One of my very favorite units to teach is my Handwriting Zoo. I used to
HATE not enjoy teaching handwriting all all! I never could explain the lines and the letter spacing in a way that the kids understood me. Then one day I had an "ah-ha" moment and started assigning the letters animal names. Turtles are short so we called a, c, e, i, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x & z turtles. Giraffes have long necks and so do the letters b, d, f, h, k, l & t. Monkeys have tails like letters g, j, p, q & y. Capital letters are "Large and In-Charge" just like a gorilla so capital letters are known as gorillas. I even created a story, some posters and other various activities to accompany the unit. For more info on the Handwriting Zoo click here to view it on TPT. It will be on sale for the next few days.
Click here to see another activity I use the animals for.
Anyways, on to my freebie. Once we got past writing all the letters for practice I then want the kids to carry that over into writing words. But, of course, a lot were not.... augh! So I created an activity where the kids cut out the animals and match them up to the correct letter. For example: the word "lip" would be giraffe turtle, monkey (see above). At first I printed the animals out on label pages (avery 5160) and made them into stickers but this activity takes quite a few animals so after I ran out of labels I just printed them on to regular paper.
(hint: if you use regular paper and not labels just cut the page into strips and then it's easy for the kids to snip off one animal at a time.)
After they assign every letter the correct animal then they write the word as neatly as they can using the correct letter spacing.
Clear as mud?
This method has worked wonders for me over the last few years. What I like most is that if I see a letter not spaced correctly on the line I can say things like "What animal is the letter a?" The kids can tell me it's a turtle and most of them do a mental head-slap and quickly fix their letter.
It's also really helped my kids know the difference between capital and lowercase letters.
Am I always super picky about handwriting....Goodness No (little Pete the Cat humor) BUT when we are specifically practicing handwriting or concentrating on writing words neatly this method does the trick for me!
The animals I used for this freebie are from DJ Inkers.