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What's in a Name?

Which lettering style do you prefer? Fancy fonts? Serifs? Sans serifs? Write alphabet letters, names, or any words in several different fonts. Words take shape right before your eyes!

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. There are many different ways to write the letters of the alphabet used for languages such as English, French, and Spanish. To research this variety of lettering styles, look at the different fonts (sometimes called type faces) on a computer or in a lettering text. You will find two primary styles: fonts with serifs (extended tops) and flourishes (tails of decorative letters), and sans serif (without serifs or unadorned) fonts.
    2. Choose your favorite font, or invent one of your own. Use Crayola® Crayons to carefully write your name in that type style in the center of your paper. Look closely at the letters as you write them. Make sure to include any serifs or flourishes in the font you chose. Notice the shape of each letter, relative sizes to other letters, whether parts of the letter extend above or below the line, and the curves of lines. Leave an even border of space around your name.
    3. Decorate the letters in your name, and the areas around them, with crayons and Crayola Washable Markers. Use your imagination to fill in the spaces with colorful details that complement the type style and your personal style.
    4. Trim the paper into a rectangle, or follow the shape of the letters, with Crayola Scissors.
  • Standards

    LA: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Explore and understand prospective content for works of art.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: S Is for S'mores: M is for Mom: A Child's Alphabet (Alphabet Books) by Mary Ann McCabe Riehle; Waldorf Alphabet Book by Framke Zonneveld; L M N O P and All the Letters A to Z by Howard Schrager.

    Encourage students to experiment with creating their names in various fonts. Students pair with a classmate to discuss which forms of their names are most attractive to them personally.

    Students work in small groups to discuss the letters that make up their names, the sounds they can make (some make more than one sound), the type of vowel sounds (short, long) that are contained in their name, as well as what blends are present. Have them clap out the number of syllables in their names and see if they can determine where the syllables break.

    Students compose acrostic poems using their first names. Begin each line of the poem using a self-selected font. Post final acrostics for class viewing.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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