Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happy National Handwriting Day!!

Please don't rush out to find the Hallmark Card for this holiday - I checked and there isn't one! So instead - share this post with a friend!!

A few weeks ago, our family would have celebrated this day with a cake and festivities. My second grade niece had been counting down the days until Christmas break ended because her teacher told her they would be learning cursive in January. She loved the loops and how "adult" it made her writing look - she would practice her version of cursive every chance she got. Of course - when she got back to school, they never wrote in cursive- they just practiced strokes and swoops and swirls. And instead of her very neat, very legible cursive style being used, she now obsesses over the angle of the slant.

It seems that almost every meeting I attend lately around student writing comes back to the lament that we can't read their writing, that they are too lazy to write when they can text, that we need to revive cursive handwriting instruction. In fact - it made the front page of our Sunday paper!!

What about wanting our students to love writing? Does it matter if it is typed, written in crayon or using perfect Zaner-Bloser cursive? Or does it matter if it is full of ideas and voice, with wonderful, wonderful words that paint a picture and that are spelled correctly?

I love to write. I don't always do it well or effectively - but it helps me wrap my head around what I do or learn and it certainly helps me communicate with others. I think it is a powerful tool for everyone to have - particularly our students. But the how we write is less important to me than the writing.

Our students are growing up in a different world than we did - in a world that changes every day. In our ever flattening world, we have no idea what to prepare them for in terms of jobs. But I firmly believe that if we teach them to read, to write and to think - they will be prepared for just about anything.

So today - I will celebrate writing of all kinds no matter what tools they are written with!

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