A special treat for technowellies readers today, a blog about ….. Wellies! Or rather the drawing of them. Many of you will have fathomed that our current topic is ‘weather’. For art, i decided to utilise my stash of outgrown wellies for a still life lesson. Grouping the wellies in threes of varying patterns, sizes and colours, the children set to work using pencil, pen or pastel. Their target for the lesson was to use line to create an accurate picture of the wellington boots.
All was going well for the first twenty minutes, until one bright spark ( and he is a bright spark) asked another child why they were drawing boots. The other child replied that it was because of our weather topic and that boots were useful in rain. A second child piped in and said it was because Mrs Lydon must have lots of wellies so it was an easy thing for her to get together. My bright spark was having none of these answers though, and posed the question, “but why do we have to draw anything at all?” At this point I realised two things. Firstly ‘sparky’ was not enjoying the task as much as I was and secondly my target was not appropriate. Why had I decided to ask the children to sketch wellies? What was the point of using one hour of our precious learning time?
I stepped in at this point and joined the discussion. I talked about the need for close observation in other walks of life, how they were recording the weather by observing closely what they could see, not what they thought they could see…how they were editing their stories using close observation, trying to read what they had written and not what they thought they had written…. how they checked their maths by looking carefully at their actual answers, not what they thought they had answered.
Luckily this seemed to satisfy the children, who resettled, refocused and closely observed what they really saw, and not what they thought they could see. And as for the results, well, you can see for yourself….