From scribbles to zigzags to writing
First scribble exercises (with or without green Martians) train the hand. Then zigzag movements create a foundation for writing. Finally recognition points in the model turn a zigzag into letters.
What works in the classroom?
T he looks and presentation of the teaching materials made greater difference than I expected. Education is an odd collaboration and, when other things are right, seems to involve magic. It helps if the children like the model sheet, and helps again if the teacher likes it as well.
A typeface provides the style. The letters are joined with clever software. Teachers in Icelandic schools have created and refined sizable collections of model sheets. In addition, 269 model sheets and 65 pages of scribble exercises are available for free download. So are wall letters, table strips, and lined sheets in seven sizes.
For a while, italic was the style of scholars and kings. But glorious history matters not a jot inthe classroom. It is tempting to cultivate what makes a handwriting model look lovely. More important is, I think, what makes it work.