Easing into Art Journaling with Mark-Making Emotions
We began our week building on mark-making and book-binding from last week by exploring mark-making as it is associated with emotions. We explored these in our handbound journals as we plan to ease our way into the idea of art journaling. Art journaling is something Jessica does as a practice outside of teaching and it's something we explored together last year in KW. When we introduced books and book-binding this year we wondered if we would come back to this medium as a way to explore different concepts and "workshops" in another way or language.
The books first led us to writing and illustrating stories, which we hope to continue (more on that coming soon!) Now, being in this new stay-at-home season, it made sense to us to bring art journaling to the children as a way to express emotions and explore mediums easily accessible at home. We saw the concepts of feelings coming up as we all aimed to connect across the distance and reflect on the meaning of our relationships, such as when Sam shared a memory on Seesaw of the way his family brought him comfort when he was sick on Halloween. So we prompted the children with making marks to express an emotion.
What do emotions feel and look like when translated through mark-making tools on paper? During our Zoom and in their posts on Seesaw, the children used a variety of tools to make their marks. Some of which included:
The languages of MARKS, COLOR, and TEXTURE.
From observing, and listening to children's reflections of, the choices made in their work, we gain insight into the ways children interpret and symbolize emotions. Children describe the way marks and texture can show a feeling and through much of our conversations, the concept of color as an expression of emotion was present. We also learn what children know and are learning about materials.
In addition to the observations and quotes from children in the above Seesaw posts, here is some of what the children shared about their process during our Zoom:
Jossie talks about Lochie's painting. She explains that she thinks he, or the painting, feels sad because of the grey color.
Grace M: "I'm making a rainbow because I feel happy."
Leigh: "It's a 'T' and then I colored it."
Q: "Is it for an emotion? What kind of feeling do you think it is?"
Leigh: "This feeling is sad...actually, no, mad." She adds wings to her mad painting. Later she paints a unicorn that is flying.
Leigh: "This paper is not good. It's wimpy for watercolor. Because it bends so much and it makes holes so much. Because I'm using plain paper; I'm not using watercolor paper."
Ellie shows how she painted over stamps: "Stamps...I painted them but you can still see them." Ellie shows us other glimpses into her work but expresses that she isn't finished and not ready to show us yet. She said she is scraping with toothpicks, and later that she is painting a sad painting. She shows the colors being used. The final work is shared to Seesaw later.
It is interesting to us how color is arising as a concept to explore and we are reminded that it was one of the workshop ideas children suggested. We plan to continue exploring this concept! In the coming week, we also plan to more directly introduce and reflect with the children on the concept of art journaling.
(Click through the slideshow to see images from our time together.)
Our Process and Partnership
The above example of Ellie is just one of several over the last few weeks we have observed of children who aren't always ready to talk about or show their work while still in process. When we were in person at school it was easier to gain visual glimpses into their process, but the barrier of distance reminds us so clearly of the importance of time and process in the work. So while we always want children to feel included and invited to share we become aware of our role, reflect on when and how much to interject ourselves, and how we can support the space required for the work.
We also find ourselves so grateful for the role families are playing as documenters at home and for the time you spend sharing this with us later on Seesaw or in an email...every contribution is treasured as insight into the children's thinking and learning.
We want you to know we use every Zoom experience with the children and each post on Seesaw as the documentation of children's processes right now. What the children say, do, and show through their work are integral to our understanding of where they are with concepts, relationships, and their own ideas or wonderings. It helps us know what children are engaging with, what meaning they find in those experiences, and to think about what we can offer to build on that learning.
We know so much more is being asked of families during this time as you support the work in documenting and helping children show up to live meetings, etc., all in addition to your own work. Please know we are so grateful and your efforts are not lost on us! You provide great value to the work! Thank you!!
Throughout all of our experiences and interactions over the week, whether live together on Zoom or responding to activities and one another's posts on Seesaw, we observed connections being made between children and to concepts. Here are a few examples and highlights...
Here are a a few more images from this week:
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