When we think about the craft of writing, we usually think about characters, plot, setting, and theme. We think of using figurative language and descriptive details. We think of problems and resolutions. We think of a flow of ideas that form an amazing adventure. However, my small group of 2nd graders spent the winter with me practicing their handwriting – honing letter formation, sentence formation, and appropriate spacing. They were so proud of the progress they made and begged me to do a craft with them. When I asked what they’d like to do, they said they wanted to make wrist pillows to help them keep their wrists up when writing. “Wrist pillow? How would we make those?” I asked. They were full of ideas. “Small little pillow stuffed with fluff in dog and cat prints,” they offered. I agreed to allow time for making wrist pillows since they were so eager, and I sensed they needed something to celebrate.
I told their teacher of their desire and being the good-natured trooper that she is, we set out gathering all the materials for the entire class to make wrist pillows. I bought dog and cat print fabric. Their teacher bought special pencils and pencil toppers. We told the girls that to celebrate the beginning of learning cursive, we would make wrist pillows. They were ecstatic.
It was a joyous afternoon. The girls practiced making underhand curves with their new pencils, while small groups came to the crafting table to fill bags with rice, wrap the bags with fabric, and tie the ends with colorful ribbons. They loved trying out their wrist pillows. They were ready to try their hands at cursive. This simple craft sparked their curiosity. It motivated them to write. I am sure that their future storytelling promises to be magical.