Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Curiosity & Discovery


"By being curious, we explore. 

By exploring, we discover. 
When this is satisfying, we are more likely to repeat it.
By repeating it, we develop competence and mastery. 
By developing competence and mastery, our knowledge and skills grow. 
As our knowledge and skills grow, we stretch and expand who we are and what our life is about. By dealing with novelty, we become more experienced
and intelligent and infuse our lives with meaning."   

   (Curious by Todd Kashdan, p.19-20)

In our classroom, curiosity, exploration and discover are actively encouraged through engagement with materials. The goal is not to learn to follow steps to complete a project the teacher created but rather to engage with materials as a way of expressing and discovering ideas. Sometimes the material leads to the idea and sometimes an idea seems to want to be formed with a particular media. Whatever the media, the idea is to be energized by finding one's unique artistic vision. Working among artist peers in the classroom adds to this experience.  

What beings as open ended exploration leads to discovery - from the most basic discoveries that glue is sticky to more complex learning about colour mixing. 

Kashdan writes that when the discovery is satisfying, it is more likely to be repeated. What makes a discovery satisfying? Often it is just having someone to share it with; having a witness to his or her process deepens a young child's engagement. Other times reflecting on the process through photos, portfolio review, speaking about artwork in a group, and writing children's statements increases the sense of satisfaction. Working with materials lead to development of confidence, skills, and the ability to make meaning through art. It is delightful to be a part of this process. 

Art Inspired by Music

We were inspired by a book by Eric Carle, “I See a 
Song”. This beautiful book took the children and me on a magical musical journey.

As we continued to watch and listen, the black and white illustrations of the violinist fade and Eric Carle’s artwork transforms to the music.

At the beginning of the book, a violinist explains:

I see a song.

I paint music. 

I hear colour.

The violinist begins with no colour.

As the music changes so do the paintings.

The change in volume and tempo of the music
is reflected in the paintings. 

Why might Eric Carle have called his story, “I 
see a song?”

A.L: Because you see them on stage.

S.M: Because the man was playing a song and everybody was watching.

C.Z: Because the people who sang the song need to go on a stage.

T.K: When you listen to music you paint a picture in your brain. 

How would you describe Eric Carle's paintings as the music played?

S.M: In the first time the music was low and the second time the music was high, the painting had a little raindrops, the painting were spreading.

C.Z: because the music sometimes is getting lower and lower and faster and faster, and the paintings change, the people who paint them make it different colours. 

T.K: And you are using your imagination with your brain. 

Exploring Materials

Painting materials included a selection of different sized brushes, 
small pebbles, sticks, bubble wrap, sand paper, jute, 
cotton balls, pastels, crayons, chalk, and sparkles.

Inspired by this book, we listened to music by the 
Toronto Symphony to see if we could “hear colour” and use our imaginations to “paint a picture with our brains.”

Paint and a collection of materials to paint and create with were set up for the children to explore.

Inspired by Music

We selected our music, Mozart: Symphony No. 25 in G minor, Rachmaninoff: Piano Concert No. 2, Berstein: Candide Overture all of which was performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. 

First Marks on Paper

The children began to create:

Movement in Painting

A.R. used a palate tool. The strokes of paint on resembled a violin strings, even his neck and arms mimicked a violinist playing the violin.

What could this beautiful brushstroke be?

S.M: The music is gentle, so I am painting gently.
It’s slow so the brush moves slow, slow, slow. 

A.C. started painting with brushes, then popsicle sticks and sponges.

A.C: Fast, and fast, and aaaaaaaaa. 
Twirling, twirling and I need this, ooooo, and this and the music is getting so fast!

Can you Hear Colour?

It was fascinating to observe the children’s movements as they painted using the rollers and brushes. As certain parts of the music grew lower, the children smacked the paint on the paper, and as the music grew softer, their fingers swirled and blended the paint. 

L.M.enjoyed exploring the texture of the paints. 

Experimenting with Texture

R.S. explored printmaking using the jute and bubble wrap.
R.S. added bubble wrap and jute to her painting. This gave a new dimension to the painting.


From Exploration to Self-Expression

Through this experience, we observed the children’s 
creativity, imagination, self-expression, sensory exploration and how the children connected with the music.