Writing Like George Washington Did With a Feather Pen… Genius Idea Gone Wrong…

Not only is my title of this blog post entirely too long, my genius idea bombed.  We were learning about George Washington last week, and one of our standards in social studies is to learn about how things were “a long time ago.”  In one of the stories I was reading, it mentioned how George Washington would write with a feather pen in ink, instead of a pencil like we do.  A brilliant idea formed in my mind:  we will write with paint and feathers on construction paper and really experience the difference of how we write today….nope.  It turned into a giant mess, with kids frustrated because their feather kept collapsing.  I suppose if I tested it before busting out all of the paint and feathers, I would have discovered that I could have taped the point of the feather to add stability.  
I hope I am not the only one that gets a wild idea, scrambles to make it happen so you don’t lose the teachable moment, and then it is a disaster.  But hey, sometimes it works out and I can give myself a gold star for creativity for the day!  Her are some pictures of my almost successful project….

Here is me testing it out.  I thought they could write their names with the feathers and paint…


My dear friend, Tyson, came the closest to writing his name!
photo1 1

photo3 1
It was actually interesting to see the different kid’s fine motor skills and levels of frustration when trying to maneuver the floppy feather.  Some of them wrote their name, and the others just had a blast painting with the feathers on their paper!


Did my vision work as planned?  Nope.  But did we write just like George Washington?  Yep!

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12 responses to “Writing Like George Washington Did With a Feather Pen… Genius Idea Gone Wrong…”

  1. Unknown Avatar

    HA! Love it…you are not alone, my friend! You're just brave enough to share ;p

    The Learning Tree

  2. Jill Avatar

    To make this work you need the bigger feathers and a special calligraphy ink. How do I know you guessed it, i tried it several ways and then bought a bOok called George Washington for kids.. All the instructions are in the book. Oh yeah you also have to cut the end of the feather off.

    Been there done that and kudos for trying, the munchkins will never forget.

  3. HeidiSongs Avatar

    I love that you share your failures and your successes both!

  4. vicky1970 Avatar

    We did this years ago as a little center during Open House so the parents helped a bit. Very cute though and I agree with Heidi – love that you share both.

  5. Traci Clausen Avatar
    Traci Clausen

    Trial and error… How humans really learn! Love that you shared this!

  6. Cindy Calenti Avatar
    Cindy Calenti

    Don't you just want to laugh when you carefully plan an activity and then it goes bust? It always adds a little humor and (material for a great story) when this happens. Thanks for sharing- it reminded me of some of my experiences 🙂

    Granny Goes to School

  7. Vickie Avatar

    Oh girl… I did the exact same thing a few years ago. Wild idea right in the middle of teaching and it turned out exactly the same! The kids enjoyed it anyway!
    Vickie 🙂

  8. Pocketful of Littles Avatar
    Pocketful of Littles

    Yep happens to me all the time!

    Fun idea though

    Pocket Full of Kinders

  9. Unknown Avatar

    Love it, bust of not! The kids will remember the experience, and that's all that matters! 🙂

  10. Cupcake Avatar

    Brave soul! I bet your students loved it!
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  11. Sharon Dudley Avatar
    Sharon Dudley

    Michelle, thank you so much for posting this! Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who has disastrous moments in the classroom.

    I did just make some really cool Dr. Seuss freebies if you want to come over and grab them.

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT
    Teaching with Sight

  12. Marlana Avatar

    🙂 Michelle, this totally made me giggle! I'm so glad I'm not the only one that does things like this! You're right, when it works it's amazing! Now anytime your students complain about something not working like their markers, remind them how easy they have it compared to George Washington!

    Lil' Country Kindergarten