Roll and Write

Upon returning from break, we reached a review point in our Handwriting curriculum where the children were tasked with demonstrating their abilities with the letters learned to date. Given the immense growth we’ve seen from them in this area, we decided to structure this as a bit of a “test” where they would complete the assessment with minimal teacher support. We were curious to see not only how far their handwriting had come, but also what they were capable of in terms of working in their handwriting workbooks with less support.


However, it wouldn’t be very fair to give them a test on their second day back from break! So we thought it best to provide them a lighter way to access and review their learning in this area. So we introduced them to the game “Roll and Write.”


The concept is simple: they roll a die and write the letter that comes up. Rinse and repeat. But such a simple task can get old fast. To keep it fun and exciting, we “gamified” the experience and had the children race the letters across to the page to see which one would finish first. The children got SO excited to play that many asked if they could do it over and over again. We made it a regular Work Time choice and you can see the excitement as they roll and write their letters.


With all this practice under their belt, we then had them complete the review page in their workbooks. We talked about the importance of taking their time and doing their best work, noting that this would help us understand what they were capable of. We spoke explicitly about the difference between workingquickly (an effective strategy for being efficient) and rushing (an ineffective strategy that leads to lots of mistakes). We were so impressed by how carefully and independently everyone worked!


After several days practicing the first set of letters, we decided to return to the number-writing work we had done earlier in the year. That originally took place when we were still feeling out the best way to work with this group on their handwriting and the results were less than we had hoped. With “Roll and Write” now a proven strategy to entice even our most reluctant friends to practice their handwriting, we gave them pip dice that would not only help with numeral formation, but also support other mathematical skills like numeracy and subitizing.