'Reception absolutely loved the Hemisphere Interactive Whiteboard Programme which we trialled. It bought a whole new level of excitement, motivation, energy, engagement and total immersion to our daily Handwriting lessons as the animal characters we have been talking about, learning their movements, etc literally came alive in front of them and the magic continued for the entire month that we trialled it! For those who still find holding a pencil difficult it become another medium in which they could engage, giving them both success and boost in confidence as they used their finger to make the starting movements/cursive letter shapes. The interactive games and activities became another valued addition to our continuous provision, easy to access and popular with all. I also found as a teacher the interactive programme proved very useful during our Parent Interviews as I was able to show the parents what the children have been learning and the animal characters they had been talking about at home – they also loved it! I have no hesitation in endorsing the Interactive Whiteboard Programme to anybody – we already love the handwriting programme, but this has added another whole dimension; the children’s engagement, eagerness, sense of fun and excitement, while learning, was truly palpable. Happy, engaged, learning children = happy teacher!
The Hemisphere interactive programme was a wonderful way to bring the characters to life. It was a really useful way to introduce the scheme to new joiners in the year and it was great to be able to demonstrate the letter formation in such a bright, colourful way. The games were lots of fun and my year 1 class really enjoyed these. Their favourite was the lower case and capital matching game, which really helped consolidate their learning on the capital letters.
I wanted to catch Shelley after the presentation just now but she was swamped with questions.
Please pass on my absolute admiration for what she has created. I think it is absolute genius how she has broken down the writing process in a way which works hand in hand (no pun intended) with the development of young children’s brains.
So much of learning can centre around the end result - especially in the eyes of parents I feel - and I firmly believe in the process being more important. This is a process which will transfer over to other aspects of their learning and life skills; that is hugely exciting in my opinion. We can not underestimate the power of mindful learning, nor specific deliberate practice, and Shelly’s method seems to incorporate both in a language and style fully accessible to our kids.
In my field of work, and particularly in the way I teach voice, I follow a practice which breaks it down into craft - the technical elements of producing voice - and mastering this then allows for artistry to be fully explored and realised. So much of what was saying really resonated with me, albeit in a very different field.
Many thanks to you for organising this talk, and to Shelley for this brilliant work.
"Whilst completing a trial of Hemispheres Think Write Interactive Handwriting Programme, I noticed that my Year 2 class were much more engaged with their learning. The children enjoyed viewing the animals in a more interactive way and consequently I felt like they were able to recall them more easily throughout our sessions. I believe that this quicker recall has improved their handwriting because they were able to use their knowledge about the animals to remember how to correctly form their letters at a faster rate. Finally, I found it really helpful that I was able to access the numerous modules, so it was easy to quickly recap over a previous module with the children before beginning the main content of the lesson."
"The Think Write programme has helped a number of my students develop their cursive writing, preparing them for some of London's toughest day school exams. The advantage of this programme is that all my students really enjoy the games and activities! I use Think Write as a reward - my students don't see it as work"
As a school we were looking for a new handwriting scheme that would support our journey into becoming a cursive writing school! The demands of the National Curriculum dictate that children should be writing in a cursive style and as such the Assessment Frameworks for the end of Key Stage 1 assess this.
Shelley came to the school initially and explained the science behind the scheme, we really liked that it was a cognitive as well as motor approach to handwriting. We felt that it would suit our way of teaching and enable our children to develop their skills in a structured way.
The resources are perfect for us!
Practical and supportive. Shelley then came back to the school to train the staff. This was incredibly beneficial, the staff understood the 'why' for handwriting and how it was going to work in school.
Already after 2 months we are observing big improvements and changes in the children's handwriting right across the school. Thank you!
The Rowans School have been using the Hemispheres Think Write Cursive Handwriting Programme since June 2016.
This is a great endorsement of how children can naturally develop, at their own pace, when learning to write using the Think Write Programme.
'Lovely to see the scheme working as Shelley said it would and exciting to see such lovely progress happening so naturally.
This young boy has done this a few times this week and it seems to be completely natural, although obviously not consistent. When I commented on it he actually seemed quite unaware that he’d done it and when I asked if anyone had shown him how to join up letters and he said ‘no, I just did it’.
I also have two other boys who are beginning to join but they were more advanced in their starting points so this was more expected.'
Elsa came to see Shelley when she was in year 3. After six months or so she started to show enough improvement for Shelley to discharge her. Her mirror writing resolved itself almost overnight and she started to improve especially in reading which, for the first time in her life, became a pleasure. Maths was still tricky for her but a personal tutor helped her until year 7. She is also an August baby and had a lot of catching up to do. Elsa got her GCSE results this morning: A* in history, English literature and art, A in English language, maths, biology, Spanish, physics and B in chemistry and further maths. She will be studying A levels at Farnborough Sixth Form in history, art and biology. I can't thank you enough for bringing about the change in her which has led, finally, to this success for her.
The staff are very impressed and the results are evident with standards in presentation clearly improved.
The training was excellent and everyone loved the fact that it was a ‘common sense’ approach. The understanding of examples of children’s behaviour helped and staff have been better prepared as a result.
The pupils all seem to be coping well and enjoying greater success with their writing, even those in Year who have had to relearn letter formation this year.
We are still working on pencil grip in certain areas, though the ‘marble idea’ has helped.
Staff are very impressed with the programme and the dramatic results compared to previous cohorts. Staff have seen instant results and improvements in presentation – as have parents with visitors to the School being impressed with work on boards.
Matilda first came to see us in Jan 2014 and we saw her for 6 sessions of Occupational Therapy. Her main difficulties are literacy and learning which has affected her self-belief. Matilda also has difficulties with co-ordination which affects her fine motor skills for handwriting and her gross motor skills for sports.
This is what she wrote when she was discharged:-
Since seeing Katherine I have a lot more self-confidence. My concentration had improved ad I’m coping better at school. My handwriting is really neat now and I can write much faster. I used to get really panicky about new situations, but now I’m not as scared by them as Katherine has helped me to believe in myself.
Retained Reflex training has given so much help that now when things get a little bit too hard, instead of getting upset or giving up, I now think to myself you can do this !!!!
Matilda aged 12
The Hemispheres Think Write Programme has been very helpful in the Early Years and in Year 1. By the beginning of Year 2 children have developed a quicker more fluent, neat joined handwriting. We find the illustrated Hemispheres paper makes the transition to using other paper formats easier.
Having just started to implement the Think Write Programme, the children have been really motivated by the characters and love performing the actions and sounds. They are already making links between the starting shapes and the different letters and the children with a good grasp for holding writing implements are using lead in lines with more confidence and consistency in their handwriting. The programme fits in well with the weekly timetable for focused teaching and practise activities.
I recently introduced your Think Write Programme to my reception class. They were so enthusiastic! Every time we do some writing they will automatically identify the animal groups. I only wish that I would have known about your fantastic programme earlier on in the academic year. I think it will be very beneficial as an introduction to writing in order to create a motor template for life!!! Excellent! I am very excited about your programme! I also introduced it to my daughters ages 5 and 8 and they totally loved it too!
The year 3s coming up have neat, speedy cursive script in most cases - thanks to Hemispheres Think Write Handwriting Programme.
For the last 6 months I have been using the Think Write programme with a child in my class and have been incredibly impressed with the progress she has made. Her attitude and approach towards writing is very positive and she finds it much easier than children in my class who have not had access to this type of approach. Having tried a number of other handwriting programmes in the special needs centre I feel the programme offers everything we are looking for to develop and support the children in their writing. As a school we have also struggled to find an interactive approach to teaching handwriting and are very excited about the possibility of introducing Think Write across the school.
Several months later Jude fluently writes using all his Think Write techniques naturally without a second thought. This is now the way he writes. His school has noticed a huge improvement and are delighted with his progress. Thank you Hemispheres for devising such a brilliant programme - I could not recommend it more highly
Very interesting programme, Shelley thoroughly explained anything misunderstood. Great ideas and games that can be put into practice straight away. Can't wait to get started.
Leo, my nine year old son who is on the autistic spectrum and has significant learning delays is just starting to be able to write thanks to the Hemispheres think write programme. He enjoys the movements involved with the animals in the various letter groups, and it was about a year ago that he managed his first independent cow lead in line. Because he associates the writing with the movements and the animals, it makes it all a bit more fun, and it also enables him to make associations that encourage him to write. For Leo, making marks on paper held no interest at all. The key was to motivate him with fun activities and to help him understand why writing might be functionally useful, as well as working to build up the various muscle groups in his hands that would make writing possible. All of the hemispheres exercises put together have made writing a possibility for Leo. We are really excited about this.
I think the HTW is a brilliant fun programme both for the children and the Therapist!! It is a very well-designed programme with excellent user-friendly resources.
The Think Write is unique in its cognitive approach to handwriting remediation. Its use of fun games and activities based in a top-down approach, as opposed to the more traditional bottom up biomechanical approach, enables the child to learn how to write their letters before they even have to pick up a pencil! Given that most children by the time they reach therapy dislike and avoid pencil work means as a therapist I can begin to introduce a reluctant writer to enjoy writing again.
In addition, the Think Write’s cognitive application of “chunking” means children learn letter formation quicker and in a fun interactive way. In clinic, I have seen time and time again children who wouldn’t write, learn to write AND enjoy it. I would thoroughly recommend the approach to other therapists.
The Think Write session is fun and engages the child well, Often kids who have been adverse to writing like the session and go away feeling like writing is less daunting and certainly more ordered in their thinking. I have had many children go away and work hard on what was once a dreaded activity for them and when they start to see the results many have become much keener writers: one little boy told me last week “Writing may never be my favourite thing but at least it is not the thing I hate most now”.
I feel really passionate about the Think Write Programme and am confident to recommend it in clinic. It is a programme that has been successfully used by myself and I have had positive feedback from children and parents. From a therapist point of view, it is really easy to understand and use and children seem to grasp the concepts very quickly, which often amazes their parents. I generally offer a 1 hour training session for the child and their parents and then follow up the programme in the last 15 minutes of their monthly clinic appointments. The children react well and connect to the animals used in the programme and learn the movements and cognitive rules quite quickly. The emphasis on cognition and the strong visual component of the programme works well for children and it takes the pressure off the constant handwriting practice that they have come to dislike. This means it brings the fun back into writing and that true writing commences once they have a good understanding about the rules of writing, motor planning of letters and spatial placement. The resources available are easy to use and the children enjoy working through the workbooks and playing the games. They are proud and confident to bring in their workbooks to show off how well they are doing. Parents really understand the approach/rationale behind the programme that motivates them further to take an active role in teaching their children handwriting.
The programme is based on brain function, and this information would help all members of staff to deliver better teaching.
The knowledge fo the Hemispheres Think Write is spreading. Merlin School's Headmistress, Kate Prest, contacted Hemispheres to learn more about the programme. Following a successful meeting on the 5th November at the school, Kate Prest, an Early Years Teacher and Learning Support all agreed the Think Write was a fantastic progrmme, and have booked a staff training day in January.
We were totally inspired by your presentation about the brilliant Handwriting work that you do.
Kate Prest, Headmistress, Merlin School, London