Interactive Handwriting Practice Lessons (Numbers & Letters)
Legible handwriting is an important skill every student must eventually learn. With our online handwriting lessons , students can practice writing numbers and letters in D’Nealian and Zaner-Bloser fonts. These lessons also come with step-by-step instructions and videos to show students how to write each character correctly.
Gynzy offers an online whiteboard where students can practice their handwriting, and a content library that includes pre-made and customizable lessons to help teach students to write.
Practice Writing Print and Cursive Letters
When learning a skill as fundamental as handwriting, it can be helpful to give students multiple options for how they choose to write. Luckily, our handwriting lessons give students detailed instructions on how to write capital and lowercase letters in both print and cursive, in the D’Nealian and Zaner-Bloser fonts.
All the letter diagrams come with arrows to guide the students writing. Lessons for print letters include numbered steps to show where and how students should pick up their “pencil.”
Writing Numbers in D’Nealian and Zaner-Bloser Font
The handwriting numbers lesson teaches students to write numbers in four different ways, so that they can experiment and find what works best for them.
When you choose a number in the style you’d like to practice, you are brought to a slide with plenty of room to practice writing the number chosen. Each slide includes a video to help students visualize the motions required to write the number, including numbered instructions if it requires more than one stroke.
Other posts you don't want to miss
- Skip to main content
- Writing Masterclass
- Math Masterclass
- Course Login
- YouTube Channel
- Facebook Group
- Search this website
Not So Wimpy Teacher
The Not So WImpy Teacher creates resources for busy teachers in grades 2-5 who are looking to deliver engaging and meaningful lessons without overwhelm and chaos.
Get my FREE Editing & Revising Centers
Get my free editing & revising centers.
Help your students master tricky writing skills with these FREE Editing and Revising Centers. Students in grades 2-5 will love this fun, collaborative way to practice editing and revising. Perfect for test prep and review.
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
Last updated on August 17, 2020 by Jamie Sears
Teach Writing Virtually
Lots of teachers are faced with this new challenge: “How do I teach writing virtually?”
Every day I receive numerous questions about whether I will be making all of my writing units digital.
Last spring, I created some digital writing units. They are two-week units where I recorded myself teaching the writing lessons. Those resources helped thousands of teachers. That is exactly why I created them.
But I never thought we would still be virtual all of these months later. The lessons are fantastic, but they are more of a band-aid to get you through. They are only two-week units and I know that students need longer to master the genre. They are taught by me, but I know that your students need YOU.
The best thing you can do for your students, if you are going to be teaching virtually for long, is to teach the writing lessons yourself. I know that it might sound intimidating, but I hope these tips will help you to feel more confident.
Virtual Writing Lessons
You can choose to teach your lessons on live video or via recorded video. Create a schedule and send a link to the live video to your students.
For live video, you can use Zoom or Google Meet. For recorded video, I highly recommend using Zoom and then hosting the video on a private YouTube channel. You can send a link via Google Classroom, email, or whichever platform you use for classroom communication.
Run your video writing lessons, almost exactly how you would run the lesson in class. Share your screen to show the mentor text while you read aloud. Share the screen as you fill out or go over anchor charts. End the lesson by giving students their independent writing task.
The weird thing about teaching on recorded video is that no one participates. It feels awkward at first. But continue to ask questions and pause as if they are answering.
If you are doing live videos, students can use the chat box to answer questions.
Here are some tips for your virtual writing lessons:
- Use the same lessons and anchor charts that you would use if you were teaching in person.
- Keep the video lessons super short (10-15 minutes).
- Don’t aim for perfection. If you were teaching in person, you would fumble over your words sometimes. You might spell something wrong on the board. That’s ok! Students need to see you make mistakes and keep moving on.
- Batch your lesson recording. Sit down one afternoon and record at least a week of lessons at one time. This is a huge time saver!
- You don’t need fancy lights or a fancy microphone. Your students just need you.
Virtual Independent Writing
After the mini lesson, students should be working on their independent writing for 20-25 minutes.
Students SHOULD still be working on their writing.
However, since students are writing at home, they might not write for as long as we wish they would. I think you should work on stamina and communicate your expectations. Talk to them about setting a timer. But, in the end, this probably isn’t a battle worth fighting right now.
If students complete their independent writing task each day, consider that a win. Virtual learning is hard! Expectations will need to be modified slightly.
Keep giving the independent writing task at the end of each mini lesson. This small task helps students to feel more confident and able to work independently. They know exactly what must be done rather than just being told to “write.”
Where do students do their independent writing?
One option is to have students use a composition or spiral notebook–just as you do in class. I love having students write on paper because they are so much more creative when they aren’t paying attention to the technology, formatting and spell check. If they are using a notebook, you can have them take pictures of their work once a week and email it to you or post it in their Google classroom. This will help you to hold them accountable.
Another option is to have students type in a Google doc. Students can keep adding and revising their Google doc as you work through the entire writing process. You can create a Google doc writing template and then assign a copy to each student in Google Classroom. The great thing is that you can open it at any point to check on their progress.
Do you use my writing units ? If so, we have added Digital Writing Notebooks to our writing bundles! These digital notebooks include the student anchor charts, a place for students to type their masterpiece and a place for students to write their other stories. Everything is on Google Slides and easy for you to assign to students.
A final option is to use a combination of paper and technology. You can have students do their first draft on paper. Then they can type the draft into a Google doc and use that for revisions.
Virtual Writing Conferences
Conferences might be the trickiest part of teaching writing virtually.
You can schedule Zoom calls or Google Meets with small conference groups. If you do this, you can run conference groups the same way that you would in the classroom. You choose a topic, such as leads. Ask each student in the group to read their lead aloud. Compliment and review the lead strategies that you have already taught to the whole group.
These video chat conferences are very effective, but let’s just get real. Do you have time to do these conference calls with every group?
If you do, I highly recommend it! Your writers will grow so much.
If you do not, give yourself grace. You don’t have to be perfect. You are doing your very best. Celebrate that.
Make modifications to save your sanity. You can have larger conference groups and just hold conference calls 2-3 times per week. You can also schedule some office hours and let your students know. They can jump on Zoom or Google Meet during your office hours if they feel like they need your help.
Shop this post.
Writing Bundle: Personal Narrative, Informational, Opinion & Fiction 2ND GRADE
Writing Bundle: Personal Narrative, Informational, Opinion & Fiction 3RD GRADE
Writing Bundle: Personal Narrative, Informational, Opinion & Fiction 4TH GRADE
Writing Bundle: Personal Narrative, Informational, Opinion & Fiction 5TH GRADE
None of this is ideal! But you love your students and I know that you are working so hard to do what is best for them. Thank you!
Have a Not So Wimpy day,
You may also enjoy these posts
August 14, 2020 at 9:22 pm
In the tsunami of resources and tips and advice available on virtual learning, I keep coming back to yours. Thank you for making this post short, sweet and rich- kind of like a good piece of fudge. It was just what I needed. I appreciate your heart for the work and for other teachers. It always shines though. ~Ashley in Maryland
August 17, 2020 at 1:21 pm
These look amazing and your hard work is greatly appreciated! Do you have any bundles for kindergarten and 1st?
August 17, 2020 at 1:23 pm
Thank you! I only create resouces for 2-5th grade.
August 17, 2020 at 5:31 pm
These are helpful tips! Thanks so much, Jamie. I’d started thinking along these same lines, but these tips help clarify my thinking.
I have so little time for ELA (reading and writing, etc) while doing online school – only 45 minutes a day including independent work. However, I’m going to be doing my best to get as much writing in as possible, and your encouragement helps!
September 14, 2020 at 5:54 pm
I have loved your video writing lessons for distance learning! Do you have video lessons for the 3rd grade personal narrative unit? *I already own your video lessons for opinion, informational, and fictional narrative
September 14, 2020 at 6:05 pm
I’m sorry I don’t have personal narrative video lessons and unfortunately I don’t have plans to create them as of right now.
September 20, 2020 at 6:14 pm
Your video lessons for Opinion and Fiction Writing were absolute lifesavers in the spring. Personal Narrative videos would be amazing! If you change your mind….
October 16, 2020 at 7:38 pm
Agreed!! Please reconsider! ?
Such a big fan of your writing units! I own the bundle for second grade and am wondering if there is an update to accommodate for our nw iteration of teaching virtually – like you did for the third grade bundle.
March 16, 2021 at 1:37 pm
Hi Jamie, Do you do virtual trainings on writing virtually in grades K-2 and/or 3-5?
Connie Wissner Elementary Principal California Virtual Academies
March 16, 2021 at 2:14 pm
I offer a terrific Masterclass that is virtual PD! It is geared toward 2-5 grade teachers. I’ve included a link to a blog post with lots of information about the course. https://www.notsowimpyteacher.com/masterclass . Feel free to reach out at [email protected] for more information.
Leave a Comment Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
More than 400 helpful resources available in my shop!
Not So Wimpy Writing Masterclass
Do you struggle to find time to teach writing? Do you find it a challenge to deliver lessons that help all of your writers? Would you like to learn a simple and effective way to teach writing? The Not So Wimpy Writing Masterclass is an online professional development course for grades 2-5. In this course, you will go from feeling overwhelmed to feeling confident and excited about teaching writing.
Check out these recent podcast episodes:
- Connecting with Students Online with Jennifer Serravallo
- A Simple Problem-Solving Strategy That Works Every Time
- Giving Students Feedback About Their Writing
- Virtual and Socially Distant Valentine’s Day Activities for the Classroom
- How to Use Project-Based Learning in the Classroom
Grab a snack and join the discussion over on Facebook!
We have four separate groups for grades 2-5
Get even more great tips and tricks on my YouTube channel!
We LOVE and recommend these products!
Check out the books, supplies, and other products that we use in our own classrooms. We only recommend those things that we absolutely love and swear by!
Hello! I’m Jamie
- I believe that students need to be the leaders of the classroom. Even third graders are old enough to be held accountable and to take responsibility for their learning.
- I do not believe that kids were made to sit in seats. They need to get up and move around.
- Differentiated instruction is a must. I use guided reading and guided math groups to meet the individual needs of my students.
- Helping a student to discover their love for reading is a privilege that I never get tired of.
- School should be fun! We party in my class!
Follow Me Here
It’s Hard to Teach Writing Online
A veteran educator’s tips for reaching students remotely
Editor’s Note: In 1988, a teacher most commonly had 15 years of experience. In recent years, that number is closer to just three years leading a classroom. The “On Teaching” series focuses on the wisdom of veteran teachers.
We are in the midst of the most sweeping education experiment in history. The coronavirus pandemic has forced the majority of the U.S.’s 3.6 million educators to find ways to teach without what most of them consider the core part of their craft—the daily face-to-face interactions that help them elicit a child’s burning desire to investigate something; detect confusion or a lack of engagement; and find the right approach, based on a student’s body language and participation in the classroom, to help students work through their challenges.
The good news is that this is happening at the end of the school year, after teachers have had opportunities to build relationships with their students. And in the past few decades, many educators have been experimenting with some promising technology-enabled approaches, sometimes called “ hybrid ,” or “ personalized learning ” models—essentially, a mix of in-person and online learning.
Renee Moore is one of them. An English teacher of 30 years, she has been honored with the Mississippi Teacher of the Year Award and the prestigious Milken Educator Award, among others. Moore has been incorporating online teaching in her classrooms in the Mississippi Delta for more than two decades—first as a high-school teacher in predominantly black schools, from 1990 to 2005, and, since then, as an instructor at the Mississippi Delta Community College, where she teaches high-school and college students, as well as working adults. During our conversation last week, which has been edited for length and clarity, I asked Moore to reflect on some of the most important lessons she learned about teaching reading and writing online.
Kristina Rizga: What have been the greatest challenges in your transition to remote learning in the Mississippi Delta?
Renee Moore: The Mississippi Delta region is very rural, and our biggest issue is access to broadband and wireless services. Some of the students don’t have access to the internet; others don’t have devices. The bandwidth isn’t used to this heavy traffic due to the coronavirus. Mississippi Delta Community Colleges are solving this issue in an innovative way by allowing students to use Wi-Fi outside of the campus, in the parking lots. Students pull up in their cars and get their work done in the parking lot.
The other big issue is that many of the teachers don’t have the skills to teach online. They all had technical training, like how to work the buttons and set up the system. But they haven’t had the pedagogical training: How do you teach your subject, like writing and reading, online? That to me is the greater concern and the biggest need right now. Teachers will have to learn on the fly how to teach online, and there will be even greater discrepancy in the quality of instruction for students.
Rizga: How have you been translating this online?
Moore: It depends on the student. Some students work very well asynchronously. They are very comfortable working alone on a draft; I make color-coded comments in a word document or their PDF, and then I send it back. Some students need me to explain things to them in person before I send them the comments; we’ll do a video or audio chat. Others need even more interaction: I’ll hook them up to a videoconference, and we’ll go through all the comments together. Some students I need to refer to a grammar-brushup program or a YouTube video on how to do some of the mechanical stuff like uploading papers online.
Then there is the option of getting students to talk to each other online on discussion boards and videoconferences. Some students adapt to it quickly and like it. Some don’t, because it feels impersonal. You have to be patient with that and give them some time and space to adjust.
Rizga: Is there something you taught in person that can’t be transferred online?
Moore: So far, I haven’t found anything that I couldn’t move online, but some parts of teaching are much harder and take longer. Research papers, for some reason, are really hard for students to figure out how to do online. I think as long as they can feel that I’m there, and they can reach out, it takes care of many issues. Twice a week, I do a chat, and I’m always staying on top of my email inboxes.
Then, you have to think about accessibility issues. How will my vision-impaired and deaf students access it? Have I put everything in print? Do I have to put in some audio? There are whole series of checks you have to do for different access issues.
Rizga: What are some of your most important tips for online teaching?
Moore: My No. 1 tip: Pace yourself. You don’t have to cover everything. If they don’t read that play by Shakespeare, they will still live to be fine old people. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Don’t put too much pressure on your students. It’s not just a matter of taking what I do offline online. I’ve shortened my units because of the coronavirus. I have a lot of working parents; now they have kids at home. I can’t ask them to do a 25-page paper on pronouns in Shakespeare.
Figure out what’s really essential for learning, and what can be let go in the next three months. For my composition students, for example, my primary focus is always helping them express ideas clearly and coherently. I’m less concerned about the genre of writing or how long it is. I can do that a paragraph at a time.
For my more advanced students, they need to learn research skills: how to locate, evaluate, and use information. Online learning offers great opportunities for that, including with what’s going on in the news right now.
For my literature students, my emphasis is helping them understand stories that come from cultures other than theirs. Are they able to see the humanity and connections across the stories? That’s essential. Whether they remember all of the characters and the authors—that’s not essential.
This is a great time to individualize instruction and have students work at different paces. You don’t want 100-120 papers coming at you all at one time. Spread it out, and it will keep you from getting short-tempered with your students.
I’ve got some students who won’t turn on a camera in their house. They don’t want you to see inside their house for various reasons. Be aware of it; be very sensitive and careful with human beings.
Be prepared to let your students teach you. Students can be great help to us. Be each other’s tech support.
Rizga: Which resources would you recommend for educators learning how to teach online?
Moore: Research and books on digital writing by Troy Hicks , a professor of literacy and technology at Central Michigan University, as well as the resource page on digital learning curated by the National Council of Teachers of English.
Rizga: What are the most urgent things districts, government officials, and the business community can do to make this transition as smooth as possible in the next three weeks?
Moore: The best thing we can do in the short term is to do something like my own institution did it: We are pairing teachers who are novices online to those who are veterans online. We are putting them up in small groups to network with one another. In a rural setting, this might need to be organized as a statewide or region-wide effort to have teachers access experts in their own fields. For larger school systems, it can be done within a school and district.
The second most important thing is providing all students with internet access. If Mississippi Delta can do it, anyone can do it. We can open up parking lots, provide help with equipment and devices.
Many of the textbook companies have been putting their materials online for free. That’s a very helpful thing. You don’t want teachers to spend their limited time hunting for resources.
Rizga: When you think about families and students, what are you worried about the most in the next few weeks?
Moore: That they’ll get frustrated with school and give up on their education, period. A lot of our students need encouragement, because they’d been told all of their lives that they are dumb: “You are really scoring low on these tests. You can’t do this; you can’t do that.” So teachers spend a lot of time encouraging them face-to-face. Now that we can’t see them, it’s going to be harder to keep them motivated.
A lot of students have issues at home. When they come to school, they are able to put some of those home issues out of their mind. Now that they have to be home 24/7, those issues will be staring into their faces and they have to deal with them. I’m thinking of some of my working mothers; when they come to school, it’s the only time they have to study, read, write a paper. They can’t do it at home. It’s chaos.
School for many people is a place to get fed, a place to feel safe, a place to get encouraged. It’s a place to be around people who share your desire to learn. Now they are cut off from that, and some of that can’t be duplicated easily online.
Some issues are financial pressures—the choice of keeping the internet on versus getting some groceries, for instance. I have families living in a trailer with one light bulb, and they are trying to pick up a signal, and you want me to do what for your class? These extensive issues of poverty, homelessness, inequality, abusive situations are too big for any one person to solve, but all I can do is say the same thing I always do in school: I’m here for you. You can talk to me. Reach out to me. And I’ll do what I can from here. We only have a few counselors, but we’ve made all of our counselors available online 24/7. We try to remind students that there is someone available to talk to you anytime.
This article is part of our project “On Teaching,” which is supported by grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Panta Rhea Foundation.