The Best Way to Teach Cursive Writing

The Best Way to Teach Cursive Writing to Kids

I am always excited about teaching my students handwriting, more so cursive handwriting.  To me, it is one of the most important skills that students must acquire, despite the trend today of promoting keyboarding and other tech-based literacy learning. I believe that a child's handwriting can show so much, including fears, angers and frustrations. Well, that's my belief.

Anyway, for the past four years I have been using an approach that I found online that has been very successful in terms of getting my students to learn and love cursive writing. As such I found it fitting today to give you a little idea of what it is all about.

The Loops and Other Groups Writing System is a kinesthetic approach to the teaching of cursive writing that was developed by Mary D. Benbow. This system uses the similarity of formation or movement patterns of both lower-case and upper-case letters as its base.
 The lower-case letters are divided into groups. They are as follows:

The Clock Climbers- a, d, g, q, c
Kite Strings- i, u w, t, j, p, r, s,o
Loop Group- h, k, b, f, l, e
Hills and Valleys- n, m, v, y, x, z

These groups are taught in its entirety before the upper-case letters are taught. When they are mastered the focus then becomes the upper-case letters. They are:

Slim 7 Group- P, R, B, H, K
Umbrella Tops and Eggs- C, E, A, O, Q
High Hills and Deep Valleys- N, M, U, V, Y

The entire system is a bit pricey so I recommend it as a great investment for schools. However, with only the basic knowledge of these letter groups I assure you, it makes learning cursive handwriting fun! I have found that teaching the letters in these groups brings fantastic writing results!

Below are images from the web.
Click HERE for sample ideas from Mrs Brott's.

Edited Images

A Mid-Summer Day's Thoughts

My summer vacation is in full swing yet I'm already thinking about school. I'm thinking about the things that I accomplished last year and the things which did not materialize in any way. There were so many ideas planned the last academic year and now, looking back at it all, I'm going to keep those plans active and push them to the top of my new list.

So since I'm in a nostalgic yet optimistic mood I'm going to join my bloggy buddy Latoya over at Flying into First Grade for her Let's Get Acquainted Linky to share what this revamped list is all about.

My Goals

Stay Energized!- As you know, my last class had me spent most times with few opportunities to get re-energized. My exercise and walking suffered all because I was so tired. They were going and going and going! New things happened each day that called for more teacher power. In the end I was able to reshuffle, refocus and press on, but that was wayyy down at the end of the school term. So next school year I am going to do daily walks interspersed with lots of exercise!

Be Prepared!- In my new school year I will make a greater effort to keep busy with ideas and resources which would be created based on a proper diagnosis of each of my students to ensure that I capture those in need of intervention a lot more earlier than I was able to the last time. If it means changing my instrument, then so it is!

Family Time!- I intend to spend some more time with my family and stay away from the computer...well at least for a while. I was really bogged down with making resources for my stores, and blogging about topics that I made little time for my family. That's gonna change for sure in the new school year.

So these are the three most important goals that I am going to work on starting now. Stay energized, Be Prepared and More Family Time. What about you?

Caldecott Award Winning Picture Books

 The Caldecott Award is given annually by the American Library Association to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. This prestigious award is one that writers look forward to in recognition of their hard work and love for children. For 2013 the award goes to...........     drum roll......

This Is Not My Hat was written and illustrated by Jon Klassen. From all appearances, this book seems dark and boring, but as you turn the pages the images are indeed captivating. This award winning picture book is about a little fish who boldly steals a hat from a bigger fish not expecting to be caught. Each page sends him further and further into the unknown and we anticipate what his outcome would be.You've got to get your hands on this winner. The illustrations are breath-taking! This is indeed a must-have!


There are other great picture books that made the honor roll this year. Just click on the pictures below to get more information. on each of these reader's delight.

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (Pre-School to Grade 3)

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett (4 to 8 year olds)

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger  (2 to 6 year olds)

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo (5 to 8 year olds)

Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue (3 to 6 year olds)

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

Blackout by John Rocco

Awesome Bloggy Buddies Linky Party

Now here's a chance to meet and greet teacher bloggers, my buddies, from all over the world! They are great people like you, who love to blog about ideas and resources that can make your job so much easier! My bloggy pals have so many ideas for you that you need to check in from time to time to hear what's new.

If you're a teacher blogger and you want to hone in on this fantastic opportunity, then simply add your blog name below.

 So start checking them out as soon as you can! they're waiting for you!

Why Kids Cheat and How We Can Stop Them!

Your class is busy, head down, doing your test. Then from the corner of your eye you spot little Timmy, trying really hard to peep into his neighbor's paper. From time and time again Timmy has been caught cheating, and you are so fed up of it! Why isn't he confident  enough to do his own thing? Why does he feel that he must cheat in order to get by? Well, today you will find out the reasons why kids cheat and how we can stop them.

Why Kids Cheat

According to Eric Anderman, Professor of Educational Psychology at The Ohio State University and co-editor of the book Psychology of Academic Cheating, kids cheat because they are stressed. The pressure to do their best is the drive behind this behavior. Most times the extrinsic motivator of good grades and the attention that it brings is well enough to make them take a peek or two. I have seen A students fall victim to cheating and I have also seen it done by low performing students. The impulse to cheat for good grades is indeed very powerful. As parents we get excited when our kids bring home As and high Bs and we praise them so much, but when they bring home anything else we increase the pressure on them to do better, at any cost. So how can we stop them from cheating?

How Can We Stop Them From Cheating? 

Needless to say, if the ultimate reason for cheating is the little  A+ or the 100 scores that adults love well, why not just avoid it? According to the Eric Anderman, we should avoid the extrinsic motivator. As teachers and parents we should recognize their hard work and praise their efforts, always! By emphasizing the effort rather than the grade kids would feel better about themselves without the tangible rewards. So if you don't have to give a grade then avoid it! (I like this one!)

We can also stop them from cheating if we lead by example. I remember once a student came up to me and complained, "But, Miss! How come Miss (name withheld) says not to tell lies when she just told my mother a lie?" We leave an impression on our kids when we do different to what we teach them. So it is always best to do the right thing. It was pretty hard to convince that child that Miss was not thinking straight that day! (Yeah right!)

There are a lot more reasons why kids cheat and there are other ways that we can get them to stop. For a great article on this topic check out by clicking HERE!

For the book by Eric Anderman click the picture below.

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A Monstrous Freebie

I'm sharing this monstrous freebie with my dear fans who are following me on Facebook. This is a set of 14 different name cards for your new class.They are bright and super cute!

UPDATE: 06/01/18 This is now available for purchase at my store.
If you are interested in getting my set you can CLICK HERE or you can click the image below.

Summer Must-Reads For New First Graders

This is a list of great reads for Kindergarten kids who are about to start First Grade. The list was compiled by the Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network and The Parkway (MO) Summer Reading List Committee. You can start investing in these favorites, especially if you're going to teach Kindergarten or First Grade.

 1. Never Race A Runaway Pumpkin by Roscoe Riley

2. Let's Do Nothing by Tony Fucile

3. Dear Vampa by Ross Collins

4. Bats at The Ballgame by Brian Lies

5. Theodore by Frank Keating

6. Goof-Off Goalie by Betty Hicks

Back To School With Amazing Savings!

Before you start buying school supplies anywhere else check out AMAZIN' discounts at AMAZON. Click any of the offers below for your link to super, super savings!



Why Our Kids Need Art

We all know the value of art, music and drama in kids' lives, yet these are the areas that we often trim off when we are strapped for time in the academic areas. I am guilty of that too! Within recent times and in classes all around the world the teaching of arts has become a way to stimulate learning in our children. Here are some visual reminders (infographics) of the importance of art in the classroom.

The Flipped Classroom

 Of all the hot topics in education recently, nothing is more fascinating than the idea of the flipped classroom.
 No! It's not about the teacher going crazy in front of her students. Neither is it about doing everything physically upside down. Flipped learning pioneer, Aaron Sams views this concept as "Teaching for tomorrow". In the flipped classroom students watch lectures at home and use class contact time to demonstrate their learning. He explains that the teacher records the direct instructions on videos which students view ahead of time so that class contact time is more active engagement by students. 

To get more ideas on the flipped classroom check out the videos below.



For more information check out these sites.

The following titles are wonderful reading materials to get more ideas on this subject:

Little Monsters Reading Strips


These adorable little monster-themed reading strips are great for your literacy centers. All 220 Dolch sight words are listed on card strips that you can laminate and hold together on keyrings. These cards can also be given to students for individual practice, take-home activities or they can be hung anywhere in your literacy center for easy reference.

Click the pictures above for more information.
For other themed reading strips that are available click HERE

Happy Birthday!

Happy Independence Day, America! And I'm sharing the joy and exuberance with you today because.......