Literary Blackboards

Last year, I did #LiteraryWhiteboardLettering, a project in which I lettered book quotes on school whiteboards every day that I gave a book talk to my students. It was my way of fostering a reading culture in my STEM school. This year, I changed schools. I wanted to keep promoting reading by lettering book quotes in my classroom. #LiteraryBlackboards was born.

I got two huge blackboards and set a goal to update them every month.

…which soon turned to every 6-week grading period.

…which then turned to every semester.

It usually takes me 30 minutes to an hour to create these boards. I thought I had that time. But turns out, a new job, a toddler at home, and a side-hustle are quite a handful. Especially as testing season arose in the spring, I had to reprioritize. Not only did the blackboards go on the back-burner, but so did my goals of creating content on my blog and Instagram. All my creativity had to go to lesson planning and figuring out my content. I’m happy to say that my instruction improved significantly this semester. I wish I could have kept up with my lettering goals, but as I always say around May, Next year will be better.

I still want to show off what I created this year, though! Here are the few #literaryblackboard designs I created. It finally took until the penultimate one for my juniors to say, “Mrs. Gardner, you really should create an Instagram and website for your lettering. You could sell this stuff!” hahaha, oh children, if you only knew my secret alter ego.

August, Board 1: I believe every school year should open with Dumbledore’s words.

nitwit blubber oddment tweak chalkboard by swapna gardner lettering art

August, Board 2: …And Snape! This is for my AP Lang kids, because learning rhetoric is pretty much like Potions with words.

bottle fame brew glory severus snape chalkboard lettering by swapna gardner

October, Board 1: Macbeth for Halloween!

something wicked this way comes macbeth chalkboard by swapna gardner lettering art

October, Board 2: Because I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451 for the first time and it floored me.

fahrenheit 451 chalkboard art by swapna gardner handlettering dallas artist

May, Board 1: When Game of Thrones rules.

May, Board 2: Because this book has been a source of teaching inspiration for me at the end of every school year since my first year of teaching.

the world was hers for the reading a tree grows in brooklyn chalkboard art by swapna gardner handlettering

Next year seems a lot more promising. I’ll have a year of experience under my belt at my new school, my district is switching grading systems so that there is less pressure on teachers and students… I think (hope) I’ll have more time for even more boards next year! While I wait to start the 2019-2020 school year, I’ll probably digitize some of these designs because I love them so. Stay tuned!

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