About Cursive Characters
Hi, I’m Tom Guryn AKA Cursive Man! I have been teaching 3rd Grade for the past 20 years. During this time, cursive was not a subject that would be a priority for me to teach. However, I knew that was part of the curriculum and that I had to at least expose my students to it. I started doing what most teachers do and probably still do. As the whole class watched, I wrote a letter on the board and handed the students a book to practice. In order for me to help the students, I had to go to each student. This was something that took up too much time in a schedule filled with the core curriculum. I knew there had to be a better way!
Check out this first attempt!
The First Attempt
I wanted to show the students how to write in cursive using technology. Again, as a whole class, I used a blank PowerPoint slide, the pen tool, and my mouse to try to carefully write each cursive letter. This was projected for the students to see but still not the best solution.
I wanted them to be able to go to a computer, click on a link, and be able to see me write a cursive letter so that they could model after it, replay it, and practice on their own. The idea was for this to become a meaningful center. I took a pen and my phone and recorded myself writing a letter. I then placed the video on Youtube and the students could view it on their own. This was a lot better but still not there yet!
The Next Level
Ok, now I could see the possibilities! How could I make this more fun for the students and integrate another topic from the curriculum? Aha! Character Traits! I gave each character a name, a trait, and assigned them to a letter. I wrote the script for each character to display a specific trait. With a lot of help from my friends, I recorded the characters while using my hand as the character. I wanted the students to hear specific directions while they practiced. I used numbers and shapes. Much better than before but I knew something could improve.
That summer, I taught myself how to create animations and used this knowledge to create the new and improved Cursive Characters. I also wanted to add something more to the instruction. For the past 20 years, I have been trying to get my students to become fluent with the multiplication facts. Sooooo..... I integrated skip counting into the program. Now students will get both reading and math curriculum infused into a cursive program!
The students love the program and the characters. They feel a sense of accomplishment when they learn cursive on their own.