Exploring Visual and aesthetic dimensions
others will not. The ones who do will attend to the detail of the large shell, noticing
how the orange color curls around inside and the edge is rough with grooves. They
will notice how the train goes behind the hill to emerge on the other side in their
favorite book, and they will enjoy the work of Claude Monet and his bridges, ponds
and water lilies. Draw attention to a child’s work, gather a few interested children to
look and encourage or ask if you can use the painting at the next group meeting time
to share with the other children some good ideas.
Try to take photographs of children working on something special. Include the
context and display the work as well as the process. When the children painted the
wild green oranges, for instance, we laminated their work and placed photographs
of them doing the paintings nearby. The children comment on the photographs, and
they encourage the children to visit the ideas again.
Natalie sits at lunchtime next to her painting (recently hung) of some sunflowers.
She glances around and comments, “Clever, aren’t I?”
“Joy,” says Gary. “Can you get down on your hands and knees for me?”
I am happy to oblige. We find an open and carpeted area. I am curious though to
know what is on his mind. He carries a clipboard, black pen and paper.
When I ask him, he replies, “I am learning to draw elephants.” I think to myself,
“Well he chose the best person for a model.” I ask for more information.
“I want to see if I can see four legs or two when you look from here . . . and here,”
he tells me. Now that makes sense. We have recently enjoyed a book titled Daisy
Drew an Elephant, and he is thinking about this story and the many different ways
elephants were illustrated. Several children in the group enjoying the story had
noticed that in some drawings you could see only two legs and sometimes three or
even four. I felt much better when Sue asked me what Gary and I were doing! I
wondered if she would understand that Gary was making connections.
So often (we hope) it’s the children who make the connections. Children are not con-
strained by boxlike thinking. The connections the children make are the most sig-
nificant because the learner’s connections are about learning, not about how to write
down what the intention of the adult is. Try to reflect the connections the children are
making in your documentation—more about this in the final chapter.
Anthony throws a big blue cloth around himself and over his head. I make the
connection that it reminds me of Arabic dress and give him a book I brought from
the library called The World of Allah. “You might like to look at this,” I suggest.
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