As background for this project, several years ago the teachers asked me to create a name art project, but for one reason or another, we were never able to fit it in. We wanted to create an art project that would reinforce letter sounds and help the children find delight in the letters of their name. I have searched for name art projects on the internet hoping I would find something that would be suitable for the lower grades but would also be fun and attractive. I really didn't find much of anything that I liked. This little name booklet was inspired my friend and colleague Bridget who had created watercolor paintings of alphabet letters. Here is her blog: http://bridgetsartworld.blogspot.com/
I didn't know if this project would be too difficult for the children. I thought it might be, but when has that ever stopped me? I decided to try it, and see how it went.
To begin this project, I hand drafted a set of upper case and lower case alphabet letters using some "blocky" shapes and sized to fit exactly on the pages of our little booklet. I wanted something a bit fun and whimsical and I didn't want to use a standard font. The booklet was created by folding butcher paper and cutting it in 5 inch sections. Then each 5 inch section was refolded in an accordion like fashion and cut to fit the child's name. For the cover, I cut pieces of mat board into rectangular pieces about 2 3/4" x 5". The cover pieces were glued on the front and back of the book to give it more stability.
Then I made copies of the letters and cut them into squares. I sorted the letters into little bins and so I had 26 bins for the lower case letters and 26 bins for the upper case letters. The children walked along and picked out the letters in their name.
Once each child had selected their letters, I showed them some ideas for decorating their letters. We explained that we wanted them to decorate their letters using pictures of something that represented the "sound" the letter makes. In the above picture, a teacher made this example. On "A" she put ants, then nuts, nails and apples, each on the appropriate letter.
To complete her example she put envelopes on the "e", then lollipops, a lion and elves.
This is the completed name with the letters clued onto the accordion folded paper. The upper case letter was glued on two pages, but each letter is glued on it's own page.
Now the fun begins: Here is Ryder's name. He drew Roses, Yarn, a Dog, Eggs and a Rabbits. At the beginning of the week, I did not tell the children to write the "words" on their letters, but as the project evolved, I started asking them to do this because sometimes it was difficult for me to tell what they had drawn. The words tell a story.
The finished book folds up to a small size with the black covers on each end. You can read the book a page at a time, or expand it to read the entire name at once.
And so even at the end, in the very last class we were still getting new ideas. Treyden turned his "T" into a tree!
Teacher notes: After the children decorated all of their letters we glued them into the book. The entire lesson took about an hour to complete, but some of the children with longer names kept working on their books during recess. In most classes, I glued the covers on the books after the children left. This lesson takes a lot of preparation but the children loved it and I am very pleased with the results.