I have been working with many young children lately. My goal is create a project that pleases the children, the teacher, the school and me. With young children this means that the projects often start out highly structured. Even though I know that this is a good thing there is a part of me that just wants to let the children run wild with color. This, sigh, generally does not turn out to be a good thing.
I struggle to find a place where I can let students loose with color and design, but still reign in their designs in a way that shows them a new and unexpected way of approaching their work.
For years I have been trying out different ways of introducing decoration. I feel like there’s been a good bit of success in working with letters of the alphabet. But I have found that it’s good to even simplify this approach. Whereas I used to demonstrate ways of using the letters Z,O,V,W,I,C,X, and S as decoration I recently decided to just try out using WOW and I….by the time I met with the third class of the day I was down to using just WOW.
Children love to watch an adult draw.I am always happy to stand at the board and draw for them. To demonstrate this technique I draw some W’s and O’s, emphasizing the decorative possibilities of these letter shapes, and then I draw WWWWWWWWW and say that sound….the insightful teachers know just how long to let the students imitate the sound before they ask their class to quiet down. But I like that they spend a long moment with the WWWWWWWWWWWWW and OOOOOOOOOOOooooOOOO’s because it seems that vibration they make gets deep inside of them, priming them for good work.
… their designs turn out so differently from each other’s.