Jedi Writing and Mark Making Laboratory

abc doesBoys Learning, Creativity, Jedi Writing, Mark Making12 Comments


 I have been using Jedi Writing for a long time now and I know a number of schools have had success with it. For those children who are really into pink and sparkly and not light sabres, there is also Sparkle Writing which uses a wand!

This intervention is for children who can recognise and hear the sounds that they are attempting to write. It is based around good old sky writing just with a few differences!

You know the scenario, you have a child who is keen to write their name but is still palm gripping and their orientation is all up the spout!

They are VERY enthusiastic and keen to get going and this is where your dilemma kicks in. Do you say ' STOP IMMEDIATELY and do not attempt to write again until you can triangulate your grip and effectively orientate your letters! ' or do you say ' That is brilliant…off you go… ' knowing that every time they attempt their name they are reinforcing bad habits!

That's how Jedi writing came about. I needed to find a way of building self confidence without reinforcing the bad habits. And then there are always those children who come to school having been ' taught ' to write their name at home -only that it is in capitals!

With Jedi or Sparkle writing you are able to show the children a ' different ' way of writing that they are going to want to replicate. When they come to write you remind them to do it Jedi/Sparkle style not ' properly '.

How Jedi writing might work:

First buy some light sabres – I wouldn't work with more than 4 – 6 children at once. Don't forget you need a light sabre as well!

I have found that it is worth investing in the ones that light up and make noises, they are far more engaging!

With the children you first work on the language of the letter formation ' start in the middle…along….up….around and flick'  ' start in the middle….around…straight up…(remember Jedi's don't wobble so we are going to come down the same line!)…down…and flick '

While you are saying this you get the children to draw it in the air with their finger or with the sabre.

Then you are ready to start some formation work. You will demonstrate first using the language and the light sabre – if you can do it to music is is EVEN better. I have a disco version of the Star Wars theme tune!

You and the children stand in a line so that you are all side by side. This allows you to go behind them and help to manipulate their arm movements if you need to.

You wait for the beat to kick in and then you lead and they follow as many times as you tell them to.

I guarantee that you will have children who want to do this letter formation practise as opposed to trying to hide in the toilet when you suggest they get their name card out with some tracing paper!

Sparkle is exactly the same just with wands and different music! You can then practise your Jedi/Sparkle in all of the usual ways…dough, sand, salt, cold spaghetti, flour, mud….

Another initiative that I have also had great success with is creating a Mark Making Lab. Really it is just wallpaper paste, powder paint and glitter!

The idea is that the children are scientists, spies, inventors or witches and wizards. Their task is to invent/create different/magic liquids to write with. The letter formation/writing bit comes when they test out what they have made.

There is of course a HEAP of other learning that goes along with it.

The children mix a base liquid of wallpaper paste, about the consistency of double cream. Then they add various powders and liquids that you provide and see what happens! Powder paint works really well as does glitter, sand, lentils, the bits from your whole punch, shredded tinsel, sequins, mud….Because you are using paste most things will be suspended in the solution and stick to the paper.

If it all sinks to the bottom then your liquid is too thin! You can also use PVA glue – just takes longer to dry.

If you do try PVA write on acitate sheets (the sort you used to use on the old OHP's) and then when it dries you can stick it to the windows – looks fab!

When they have made it they test it by drawing/writing symbols that you give them. You practise your symbols/letter first with talk and then with your amazing liquid!

Mixing wallpaper paste solution into you everyday powder paint gives it a really smooth texture and it dries with a ' satin finish '. It also means that you can enhance your artwork with ' stuff ' to stick on and it will actually stick!

I was working with a child today using  autumn coloured paints with wallpaper paste in them. She was blobbing and mixing, it was very squelchy!  We then got a smaller piece of paper in a complimentary colour and took a relief print of one part of the bigger picture. The texture of the pastepaint gave a brilliant effect.

Worth a try…


12 Comments on “Jedi Writing and Mark Making Laboratory”

  1. Hi,

    Just wondering if you have a standard patter to use when speaking e.g. v is up the mountain, down the mountain. We are a large FS/primary so would be good to have something consistent for when children move through phases. Just wondering if you have something before I make it up!

  2. might sound like a silly question but when drawing with the paste do you use brushes etc: and dip it into and draw in the mixture or does it stick enough to then markmake on paper? Sounds fabulous can;t wait to try it out!!!

  3. Just to let you know poundland have light sabres in which make noise and light up for guess how much £1.

  4. You can pick up a cheap light sabre all over the place these days. I wouldn’t have all of the boys Jedi writing at once as that becomes very difficult to manage effectively. I also takes away some of the ‘special’ element of it.
    I find it most effective when you work in groups of about 6 when you can demonstrate and then stand behind the children who are doing it to ensure that their orientation is correct.
    I invested in a £25 light sabre for me – it hums and glows and is certainly a crowd puller!
    You can buy ones for around £4 from Toys R Us and Tesco that are telescopic plasic and don’t light up or ‘woooosh!’
    Good luck – let me know how you get on.

  5. What a fantastic idea – just what I am looking for with my Y1 class. Just one question – where did you get the light sabres from – the boys in my class would love them – I would need about 16. Many thanks

  6. Hi
    It is true that you have to be careful with commercial wallpaper pastes. You will be using them in far more diluted quantities than the packet recommends – but they could still make a child ill if they ingested a significant amount – so keep your wallpaper paste drinking to an absolute minimum!
    There are a number of companies out there now that produce non-toxic stuff. I also have found instructions to make your own.
    I have used paste from this company before
    The setting I was working with used it so I have no idea of cost, but they had a lot of it so I would imagine it was not too expensive!

  7. hi. which brand of wallpaper paste do you recommend? i have always been wary of the chemicals in them to prevent mould etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.