Tuesday, May 12, 2015

#sol15 Handwriting 2015

Some of you may remember what this is....but most of you will not.  Teachers used to focus on handwriting!  In fact, my grandmother, a teacher long ago, was proud to the end of her impeccable handwriting. In the early 1900's, this was HOW students were evaluated - perhaps it was how teacher effectiveness was evaluated, too. In those days, it didn't matter WHAT students wrote; rather, what mattered was HOW it looked.

Even in the early days of my own teaching career, handwriting mattered.  We had these great little chalk line makers and filled chalkboards every night with "seatwork" for our students to copy. In those days, my print and my cursive writing were pretty good - although nothing like grandma's beautiful cursive.

Writing Workshop model, Donald Graves, Lucy Calkins, CCS or whatever else has come down the pike, we've come a long way in the last 115 years.  We now consider WHAT students write FAR more important that HOW they write.....and there are those who argue that handwriting does not matter in a computer generated writing world!

I was thinking about how rare it is that I use handwriting as anything other than a tool for taking notes FOR ME these days as I filled out sticky notes documenting my year in my APPR reflective binder this afternoon.  The "ing" that I typically "slur" into a sort of "g" when I take notes was not good enough for this document destined for other eyes and so I had to write some notes more than once (wasting sticky notes along the way!)

It's sad, in a way; we'll never go back to the flourish!  Yet, it's good in a way, too! We'll never go back to a focus on form over content. However, we do need to make sure our students and our teachers can write notes that others can read - even if some day, binders like this are replaced by "virtual" - Google Drive Driven proof of our reflective teaching!


Anonymous said...

I think about how eager kids are to learn to write, and especially to learn cursive. It's sad that many are left mostly on their own with a workbook and little or no instruction to guide them through this rite of passage.

Chris said...

So many of my first graders ask about cursive - they see it as a sign of growing up. I agree - handwriting is a nearly lost art.

wahooliteracyteacher said...

I remember sitting in my elementary school classrooms completing page after page in various handwriting books and how I couldn't wait to get finished with those exercises. I would rather have been writing stories in my journal:)

Dana Murphy said...

My mom often shakes her head at my handwriting. She has beautiful, swirling handwriting taught to her by strict nuns!

I think handwriting is still important, even in this very digital age. Unfortunately, it's just taught like it used to be.

Tara Smith said...

I love this post - by the time my kids get to sixth grade, they clearly haven't practiced handwriting and struggle to write legibly. Sad.