Quill Pen Calligraphy and Colonial Hornbooks

Did you notice anything in the background of the post about pease porridge (hot)? Perhaps this?

While we enjoyed pease porridge (hot), we made our version of colonial hornbooks. This is my sample:

I gave each student a feather to use as a quill pen, watered down black tempera paint to use as ink, a copy of a calligraphy alphabet, and two sheets of white paper.

They practiced on the first sheet. 

Then they did a final version on the second sheet. 

Pease porridge (hot) in one cup, ink in the other. Don't mix them up!

After the ink had dried, the kids glued their completed sheet to a piece of manila paper, cut out in the shape of a colonial hornbook.

The classroom is starting to fill up with all sorts of history-related art. I love it!


  1. Yes, don't mix up the cups, LOL! I don't think I could write w/ a feather...what a fun challenge and lesson!

  2. This is great! Where did you get a copy of the calligraphy alphabet?

    1. I found it in a book, though I don't remember which one. You can probably find something good at the library or with a Google search.

  3. What an absolutely wonderful activity for the children to experience. Combining history and art is the perfect recipe for learning. I have no doubt these children will remember this incredible activity with great joy for the rest of their lives.
    When me, my siblings and cousins were young our mother enjoyed many different art activities and we all participated in the fun especially over summer vacations. Macrame, basket weaving, mixing different colors of frosting yo paint our gorgeous sugar Christmas cookies and so much more. All of us are well into our 50's and each of us had such fond memories that we in turn shared them with our children and they are doing the same with theirs.


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