and now, the blog:
Recently the children have been generating ideas about gifts to make for Gery that they can send to Austria. Some of their design ideas have included a T-shirt and socks adorned with ducks, hot dogs, and rocket ships. Today we started drawing designs for the gifts, and we brought in a visual dictionary for the children to use as a reference.
Lou Lou was the first to use the dictionary and decided to draw a hedgehog. Then she added a mole and a shrew, which were on the same page in the dictionary. Each of the three creatures had distinctive features which Lou Lou emphasized in her rendering: the hedgehog had quills, the shrew a prominent tail, the mole long claws.
A bit later, Will wanted to work on his design. Lou Lou explained to him how to use the visual dictionary, and she was thrilled when Will immediately identified her hedgehog, saying, “It’s that one ‘cause of the spikes.” It was interesting to watch the children use the dictionary as a resource and guide for drawing, and to see their different strategies. Will drew a duck. He started with the beak, then added the body, then the tail. While the parts didn’t fit together exactly as in the book illustration, it was clear that he had noticed and conveyed the shape and relative size of the isolated parts of the duck. A bit later, Sally drew a mole and focused on the illustration of the animal’s skeleton rather than the external view. She explained that the lines were easier to follow and the lack of color made it easier to draw.
We noticed that each of the children broke down the drawing task into pieces—they began drawing a specific part of the animal, moving from one part to the next—though each one proceeded in a different order. Drawing the same horse, Jossie, Sally, and Elle all proceeded differently: Jossie started at the head, then added the body, legs and finally the tail. Elle started with the legs, then the body, the tail, and finally the head. We noticed that in nearly every case, the children spent the most time revising and adding detail to the last part they drew. It was as if we could see their confidence and perception increasing over the course of a single experience. By far the most exciting aspect of this, however, was how much the children enjoyed the freedom and seemingly unlimited possibilities the book offered. It was absolutely thrilling to have access to so much information, and to be able to use it independently. The dictionary will be a well-used tool in the Rainey Room and beyond.
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.