Handwriting was one of my LEAST favorite things to teach when I taught first grade! With all of the standards and benchmarks I was expected to cover, I had a really hard time finding the time to squeeze handwriting practice in. The kids didn’t seem to enjoy it either but irregardless…it is a necessary part of life.
My last year of teaching the district that I worked in adopted a new handwriting curriculum called Handwriting Without Tears. It was wonderful! It took a multi-sensory approach to the teaching of handwriting and made it interactive for the kids. One of the main manipulatives in the program was this slate chalkboard.
I had some chalkboard paint, so I decided I would try to make my own version. Big Brother is not anywhere close to being ready to start practicing handwriting of course, but I thought it would be fun to use for doodling as well (and to share with you).
Here’s what you’ll need: foam board, can of chalkboard spray paint, a pre-made 5×7 picture frame mat (or you could make your own from cardstock–I was just being lazy), an Xacto knife (which I couldn’t find, so I attempted scissors…it didn’t work as well), hot glue gun, and ribbon.
1. Use the mat as a stencil on top of your foam board.
2. Cut it out, preferably with an Xacto knife. I used scissors and as you can see, the edges aren’t very smooth.
3. Follow the directions on your can of spray paint. You’ll want to put at least 2 coats on and wait 24 hours before the next step.
4. Cut your ribbon to make a loop on the top of your chalkboard.
5. Hot glue the ends of the ribbon onto the top of the board.
6. Put a bunch of hot glue on the backside of the mat and then carefully place it on top of the chalkboard.
7. I used a Sharpie to draw a star on the top left corner of the chalkboard. The proper way for children to write is from the top going down, so this little star will serve as a reminder for Big Brother in the way-off future!
Big Brother always wakes up grumpy from his naps and I attempted to take this picture immediately after waking up. He looks really enthused. I should have known better…