During my Guided Placement, in which i was based with a year 5 class, i noticed that often the children did not take pride in their handwriting and it was sometimes quite ‘sloppy’. As a way to engage the children and to ensure they took care with their handwriting I thought of setting up an interactive handwriting display. I always modelled cursive handwriting on the board and in their books which often received praise from students (and teachers), therefore I decided to try and make neat cursive handwriting enjoyable and rewarding.
3 examples of handwriting, written by children their age but whom they did not know, were stuck on the wall; excellent, good and okay. In groups, children identified aspects of the handwriting for example, what could be improved, what they think is good about it etc. Children then each had a labelled laminated pencil and looked at their own handwriting. They then compared their handwriting to that on display and stuck their pencil on the chart at the level they thought they were at. After that, they wrote down a couple of ways they thought they could improve their handwriting to move up into the next level. The levels were denoted by heat in the form of chilli’s. 3 chilli’s meant excellent and 1 chilli meant room for improvement.
The children enjoyed the context of the chillies as guidance and said ‘I am on two chilli’s but I need to write all my letters on the line to be three chillies’ or ‘I want to be three chillies by Christmas’. They also enjoyed self-assessing their handwriting and having an example to aspire to. The children assessed their handwriting on Tuesdays and Thursday by using the interactive display and justified to the teachers why they thought they were at the level they did. They also took pride in having my giant pencil cushion in the classroom to remind them about their handwriting.