Thursday, December 6, 2007

what's in there?

Today in honor of the snow I grabbed white paint and blue paper and decided we would make Snowy Day snow pictures. I did this with my kindergarten lunch club yesterday and decided that it went well enough I'd try it with my first grade group.

The only problem is, I don't have paint brushes. I had a fantastic tub of paint brushes. If I'm honest my tub of paint brushes was my favorite part of my classroom. It looked so inviting. The different shapes and sizes of brushes, just asking to be used in whatever creative process they are needed. When I moved out of my classroom I left the brushes and haven't seen them since. I miss them.

So, yesterday when I was grabbing the supplies for my kindergarten bunch I didn't have time to ask someone for brushes. Why let that stop me? I grabbed plastic knives, spoons, and paperclips and demonstrated all the magic we could create with these supplies. They bought it, and we had a lot of fun. So why not try it again?

Today I introduced this to my two first graders and they ate it up. One though, seemed to dive into the project in a way I'd never seen before. He started looking around the classroom for other supplies to paint with. He found two skinny wooden rods, hooked them together with a paperclip, and began painting with both of the rods. Then he grabbed another piece of paper and pressed it on top of his current art work to create a stamp.

This is a little one who stays in the back of the classroom by choice, defies teachers who try to engage him, and frequently avoids participating. He struggles with language and although wants to communicate, gets so frustrated by his difficulties that he lashes out in anger frequently.

I've seen him talkative and happy before, but I've never witnessed this amount of initiative and creativity. He was in his own world, making his ideas happen, testing his theories, and fixing them when they didn't work. To be honest, I was shocked. This is a child who has thrown his guided reading books at me when he got frustrated.

So what is in there? He is a problem solver, he is thinking quickly, making connections in his life, and he seems to love creating. This just isn't what we normally see. This isn't reflected in his testing, or his predicted ability. Are his communication struggles making him appear behind his peers in everything when really it is just his ability to verbalize his thoughts? Who is this little boy we've known all year? What else is hiding in there?

I don't know, but I am planning another open-ended art project for tomorrow. Let's see what else we can discover.

1 comment:

Blink said...

AWESOME! Sometimes teaching isn't about opening little guys' minds; it's about opening our minds!

A think tank focused on creative solutions for future problem solvers -tree