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Writing a Letter

May 5, 2021 | Clara Buckley

The Rivers Class students have been working on forming letters to write their names. After learning about straight and curved lines, we are now focusing on how those forms work together to compose various letters. The letter A is two big lines and one little line. The letter B is one big line and two small curves. We built the letters using letter forms of different sizes.

Everyone has their own blackboard and chalk for this process. On the slates, the children trace a line with a small sponge (wet) and then repeat with a tiny paper towel (dry) and finally form a line on their own with chalk (try). Wet, Dry, Try is a very popular activity. Repetition like this offers deep practice.

We began with a big line down. “Start in the starting corner. Say hello to the smiley face.”

We use the language of Handwriting Without Tears to narrate the process.

Then we tried a big curve. The children recognized this as a letter C. The big curve is more of a challenge as the chalk has to change direction while drawing.

Our process invites the children to start by writing the first letter of their first names. We will focus on proper formation of the first letter of their names and then will work on other letters with the teacher. We are learning a proper handwriting form, always working from top down and from left to right, that will support fluent writing in the future. We ran our pointer finger over a wooden form and the letter card before beginning wet, dry, try, for the letter.

As the children practice putting together the lines that make the letters of their name, we opened messages as an activity. The children write the first letter of their name on a paper and then make it a message for a classmate by drawing a picture. When finished, the child delivers the message to their friend.

Clara Buckley

Teacher, Rivers Class; Middle School Art

Clara Buckley’s teaching spans the ages of Mustard Seed School, from the youngest students in the preschool to students in the graduating class. She’s found many similarities between teaching three-year-olds and thirteen-year-olds!

As an art teacher who never enjoyed drawing, Ms Buckley’s hope is that each child she teaches discovers a way to create art that they enjoy, whether it be sculpture, printing, textiles, architectural drawing, or collage.

Ms. Buckley loves living in Jersey City, a place whose diversity and welcome for immigrants reflects her own family experience. When planning future travel destinations, art, food, and time with family are featured items on her list.

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