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Using drawing to teach children

Why is drawing such an important avenue for children to share their learning about God?

Question:

Why is drawing such an important avenue for children to share their learning about God?

Answer:

Drawing experiences tap into the affective area of learning and give children opportunities to have their feelings affirmed.

Children's art can be called the hands off experience. The rule for adults is to supply the materials for the children, stand back and watch as unique creations unfold. The teacher becomes the observer, the listener and the one who believes in the child's ability. Now the child is free to be inventive, searching and daring in his creative efforts.

Drawing is as basic to children as breathing. With only limited materials required, drawing is an opportunity for every child to share in the learning process.

Drawing also:

  • Develops creative thinking
  • Provides a means of communication and self expression
  • Serves as a balance to other classroom activities
  • Develops appreciation of the individuality of others
  • Strengthens self-concept and confidence
  • Enhances the ability to visualize
  • Provides problem solving and decision-making opportunities
  • Serves as an emotional release
  • Meets individual needs, abilities and learning styles

Children need room to draw, so larger pieces of paper should be provided. Newsprint, rolls of computer paper, shelf paper and butcher paper are excellent for drawing. Using colored chalk, children can draw on sidewalks outdoors. Provide markers, pencils, crayons, colored pencils and pastels for drawing experiences.

Some ways drawings can be used to teach children include:

Diptych (DIP-tik)

A diptych is made by attaching two panels of paper or poster board together. Each panel may have pictures, or one side may have words to a prayer or song. A Bible verse may be on one side with an illustration of how that verse applies to our lives on the other. Diptychs are often used for "Then and Now'' comparisons.

Triptych (TRIP-tik)

A triptych is similar to a diptych except that it has three panels. A triptych can be folded with all panels containing drawings or combinations of drawings and words. A Bible truth may be written on the middle panel, for example "How Can I Help Others?'' with illustrations of either side.

Accordion-fold Pictures

Accordion-fold pictures are made by taping several pieces of paper or cardboard together so that the strip of pictures folds and unfolds. The method helps children sequence a story. For example, the Bible story of Joseph from a beautiful coat to bondage can be told through a series of pictures.

Frieze

A frieze is a series of separate pictures related to one theme or idea. Children work on separate pictures, but plan them together. For example, children might plan a frieze about Jesus' miracles, discuss what miracles to include, and then choose one to draw.

Story Strip

A story strip is a sequence of pictures drawn by children with conversation balloons included. Older children especially enjoy this method of sharing their feelings about a subject or showing what they have learned about a unit theme.

Overhead Projector Drawings

Children draw on transparency film with permanent markers (Caution: Wear protective clothing). Then children share what they have learned with everyone as they project their drawing on the wall using an overhead projector.

Chris Ward teaches first graders in Sunday School and is a professor of education at Trevecca University in Nashville, Tennessee.
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