As an elementary school teacher, I integrated art into the curriculum as much as possible. This proved quite challenging for me, because if you know me, you know that while I have a strong appreciation for the visual arts, I can’t draw a thing. During games of Pictionary with friends, I was the partner you DIDN’T want to have. I once tried drawing an outline of North America, and a friend chuckled telling me it looked like a dinosaur. Hey, at least it looked like something, right?
Anyway, my point is that a 5-year-old can draw better than I can. (And for several years I was teaching 6-7 year olds.) Yet, for the sake of the children, I did the best I could by providing hand drawn picture examples on word charts, signs, daily messages, labels, homework pages, etc. (Did it really matter that my dogs, cats, pigs, horses and mice all looked the same with circular bodies, rectangular legs and triangles for ears?) When it came time to model a drawing technique for a project, I tended to show my students what NOT to do.
Where I taught, by 1st grade, we became quite picky when it came to drawing people. No naked stick figures were allowed.
“When you draw your people, boys and girls, make sure you draw more than a stick figure. I’m going to draw a stick figure but your people need clothes. I’ll do my best, but I know your drawings will look SO much better than mine.”
“That’s beautiful, Mrs. Bahnson! You are doing your best!” the kids say. One thing I loved about teaching 1st grade was how sweet they were, for the most part.
While F was out of town last week, Ayay drew him a picture of our family. Without any prompting, she clothed her stick figures. I was so proud of her. She might not be inheriting my artistically challenged gene after all!