Monday, March 19, 2012

John Hancock Club, Motivate your students to learn cursive!

Here in Utah our second graders need to know how to sign their names in cursive!  This is such an exciting new way of writing for my students!  They were thrilled when I told them they would be learning their names in cursive!  Some of them need a little motivation to do their practice though, so this is what I came up with.

Have you heard of this book?  The John Hancock Club by Louise Borden is about a third grade student and his class that is learning their cursive.  Their teacher tells them all about John Hancock and how he is famous for signing his name REALLY big on The Declaration of Independence.  When the students in their class learn their cursive they get to sign a scroll, joining the John Hancock Club.  Then, when everyone is inducted they have a celebration.  

In our class we are only learning our names in cursive and then they get to sign the scroll.

I made this scroll out of brown butcher paper.  I just rolled the ends and taped them.  

Go to this website where you can make your own handwriting worksheets.  I made a packet with 20 pages for each of my students with their first and last name in cursive.  Like this:

When they have successfully finished all 20 pages they will get to sign the scroll and officially be inducted into the John Hancock Club!  We will have a little celebration when everyone is inducted!

To make things even more fun each student got to pick a feather and we taped it to their pencil for a fancy cursive writing tool!  They can only use these when they practice their cursive writing!  They absolutely love them.  

When my students complete a page they have to check their own writing using my handwriting rubric stamp from Zaner-Bloser.

They have to look at the shape, size, spacing and slant of their writing.  They are checking the last line where they write their name on their own.  They love using the stamp and it is a great way to get them to pay attention to their writing!  


Lori said...

I have this stamp too and I never thought about the kids self-evaluating their work with it. I'll have to try it.
Little Priorities

KateGladstone said...

Handwriting matters ... But does cursive matter?

Research shows: the fastest and most legible handwriters avoid cursive. They join only some letters, not all of them: making the easiest joins, skipping the rest, and using print-like shapes for those letters whose cursive and printed shapes disagree. (Citation: Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HANDWRITING STYLE AND SPEED AND LEGIBILITY. 2001: on-line at — and there are actually handwriting programs that teach this way.)
Reading cursive still matters -- this takes just 30 to 60 minutes to learn, and can be taught to a five- or six-year-old if the child knows how to read. The value of reading cursive is therefore no justification for writing it.
Remember, too: whatever your elementary school teacher may have been told by her elementary school teacher, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over signatures written in any other way. (Don't take my word for this: talk to any attorney.)

Yours for better letters,

Kate Gladstone — CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
Director, the World Handwriting Contest
Co-Designer, BETTER LETTERS handwriting trainer app for iPhone/iPad

getabigrefund said...

Research doesn't matter to me. That my children can read and write letters to their grandparents does. A beautifully hand scripted thank you card has an extra sentimental attachment to it over a computer generated version. Loss of cursive writing in our society is just another example of our lack of effort to maintain deep interpersonal relationships.