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Poor handwriting at end of reception- whiteboards a bad idea?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by cath1980, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Hi, our school has realised that we need to have a huge push on presentation next year, with handwriting being one of the main areas. I have found that when we teach a new sound and practice the letter formation, most of the children are able to write that sound/letter. However, later in the year when they are writing sentences or doing some indp writing on paper the correct letter formation goes out of the window and the handwriting is appalling. I have just been looking at some guidance and it says that <font face="Arial">
  2. I have grave concerns about overuse of mini whiteboards with children sitting on the floor.
    The trouble is that this has become the accepted 'early years' practice - and the video clips of phonics teaching and handwriting invariably show children writing on whiteboards.[​IMG]
    The most fit-for-purpose practice for teaching handwriting and spelling is paper and pencil practice sitting properly at desks - and holding the pencil with tripod grip (and constant, kind reminders needed).[​IMG]
  3. Thanks for the reply. How do we overcome the use of mini whiteboards during wholeclass teaching if it is expected but hindering handwriting?
  4. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    We've been using paper and pencil since September, but our children still have awful handwriting. I don't know what to do about it - but I need to do something.
  5. I don't understand why it is so bad when we spend so much time practicing formation.... there has to be a way to improve this
  6. Many years ago....when I was at school.....we had handwriting lessons, we practised shapes and flowing movements. Hand writing was a proper skill,we were taught a particular system just like victorian schools no doubt! I am sure these patterns must be still available to practise.
  7. Everything just feels so rushed and I am not sure when/how to fit in actual focused handwriting sessions in reception as they would have to be done in small adult led groups. I am all for doing that as I am appalled by the handwriting standards but not sure how being that formal in reception would go down.
  8. Ibuzzybea

    Ibuzzybea Occasional commenter

    Is the writing of all the children poor? What is their gross motor skills like? Is there any correlation between age and gender? This is a good artical http://www.fingergym.info/downloads/Finemotordevpp1-4.pdf
  9. surely it is not 'statutory' for children to sit on the floor to 'write' I have taught reception for...a long time...and agree with others..it is ridiculous and wrong...sit properly at a table and use a pencil...we do proper practise and at this end of the year the majority of my clas have beautiful cursive joined handwriting..I wish I could show you! we must stand up for common sense and do what we know is sensible and not what 'is expected' I am 'expecting' an Ofsted in the new year and they can like it or lump it I will be doing what works for us!!
  10. Thanks...we are also expecting ofsted but also have EY advisors who seem to change their minds all the time. We have a meeting with head tomorrow about pupil progress and I would like to suggest a few things I would like to try. Do you think it is acceptable to introduce sounds in a small focused group instead of doing it on the carpet with 30 children so that the formation can be a guided activity or would I be slated for not doing a whole class 4part lesson? I truly feel like I don't know what I am doing anymore.
  11. sadika

    sadika New commenter

    We do lots of activities to promote fine-motor development throughout the year. We do use white boards often and we do also sit at tables to write with pencils on paper also often. We do something briefly on letter formation virtually every day. There is usually alot to "un-do" - children having practised incorrect formation which has become second nature to them. By the end of the year the vast majority can and do form most letters correctly. We practice them in the 4 letter families - the children like telling me what I have "done wrong" when I deliberately make mistakes and we look at our partners letters and give "feedback". They love being told their letters are "like a teachers" when they do them nicely.
  12. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I don't think Ofsted would expect you to be doing a 4 part lesson with the whole class in Reception.
  13. what is a 4 part lesson?!
  14. When I was at school we spent hours learning to write using the italic script. I never got the hang of it and I still have the worst handwriting ever! It still takes me ages to write neatly at school now.
  15. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I assume it refers to the old format introduced with the Literacy hour but I could be wrong. Not appropriate for Reception anyway, although we used to be expected to do it.
  16. I assumed the 4 part lesson was referring to phonics.......
    1. Revisit/review
    2. Teach
    3. Practise
    4. Apply
    Certainly my LA expects to see it!
  17. We use whiteboards that have lines one side and are blank the other. Children sit on the carpet cross legged, rest the board on to one knee and practice on blank side first and then move to line side. They use a think whiteboard pen so they get a good pencil grip. We only practice this way for 5-10 minutes before splitting into groups one of which will be sitting at a table practicing on paper with lines and a variety of pencils. We still have a way to go but this method really improved our writing style this year.
  18. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    My mistake, our phonics lessons are quite short and pacey so all that gets merged a bit. I was thinking of the 3 part lesson of the Literacy Hour, I think.
  19. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I always thought that whiteboards had been introduced into schools to save paper. The speed at which the pens get used up cannot be very ecologically sound. Why do people feel the need to over-use white boards? They are great for certain things, not others.
    Some of you ask why children's handwriting is still so bad despite lots of practice during the reception year. I can give you some possible answers on the basis of one child only - not very scientific I know but these are my thoughts after seeing one of my children pass through a year of reception:
    - faults in letter formation which she entered the school with have been further ingrained as I presume they spend more time writing their own way than doing exercises
    - pencil hold is never commented on or corrected at school and they do not have handwriting pencils which almost force you into a correct hold
    - writing on lines seems to rarely happen
    - letter formation exercises are not sent home as reinforcement
    I do not know whether they use whiteboards much or not as whiteboards get wiped clean so as a parent I would never know. But certainly it is much "easier" to write on a whiteboard but whether it teaches you all the control you need to write with a pencil I am not sure.
    This is a child who has had excellent fine motor skills and been able to write some words since long before entering reception.
    However, I am sure that there are many children who you could plug away at handwriting with in the best possible way ever and see no results during reception which must be soul-destroying. But really they are still at an age where it doesn't much matter to them quite how "right" or "wrong" it all looks are they? It's just interesting to be able to write, and to experiment with how it looks too.
    The schools round here which seem to produce the neatest handwriting in reception, year 1, year 2, teach cursive writing in reception. Whether by year 3 it makes one jot of difference or not I do not know. Does it?

  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    no the "beauty" of a whiteboard is that mistakes can be rubbed out and corrected instantly without having to write the whole thing over again. It's a tool for speed so does have its place just not for handwriting which is best done at a table with pen and paper.


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