While drawing our collections using primarily pencils to provide detail, we noticed that the children were curious about other mark making materials. With that in mind, the studio was set up for a mark-making exploration, first with paper covering an entire table and then with a variety of paper sizes from which children could choose. Our intention was to provide a provocation that facilitated exploration of mark-making materials and an opportunity to discover the best uses for different types of implements. With that in mind, the chidlren chose from a multitude of implements, including oil pastels, chalk pastels, and a variety of sizes and colors of sharpie markers, crayons and traditional markers.
When examining the collection of mark-making implements, one of the attributes that children noticed first was size: the size of the actual implement and the size of the mark that it made. We encouraged children to try out a variety of implements and to compare the marks that they made with materials of different sizes.
Charlton chose the Sharpie “Magnum": I wanna try a big thick marker.
Ava described her marker strokes as she used a regular sharpie: A little bit skinny, a little bit.
Ford: Cause it’s a little bit smally. I heard a click (as he put the cap back on the sharpie).
Whit: I notice that they are shape-y. This one (the blue sharpie) is smaller and this one is bigger (the sharpie "Magnum").
Ellie experimented with a variety of sharpies. She noticed that they sharpies all made marks of similar sizes and drew colors as "neighbors" to make a rainbow.
Seon chose the Sharpie “Magnum” to draw a design of thick, diagonal black lines: : I want to draw. I want to do a different one This is my own design. Then then returned to the materials table and chose a fuschia sharpie, with which she outlined the think black lines she had drawn first.
Noticing Other Properties of Mark-making Implements
As the children used the various implements they began to share their noticings about the physical properties of the marks they had made.
Ford chose an oil pastel next and then smudged it with his finger when he finished drawing. He looked at his finger and noticed the pastel on his skin: It got glued on.
Karen: If you rub the marker, do you think it would do the same thing?
Ford: No, because it’s not oil pastel.
Whit watched as Charlton used chalk pastels and then smudged them with his finger: I’m making a cave. He then tried the chalk pastels: It makes nothing there.
Whit used the chalk pastels to add more colors to his marks: I’m making a rainbow.
Charlton looked at his fingers after smudging the chalk pastels: I’m never going to use pastels again because they’re dirty.
Whit looked at the “gelato” oil pastels and picked up the color called limoncello, a fluorescent yellow: This one is so light!
Mimi chose a black-leaded pencil that happened to have a pink barrel. As she drew, she noticed: It doesn’t make pink.
Seon joined the table and chose a pink chalk pastel first with which to experiment: It’s perfect! She then looked at her hand which was holding the pastel: My finger turned pink with this!
Mark-Making Leads to and Storytelling and Emergent Writing
Mark-making is one of the earliest stages of of drawing and writing. The children are making marks and using those marks to illustrate their stories and communicate with their friends and loved ones through making messages.
Ava: I made my name. I wrote a note to grandma. Says “I love you.”
Ford then chose the Sharpie “Magnum” to write his name: F-O-R-D.
Rawls chose a large piece of paper for his final drawing of the day and told us his story: This is my house, with my pet named “Frisbee” (his dog). This is a picture for my daddy.
Zari used a sharpie to draw individual marks at the top of the page. As she drew each one, she gave it a name, “Mommy, Daddy, Freddy, …”
Louisa drew a bunny and then began to write the letters in her name.
Isabelle: The rainbow is inside the beach.
Cal: A map of where to find my collection.