Archive for August, 2011

Teaching Cursive Part 3 (of 25) — Preparing the Paper to Use As Cursive Masters

August 14, 2011

American / English wide-ruled notebook paper

This post will explain how to prepare the paper for making cursive masters which can be photocopied for students.

Not every teacher has access to cursive workbooks.  In addition, there are some problems with the cursive workbooks, such as not being able to turn the book on the proper angle to write, without great difficulty.

Wide-ruled paper which has been cut, taped into a wider sheet, and photocopied for use as a cursive master

Take a sheet of wide-ruled paper (11/32 of an inch, or 8.7 mm spacing between horizontal lines) as in the top photo; or cut, tape, and photocopy two sheets of paper as in the second photo above, depending upon your preference.  The second horizontal style is especially nice to use with younger children because it gives them a half-lesson to work on at each sitting, and seems less intimidating.

how to teach cursive writing, preparing the cursive master sheets

Dotted pencil lines are drawn at the midpoint between each ruled line

Next, take a ruler, and draw dotted PENCIL lines at the midpoint between each ruled line.  It’s important to use pencil for two reasons.  First, you can erase and correct any line which doesn’t come out quite right.  Second,  after you are satisfied with the lines, take a can of hairspray and spray it thoroughly.  The paper doesn’t have to be soaking wet, but just be sure you cover all the pencil marks.  This makes the lines permanent so  that they cannot be erased.  If you use pen or ink to make the lines, the hair spray will cause your dotted lines to bleed into the paper.  This problem does not happen with pencil.

Now your master is ready to photocopy.  Make approximately 30 photocopies, on which you will make cursive masters for various letters (and numbers).  The next post will deal with how to write the cursive masters.

–Lynne Diligent

Other Cursive Posts by Lynne Diligent:

Part 1:  What NOT to Do When Teaching Cursive!

Part 2:  Help for Teachers/Other Adults Who Need/Want to Learn Cursive on Their Own, or in Preparation for Teaching Cursive

Part 4:  Making Decisions about In Which Order to Teach the Cursive Letters

Clever Parody on Math in Schools!

August 13, 2011

I just want to make sure everyone knows these are not real contestants, and that this is a parody!

–Lynne Diligent

How Teachers Should Respond to Being Bullied By Students

August 2, 2011

Earlier this week I read a question on an education blog asking what aspect of your teacher training was most overlooked.  In my case, I’d say it was any instruction on dealing with classroom discipline issues.  I did get some of that from my student teaching, as my supervising teacher was a master teacher with 30 years of teaching under her belt.  But an actual class in classroom discipline techniques is sadly lacking in education schools.  I’ve never even heard of such a class being offered.

I laughed aloud watching this great video demonstration for teachers.  The first role-play demonstrates how things might typically go in a high-school classroom with a teacher being cursed-out by a student.  It does not end successfully for either the teacher or the student.  The second role-play shows an entirely different approach taken by the teacher, in reaction to the students’ behavior.  It ends successfully for both the teacher and student.

I only wish I had had this type of instruction when I was in ed school.

–Lynne Diligent

The Batman Equation

August 2, 2011

The Batman Equation

Yes, the Batman Equation is for real.  I came across this on a friend’s Facebook posting and checked it out for myself.    I found the following explanation at Mathematics (in comment 187). Many students would find this really fun.


As Willie Wong observed, including an expression of the form|α|αis a way of ensuring thatα>0. (As|α|/α−−−−√is1ifα>0and non-real ifα<0.)

The ellipse(x7)2+(y3)2−1=0looks like this:


So the curve(x7)2∣∣∣∣x∣∣−3∣∣∣∣x∣∣−3−−−−−√+(y3)2∣∣y+333√7∣∣y+333√7−−−−−−√−1=0is the above ellipse, in the region where|x|>3andy>−333−−√/7:

ellipse cut

That’s the first factor.

The second factor is quite ingeniously done. The curve∣∣x2∣∣−(333√−7)112×2−3+1−(||x|−2|−1)2−−−−−−−−−−−−−−√−y=0looks like:

second factor

This is got by addingy=∣∣x2∣∣−(333√−7)112×2−3, a parabola on the positive-x side, reflected:

second factor first term

andy=1−(||x|−2|−1)2−−−−−−−−−−−−−−√, the upper halves of the four circles(||x|−2|−1)2+y2=1:

second factor second term

The third factor9(∣∣(1−∣∣x∣∣)(∣∣x∣∣−.75)∣∣)(1−∣∣x∣∣)(∣∣x∣∣−.75)−−−−−−−−−−−−√−8|x|−y=0is just the pair of lines y = 9 – 8|x|:

Third factor without cut

truncated to the region0.75<|x|<1.

Similarly, the fourth factor3|x|+.75(∣∣(.75−∣∣x∣∣)(∣∣x∣∣−.5)∣∣(.75−∣∣x∣∣)(∣∣x∣∣−.5))−−−−−−−−−−−−−−√−y=0is the pair of linesy=3|x|+0.75:

fourth factor without cut

truncated to the region0.5<|x|<0.75.

The fifth factor2.25∣∣(.5−x)(x+.5)∣∣(.5−x)(x+.5)−−−−−−−−−√−y=0is the liney=2.25truncated to−0.5<x<0.5.

Finally,610√7+(1.5−.5|x|)−(610√)144−(|x|−1)2−−−−−−−−−−−√−y=0looks like:

sixth factor without cut

so the sixth factor610√7+(1.5−.5|x|)∣∣∣∣x∣∣−1∣∣∣∣x∣∣−1−−−−−√−(610√)144−(|x|−1)2−−−−−−−−−−−√−y=0looks like

sixth factor

As a product of factors is0iff any one of them is0, multiplying these six factors puts the curves together, giving: (the software,, chokes a bit on the third factor, and entirely on the fourth)

Wholly Batman

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