Illuminated Manuscripts: Writing as Art

Level: K-8 ESL

Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Educational overview: Illuminated manuscripts, connecting writing and art,

Goals and Objectives: To connect art and writing, practice writing and spelling,

Vocabulary: “My name is…” “I like to eat…” “My favorite _____ is…” “I have __ sister(s)/brother(s)”

Materials: Construction paper books (construction paper, lined paper, staples), letter stencils, ½ sheets of paper, glue, pencils, and crayons.


  1. Students stencil the first letter of their name onto a ½ sheet of paper.
  2. Students Write the rest of their name after the stenciled letter.
  3. Teachers demonstrate examples of how illuminated manuscripts decorate their text for students’ reference.
  4. Students decorate their stenciled letter and name with pencils and crayons.
  5. Students glue the ½ sheet of paper onto the front of the construction paper book.
  6. Students write about themselves in the book.
  7. Teachers provide example topics and phrases to practice when introducing yourself. We used “My name is____,” “I like to eat____,” “My favorite animal is____,” “My favorite color is____,” and “I have __ sister(s)/brother(s).”
  8. On another ½ sheet of paper, students draw with pencils and crayons what they wrote about. For example, if they wrote that their favorite animal is a dog, they would draw a dog.
  9. Students glue the ½ sheet of paper with their drawings on the next page in the book, next to the phrases introducing themselves.

We choose this project for a diverse group of ESL students to practice common phrases they would use to introduce themselves and to encourage writing and literacy by connecting it to art. Most of the students enjoyed this project because it was relatively simple and focused on speaking about their individual preferences. At the end of class, we encouraged students to read out loud what they had written to practice public speaking. I believe this project and public speaking practice at the end was very successful, because I noticed some students who were more shy about speaking English in front of a crowd volunteer to do so for their project. Because the phrases were shared by everyone, it allowed ESL students insecure in their speaking to hear the phrases a few times before trying it themselves. This was also a way for the students to practice confidence in introducing themselves and sharing information about their individual lives and preferences. Overall, I think this project was enjoyable for our students and it worked as good speaking and writing practice.

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