This year I if they were going to do an object I had them go look up how to say that object in six different languages. They really liked that. This girl also looked up how to say the different parts of a car in different languages.
and dialogue from a movie was another popular choice
Change three was that I got micro thin sharpies along with my thin felt tip markers. The kids felt they had better control of their lettering with the super thin sharpies.
The we had the kids that stuck with with words that described the object in English only
Then some 7th grade work:
proof that using just the name of the object but a variety of text size can be very effective
and the finally there is a show on PBS kids called Word World that has uses very basic calligrams and quite a few kids mentioned when I introduced the lesson.