The Attentionology Traveler Finds a New Idea for an Old Writing Art

a world of ideas at your fingertips!

a world of ideas at your fingertips!

Hi! The Attentionology Traveler spent some time recently with a teacher who has a novel idea for teaching an old writing art…

cursive handwriting.

See if this relates to any current curriculum evaluation underway in your school…

…Some states in the US are in a debate about the benefits (or lack of) teaching cursive handwriting in a world that largely communicates with digital devices.

A number of states that have adopted the Core Curriculum have removed cursive writing from elementary school instruction altogether, supporting arguments that cursive is outdated in today’s world.

Some in the educational community strongly advocate for cursive. At least one state has legislated returning cursive writing to its Core Curriculum, allegedly to improve hand coordination and critical thinking skills. Other states have left the decision to the discretion of local school districts.

While we were talking, the innovative teacher I was visiting on my travels quipped, “You know, a pencil is a hand-held device, as is a pen; digital devices don’t have a lock on hand-held communications!”

Funny, if a stretch with current thinking. It’s true, though, that pencils and pens have been around for many more years than digital devices. “What, I asked her, is your novel idea for teaching cursive?” Her idea…

Incorporate cursive handwriting into a unit on Calligraphy as part of the elementary art curriculum – that is of course, in districts that haven’t “ditched” art instruction for lack of funding or priority! Interesting. I’ve always thought of cursive handwriting as an art anyway, once beautifully written with quill pens, like you see in my blog pic below. Speaking of the art of writing, I’ve shared my poem about The Magic Pencil with teachers worldwide.

Old quill pens were dipped in ink jars for cursive writing.

Old quill pens were dipped in ink jars for cursive writing.

Introducing elementary school children to Calligraphy in art class could also open connections to Social Studies instruction, if teachers want to travel that path…

Research shows that the terms cursive or script writing are commonly used in the US but rarely in other parts of the world. In the UK and Ireland, for example, this penmanship style is called joined-up writing.  Australians speak of double writing and New Zealanders have popularized  the term linking – as in linking letters together. Words formed with letters in Hebrew cursive aren’t linked at all. Fascinating!

On this travel stop, the conversation about the pros and cons of teaching cursive handwriting included two key phrases -better to call them two primary challenges – that educators are forced to address in every discussion about teaching today:

  1. increasing curriculum demands
  2. time restraints teachers face

My travels tell me that these two challenges are directly related to another one – helping children learn the skills they need for success in a world full of increasing distractions and continuous change.

In this world Attentionology offers value as the science and art of catching and keeping every kid’s attention to support teachers’ curricula and classroom management strategies. Look for more here on Monday’s Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers.

Traveling on…

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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  1. […] Some kids think it’s crazy that pens were once made from feathers and dipped in ink jars for handwriting. […]

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students continue to use lackluster verbs in their writing.

Solution: Show toy cars and pretend to make them zip across a page, telling the class that good writing includes action words (verbs) that have "zip." Ask the class for examples of "zippy" verbs like zoom, race, flash, rush, etc.

Related Posts: Start Students' Engines for Writing