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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL John Dewey Some of the teachers were disturbed by Kathy’s presenta- tion. “Did you use a model?” one asked. “No,” Kathy responded. “We had the children carefully observe the cardinals in the yard. We brought in lots of books with pictures and photographs, and when we set up the activ- ity, we only set out materials and paint appropriate to making cardinals.” The discussion got more heated. “You actually did this with five-year-olds? I can’t believe you would only set out red and brown paint! What if someone wanted theirs to be purple or green? Isn’t this whole thing infringing on the chil- dren’s creativity?” There was an explosion of questions and comments. Kathy was tentative. Her head teacher had warned her that some of her peers might not understand or approve of the work they were doing with the class. Quietly she shared their approach. “We didn’t put green paint out because there aren’t green cardinals. There has been a lot of painting and drawing in other areas of the classroom, but we think of this project as scientific investigation, not creative arts. We are studying birds, what they look like, what they eat, where they live. We want the children to know more about some of the birds that live in their backyards, and we thought it was important to share accurate information. Restricting the colors they painted with for this project has actually made their study more inter- esting. Last week I overheard a child tell her classmate, as they stared out the window, ‘That must be a blue jay. It can’t be a cardinal, because they are all red!’” This was followed by another burst of comments: “Isn’t it inappropriate to tell children what color they should use on a project?” “If children are painting, shouldn’t they use whatever color they want?” “Well, but bird watching is different from easel painting.” 23 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL