Thursday, November 11, 2010

Alphabesties lesson

Click photos to enlarge...till I can figure out how to make them big

About a month ago I posted about a "new to me," book I found in the typography section of the library. The book is called Alphabesties: and other amazing types. Each page of the book features a animal that is made up of the first letter of that animals name. Different types of fonts are used to create the animals. The animals in the book are great and each page shows several fonts that go with that animal and get students thinking about how text and type can create an image.

I know you could do some great lessons with photoshop or maybe even picnik and different types of fonts. I don't have access to our schools one computer lab so that is not an option for me...but I would love to see what someone else (with more comp knowledge than me) could come up with.

Instead I saw this book as a way to incorporate writing not only into our art class, but also into the artwork itself. For the second year in a row our 1 school improvement goal is to improve student writing. The other elective teachers and I keep getting dinged on our evaluations for not doing enough writing instruction in our classrooms. (Like I have a ton of time in 20 min classes...)

I did this lesson with 2nd - 7th grade students and they were equally interested with it. It got pretty quiet in my classroom as student had to think how to turn letters and words into images. I did break out my two sets of stencils for this project so that students could focus on the text aspect of the image and we could get done in a timely manor.

For this project each student choose an animal stencil (older students could use two)
Students could use pencil to outline their animal but then had to switch to marker. I asked students to fill in their animal using the first letter of the animals name (2nd grade) or the name of the animal, or a combo of both. Then students were asked to create the environment that their animal lived in using the name of the object. So the sun was drawn using the word sun, waves were drawn using the word wave and so on. Some classes created a boarder using their own name. It was easy to adapt this lesson to different grade levels and the younger students got great handwriting practice and were challenged to use their problem solving skills. I'm afraid I was too sick to get photos of the lower grade work before I let them take them home (and they wanted to keep them for once!) but I did get photos of some 5th-7th grade works.

***I also left this as a sub plan and got equally nice results, so I think this would make a great sub lesson since many grades can do it and it takes minimal materials. I have also found a fun set of Alphabesties flashcards that make a big puzzle. I think these would make a great addition to the classroom and would work just as well as the book.*********


  1. Love It! I have been wanting to do a lesson on this book, but just hadn't gotten to it. Your project is beautiful.

  2. I'm going to show your students' artwork to my students! I've been planning a calligram lesson for the students to finish up (or start depending on the schedule) with my sub for maternity leave. I made some examples but want to show some different ways to do it as well. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I can totally see using this with contour line and instead of doing aboriginal doing this, or extending my aboriginal lesson with this! Thanks!
    See those lessons here:

  4. great lesson! i'll have to try it after the first of the year!

  5. Hi.......I hope you don't mind. I posted a link to this post on my blog "Art Sub Lessons."