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alisha

How do your Middle Schoolers practice cursive?

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My 6th grader has finally learned all the cursive letters, even though it took a good school year and a half to do so. However, now, he needs practice, as he sometimes forgets formation, is still working on writing smoothly, and can only write a little bit at a time. So, I need ideas as to what he can write to get that practice. There's NO way he'd be able to do all his written school work in cursive-though that's the goal...eventually. But he's so very done with cursive as a separate subject with separate pages of extra writing. He's a reluctant writer anyway, so I'm trying to combine this with another subject, without starting too big.

So, if your middle schooler only writes a small amount of cursive each day, what (subject?) do they do it in? 

I know the popular answer will probably be just have him start his writing assignments in cursive until he gets tired and changes to print, but I'm just checking to see if there are any alternative ideas out there that might work better for us. (Math is the subject the majority of his daily pencil work is in, and that's not too conducive to cursive)

Thanks!

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To be perfectly honest one of my middle schoolers never learned cursive 🙈.  But the other one practices with her copywork.  If you don't do copywork, maybe spelling?  

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18 minutes ago, alisha said:

My 6th grader has finally learned all the cursive letters, even though it took a good school year and a half to do so. However, now, he needs practice, as he sometimes forgets formation, is still working on writing smoothly, and can only write a little bit at a time. So, I need ideas as to what he can write to get that practice. There's NO way he'd be able to do all his written school work in cursive-though that's the goal...eventually. But he's so very done with cursive as a separate subject with separate pages of extra writing. He's a reluctant writer anyway, so I'm trying to combine this with another subject, without starting too big.

So, if your middle schooler only writes a small amount of cursive each day, what (subject?) do they do it in? 

I know the popular answer will probably be just have him start his writing assignments in cursive until he gets tired and changes to print, but I'm just checking to see if there are any alternative ideas out there that might work better for us. (Math is the subject the majority of his daily pencil work is in, and that's not too conducive to cursive)

Thanks!

Math can be done in manuscript, but yes, everything else should be done in cursive. That's as much "practice" as is possible. From this point on, it is no longer practice but usage.

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I had them pick one subject to start using cursive for, then another week or two later we added another one and we kept doing that until they were doing all their work in cursive. I felt like slowly building their stamina would be less stressful for everyone instead of just jumping into doing cursive for all subjects right at once and it seems to have worked with my kids. Of course they still complained about it but now it’s not an issue. 

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I’d probably just buy another workbook for copying out cursive words.

But I’ve never actually learned cursive in English and I don’t think I’d insist a reluctant cursive user do their work in cursive. It seems like it’d make work more tedious, and I don’t see why it’s important enough to insist on. 

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Spelling, if they are still doing spelling.

I've had only two types of kids - hate to write, love to write. My haters are generally still doing spelling (through 8th grade or higher, it seems) so they write for spelling and maybe history & type for everything else. My lovers may or may not be doing spelling, but they write for hours either schoolwork (history, English, foreign language, etc) or fun (essays for fun, creative writing like children's books). They still type whatever they want.

If no spelling, I'd institute copywork associated with a school subject (like copying out a history narration) if they needed more practice.

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Written narrations of science/history are my only cursive requirements for my seventh grader.  But my goal at this stage is maintenance not development.  While DS was developing his ability to write in cursive, it helped to assign it as much as possible, gradually increasing those expectations. 

I gotta say, I would find it difficult to prioritize developing cursive in middle school.  Perhaps that's more of a reflection of my student than a universal truth... but I do think there's an element of adolescence that requires easily discerned meaning in their assignments.  Just throwing that out there... it is absolutely permissible, and sometimes best, to pass on cursive to reach for other fruits!  

 

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My 5th grade son has just mastered cursive and I'm going to have him practice via dictation. If he can copy something in cursive, he won't actually learn it or practice the way I want him to because then he doesn't have to remember how to form the letters. With dictation, or if he had to translate print to cursive, he has to remember how to do it all himself. That's the only way he's finally learned to do it.

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Echoing pp's ... copywork or dictation. 

If he can handle a sentence a day without having a cow, then a sentence a day it is. Really interesting and complex sentences 🙂 And moving on up to a few sentences, a paragraph, a letter a week, one school subject, then.. all school subjects.

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At my house, if 7th grade kid can write perfectly and beautifully 1 full paragraph on Monday, he's out of "cursive practice" for the week. 🙂 If he has to look something up or doesn't remember, 1 full sentence / day until he get to try again Monday. He and I agreed on that deal. YMMV

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43 minutes ago, Lucy the Valiant said:

At my house, if 7th grade kid can write perfectly and beautifully 1 full paragraph on Monday, he's out of "cursive practice" for the week. 🙂 If he has to look something up or doesn't remember, 1 full sentence / day until he get to try again Monday. He and I agreed on that deal. YMMV

This is awesome!  I might adopt this policy. 

My kids do a few pages of Pentime a week. Most of my 5th grader's written school work is in print. Oldest DD's (7th) is a sloppy mix of both. 

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Starting in 6th grade, I had DS switch to learning typing, and they were typing their all their papers by the end of 6th grade. SOOOO much easier for the revising and proof-editing, and I could get so much more out of them for Writing.

Side note: I found that *writing* spelling words as practice did NOT help either DS retain spelling. We needed to use oral out loud back and forth practice, plus working with words on the white board to actually learn spelling, so practicing cursive with Spelling was a complete no-go here. YMMV.

However, one thing we did as a hand-written activity in middle school was to create an "atlas" to go along with our World Cultures/Geography study. I had DSs do 1 page per country (doing 2 countries per week), where they read about the country and then wrote a paragraph (5-6 sentences) of key things or most interesting things they discovered about the country.

Similarly, if you do some sort of year-long notebooking project in History, Science, Geography, or other subject, you could have your student add 1 paragraph per week in cursive.

Edited by Lori D.

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On 4/5/2019 at 7:08 PM, alisha said:

So, if your middle schooler only writes a small amount of cursive each day, what (subject?) do they do it in? 

I know the popular answer will probably be just have him start his writing assignments in cursive until he gets tired and changes to print, but I'm just checking to see if there are any alternative ideas out there that might work better for us. (Math is the subject the majority of his daily pencil work is in, and that's not too conducive to cursive)

Thanks!

The "daily activities" that can be done to practice penmanship, yet are practical are

  • daily Reading Log
  • Quote of the Week - written 1-5x each day, depending on the length of the quote.
  • Word of The Day
  • Signing/Dating each assignment in Cursive (even math)
  • once a week, have him write a paragraph in his best cursive (a summary of a book he's read is fine)
  • OPTIONAL but BENEFICIAL: Setting a timer for 2 minutes and repeatedly writing 1-3 of the most common words/phrases. Seriously, building muscle memory and fluency in the words that occur most boost writing speed tremendously.

Do each of these every day and through the summer--the goal is for his cursive writing to become fluent. Starting next year, ONE content subject is done in cursive writing each year

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Are you sure it is worth the stress?  Cursive is a nice idea but I can't say I use it much.

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1 hour ago, kiwik said:

Are you sure it is worth the stress?  Cursive is a nice idea but I can't say I use it much.

 

My 7th grader loves history, so it's definitely worth it to him! 

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I've always required spelling work to be done in cursive but this year I've just required some copywork to keep it up.  Scholastic has a joke book and an inspirational quote book.  I bought the downloads on currclick but I think amazon has them too.  

https://www.currclick.com/product/81664/Cursive-Writing-Practice-Jokes-and-Riddles 

https://www.currclick.com/product/81376/Cursive-Writing-Practice-Inspiring-Quotes 

 

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Three places for us:

Apologia science journals had a copywork page. One of mine liked those journals through 6th grade. 

Memoria Press cursive copybook of Bible Verses. 

Thinking Tree journals have a "font practice" page that I make them copy from the MP book above or something else of their choice. 

Mine never did use cursive in actual work. They both print or type. So I made them keep up copywork for practice. 

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My kids learn cursive in 2nd, practice in 3rd by doing some work (copywork, spelling, TY notes) in it, then in 4th-6th do all their schoolwork using it. We begin typing in 5th, and by 7th they use the computer for most writing assignments. 

My dd practices penmanship and calligraphy because she likes to write beautifully. My ds doesn't care and as long as his writing is legible, I'm fine with it. No how am I going to make a boy who dislikes schoolwork practice penmsnship at age 12! 

Edited by ScoutTN

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