Way back when I was much younger, I learned how to write in cursive. I think I learned it in second or third grade and used it in fourth grade from time to time. I think my fifth grade teacher required us to use it, too. But then I got to middle school and never had a teacher require its use again. As I got older I came up with my own handwriting style that is essentially a combination of cursive and print. The characters are mostly printed, but they are all connected. It has worked well for me and so that is what I have used.
When I started student teaching full time, I was working with first graders and had to use print exclusively. Then as a substitute teacher, I got in the habit of continuing to use just print. As a fourth grade teacher, I have not made it a point to teach cursive, although my students have always had an option to use it if they so desired. Then this year I had several students and their parents ask about cursive handwriting, so I polled my entire class and asked if they would like to have time in class to work on cursive.
The results were almost unanimous: 23 of my 24 students said they wanted to practice cursive. (The one student who voted against eventually was convinced by classmates that it wouldn’t be so bad.) So I told the class we would get started on cursive handwriting after the winter break. Yesterday was our first day back and I wanted to use all the time I could to help make the transition back to school.
After exploring different options, I found a set of cursive handwriting practice worksheets that I will be using with my class. Because they have all been introduced to cursive in the past, I am having the students go through the worksheets in alphabetical order. When they came in this morning, they had their morning message on the board, along with the journal topic, and a cursive worksheet on their desks. Many started working on the cursive right away and we had a quiet buzz of work as soon as the bell rang!
We will be going through the entire alphabet over the next few months, and then I will have other writing assignments each morning for my class to work on so that they can continue to practice. While I don’t use cursive on my own, I want all of my students to know how to read and write it on their own so that they can decide for themselves which they would rather use!