3rd graders after working on their Asian (Chinese/Japanese) Model Magic teacups and coffee filter fans, tried their hand at bamboo brush calligraphy-an ancient artform that's been around for many, many centuries and takes many years to perfect. We even watched a wonderful clip from Reading Rainbow that takes you on a step by step video and explanation of how calligraphy works in a calligrapher's studio. From the brushstrokes to the final individualized red seal or stamp that acts as a 'signature' on a lot of Asian art, especially calligraphy.
Students were given authentic bamboo handle brushes and ink. Students were encouraged to take home the Calligraphy handouts that had instructions on how to hold the brush, the order of strokes, and examples of characters with English translation above. They also took home their practice calligraphy to show off. Students enjoyed the challenge and exploration.
Oh! And I can't forget, my Buddah Board! So this is one of my favorite toys. It's a water sensitive board that comes with a stand that has a water basin to dip the bamboo brush it comes with. When water touches the surface it turns black like ink. If students have free time they can come up to my desk and try it. I tell the students who are in line to count to 25 and then it's the next person's turn. What happens is the water evaporates from the board and it 'erases' itself! Then it's ready for a fresh start. The kids love it! No ink allowed though and clean hands have to be a must!