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    « How to Make ATCs from Abstract Art | Main | Just Limes »

    The Project Approach: Documenting Art

    In the framework of The Project Approach, documentation is the process of keeping records of the project by thoughtfully selecting and displaying various phases of work.

    Let's consider making art. Think in terms of phases rather than steps (as in a tutorial). For example, the children might have an interest in clowns and might want to make a clown. They might investigate different types of clowns and different media, the materials, gather materials, set up the workspace, do problem solving, do initial sketches or drafts, then the actual construction (or molding or papier mache etc), help each other with challenges (i.e. the piece falls over, how to strengthen an arm), embellish, place on display, discuss etc. All of this comprises the project - not just the finished piece. Typically the person working with the children might focus on the outcome, putting it on display, but that is not the entire story.

    In order to document the story, the children's work, you can take candid/unposed photographs of the children at work. You can keep bits of work at various stages of development. The hallways of our pre-school were lined with documentation, on shelves, in frames, on cork boards. The finished work would often be accompanied by the teacher's notes and photos of the work in process. It was fascinating to see these together. It gives more depth, a frame of reference.

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    Reader Comments (1)


    As a teacher who taught in a Reggio Emilia inspired school with project approach curriculum, my favorite part of documenting children's art, was to see how children organized and expressed their thoughts through art. Each person has his or her own schema (categories), into which he or she organizes incoming information. A child's artwork is like a window into his/her brain. You can see
    a child's current interests, how he is making sense of the social environment around him or what level of emotional intelligence a child has reached.

    During our space project, I pulled out a large basket of recyclable items, and asked the children to create space costumes. A few children designed astronaut costumes, some designed alien costumes and one little girl used purple felt with gold sparkles to wrap her body, and called herself "the night sky."


    As they created the costumes, I took photos and documented the conversations they were having.

    We also turned our loft into a space shuttle. As the children used recyclable items to design the "control panel" they discussed..."This could be used for the fuel."
    "And this is the button to call mission control."
    This open-ended art project was certainy no standardizd test, but it was a great assessment tool, and allowed me to see which concepts the children understood about space, and in what areas I needed to improve my teaching :)


    04.3.2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

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