Writing Groups: Handwriting + Freebie

If you haven't had the chance to read about how I am using small groups in writing this year, be sure to read the overview HERE.

Do you all teach cursive in third grade? One of my favorite ways to incorporate new vocabulary is in Handwriting practice during Writing Group time.

At this point in the year, we have moved out of the teaching of individual cursive letters and connections and are working on practicing whole words and phrases. The program our school uses is Handwriting Without Tears, although this practice idea can be used with any program (or no program at all!).

I will use a stack of our current Word Work Vocabulary cards and hang them up all over the room. I try to put them somewhere easy to see but out of the way of our day-to-day work. Places like the window, cabinet doors, above the sink, and such work great. That way, I can keep them up all week (or two) and not have to set up each and every day.

Every kiddo gets a copy of the "Write the Room" sheet and I will differentiate the number of pages they get based on time, confidence with cursive, and work speed. Oftentimes, this means I will give most kids #1-24 on a front-back sheet, but offer the last page as a bonus for some of my cursive enthusiasts or accept just 1-12 for some of my strugglers.... The goal of Handwriting is neatness and accuracy, so however many they can write with that in mind is what matters most :)

If you use Handwriting Without Tears, the bottom sheets will work for you, but otherwise the top set is what you'll use. Allow kids to walk around the room with the sheet and a clipboard and write the word on their recording sheet. To make it easier on them, I number each of the cards around the room so they don't need to figure out what they have/haven't written over the course of the week.

When I use Handwriting as an option in Writing Groups, each student will have two 20-minute blocks per week, so I have found that most of them can work on this and complete it in that time. If they finish early, I have them practice the word one or two more times on the line and then circle the word that is written the neatest.

The cards shown are from my Groundhog Day Word Work Centers HERE.

If I am not using Handwriting as an option in Writing Groups, I will leave these around the room for early finishers or I will incorporate it into Daily 5 Word Work on our Bingo Boards. Having them up around the room provides some much-needed movement during our day and using the word cards gives them even more exposure to the vocabulary of the holiday/content area/book we've been studying/and more!

If you're interested in these recording sheets (both line formats in #1-36), they are available as a freebie HERE.

I hope this gave you some ideas for how you can incorporate handwriting practice in your classroom and a few more ways you can use all of the different vocabulary words from my Word Work Centers. Happy Friday!


  1. love this idea - it can work with lower grades as well (simplified) and higher grades to learn vocab being used in inquiry topics as well as those higher level words. Thank you once again for sharing your wonderful ideas, I learn so much from you :)

    1. I'm so glad this can help, Angie! Thank you so much for your kind comments and I hope you enjoy the freebie :) Happy Friday!!

  2. I really like the idea of combining vocab with handwriting. What a creative way to "get it all in"!

    Teaching in Room 6