminated
  • Dotted-thirds writing paper (actually on the back of the alphabet page!), laminated
  • Mini whiteboard
  • Whiteboard marker (I got them in packs of 5 for $2.80 from Daiso)
  • 1/4 Chux Magic Eraser

And everything is kept in a large-size snaplock bag (I use Hercules bags) in their tubs.

Our handwriting program:

Currently our handwriting session is on a Thursday morning after our Literacy/Guided Reading session.

Students collect their bags, put them on their tables and join me on the floor for a focus session on our letter for the week. We use a program called Track, Trace and Copy to observe and practise forming letters correctly using our Interactive Whiteboard (IWB). Depending on the letter (and it’s relative complexity) I might have students bring their mini-whiteboards to the floor and we’ll practise forming letters together, or we might form them in the air. I also have students come out and model correct letter formation.

At the end of the mini-lesson students go back to their tables and use their writing packets. We’re developing a formula (slowly) so that students stay on task:

  1. Students start by tracing their name (at least once). For my Preps it’s good practise revising how to write their name correctly, and it’s just as good for my Grade 1s who, even though they can write their names independently, struggle with letter formation, capital letters and letter size.
  2. Students trace the lowercase and uppercase letters on their laminated tracing sheet.

Then, the handwriting task is differentiated for my Preps and my Grade 1s.

The Preps:

  • practise writing the letter focus on their mini-whiteboard 10 (or more times) and circle their best go,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their handwriting, and,
  • practise writing out sight words (we use the Magic 100 Words program).

The Grade 1s:

  • use their personal dictionaries to practise writing words using our letter of the week on the dotted-thirds laminated sheet,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their writing on dotted thirds, and,
  • write a sentence and illustrated it on their mini whiteboards.

All the students are responsible for cleaning their laminated sheets and whiteboards and for ensuring that their whiteboard pens have their lids on them and that everything goes into their bags at the end of a session.

While students are working independently I pull students out in small groups (or independently) to work on a specific hand-writing skill – using a variety of whiteboard activities, IWB activities or sheet-based activities (although I’m moving away from having handwriting sheets, unless I can reuse them!).

I also usually have a fantastic parent-helper during this session who is really good with the kids. (I taught her middle child in his first year of school in my first year of teaching, and now I’m teaching her youngest in his first year of school!) She knows all the tricks, and helps correct pencil-grip, letter formation and knows how to encourage even the most reluctant writer. I’m super-lucky to have her helping me out!

Now – this isn’t a perfect program, but already it’s starting helping me to really target the students that need specific instruction in letter formation (which is really tricky in Australia, because our State handwriting fonts are SO different to what students see everyday – sometimes I wonder why we don’t teach print handwriting, but that’s another story!).

I’m also hoping to include a few little fine-motor skill activities into handwriting as well, because some of my kiddos really need that extra support.

Do you teach handwriting? What do your handwriting sessions look like?

Edit 29/5/2015 – After popular demand, I’ve listed a handwriting placemat for Victorian teachers here:

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July 5, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin
2 Comments

Throwback Thursday

Okay, so I’m a bit late! My apologies!

Today I’m linking up with Cara from The First Grade Parade for her Throwback Thursday linky! The post I’m going to be re-visiting is my Handwriting Bags post from earlier this year. As many of my northern hemisphere friends are beginning preparations for their new school year, I thought this would be a great post to revisit and share ideas around.

In my upcoming Third Term, I plan to revisit and revise my bags, so if you this post prompts any ideas, please share them. I love that blogging allows so much collaboration and sharing of ideas, so don’t be shy!

{ Handwriting Bags }

In the P-2 early years area at my school, we try to include a specific handwriting session each week to focus on letter formation, thus, I’ve been modifying how I’ve previously taught handwriting (very paper-based!) to make it a little less damaging on the environment!

What’s included:

  • A name-tracing card in our State font (Victorian Modern Cursive, for those not from Australia), laminated
  • Lowercase and Uppercase alphabet and numbers in our State Font (this is from one of our handwriting books), laminated
  • Dotted-thirds writing paper (actually on the back of the alphabet page!), laminated
  • Mini whiteboard
  • Whiteboard marker (I got them in packs of 5 for $2.80 from Daiso)
  • 1/4 Chux Magic Eraser

And everything is kept in a large-size snaplock bag (I use Hercules bags) in their tubs.

Our handwriting program:

Currently our handwriting session is on a Thursday morning after our Literacy/Guided Reading session.

Students collect their bags, put them on their tables and join me on the floor for a focus session on our letter for the week. We use a program called Track, Trace and Copy to observe and practise forming letters correctly using our Interactive Whiteboard (IWB). Depending on the letter (and it’s relative complexity) I might have students bring their mini-whiteboards to the floor and we’ll practise forming letters together, or we might form them in the air. I also have students come out and model correct letter formation.

At the end of the mini-lesson students go back to their tables and use their writing packets. We’re developing a formula (slowly) so that students stay on task:

  1. Students start by tracing their name (at least once). For my Preps it’s good practise revising how to write their name correctly, and it’s just as good for my Grade 1s who, even though they can write their names independently, struggle with letter formation, capital letters and letter size.
  2. Students trace the lowercase and uppercase letters on their laminated tracing sheet.

Then, the handwriting task is differentiated for my Preps and my Grade 1s.

The Preps:

  • practise writing the letter focus on their mini-whiteboard 10 (or more times) and circle their best go,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their handwriting, and,
  • practise writing out sight words (we use the Magic 100 Words program).

The Grade 1s:

  • use their personal dictionaries to practise writing words using our letter of the week on the dotted-thirds laminated sheet,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their writing on dotted thirds, and,
  • write a sentence and illustrated it on their mini whiteboards.

All the students are responsible for cleaning their laminated sheets and whiteboards and for ensuring that their whiteboard pens have their lids on them and that everything goes into their bags at the end of a session.

While students are working independently I pull students out in small groups (or independently) to work on a specific hand-writing skill – using a variety of whiteboard activities, IWB activities or sheet-based activities (although I’m moving away from having handwriting sheets, unless I can reuse them!).

I also usually have a fantastic parent-helper during this session who is really good with the kids. (I taught her middle child in his first year of school in my first year of teaching, and now I’m teaching her youngest in his first year of school!) She knows all the tricks, and helps correct pencil-grip, letter formation and knows how to encourage even the most reluctant writer. I’m super-lucky to have her helping me out!

Now – this isn’t a perfect program, but already it’s starting helping me to really target the students that need specific instruction in letter formation (which is really tricky in Australia, because our State handwriting fonts are SO different to what students see everyday – sometimes I wonder why we don’t teach print handwriting, but that’s another story!).

I’m also hoping to include a few little fine-motor skill activities into handwriting as well, because some of my kiddos really need that extra support.

How would YOU use handwriting bags?

March 16, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin
12 Comments

Handwriting with the Little Smarties in Room 16

Sometimes I feel like I update the Little Smarties in Room 16 blog more than my own blog.

Last week in my Five for Friday post I shared a picture of my student’s new handwriting bags. I thought I’d share a bit about how we’ve been using them.

In the P-2 early years area at my school, we try to include a specific handwriting session each week to focus on letter formation, thus, I’ve been modifying how I’ve previously taught handwriting (very paper-based!) to make it a little less damaging on the environment!

What’s included:

  • A name-tracing card in our State font (Victorian Modern Cursive, for those not from Australia), laminated
  • Lowercase and Uppercase alphabet and numbers in our State Font (this is from one of our handwriting books), laminated
  • Dotted-thirds writing paper (actually on the back of the alphabet page!), laminated
  • Mini whiteboard
  • Whiteboard marker (I got them in packs of 5 for $2.80 from Daiso)
  • 1/4 Chux Magic Eraser

And everything is kept in a large-size snaplock bag (I use Hercules bags) in their tubs.

Our handwriting program:

Currently our handwriting session is on a Thursday morning after our Literacy/Guided Reading session.

Students collect their bags, put them on their tables and join me on the floor for a focus session on our letter for the week. We use a program called Track, Trace and Copy to observe and practise forming letters correctly using our Interactive Whiteboard (IWB). Depending on the letter (and it’s relative complexity) I might have students bring their mini-whiteboards to the floor and we’ll practise forming letters together, or we might form them in the air. I also have students come out and model correct letter formation.

At the end of the mini-lesson students go back to their tables and use their writing packets. We’re developing a formula (slowly) so that students stay on task:

  1. Students start by tracing their name (at least once). For my Preps it’s good practise revising how to write their name correctly, and it’s just as good for my Grade 1s who, even though they can write their names independently, struggle with letter formation, capital letters and letter size.
  2. Students trace the lowercase and uppercase letters on their laminated tracing sheet.

Then, the handwriting task is differentiated for my Preps and my Grade 1s.

The Preps:

  • practise writing the letter focus on their mini-whiteboard 10 (or more times) and circle their best go,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their handwriting, and,
  • practise writing out sight words (we use the Magic 100 Words program).

The Grade 1s:

  • use their personal dictionaries to practise writing words using our letter of the week on the dotted-thirds laminated sheet,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their writing on dotted thirds, and,
  • write a sentence and illustrated it on their mini whiteboards.

All the students are responsible for cleaning their laminated sheets and whiteboards and for ensuring that their whiteboard pens have their lids on them and that everything goes into their bags at the end of a session.

While students are working independently I pull students out in small groups (or independently) to work on a specific hand-writing skill – using a variety of whiteboard activities, IWB activities or sheet-based activities (although I’m moving away from having handwriting sheets, unless I can reuse them!).

I also usually have a fantastic parent-helper during this session who is really good with the kids. (I taught her middle child in his first year of school in my first year of teaching, and now I’m teaching her youngest in his first year of school!) She knows all the tricks, and helps correct pencil-grip, letter formation and knows how to encourage even the most reluctant writer. I’m super-lucky to have her helping me out!

Now – this isn’t a perfect program, but already it’s starting helping me to really target the students that need specific instruction in letter formation (which is really tricky in Australia, because our State handwriting fonts are SO different to what students see everyday – sometimes I wonder why we don’t teach print handwriting, but that’s another story!).

I’m also hoping to include a few little fine-motor skill activities into handwriting as well, because some of my kiddos really need that extra support.

Do you teach handwriting? What do your handwriting sessions look like?

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