Written by: Jennifer Love-Marriott
Creating with cursive in the Middle School grades.
What You Need:
1) a heavier paper (think: watercolor)
2) crayola -or another watercolor based- broad cone-tip markers
3) optional: fine tip sharpies
4) gallon size zip lock baggies
(pinch a penny: cut them in half! You need the broad side intact, so cut down the sides and across the bottom)
What You Do:
This lesson builds on a 3 week unit.
The first week: I introduced the project by comparing and contrasting the formal and informal scripts found in Chinese, Arabic, and Hebrew lettering. We saw examples of each, and learned about the reasons for having formal and informal handwriting styles. Once I pointed out that the US Constitution is written in cursive, they got really curious — wanting to know why they don’t teach cursive any more. (It was one of those moments where the connections the kids made and the conclusions they drew were AWESOME!)
We began learning cursive using the old cursive practice drills (found randomly online) and how to connect the letters by writing different words.
In the 2nd week: we explored faux calligraphy – also referred to as Modern Calligraphy – which is really just how to ‘fake’ calligraphy, by drawing the down strokes thicker.
In the third week we looked at the #Crayligraphy hashtag on Instagram, and learned how to use our markers to achieve the calligraphy/faux calligraphy effect.
Challenge: I showed them how to paint with the markers, using a wet paint brush, as well as how to blend/mix their marker colors to get a cool ‘ombre’ effect!
Simplify: I kept reminders up on my board and made a point of self-coaching as I made my examples: “Skinny up. FAT down.” as well as had extra alphabet handouts available at all tables.
* Use markers to color all over one side of the baggie (*this is a good time to remind them about what colors will mix nicely, and which will become mud!)
* Sprinkle a good amount of water, all over the paper (don’t soak it; it should look like it was outside when it started to rain!)
* Take your baggie, marker side down, and press it to the ‘rainy’ paper. Encourage the kids to use their fingertips to slowly ‘push’ the colors around a little! It will help blend some colors, as well as spread the ink nicely.
* Set on drying rack for the night, must be 100% bone dry before they can write on them.
*For the writing: I encouraged my students to choose something encouraging or inspiring for their text! For kids who struggle, this is a good chance to use a short word (‘believe’ ‘try’ etc..)
We wrote our words (everyone at their own speed) on our watercolor blotted backgrounds (which they LOVED!).
We mostly used our Crayola markers, but a few used black sharpies. One thing we noticed, was that if we went for the wet brush technique (to blend our 2 tone letters) they sometimes bled.
When that happened, we left it alone and let it dry. We later went back and outlined the letters again when they were dry, to clean them up! Some chose to use a fine tip Sharpie to outline their letters, which looked pretty cool too!
Note: The kids who did this project have almost no art experience. This project really helped some see what they COULD do!
About the Lesson Writer:
Jennifer Love-Marriott received her BFA from the Montserrat College of Art in Fine Arts and her MA in Museum Studies from Syracuse University. Prior to teaching art, she worked in several different art galleries and museums. Her students’ work can be found on her Instagram Page at: JLMArtClass. Jennifer has always loved teaching art and finding ways of connecting it to other cultures in ways that people may not always consider or expect.