Handwriting / Teaching Tools

Wet Dry Try (Handwriting)

Even though my girls have been total rockstars with their copywork thus far (one of these days, I’ll have to photograph some of their stellar work) I realized that we’ve never put much focus on writing numbers.  Most of the math we’ve been doing is verbal with manipulatives, but I picked up a nice write on/wipe off addition workbook at Target and when we started working through it I made a mental note to pencil in some practice time for writing numbers.

I picked up this technique from the popular Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.  Although we’re not using the full HWT curriculum this year, I thought this would be a great way to let the girls work on writing numbers.  The idea is simple and requires only a couple dollars worth of supplies.

You will need:

-a 4×6 chalkboard

-small sponge squares (one damp, one dry)*

-broken chalk pieces*

I demonstrated the whole process for them once – using the wet sponge to erase the number, then the dry sponge to dry the damp trail, then the chalk to write the number on the clean slate.  They were so excited to “wet, dry, try” that we went all the way from 1-10 practicing.  I’d write the numbers for them first, letting them watch the direction and order of the strokes, then they went to work reciting “wet, dry, try,” under their breath.  When we moved onto their one on one reading time, I told them they could use the slates for whatever they wanted while they were waiting for their turn.  I imagined they’d draw their usual silly faces and rockets and scribbles, but instead they both just wanted to keep going!  “Mommy? Is twelve a 1 then a 2?”  Awesome.

*I was skeptical when I read that the HWT system specifically uses small sponge blocks and short pieces of chalk because children naturally mimic a more proper pencil grip that way, but it did seem to do just that!  Not to mention, the small sponges let them precisely follow the line of the character instead of just sloppily erasing the whole board.  Trust me.  Cut the sponge.  Break the chalk.  If there was a way around it, I would have found it for you.


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