This fall my Fun With Letterforms class, a drawn pattern-play class meant for kindergarteners to strengthen their handwriting skills, expanded into the first & second grades. As I brainstormed what to do with folks on the first day, I tried to anticipate the several returners who would be very familiar with the patterns I’d taught them before: I didn’t want anyone to be bored! Inspired by an excellent exhibit at the Legion of Honor I’d seen earlier this year, I decided to introduce Square Word Calligraphy.
The class watched me demonstrate the concept, but seemed restless. “What about the patterns?” someone asked. Instead of paint and brushes, students picked up their trusty colored pencils and used independent work time to revisit their familiar friends the zig-zag, bump, swing, swirl, over-and-back, and (especially) flip.
The FWL curriculum’s enduring popularity encouraged me. I am eager to move into newer territory with the older students and test their capabilities relative to kindergarteners, but this experience reminded me to reinforce the students’ established skills and build incrementally upon them, rather than worry about novelty. We’ll revisit Square Word Calligraphy later!
Below are pictures of FWL Level 2 student work after we revisited Chris Van Allsberg’s The Z Was Zapped, a FWL class favorite about terrible misfortunes that befall our alphabet’s 26 letters one by one.