How it works:
Calligraphy and Me uses 21st century tools
to explore the multicultural
history and development of calligraphy, the art of the written form.
Students become scholars as they explore resources on the Internet
learn about multicultural history and specialized tools and the vocabulary
of calligraphy. The scholars become scribes as they use their skills
to create beautiful calligraphic illuminations of sayings they feel
These sayings can be anonymous, by someone they admire, or a credo
their own. As a follow-up unit, the students create their own alphabet,
and then do calligraphic versions of the sayings in their new alphabet.
Students understand the visual arts in relation to history and
cultures; understand and apply media, techniques, and processes; and
make connections between visual arts and other disciplines.
Required materials include computers with Internet access, lined
composition paper, pencils, masking tape, translucent paper or other
fine art paper, and calligraphy pen holders, nibs, and ink.
The 6th grade students at the Institute for Collaborative Education,
small 6-12th grade NYC public school, created calligraphic illuminated
inspirational sayings for their Humanities classroom. This unit occurred
as they were learning about the work and famous quotations of the
The students realize the power and beauty in their own thoughts,
well as those they admire. The classroom hums quietly as the students
learn patience, care, and tenacity to bring forth their inspirational
thoughts on paper.
One doesn’t have to have “good” handwriting in order to do
Have the students practice in their notebooks and worksheets before
doing their final project. Try to buy ink that is water-soluble (not
permanent). Warn the students to not rest their penholders in the
bottles because they easily tip over and spill. There are lots of
lessons and resources online to learn about calligraphy. Here are
Calligraphy Around the
Chinese Calligraphy Worksheets
Making Marks: the Evolution
Calligraphy Lesson Plan
Meisler teaches traditional and digital art in addition to being the
Admissions Director at I.C.E., a small progressive NYC school.
Meryl has received a Disney American Teacher Award in visual arts,
serves on the Teachers Network Board of Directors, and is a consultant
to the Whitney Museum’s online learning department. As a graduate
art student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Meryl’s major
professor and friend was Donald M. Anderson, author of Calligraphy:
Art of The Written Form.
English Language Arts