10 Amazing, Free Tools to Revive the Lost Art of Handwriting

With so much testing pressure in schools these days, there’s always discussion about what can stay in the curriculum and what can go. One thing that always seems to be caught in the crosshairs is handwriting.

Cursive handwriting is not included in the Common Core, which has been adopted by the vast majority of states since its introduction in 2010. In its place, more time is devoted to keyboarding. What impact does this have on our students?

An article from the New York Times last year pointed out the fact that there is evidence that links handwriting to other educational development. It also highlighted some recent studies which suggested learning to write by hand actually makes other learning easier. Finally, the article talked about how interesting it is that different writing modes may activate different parts of the brain.

If your school district has let handwriting fall by the wayside, you might be able to help. You can easily incorporate a lesson or two that will allow your students get those handwriting benefits. The perfect place to start? Calligraphy!

Some art teachers steer away from calligraphy because they think it’s too complicated to prep. In fact, with the right resources, a calligraphy lesson is absolutely a cinch to pull together.

Luckily, the beloved art supply company Sakura has you covered.

Did you know that Sakura has an entire section of their website devoted to lettering? It’s true! There, you will find some truly amazing resources. Sakura was gracious enough to share these resources with us, plus a few resources that haven’t yet been published on the site.

10 Amazing, Free Tools to Revive the Lost Art of Handwriting

Videos

In addition to what you see here, Sakura also has a wonderful YouTube channel to which you can subscribe. Your students will love watching these videos at their own pace. They are perfect for a flipped learning environment.

1. Calligraphy Tips Using Pigma Calligrapher Pens

This video highlights one of our favorite tools, the Pigma Calligrapher pens. These are fantastic for students because you don’t have to mess with nibs or ink. If you’ve never used them before, we have exciting news for you. Sakura is giving the first 1500 registrants for the 2016 Online Winter Conference a FULL PACK of free pens in the swag boxes. Now that’s amazing.

2. Simple Upper Case Italic Alphabet

In this video, calligraphy guru Joanne Fink takes viewers through a simple italic alphabet. This would be a great place to start with students.

3. How to Write a Lower Case Italic Alphabet

This is the corresponding video where Joanne takes viewers through the lowercase alphabet.

4. Swash Capital Italic Alphabet

In this video, Joanne shows viewers a different uppercase alphabet. This alphabet is a bit more complicated and would be a great way to differentiate for students that need a bigger challenge.

5. Creative Flourishing Techniques for Calligraphy 

This video is a fun way to learn how to add embellishments to your writing.

Resources

1. Complete Cursive Lesson Plan

cursive unit
Click for free download!

This resource is a doozie. Handwriting instructor Phyllis Macaluso has partnered with Sakura to put together everything you need to teach cursive. Use this when constructing your handwriting unit. Or, share it with the classroom teachers at your school.

2. Pigma Calligrapher Tracing Practice Guides

tracing guides

These tracing guides are an absolute dream for beginners and a great way for students to build skills and confidence.

3. Pigma Calligrapher Italic Lettering Guides

lettering guide
Visit Sakura’s website for free downloads!

Print these sheets and make copies for your students to help guide their practice. These are a must have and are available to correspond with 1mm pens, 2mm pens, and 3mm pens. All are available on the Sakura website.

4. Flourishes

flourishes
Click for free download!

This resource provides some concrete examples of different, basic flourishes.

5. Italic Lettering with Sakura Calligrapher

italic lettering guides
Click for free download!

This is another great resource for learning to write with the Pigma Calligrapher.

As you can see, Sakura has done a brilliant job of providing all of the tools you need to get started. Whether you teach one lesson or a whole unit, your students will benefit from practicing handwriting. You never know—it may even spark some of them to take up calligraphy as a hobby! Plan your lesson to correspond with National Handwriting Day, which is January 23rd, to get your students even more excited.  Watch Sakura’s inspiring Instagram for a fun giveaway starting in mid-January.

Also, don’t forget about Sakura’s amazing contribution to the Winter Conference swag box. Sign up now to grab your free pack of Pigma Calligrapher pens, plus tons of other amazing supplies! Be sure to sign up soon! Once the swag boxes are gone, they’re gone!

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Thanks so much to Sakura for providing us with all of these amazing resources. Be sure to check out everything else they have to offer.

Do you feel handwriting is an essential skill?

Do you teach calligraphy in your classroom?

 

Amanda Heyn

Learning Team

Amanda is the Senior Editor at AOE. She has a background in teaching elementary art and enjoys working to bring the best ideas from the world of art ed to the magazine each day. 

Related

  • Don Wachter

    This is a very important article that everyone in education needs to be aware of due to the harm that is caused to young developing minds not exposed to real hand-eye memory skills related to the task of any form of hand-writing. I compare the physical activity one encounters when writing something by hand with throwing a baseball. One has to use parts of the human brain that activates not only our muscles but our natural instincts of aesthetics and direction of accurate aim. Children’s creative minds need to have practice activities such as cursive writing to develop their visual and verbal literacy skills in our every changing world.

    • Such a great analogy- thanks for sharing, Don! :)

  • Don Wachter

    This is a very important article that everyone in education needs to be aware of due to the harm that is caused to young developing minds not exposed to real hand-eye memory skills related to the task of any form of hand-writing. I compare the physical activity one encounters when writing something by hand with throwing a baseball. One has to use parts of the human brain that activates not only our muscles but our natural instincts of aesthetics and direction of accurate aim. Children’s creative minds need to have practice activities such as cursive writing to develop their visual and verbal literacy skills in our every changing world.

    • Such a great analogy- thanks for sharing, Don! :)

  • Vicky Siegel

    We just had this conversation, too! And, how ironic- this is what my 3rd graders did today for a one-day project before break. They used white and black oil crayons on their one-colored ornament to show value/shadow. The “stem” of the ornament added a cursive word- since third graders learn cursive and are so excited to use it. They loved using metallic Sharpies! Some also added a tree branch. Of course, there were many other variations, too! (sorry the picture is sideways)

  • Vicky Siegel

    We just had this conversation, too! And, how ironic- this is what my 3rd graders did today for a one-day project before break. They used white and black oil crayons on their one-colored ornament to show value/shadow. The “stem” of the ornament added a cursive word- since third graders learn cursive and are so excited to use it. They loved using metallic Sharpies! Some also added a tree branch. Of course, there were many other variations, too! (sorry the picture is sideways)

  • Rosanne Jensen

    I am trying to download the complete cursive plan, but I cannot get it to load. Is there another way to get the link? Thanks.

    • Hi Rosanne, I just tried it and it downloaded ok for me. Sorry you’re having trouble! It is also available on this page over at the Sakura website: http://sakuraofamerica.com/lettering Look for “Complete Cursive Lesson Plan for Age 8-9.” Hope you can get it to work!

  • Rosanne Jensen

    I am trying to download the complete cursive plan, but I cannot get it to load. Is there another way to get the link? Thanks.

    • Hi Rosanne, I just tried it and it downloaded ok for me. Sorry you’re having trouble! It is also available on this page over at the Sakura website: http://sakuraofamerica.com/lettering Look for “Complete Cursive Lesson Plan for Age 8-9.” Hope you can get it to work!

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  • Laura Moakley

    This is awesome .. going to use it with my own kids

  • Laura Moakley

    This is awesome .. going to use it with my own kids

  • Jan Allen

    Thank you!!!

  • Jan Allen

    Thank you!!!