Thursday, September 10, 2009

Observational Drawings

I've been reading which is written by a mother that home schools with a project based / reggio based approach. One crucial learning process they use is observational drawing. It's based on the idea that by drawing something you focus your observations and notice more. (As a side note: This is also the intention of our nature table)

With that in mind I found this picture Rainbow Girl drew very interesting. It was drawn on a Sunday evening after we encountered a blue tongue lizard in the bush. What she drew perfectly captures her experience.
1. The first thing she drew was the tongue (the line half way down the left side of the page). This was the lizards most outstanding feature as it spent the whole time Russell held it with it's mouth open and tongue sticking out (trying to appear intimidating). The tongue didn't end up being near the mouth and when sharing the paper she now points at the mouth when talking about the tongue.
2. The next thing she drew was it's back - the horizontal line on the right . This is interesting in that her pictures haven't evolved to include bodies yet but this is about where she stroked the lizard, if you imagine Russell standing behind the lizard.
3. Next was the sharp claws (the row of vertical lines at the bottom) and we did talk about the claws while we looked at it.
4. Finally she drew her standard face - complete with hair!
So after that awareness of watching her draw I packed crayons and paper for Wednesday's trip to a local fish and chip store that has about 15m of aquarium (including sharks, cuttlefish, starfish, anemones ...) Initially she just drew from memory then with encouragement went back a nd forth from the aquarium and paper to collect more detail. This resulted in some great discussions about whether starfish have eyes and how would they eat with a mouth underneath.
I like the idea of recording her questions alongside. I often record her titles and will sometimes do a little sketch so I can remember how to read her drawing.
I also feel that I have to tread carefully. I don't want to lead her drawing. I want her to represent things in ways that are meaningful to her and not to conform to an acceptable way of drawing. I'm also aware of the crisis of confidence that occurs later when they start to doubt their own ability to draw in a life like way. I also want drawing to be something enjoyable and a way she chooses to interact with the world.
Rainbow Girl was keen to take the drawing materials on today's outing to the fairy store but as friendly as the fairy staff are they haven't really got the space for us to draw! In the end she was so excited about seeing a real fairy and having her wish (for a cuddle with Dadda) granted (complete with fairy dust) that she forgot that she had planned to draw. By the way her wish came true as soon as Dadda got home and Dadda didn't even know about the wish!!! Magic.

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