Cursive and Croissants

Yesterday, I wrote about breakfast, but I chose to leave something out so I could give it its own post today.

For three years–ending last June–I invited my sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to come to school early on Fridays with their breakfasts.  Students who could get an early ride in and did not have band rehearsal would join me.  I would host anywhere from two to twenty children each Friday morning.

We talked about all sorts of things, from politics to literature to travel to aspirations.  It was a pleasant departure from and addition to our usual classroom discourse.

Also on Fridays, I would assign a writing topic when students came to class.  This topic, however, was not to be typed.  It was to be written on paper–in cursive.

I was pleasantly surprised by the degree to which almost every student enjoyed this weekly activity.  I was also a little concerned.  Kids are supposed to hate this kind of assignment.

After last June, I left the classroom to take a new job as principal at my district’s elementary school.  I missed my Friday breakfasts.

Then, in December, I received an email from a parent with a bright idea.  Principals receive many such emails and tend not to like them.  I make it a point, however, to consider all suggestions, even if I cannot use them.

This parent commented that cursive is a dying skill and that someone in the school should form a club that would promote it.

I immediately wrote back congratulating this woman for becoming the advisor of the school’s newest club.  I invited her in for a meeting during which we would discuss the details.  As we sat in my office, I shared my experiences at the middle school.

Within minutes, we knew the club would be called Cursive and Croissants.  We would meet each Friday in the school library for a half an hour prior to school, and children would be allowed to bring breakfast.  Participation was open to students in second through fourth grades.  Our first session would be the first Friday in January.

This poor woman was nervous about what she had taken on, and I could do little to reassure her.  How many student would show up?  I had no idea.  Would it be five, ten?  Could be twenty, I said.  Or zero.

We prepared materials the week after New Year’s Day and waited to see what would happen on Friday morning.

Over forty children showed up.  We didn’t have enough seats.  I made some quick arrangements to accommodate everyone, and we had a great first session.  We have kept this going now for over two months.

Each week we have contests: Best Signature, Best Alphabet, Best Composition, and–my favorite–Biggest Croissant.  One girl has won the latter competition twice by combining four containers of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and shaping it into an enormous C.

Winning entries every week hang in the window of the main office–except for the croissant, of course.  That gets eaten.

My birthday fell on a Friday two weeks ago.  I received and ate several croissants.  It brought back all sorts of memories.

7 thoughts on “Cursive and Croissants

  1. Thank you for this post- it goes to show how connection with the community and the students goes beyond the hours of the typical school day. I love that you had many students join you in this venture! My principal speaks about the importance of using cursive still (I am a bit of a technologist). After reading biographies about Hamilton and Jefferson recently, I find myself wondering if I should get into letter writing habits and bring some cursive back into my life.

  2. Parents inspired a cursive writing club in one of our elementary school as well. Elementary (and some MS) parents’ top concerns always seem to be spelling and cursive. While these may be important, they also make me think that providing better curricular and capacity communication is necessary – what is important for our kids to become successful, contributing, thoughtful, and happy members of society?

  3. I am so happy to see our children writing in cursive and breathing life into what I hope will not be a dying art. Your initiative also inspired me to make cursive practice name templates and cursive alphabet worksheet templates for every student on my upper grade roster. They all write their names in cursive now, and are quite pleased with themselves. Thank you for this post, and for bringing this back into our lives here at school. After all, didn’t we all wait with baited breath to learn cursive? I sure did!

  4. As others have commented, this is more about community and togetherness than cursive! Kids have always been fascinated by cursive and I’ve heard some say here at my school, “I wish we did more cursive”! I love how you took you experience as a teacher and carried through to your elementary school – you let it breathe new life in a new setting with new kids! Those kids must look forward to Cursive and Croissants! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Love this slice. I have an 8th grade student who has asked for practice sheet so that she can learn cursive. It made me so happy.

  6. I love this! Your title caught my eye today because I wrote the alphabet out in cursive this morning on the white board and encouraged kids to try writing their answers to that day’s question in cursive. I think I will try to continue doing it- because they loved the challenge!

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