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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET When Ian and Isaac arrived at the easel at the same time, both eager to paint, I anticipated conflict: Who would have the first turn at the easel? How long would the other person have to wait? But Ian sidestepped that conflict with his proposal to work together, surprising both me and Isaac. I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. Ian and Isaac are good buddies; their play is often quite physical and always full throttle, and they know how to figure out problems together. I was curious about how they’d negotiate the space at the easel. Though the easel stands tall and the paper it holds is large, the space becomes tight with two children standing side by side, extending their bodies to the easel. As I watched Ian and Isaac, I wondered if this effort to share the space and the creation process was, in fact, the most important part of their easel work. It seemed to me that their work together at the easel was like a dance, a way to engage with one another physically and, together, to engage with the easel: the broad arm movements, the turn of a torso, the leaning close and stepping back, moving color across the paper. The physical dance with one another and with the paint speaks volumes about Ian and Isaac’s friendship. Their affirmation to one another that they are “artists together” moved me. It seemed to me to capture the strength and intimacy of their connection, deepened by their collaborative easel work. And it reflects an important value in our studio: that art is not necessarily a solitary endeavor, but one that is anchored in relationship. Describe next steps and further plans k How will you follow up on the children’s explorations, questions, and discoveries? Will you add materials to the classroom? Will you offer specific activities? k How will you pursue the questions that this experience raised for you? k How will you make the children’s learning visible to them? How will you use this experience to invite them into further exploration and reflection? 34 Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL