Start w/ sharp pencil. Make guidelines 1 inch apart. Learn to write
block letters using all straight lines. Letters like "B" and "R" require
diagonal lines but no rounded lines are allowed.
Now make guidelines 3 inches apart. Use a ruler to make the letters and
this time write a name or word. Make the letters taller, much skinnier and
much closer together-squish, squish.
Now make guidelines even farther apart and letters closer together. (as
you perfect your technique the letters should be about 1/2" wide and about
1/4" apart from each other. Now do it in extra fine black marker.
Now you can make circles and ovals and learn to fit the very tall, very
skinny letters into the shape. When done correctly the letters become
linear patterns that cannot be read BUT when you put the paper at a flat
angle with your eyes you can read the letters again. Try a quick 5 minute
exercise and you'll see what I mean.
Older kids can write one direction, rotate the paper 90 degrees and then
write another name or word across it. This gives you an even more complex
The great thing about this lesson is it can take one day or can be
stretched into a week. Don't tell them but you don't have to actually
complete "a project"---you can just end it as an exercise if needed.
This can even be done on the last day of school and you can tell the kids
you are teaching them a skill to have fun with over the summer.
Also, First and Second graders love to learn "bubble" letters if you
haven't already done so this year. They can use colored markers and
decorate them with stripes, patterns, dots etc. It is also fun to make
big bubble letters and then draw little stick figures crawling up the sides,
roping down, climbing ladders, catapulting etc. etc.