About Art Escapes
Art Escapes for children
Shelley Washburn teaches and writes in Portland, Oregon, where she shares her love of the natural world with students of all ages. Shelley wrote this piece using the lessons of Art Escapes to come up with three journaling activities for children, and she has kindly given her permission for it to be shown here.
journal activities for students
Adapted from Dory
Adapted from Dory Kanter's book
fun, quick activity is what Dory Kanter calls "one minute drawings."
Have your students draw six squares on a journal page (or you can buy a
stamp for them to print these) and then take them out to the garden.
Tell kids to choose an object or scene and let their eyes do the drawing.
That is, they should keep their gaze on the object more than on the paper in
front of them—no erasing or worrying about what it looks like.
This is, as Dory says, the art of the rough sketch.
Next, add one-minute writings to this activity. In every other box,
have the students write descriptions of what they just finished drawing.
Encourage them to add to their visual observations by using their other
senses. What do they hear, feel, smell? Have them write for one
minute or until the box is filled.
garden offers so many interesting things to explore—leaves, insects,
seeds—that it might be hard for students to choose what to write about.
The matrix framework is one way to help students focus on a few things in
the garden and create an order in which to write about them. Ask your
kids to write three topics across the top of a journal page. (You can
offer a list to choose from or students can come up with their own based on
their experience of the garden.) Topics could be "lupine seeds," "ants," or
"dirt." Other topics could be more abstract: "weather," "colors," or "places for insects to hide." As
long as students use their senses to write their descriptions, they should
have enough specific information to work from.
Next ask your students to write a short description of their time in the
garden. The matrix has already given them a sequence for their ideas. They can write about each topic in the order it is listed across their
journal page. Encourage them to write about one topic before moving on
to the next. Ask them to find simple transitions between the ideas:
"Next, I saw
the process of taking their descriptions to final draft, your students will
learn to group like ideas, use transitions, and, ultimately, to express
their observations clearly and well.
How to do it:
How to do it:
Nonfiction Literacy Activities for the Garden © 2004 Shelley Washburn