This week has been a turn around week (hallelujah). If you remember I mentioned that there were some issues arising in the kindness department and we have been very serious about dealing with it. "Dealing with it" sounds a bit stern - We've really just been embedding the idea of thinking about one another into our day naturally. That alone is proving to be powerful.
Today in art center, four children paired up and created a portrait of their friend. We've worked quite a lot on self portraits throughout the year so it seemed a natural step to turn outward at this point. I found the inspiration for the style of portraiture we created on the creative blog Teach Kids Art.
Since we've done a good deal of self portrait work I wanted this experience to be a bit different and the idea of creating a colorful portrait in the style of Paul Klee was inviting. Here is a link to the work Teach Kids Art has done in the style of Paul Klee. where I modified the idea was to invite each child to draw the friend sitting across from them and when they finished their artwork I had a short conversation with each child asking them to really think about their friend and tell something special about them. These portraits are now hanging up in the classroom, with the quotes from each artist hanging with the painting.
When two of the art center children shared their work with the class, most of the other children began immediately telling me that they wanted to make one too. I don't often extend an art project over days but since the interest is their I can't refuse. In the end it looks like we will have a visual reminder of many children along with a little written reminder that they are each unique.
After drawing their friend's portrait using a Sharpie, the tissue paper came out.
Some made neat rows of colored tissue paper and some stacked layers and layers...leaving me curious about all of that color mixing and what would happend after removing the tissue paper.
Whether one layer or ten they were all bright and beautiful. After this I spoke with each child and asked them to think of something special about the friend they created a portrait of. This took a little bit of rephrasing...I think the concept of recognizing a trait of a friend is difficult. The idea of being friendly, kind, funny, etc. may be too abstract. The words they came up with were all true and it was definitely a moment where each child was pushed a bit to think, really think about another person.
"I like P. P is cute"
"T, she eyes beautiful."
"I like H because she's nice."
"I like the day S and me build a house in the light center."