# Tag Info

78

I changed my handwriting font years ago for precisely this purpose, and I have continued to tweak my letterforms over the years, using the algorithm of changing the form of whichever letters seem to generate the most confusion. Here is my current font: A few notes about these letters: Capital letters aren't listed, but my experience is that they're all ...

59

Draw the bottom three-quarters of an oval: Flesh that out to make the bottom half of the strip: Connect one of the open ends at the top to the bottom on the other side: Now draw a straight line across the top: Finally fill in the last edge at the back: An advantage to this approach is that it highlights the fact that the mobius strip starts out as an ...

20

$\times\ \ +\ \ 4\quad 2\quad \omega\quad 9\quad a\quad 1\quad i\\ x\quad t\quad y\quad z\quad w\quad g\quad q\quad l\quad j$

17

I would like to add a point that I've not seen explicitly mentioned in the other answers. That is that context can often be your aid in clarifying your lettering. As a trivial example, no one is going to misread they as +hey. So the "special alphabet" is primarily for mathematics in your lectures. (That said, you should cultivate a clear hand writing for ...

16

Here are what my alphabet and numbers have ended up looking like. For the sake of clarity, I've included a stroke order chart, where the first stroke is red, the second green, the third blue, and the fourth cyan. I try to make distinctions between every character, but I agree with those above who have noted that "o" is, in general, a terrible name for a ...

15

This is my handwriting font for mathematics. (Excuse the shakey-ness, this was made using the stylus on my phablet.) It isn't as minimalist as some of yours, but I have never had anyone tell me they had trouble reading my writing. I make it clear which letters are which by using size and giving attention to negative space. I find that using big loops and ...

15

Below are instructions for drawing various quadric surfaces. They're not sketches but drawings designed to look (sort of) pretty and be easy to draw. You can see all of them in one YouTube playlist if you want: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3MCc7nq_tLEdscIz_YKTy8ZabMM_yTEo Hyperbolic paraboloid https://youtu.be/ZofoRuDJXhM?list=...

14

When I feel my blackboard presentation is a little sloppy, and remembering to "just slow down" doesn't help, I try writing bigger. It has the benefit of actually slowing me down a bit, and students sitting far back can more clearly see what I've written.

12

I searched google images and found many nice renditions. Here one that you may prefer from this link (source: umich.edu) . I especially like that it shows the width of the paper and doesn't draw the strip as a line or piece of string. Having the students make them is always a hit.

12

I think you need to fix any problems you have by modifying a letter or two of the way you write. For example, I used to write my y's in two separate straight strokes, but they would get confused with my x's if I wasn't careful about where the stroke stops. To correct this, I started writing my y's more like the way you write a g, with a curly bottom. I also ...

10

In response to Chris Cunningham's request, I think this sort of 5 is unlikely to be mistaken for an s: The key is not just the right angle at the top left, but the sharp angle directly below it. The danger here is to make sure you don't come so close to closing up the bottom that it looks like a 6.

10

As others have suggested, adding a serif can make a big difference. I write my y's like g's, and I also stroke my z's through the middle. Lower-case l's are written cursive-style, with a loop, and I make sure to make the 'tail' of my q's big enough to ensure there's no confusion with 9's. I also never use certain letters as variables (if I can help it) - ...

9

When using categories it is common (though not universal) to denote the categories by script letters; see http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~ooste110/syllabi/catsmoeder.pdf and http://wwwhome.ewi.utwente.nl/~fokkinga/mmf92b.pdf (page 8) for two examples. [The examples are not chosen very specifically, they just came up early on in a search for examples.] ...

8

(This is not bounty-worthy; just consider these illustrated comments.) Smith & Minton's textbook Calculus emphasizes drawing curves in each coordinate plane, and a few cross-sections (echoing Gerhard Paseman). To get an idea of what the graph looks like, first draw its traces in the three coordinate planes. Although they still rely on software, they ...

8

Since I use Seifert's algorithm to construct surfaces a lot, I tend to go for the flat approach:

8

What you want is Omega Colored Chalk:                  "This non-toxic, low-dust chalk delivers extra-smooth and easily erasable writing in eight vibrant colors." I won't include a link, but if you search, you will find many office-supply outlets that carry it in the US, for about ...

6

If you have a clear handwriting on board (if you don't, forget about calligraphic letters and use diacritics instead) you can "invent" your own calligraphic set of letters for blackboard. It just has to be clearly distinguishable from your normal one, e.g. like this: look at the top left corner of the capital letter if it is a corner (B,D,E,F,P,R), make it ...

6

I always give this piece of advice to my students: only use letters that you can distinguish yourself. (Some people really don't do this unless told so.) When you teach, apply the same more strictly: only use letters that most students can distinguish. This includes avoiding using $v$ and $\nu$ in the same context. If you run out of letters, use something ...

6

We discussed this, or more specifically the subject of handwritten $x$, a while ago at The Aperiodical. I still don’t understand why the two-curves $x$ never caught on in the US. Newton wrote $x$ the way modern Brits do, so it predates American independence. Curious!

6

Taking my cue from printed math (and particularly TeX), I use different fonts for text mode and math mode. The italic font (math mode) is cursive, while the roman font (text mode) is printed. This helps distinguish ‘a’ from ‘$a$’, for example. (And assuming that you and I are both using the default fonts on this site, then my handwriting looks pretty much ...

6

I write like this: And everybody can read what I'm writing. Especially, take look at letter x. And here are my digits:

5

Instead of drawing on the blackboard, use a 3D model and pass it around when you're finished using it for demonstration. If the class is small enough, you can bring in a strip of paper for each student to make his/her own. The demonstration will be much more powerful this way and the lesson more likely to stick.

5

I choose (1). On the board, write an x normally. There is no distinction between roman and italic in this setting. Back in the Olden Days (before personal computers) I would accosionally need to denote italic in a special way. In instructions to a typesetter where my manuscript would be prepared for printing I would denote italic x in a special way (...

4

How about using cursive handwriting as shown below:

4

One thing I have run into is, when learning or tutoring probability, being able to distinguish the random variables with their density functions' support. To that end, I typically put serifs on my capital letters only, and that helps me tell the difference. One big issue is telling the difference between $W$, $w$, and $\omega$. I typically put serifs on $W$,...

4

The key is neatness. I am a student, and I take for granted that my lecturers will use neat handwriting. I don't like it when a lecturer's handwriting is scrawled hastily and messily because it makes it difficult to read. I also don't like it when a lecturer neglects to write down something they have said, or something that is helpful with understanding what ...

4

For a long time, until I transferred to a school with white boards and dry erase markers, I actually used sidewalk chalk like these It is cheap, lasts a long time, incredibly durable, and has nice bright colors. Sidewalk chalk also draws really thick lines making your writing more visible from further away. Additionally, many sidewalk chalk packs come with ...

3

Use level curves and contour plots (click link for video examples of their use). With contour plots, use color to represent third dimension. Here's a familiar example: :

3

One letter probably causes more confusion than all the others put together: x, because of its similarity to $\times$ (multiplication as taught in schools). What I was taught in the UK (20 years ago) and still use routinely is (with LaTeX equivalents) as follows: This is also how I write x in normal handwriting, but that's by no means universal. The ...

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