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Friday, August 14, 2015


Many, many years ago when I was doing a workshop there was a younger teacher sitting next to an older teacher.  The younger teacher said to her friend, "Tell Dr. Jean how you teach your kids handwriting.  Your kids are the best writers in the school."

The older teacher smiled and said, "We write round the mulberry bush."  She then went on to tell me how they practice making strokes for weeks before she teaches them how to form letters.  She demonstrated how they learn to go from top to bottom and left to write as they sing the song.  They do a different stroke for each verse.
Note!  I think a key to this is "purposeful practice for automaticity."  By repeating this every day children are able to master these basic strokes.

Now that I know the developmental stages for writing I've tweaked what she taught me a bit.  These are the stages according to most experts:

1st  vertical line
2nd  horizontal line
3rd  circle
4th  cross
5th  square
6th  diagonal
7th  X
8th  triangle

I would have the children draw and sing as they copy what I do on the board. 

Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush so early in the morning.
(Pick up your pencil and place it at the top left corner.)

This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes.
This is the way we wash our clothes so early Monday morning.  (Make vertical lines.)
(I explain how people used to scrub their clothes on a wash board.)

This is the way we iron our early Tuesday morning.  (Make horizontal lines.)
(Some children don't know what an iron is, so this is a good chance to explain and demonstrate.)

This is the way we scrub the early Wednesday morning.  (Draw circles.)
(Explain when you scrub you go around in circles with the brush.)

This is the way we mend our early Thursday morning.  (Make a cross.)
(Show a button that has been sewn on with a vertical and horizontal stitch.)

This is the way we sweep the early Friday morning.  (Diagonal lines.)
(Pretend to hold a broom and sweep in a diagonal fashion.)

This is the way we bake our early Saturday morning.  (Make X.)
(Pretend to hold a rolling pin and show how you move it from top to bottom in a slanted way.)

This is the way we smile and early Sunday morning.  (Draw a smiley.)