Saturday, 18 February 2017

drawing out loud....

A grade one student's "review" of  Alberta
Opera's Rumpelstiltskin. There was a part in the play
where one of the character's pants fell down,
revealing not-at-all-revealing boxers!

Lately I’ve been reminded of how many of the Grade One Language Arts objectives in my part of the world include “drawing,” “telling” and “listening;” as well as “reading” and “writing.” At this stage there is so much that kids know, that they haven’t got the skills to write down just yet. Drawing is a legitimate form of communication.

As an artist, I’ve always let my kids draw. Sometimes made my kids draw. But as a teacher who is newly discovering the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood instruction, I was puzzled by the love of permanent black markers as a drawing medium in Reggio circles.

It’s not that I was afraid of the mess the kids could make with them. It’s just I’ve never particularly liked that colouring-book effect of black lines outlining simple shapes. Waiting to be coloured in with a more interesting medium. I guess I don’t like the colour-inside-the-lines thing. (Heck, I don’t even like writing on lined paper!)


I gave it a try and I’m duly impressed with what my kids have done with Sharpies this year. I don’t know if it’s the bold contrast that they like, or what it is, but they like drawing with them.

I like the commitment, the not-getting-mired-in-the-search-for-perfection, because once the lines are there, they’re there to stay. (I usually allow one do-over for my perfection seekers, but that’s all.)

I like the way they make every drawing seem important to both kids and viewers, which doesn’t always happen with pencil drawings.

I like the amount of detail they can put into a picture with their Sharpies, and that it doesn’t get lost in the colouring.

I’ve even started getting the kids to draw borders around their drawings this year, which is another thing I used to hate.


Live and learn.


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