Drawing characters is a constant in school age programs. The children often reach for a pencil and paper when they first arrive in the afternoon. They are creating representations of things that are important to them or expressing ideas that have been waiting to come out during the long school day.
One day recently, a child was drawing transformers. Many images were created on several pages, but the images looked similar. The child was creating new images of the same character and making small additions to the work with each new page. The process of iteration was in play here as the goal of the work was to become better at making this one character. The character was from a particular Transformer movie titled “Dark of the Moon.”
From Wikipedia, Iteration is the act of repeating a process, to generate a sequence of outcomes, with the aim of approaching a desired goal, target or result. Each repetition of the process is also called iteration, and the results of a single iteration are used as the starting point for the next iteration.
Observing children and documenting as they are creating and expressing ideas, is an opportunity for educators to discover insights into the thinking process, skill development, and the learning journey of a child.
A few days later in a further exploration of character, one child started drawing transformers again. The images featured different backgrounds and new transformer images layered on top. The images were created using pencil on paper and the child created four pages of drawings. The drawings were then taped together to create one long scene. The names of each of the transformers were added to the work.
Revisiting work often occurs with children who have the time and freedom to chose their own work. Children may not revisit the work on a daily basis, as the ideas that make up the work often have to percolate before the actual work of expression begins. Offering children the choice of work affords the creative process to bloom and the results are often greater than what educators can imagine. It is a joy as an educator to see the process unfold we just need to offer the gift of time to the children and get out of the way.
Inspired by this work, another child used paper, markers, and staples to create a transformer book. The book featured images and written text to tell the story. The completed work featured more text than images to express the details of the story. This is not usually the case with school age children and the stories they create. With this age group the stories are often image focused, with a few words mixed in so the observer knows what the image represents.
Children are great observers of other children’s work. This is a time of social connection and motivation for children to create their own work. Often the work of one child inspires similar work in another child. Usually though after some initial mimicry children come up with new iterations and make the work their own.
The simple process of placing pencil to paper is a constant for school age children. It is a process they participate in daily. An act that may seem so simple to us as observers is an important outlet for children to express and create ideas. As educators we must never discount the importance of offering children time to express their ideas and wonderings on paper. This type of expression is where the possibilities of creativity are hidden and waiting to be discovered.