The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 2

Notes and Lesson Plans

Lowercase Letters
updated March 24, 2020


Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.



Lowercase Letters
for Class 1/2

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This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your second grade year. Enjoy!


Rationale

Traditionally, Waldorf schools have taught the Capital Letters in first grade and the Lowercase Letters in second grade.

Some classroom teachers and homeschooling families prefer to teach these both in first grade, both so that children can read more environmental print (not much is written in completely uppercase letters) and so that the correct pathways for forming the letters can be established as early as possible. Children not taught how to form lowercase letters often invent their own incorrect methods, which are then extremely difficult to unlearn. Muscle memory forms quickly at this age!

When Steiner advocated for the teaching of letters via shape-pictures (you can find MUCH more about this in Teaching Language Arts in the Waldorf School: A Compendium of Excerpts From the Foundations of Waldorf Education Series collected by Roberto Trostli), he himself said that you cannot present every single letter in this way because it would take far too long.

In my classroom, I've chosen to present every uppercase letter with a shape-picture, but to quicken the process for the Lowercase Letters block. My teaching notes for the eight stories are below.


Chancery Script

I got my Real Script training with Rebecca Loveless and I highly recommend her class! She teaches via Zoom, so it is easy to learn from her, wherever you are in the world.

There is also a book, but it is easiest to learn penmanship when you are watching someone form the letters in real time.


Putting Pen to Paper: Principles and Practice of Handwriting

by Melvyn Ramsden


The Question of Fountain Pens

Rebecca recommends a fountain pen because of the ease of flow of the ink and the weight of the pen, which sits nicely balanced in a child's hand. You don't have to push hard for it to make a mark! Forcing a pencil to write is tiring. These factors, plus the letter formation pathways themselves, make Script the healthiest most ergonomic of style of writing, causing the least fatigue for the child.

If you are using fountain pens I use and highly recommend

Pilot Fountain Pen Medium Stainless Steel Nib - Metropolitan Collection (silver, gold, black)

Pilot Fountain Pen Medium Stainless Steel Nib - Retro Pop Collection (super fun colors)

refill fountain pen ink cartridges - black


If you are beginning Lowercase Letters in first grade, or you feel your child is still working on regulating pressure and will find a fountain pen frustrating (bent nibs, pools of ink on the paper) then another option is Pentel Energel pens. These are what I am using in my classroom with the first & second graders; I move my third graders up to fountain pens.



Lesson Planning

"Letters form as the rain falls and as the wind blows, but NOT as the grass grows."


Introduction

introduction to Chancery Script (the teacher must be trained on this beforehand)

explain origins of terms "uppercase" and "lowercase" and "capital"

look at capitals in interior photos of Rudolf Steiner's First Goetheanum

show a vintage wooden case for movable type

read Johann Gutenberg and the Amazing Printing Press by Bruce Koscielniak

read The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C.M. Millen

color illuminated letters from Colour Your Own Medieval Alphabet


Teaching Script

Emblem < u >

demonstrate how to form all of the lowercase letters in emblem < u >


Emblem < n >

demonstrate how to form all of the lowercase letters in emblem < n >


Single Downstroke

demonstrate how to form all of the lowercase letters the single downstroke family


Diagonal Downstroke


demonstrate how to form all of the lowercase letters in the diagonal downstroke family


Sibilant Pair

demonstrate how to form both of the lowercase letters in the sibilant pair



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