We worked with Helen this week on drawing using both our outside and inside eyes. Our outside eyes help us to draw things we see, like trees, frogs, and pumpkins. Our inside eye helps us draw what is inside our imaginations, like monsters. Both methods involve looking at something (whether it is something on the table or something inside of us) and making marks on a paper to show what we see. It’s easy to understand that when we draw what is in our imagination we all see different things—a green monster with 3 eyes, or a purple monster with horns. But it is true even when we are looking at the same object. Helen showed us how she might draw the outside, the stem, the creases of a pumpkin, but emphasized that there is not one way to see it, to create it. I grew up drawing pumpkins as orange round balls with a green stem on top. But I am again reminded that children’s ideas are greater than my own as I watch and listen to them drawing. They are all looking at the same pumpkin I am, but they are seeing it uniquely. Some see the bumps on the pumpkin while others focus on the brown spots. Some see bursts. Some are even looking past the shell into the insides.
This is the rotten part.
The rotten part? Is it rotting?
Right here, this brown stuff, it’s the beginning of the rot.
I’m making the lines burst around, because that’s what they do, burst around.
There’s seeds and squish on the inside. You can’t see it now, but it’s there. But if you look really really hard and put your eyball on the pumpkin, you might see it.
We got a little closer to nature last week when we planted 3 new trees on our playground and cozied up to them to really look at their leaves, branches,and trunks. We also continued to work on our meaning of nature:
After grouping items into nature and not nature, I asked the children where the items were made. Most non-nature items were thought to have been made in factories, by people.
Is nature made in a factory?
Where is it made?
Who makes it? People?
No, it comes from like, seeds, like, it's just made outside.
Who made the seeds?
Oh, not people?
Right, it comes from the planet!
What is our planet called?
Earth. Earth makes it.
And there you have it. Nature is found outside, made by our planet Earth. We will continue to look at nature and explore it throughout the seasons.
The children are good at deciphering between what is nature and what is not, When showing them different items, they were able to easily group them into nature/not nature. But when asked how they know which group to put something in, they had difficulty verbalizing their decisions. It seems they have an intuitive grasp on what makes something nature.
-Nature is outside
-Trees are nature
-Worms are nature
-Slugs are nature
But how do you know if something is nature?
-If you find it outside, it's nature.
Oh, so if I find a penny outside, that's nature?
-No! Someone could have dropped it there.
How do you tell if something is nature or if it got dropped there?
-It's just, you know, nature is outside. Ok, if you find something outside, bring it to school and I will tell you if it's nature.
Is there any nature inside?
-Yes, like maybe you found something outside and brought it inside.
So our first working definition of nature was "Something you find outside." I let that definition sit for a few days. Then I brought in a tennis ball and a leaf and excitedly told a group of children that I found some things outside for our nature table.
--Ok, this (pointing to the leaf) is nature, but the ball is not.
How do you know? I found them outside.
-My dad buys this same ball at the store for my dog, he died. He bought it at a store. So maybe someone dropped this ball outside, like a dog left it outside.
Ok, so maybe where something starts is important?
-Yeah, so nature starts outside.
That concept will be key in expanding our definition.
Are trains nature?
They are outside.
-No, they are metal.
Another key concept introduced that will help us form our expanding definition. Gently nudging and guiding this discussion is far more interesting, engaging, and thought provoking than having provided a definition on day one. Going through this process helps children develop important thinking and verbal communication skills. But most of all, it allows children to construct meaning in a satisfying manner--to experience those "aha" moments that make learning and discovery exciting!
5 day teacher