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Bess began working with Microsoft SharePoint in 2003 and has worked with every version since, including 2016 and Office 365.  She enjoys leveraging her business analyst skills to assist organizations in getting the most out of their Microsoft investment.

During her Information Technology journey, Bess discovered the joys of improvisation.  She has traveled the country to study improv, including the top three schools in Chicago – The Second City, iO, and The Annoyance.  She performs locally with Dinner Detective and is the director of Indy Improv Collaborative, an improv troupe nominated for Nuvo’s Best of Indy in 2017.

Bess combines her improv skills with her 20 years of corporate experience in Information Technology, allowing her to specialize in collaborative solutions.  She is the owner of Collaborative Ventures, LLC.

Bess lives in Indianapolis, IN where she is raising her three children.

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Using Fonts to Create Custom Tracing Sheets

William has moved to a more
challenging tracing page.
It's common to introduce a child to his/her written name early in the Montessori journey.  It's often the first thing he/she learns to read and spell, mostly because of the great interest it holds.  My children love tracing work.  I've come up a quick and easy way to make custom worksheets.

There are a host of free fonts that you can find online.  Once installed, they are available within standard word processing programs such as Microsoft Word.  You simply select them as you would any other font and create away.

Here are some of my favorite free tracing fonts**:

Print Dashed
Print Dashed can be found here.

Learning Cursive Dashed

**As with anything you download from the Internet, please be cautious and scan your downloads first.  I am in no way affiliated with these sites nor do I control the content there.  Free font sites are great but you have to be careful to ensure you are downloading the correct item.  Many have ads that are geared to make you click on them, thinking that you are downloading your font file.

Once you have some fonts installed, here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • For new writers start with the first name only.  Limit it to one name per page.  You can put 2-3 per page and cut it into strips.

  • Start with a larger font initially.  75-100 points often works well, depending on the particular font since each varies.

  • As the tracing progresses you can lower the font size.  Sometimes I create a page that offers the same word in a decreasing size.

  • Tracing sheets can be used for more than names.  It's a also a great way to learn other important personal information such as address and telephone numbers.

  • If budget is a concern you can print your sheet and laminate them.  This allows for it to be used as a dry erase board.  You can also use dry erase pockets such as these.

  • I like to keep small snippets of custom tracing work on the shelves for the kids to discover as they please.  This can help ensure your classroom experience doesn't become worksheet driven.

  • Offering a variety of writing utensils can increase a child's interest.  I'm not a big fan of using crayons for this work but colored pencils, pens and markers work well for us.  My daughter's new multi-color pen has kept her highly interested in any form of writing work.

  • I tend to offer tracing sheets once a child can recognize the alphabet and has had ample practice drawing letters in the sand tray.

Happy creating!
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