History of Writing

I recently gave the fourth great lessonthe story of writing –  to some of the elementary children. The story traces the evolution of writing, from cave paintings, to hieroglyphics, cuneiform, phoenician, greek and roman. Writing being able to transcend space and time and the big leap to symbols representing sounds rather than objects and ideas, are highlighted.

While relating the story I didn’t really get a feel of where it was going, until after the story. One boy came up to me, eyes shining bright with a big smile on his face saying, “This is just what happened to me. When I was little I only drew pictures and they told stories and now I can write pages and pages using marks”!

The last few days have been all about exploring different scripts. We’ve brought out the clay to make clay tablets, as well as our bamboo quills, feather quills and our vintage ink wells!

The children have been leaving little messages in scripts long past, in each others lockers.

One child has finally started working with note taking. He has made points about how papyrus was made and is expanding his points and transliterating them into hieroglyphics simultaneously!

Another child has traced the evolution of the alphabet from phonecian to roman (which is the script I am using right now) and cannot believe that an ox’s head led to A !

There are tetrahedrons (pyramids) being constructed and covered in hieroglyphics that say, “The king is not dead – he is alive!” (a common inscription on pyramids)

At the end of today the same boy who we met at the beginning of this post, came to me saying, “All I see are capital letters! In Russian, in Greek, in Roman – where are the small letters? How did they come to be?”

Another story for another day …. These are fun times indeed!

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