Kindergarten Handwriting Instruction

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Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

Why Teaching Handwriting is Still Important

July 27 Deedee 6 min read

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons.  But in if I am being completely honest with you, this was my LEAST favorite skill to teach.  LEAST!   Until I found a way to make it fun and FAST!

NOTE:  This is a sponsored post from Go Teach, but the content and opinions are my own.

Is handwriting instruction still a thing?

I know, many of us have tons of technology in our classroom.  Students are up to their elbows in tablets and they, quite frankly, are better at this technology than I am most of the time.  Will they need to know handwriting?  Is it still important to teach?  Well… there is this little thing called the CCSS:

K.L.1.a-3. Print all uppercase letters.
K.L.1.a-4. Print all lowercase letters.

But the standards alone should not be the reason to convince us to embrace a subject.  For me, I need to feel it is important as well, otherwise, it might get pushed off the schedule… whoops!

I often think about where I want students to focus their mental energy.  In writers workshop, I want them to focus on composing a message (not handwriting).  BUT if handwriting is laborious for the student, they might spend their mental fuel on forming letters or thinking about how to form the letters. I don’t want that to happen.  I want them to feel confident and their letter formation to be automatic.  SO… we practice.

What does handwriting practice look like?

Each day we practice.  I do this as part of our phonics work.  You can find this resource by clicking HERE.

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

I place a copy of the same worksheet the students are working on under my document camera.  As we form each letter, I repeat the path of motion.  Then I say, “A…apple../a/.”  The students echo me.  On one side of the paper is the classroom practice. As this is happening, I am also circulating around the room.  Because we all know, just because we show them the correct path of motion, it does not mean they will necessarily follow it.   We are building muscle memory.  I would rather have them do NOTHING than practice it incorrectly.  When the page is done,  I have students circle their best one.  It helps them to be reflective.

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

The back of the page goes home for “optional homework.”  Students practice the letter formation at home.  I include the path of motion instructions for the parents and reinforce the importance of building muscle memory.  If your students are going to use crayons, these Mr. Sketch Scented Crayons get my vote EVERY. TIME.  They are twistable so you don’t have to peel the paper off of them!

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

Is path of motion THAT important?

Yes!  Experts tell us that it is!  They also tell us that students should try to complete the letter formation without lifting the pencil whenever possible.  For example, a, d, m.. should be written without lifting the pencil.  Where letters like k, f, t require a pencil lift.

Focus on the path of motion versus perfection.  Meaning, instruction should be focused initially on teaching the students the correct letter path of motion.  Perfect legibility will come later with time.

Letter introduction order

Experts also tell us to provide instruction on letters that are formed similarly.  You can see the order I use by downloading the FREE curriculum guide that is offered in the right-hand sidebar of my blog.

You have introduced all the letters… now what?

Wouldn’t it be great if humans could be taught once and then they would know?  This makes we think about when I was learning a new dance step.  I had to do it OVER and OVER and OVER.  Then, when my mind would wander, I would miss a step.  Students need time to build muscle memory… Enter Minute to Win IT!  Here is how it works.

Once all of the letters have been introduced, we start with this activity.  In all honesty, I usually wait until mid-November to start this.  The entire class starts with the letter a.   They practice writing the letter across the first line and then STOP!   They do this at their own pace.  I walk around to make sure they have the correct letter formation.  If they do not, I show them quickly (see the pen marks on her letter b?).  Then I set the timer for 1 minute.

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun! 

Students race down the page as quickly as they can.  AGAIN, my focus is on the path of motion.  If they reach the bottom and the letters are formed correctly, they pass that letter.  So yes, after a few weeks, I have some students working on f, while others are working on k.  Also please know, that my expectation might not be the same of every student.  Some students might need to complete the page, while others need to just do 10 letters correctly.  Another modification might be giving students more time or practicing during a small group time instead for them.

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

How do I keep track of what letter they are on?

I don’t … the students do it for me.  The students have a punch card that they keep in their crayon box.  As they “pass” a letter, I punch the letter out and they move on to the next letter.  Then students take this home to practice as homework.  As part of the motivation for home practice, I sent home a smelly marker with the student.  They just got one so they had to take care of it. I know this is a sponsored post, but honestly, Mr. Sketch is the BEST.   The markers last REALLY long, they make great anchor charts, and according to one of my students, “The light blue one smells like the car wash.” Ha!

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

When they bring the page back completed, they get a star on the back of their card.  When they get 10 stars, they get a trip to the treasure box!  SCORE!

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

How long does this take?

I know time is a huge commodity.  At the beginning of the year, I spend about 10 minutes on teaching the path of motion in conjunction with letter sound each day.  When we start to do Minute to Win IT! it takes literally MINUTES… 5 tops!

Dessert Tubs

I have also talked about dessert tubs or early finishers.  You can read more about these by clicking HERE.  Tossing your path of motion cards with an Expo Marker is simple and such great practice!  Again, I know this is a sponsored post, but I only get Expo Markers.  I have yet to find another brand that works as well.  Nobody has time for dry erase markers that DON’T ERASE!  Expo never lets me down.  I get a class set at the beginning of the year because my OCD is STRONG!

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

Thank you, Papermate!  I really do love your stuff!  

Scented markers can be found HERE.

Scented crayons can be found HERE.

Expo Markers can be found HERE.

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

You can read my post on b and d letter reversals and grab a free download by clicking HERE.

Kindergarten handwriting instruction is still an important part of your literacy lessons. This post will show you how to easily work alphabet formation and path of motion lessons into your daily schedule... and it is fun!

Want a numeral version?

You can find that version by clicking HERE.

FREE File

Grab your free parent path of motion letter by filling out your email information below.

 

 

 

24 Comments

  • Becca July 29 at 10:05 am

    Excellent blog post, Deedee!!! As I teach in a Christian school that uses ABeka curriculum, path of motion is stressed strongly for letter formation. However the minute-to-win-it approach to increase speed WITH accuracy is a great addition that I’m going to add. Keep sharing these wonderful strategies. Thanks!

  • Melanie July 29 at 2:25 pm

    I LOVE how you teach handwriting! I agree that with all the content that needs to be covered each year, we really need to double up on skills when/where we can.

    As far as the Mr. Sketch markers go, don’t even get me started on all the wonderful memories made by these fantastic products! Thirty-some years ago, my first job in high school was working at a public library. My favorite part of the job was creating bulletin boards each month. Those were the days when we would enlarge images on overhead projectors, color them in, cut them out, laminate, and hang them on the wall. Well, I had a boss who would only purchase Mr. Sketch markers, and let me tell you, that made the task of creating bulletin boards even more enjoyable! I still remember trying to incorporate turquoise and magenta into every design just because I loved the smell so much! πŸ™‚ Plus, I adored saying the word “MAGENTA”…

    I read somewhere that the sense of smell is the strongest link to memory, and I really believe that. How many times do we catch a scent of something and are instantly transported in our minds to another place or to a certain person? I think the folks at Mr. Sketch might be on to something because I remember nearly every bulletin board I created in those four years at the library all those years ago. With that in mind, think how we could engage ALL of a students’ senses creating with those magnificent markers and crayons!

    Thanks for the terrific tips and for letting me take a fun trip down memory lane!

    • Deedee July 30 at 10:27 am

      Thank you SO MUCH! I am with you. Certain smells take me RIGHT back to that moment in time!

  • Molly August 12 at 11:29 am

    Great way to teach handwriting! I didn’t see the curriculum guide on the sidebar. Where can I get that? Thanks so much for the awesome post!

    • Deedee August 18 at 3:42 pm

      Hi there, it is right on the right hand side. It has a pink and green cover. Email me if you get stuck πŸ™‚

      [email protected]

      • Alex June 6 at 3:39 pm

        Hello! I am having a difficult time finding the letter introduction order. Please help!

        • Deedee June 6 at 4:34 pm

          You can download the curriculum guide. It is on my sidebar wit a pink and green cover. It has everything in there πŸ™‚

          • Alex June 6 at 4:38 pm

            Thank you so much for your quick reply, it is greatly appreciated!

            I did download that but can’t seem to find it within that document.

  • Crystal September 16 at 11:58 am

    Cab you share some of the sources you’ve used to research handwriting? This has become a hot topic for me and I’m interested in doing more reading on the subject.

  • Sharon February 19 at 6:06 pm

    I love the path of motion. I really dislike seeing letters that are written inappropriate like the letter a here. Children have enough problems learning letter formation why do we have to confuse them with crazy writing.

    • Deedee February 20 at 9:43 am

      AHH!!! All the fonts and book fonts πŸ™‚

  • Kathleen Jones June 12 at 1:32 pm

    I’m trying to sign-up for the the FREE curriculum guide, but the link is not working. Can you add me through this comment section?

    • Deedee June 26 at 10:33 am

      Oh gosh! I’m not seeing you on my list. Will you email me with the email you are trying to use and I will totally investigate this for you. [email protected]

  • Janet July 8 at 4:40 pm

    Is the Minute To Win It punch card included in the handwriting bundle? I really like that!

    • Deedee July 9 at 8:30 am

      Yes! The alphabet Minute to Win It is in the handwriting “Make it Neat” unit.

  • Corrie July 18 at 11:44 am

    How do you do capitals and lowercase when you do the Minute To Win It? Do you go through all the uppercase first then move on to lowercase letters? Or do you alternate? (For example: A then a then B then b.)

    • Deedee July 18 at 11:55 am

      Honestly for Minute to Win It, I was more concerned with the lowercase letters, since these are what show up in their writing more frequently. So I focused on those for the timed activities πŸ™‚

  • Virginia Davidson October 12 at 2:42 pm

    Should pencils be used to practice handwriting in kindergarten? I like the chubby ones for kids that have motor control problems. Better marker than nothing, but are pencils preferred?

    • Deedee October 14 at 2:14 pm

      I used pencils but added a modification for those students who needed it. Sometimes it was a different pencil or sometimes it was a grip guide attached to the pencil. I hope that helps.

  • Laura October 23 at 9:54 pm

    Is there any way to buy just the Minute To Win It part of the packet? I love that idea so much but don’t need the entire curriculum.

    • Deedee October 24 at 6:19 am

      Thank you so much! I’m sorry, I don’t offer it as a separate item.

  • Jess November 17 at 8:25 pm

    Do you send home a letter to parents explaining the importance of practicing handwriting, with or without homework or writing notebook?

    • Deedee November 17 at 10:18 pm

      I do send home a note. However, I really encouraged my students to take responsibility for completing the tasks. That seemed to work the best.

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    My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching to different age groups and in different classroom environments. My heart belongs to early childhood education and I love working with other teachers who share this same love as me. Read More

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