Calligrams are a fun and simple way to engage with words. They make a good add on activity or springboard to more creative writing. In this session you will find ideas of how to help children write a descriptive sentence based on their calligram(s). Calligrams also make good decorations/displays. For this session we are just looking at words as calligrams rather than sections of text or poetry.
Fireworks and bonfires are a great inspiration for calligram words. Children can explore different words to describe things (adjectives) and movement (verbs) through this fun activity. They can develop their calligram into a descriptive sentence and, if they want, turn it into a piece of art.
What you need
- Access to the explanation and examples below
- Pen and paper for drawing calligrams and writing sentences
- Any art materials for turning the calligram into a piece of art
What to do
- Step 1: Explain calligrams and explore examples
- Step 2: Decide on a word related to fireworks to make a calligram from
- Step 3: Write calligram as a sentence
- Step 4 (Optional): Make calligram into piece of art
Step 1: Explain calligrams and explore examples
What is a calligram?
A calligram is a word made into a picture that represents the meaning of the word.
- If you draw the word jump with the letters jumping
- The word hot with the letters as flames
- The word grow with the letters getting bigger
- The word wiggly as wiggly lines or worms
If you search online you will be able to see lots of examples of calligrams.
Step 2: Make a firework/bonfire calligram
Think of words related to how fireworks and/or bonfires that you think would work as a calligram. Think about how they look and what noises and movement they make.
Some examples are: whizz, blaze, explode, pop, blast, flame, shoot, soar, sparkle, burn, crackle, singe, bang, sparks.
Children can make one of these examples into a calligram or think of their own word to try. They could make a set of calligrams describing a firework display or bonfire night.
Step 3: Write calligram in a descriptive sentence
Children can now use the words they have done calligrams for to write some great sentences with powerful verbs (action words) or adjectives (describing words) depending on the type of word they have chosen.
The fire crackled and sparks flew from the huge flames.
The rocket whizzed into the sky and with a pop and a bang it exploded into a thousand sparkles.
Step 4 (Optional): Make a calligram piece of art
Children can make their favourite calligram(s) into a great piece of art:
- Draw or paint a large picture of it.
- Use different materials to add texture to the calligram.
- If they have done a few calligrams, children could stick them all on a large sheet of paper in the shape of a bonfire or with a night sky background.
- Another thing to try if they have done a few calligrams is to make them into bonfire night or firework celebration bunting. Attach the calligrams to a piece of string or ribbon and hang it up as decoration. To make the bunting longer, add colour paper and patterns in between the calligrams. Choose colours associated with fire and fireworks like red, orange and yellow.