First things first… we had to establish a baseline. That involved administration of the 3 different outcome assessments to all the students, both those who were assigned to the control group and those receiving intervention via The Size Matters Handwriting Program.
Next, to insure that there were no significant or unexplained changes in the scores, re-administration of these same tests occurred two weeks later (i.e. Week 3). Less time and the child may have demonstrated learning of the test. More time and normal development may have kicked in.
This meant that the actual Treatment Phase began on Week 4.
Of course, prior to any testing or instruction, participating teachers were in-serviced on the Size Matters Handwriting Program and given Fidelity Manuals specific to their grade. The Manuals detailed the content to be covered and provided explicit day-to-day lesson plans. Tammy and Kelly, as site managers of Boston and Albany, were given full versions of each of the three grade level protocols.
In consideration of the added demands on the teachers, content was limited to letters considered do-able for each particular grade within the given time frame. The same finite ranges of the alphabet were also used in the testing. This meant that Kindergarten would only be tested and taught the upper case alphabet. First grade would focus on the lower case alphabet and second grade would cover both upper and lower case letters.
No time for numbers. Remember, there were only 8 weeks (i.e. 40 days) to drill and master the details of printing so that significant change could be observed and measured.
In addition, the teachers were supplied with the following materials:
|Adapted Writing Paper||✓||✓|
|Magnetic Rectasquare Board||✓||✓|
|The Dice Game||✓||✓||✓|
It’s important to note that Kindergartners alone were provided with consumable workbooks. Grades 1 and 2 wrote solely on sheets of Adapted Writing Paper with only class-wide references supporting the program.
In other words, while Kindergarten’s potential investment in materials would need to be renewed every year, we postulated that an effective, efficient, engaging and measurable handwriting instructional program could still be implemented with essentially a one-time minimal investment.
Gotta love those savings.
Let’s see how it turned out.