Me oh my! I saw the coolest idea ever! Lacy Williams, an intern in the classroom next me, had the children in her class doing a collaborative scientific art piece. I was so blown away by the wisdom of how she lead the up to the collaborative piece. The topic was pond life. Here's what she did:
1. She showed the children actual photographs of pond life through a power point she developed.
2. She taught the children, step by step, how to draw the different creatures in the pond.
3. She had each color family in this kindergarten create their own “pond.” Just take a look!
I am so doing this process. The missing step that I have never done is the collaborative piece done in this way. I love it! I watched her students – they were so engaged and in rich conversations.
Another example of the arts bringing learning alive!
Sweet Times in First
Love the pond paintings. Lacy is going to be a fabulous teacher.
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Super ideas Sally, thank u for sharing….. This truly depicts Reggio philosophy . Provocation …… Which extends into learning experiences /opportunities . Collaboratively making projects .
I have a website to share ….
Great Idea, I must try with my classes
This is a really great idea!Absolutely love it!
This is so cool. I loved the way it was all broken down to draw the frogs. Way to go Lacey.
This is awesome and I am going to try this out with the science topic we’re doing now- Living and Non-Living Things. Thanks for this great idea!
Love these projects! I especially love that she used Ed Emberly’s drawing book of animals to guide the children along. His work is just the best ‘go-to’ book of how to draw for children.
Great!! Love it!! Just in time for my Kindergarten class studying about Time & Weather in Science. Our students will be drawing pictures showing the difference between Day & Night in water colors. We can have them work collaboratively in partners instead of individually. They will be using water colors, markers & crayons on construction paper. Waiting to see the results!! Thanks for sharing. Akhtar Nabi
Why would you “teach” a five year old HOW to draw something? Isn’t that their work to construct their own knowledge about what a frog looks like? Yes, it’s our place as teachers to make images(real or photos) of frogs available, but we should never teach HOW to draw something!! I’m surprised that you think that is a good idea..
Hi Michelle, I appreciate your response. In most cases, I agree. However, guided drawing offers students who desire to learn how to draw better the opportunity to learn the techniques in a much simpler way. To understand the steps and process, if you will. I would liken it to a musician practicing their technique in a formal practice, but then making it their own in their own time. I also never made the students follow along. It was always their choice. Those that deeply desired to understand, would follow along and those that didn’t would draw their own way. I hope this helps clear up any confusion.
As an art teacher, I wanted to chime in with a thought on the stylized guided drawing direction. Many teachers in visual arts also feel that this type of heavy guidance is counterintuitive to developing individual style and creativity. The children who desire very simple directed drawing solutions like these tend to become dependent on them and stick with them for a very long time instead of exploring their own way. When I was teaching K-6, I presented lots of handouts, books, and powerpoints of photo references of things I wanted students to draw. I did teach the children how to look at their subject and break it into the simplest shapes possible and then add details over the beginning sketch (a style adult artists use to get accurate shapes in drawings). When they wanted me to specifically show them an exact way to draw, I asked questions about what shapes they could see in the item and how they might put it together. A very timid child unwilling to explore could be given transparency films for old fashioned overhead projectors (excess plastic from the laminator works well too) and a wipe off or sharpie to lay the clear plastic over a photo and draw in the simple shapes and then details themselves for practice before trying on their final project. I was always excited to see how much more the children observed about what they were drawing and the astounding things they would add when left to explore actual objects or photos than when given “draw this way” formulas. They asked more questions about what they were looking at too. Even my little kinders could make some incredible drawings! Now that I’ve moved up to teaching high school, I still teach my students to break their subject into the simplest shapes at first to get an accurate underdrawing and then observe and add details.
I agree Michelle the minds eye. Children need to develop their own skills and bring their interpretation into their drawing. Why does everything have to be from an adult point of view. Let them experiment with colour size and images. Don’t take the magic away. Don’t tell them what to draw let them create what they see.
I love the idea but am troubled by teaching children specific ways to draw the creatures. If they could be given pictures or books to find pictures, photographs taken, etc their drawings would be intentional and their own idea. I think that empowers children making them feel capable of finding solutions to their ideas and using their creativity. Just thinking. I love the project!
I totally agree Jenny that it would be far more powerful if the children generated their own drawing of the animals. This was a project from another colleague so just captured the inspiration. It is important to tweak ideas for the classroom to reflect our personal values and image of the child.
We do not learn from experience we learn from reflecting on experience. John Dewey. Let them draw what they see not what we think we want to see.
Very teacher led indeed, we have shifted our practice to being child led because we belief children are capable and competent to portray their creative graphic language, ideas and perspective.
I think the teacher can show students how to draw something if they are interested in it, but it can be just an inspiration, just like pictures of real objects. The children have their own perception of things that surround them and are capable to create their own drawings/art, etc.
Thank you for sharing this with me, Sally! 🙂
I think this is a brilliant idea
We should explain to children all about the pond
and then show them some books children should do the one painting.
I love bringing books that inspire children into the mix. I love the deep dive into children’s interests and exploring it through art!
This is awesome
This is fantastic i love this idea. Always inspiring me