Handwriting - which letter 'z'?

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Judy
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Handwriting - which letter 'z'?

Post by Judy » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:28 pm

I use 'Handwriting for Windows' and it gives two alternative formations for the letter 'z' in cursive script, one being simply a joined version of the 'print' letter 'z', the other having a bottom loop and almost resembling a number 3 if one isn't careful!

I prefer the one with the bottom loop, as it makes it easier to keep the handwriting 'flowing' - and it happens to be the one I use myself.

But the children I teach seem to be unfamiliar with this formation so I wonder whether anyone can tell me which one is commonly used in schools. I don't want to cause confusion but I do think the joined version of the 'print' Z looks very awkward!

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Apr 19, 2008 4:59 pm

Six joins?

I can only think of two joins needed to join letters - a diagonal line to 'half height' and a 'washing line' join.

I do think that handwriting programmes make a meal out of teaching handwriting.

I am so fed up with laborious programmes and children who can't write well (and adults) that I have started writing a 'minimalist' handwriting programme!

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:00 pm

Judy - nowadays the 'print' version of the z with joins is the common one!

Judy
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Post by Judy » Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:15 am

Thank you both for your replies. 'Zigzag' Z it is then! :sad:

I'm afraid I have great difficulty finding out what my pupils do in school and have to rely on snippets of information!

I had a look at Penpals, but it's quite expensive and didn't seem to really offer much that Handwriting for Windows doesn't. As the most frequent 'snippet' of feedback that I get from the schools is that the teachers have noticed an improvement in my pupils' handwriting, I don't think I am going far wrong.

Though in the case of a Y3 boy, with whom I've been doing Maths, it's been rather bewildering. When he started with me in January, his printed handwriting was atrocious and he was beginning his letters in all sorts of strange places. So, with his mother's agreement, I taught him to join up his writing, always beginning with individual letters with lead-in and lead-out strokes. Very quickly he was joining up his writing beautifully - but then his teacher told his mother that he was not to join up his writing until he'd got his letter formation right. :roll: (Luckily his mum was not put off by this!)

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:50 am

Judy - hang on in there.

I quite agree about the expense of PenPals - and I also agree that joined writing with leaders in and out is a very successful handwriting style with the bonus of a look of 'flair'.

I have sorted out many pupils' handwriting at all ages - the problem is that when other teachers oversee the pupils - it doesn't always continue.

Many pupils who have 'left' me in Year Two (having been taught joined handwriting in Year One) have ended up with some scruffy half-print several years later.

But at least I discharged my duty as a teacher 'at the time'! You can do no more than that then it is up to the pupil and subsequent teachers. :???:

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:13 pm

In my experience no one teacher, however committed to a scheme or initiative, can have a lasting impact if they are working in isolation- reading, handwriting, spelling all have to be tackled as a whole school issue.
I absolutely agree with the statement that you have made above!

But my experience is teaching children in term one of Year One (five to six year olds) to write in joined handwriting with leaders and it took one term.

Why then, am I going to think that it needs to take years throughout a primary school as in the PenPals scheme.

You teach it, they learn it and then they use it.

The role of every teacher is to use it for all their board-writing and all their marking - and to make sure that the children continue to use the style.

In order for the subsequent teachers to do this - the handwriting style needs to be school policy, the teachers need to know how the style was taught and the headteacher needs to make it clear that the teachers are expected to use that writing style themselves for all school purposes and to ensure the children keep to a high standard.

This really does not need an expensive, elaborate, laborious, long-term commercial scheme!

Judy
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Post by Judy » Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:33 pm

It took less than a month for the pupil I mentioned to write beautifully in 'joined-up', simply practising with his mother, using the practice sheets I had produced with Handwriting for Windows.

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:01 pm

But my experience is teaching children in term one of Year One (five to six year olds) to write in joined handwriting with leaders and it took one term.
I can well believe that, Judy.

The statement above is a little misleading - I was describing my experience with the youngest of children learning joined handwriting. I have often tackled much older children whose writing was very poor - and it still takes only a term to remediate handwriting to a good level.

[Actually - a transformational level for most learners! :grin: ]

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