In the Classroom: The Dragontails
written by Dragontails Lead Teacher Paul Graff
They love art!
If you know a kindergartener, odds are you know an artist. One would think that, after a full day of schoolwork, the last thing a five year old child would want to do is sit in a chair with a pencil in hand. And yet, this year’s Dragontail class is adamant about one thing; they love to draw and color, and are always eager to show us just how deep that love goes.
Our young artists run the full spectrum; from the proudly abstract “scribble-scrabble” to the decidedly representational depictions of people, houses, and oh-so-many dinosaurs.
The Dragontails create and appreciate all forms of art, in all mediums. On a daily basis, we work in pencil, colored pencil, markers, and oil pastels, and on a variety of surfaces. We started with a drawing table, but since it only offered so many seats, we began putting a large sheet of paper across the back of a low bookcase, making it into an easily accessible ‘graffiti wall’.
As teachers, we couldn’t be happier to see so many bright young people with such an enthusiasm for creativity. On any given day, if you were to stop in, you would probably see a teacher sitting with children, drawing or coloring alongside of them. There’s a shared enthusiasm for art in our classroom now, one that transcends age or self-consciousness.
We take art outside with us, painting in the crisp fall air in between our games of dodgeball and our trysts on the playground.
Art can be integrated into most topics of study--sometimes planned and sometimes not. For example, I led a baking club with another teacher, and we were both amazed and impressed to find that, as much as our students looked forward to eating the bread we made, they also looked forward to drawing in their cookbooks. And of course, we take it home, or at least, the kids do.
Every day I have at least one child come up to me with a drawing in their hand, asking “can I put this in my backpack? Can I take this home?” My answer is almost always the same. “Do you think it’s finished?” Sometimes they nod their heads confidently. Sometimes they take another look, and tell me no, they actually want to add more color. Watching young children, seriously think about their work is extremely satisfying to see.