A Map to Germany

The end of the year is stressful when I'm not with the students -- reports, end of the year party planning with parents, last minute faculty meetings, teaching observations, paperwork, forms for children moving to new schools...but this is the easiest time of the year to be with the kids. Things are more relaxed, and we do more activities where we work and chat with each other.

On that note, the coffee talk kind of atmosphere often involves adults sitting with children at activities. I have mixed feelings about adults drawing and painting in the classroom. It might make a child feel inferior about their own abilities, or it might inspire them. I don't think teachers should draw things for kids -- for example, if a child says, "I can't draw a cat! Draw one for me!" -- thats a no-no in my book. But I've also always been torn about drawing on my own in front of kids.

But on this particular day, one child began drawing a map from his house to Germany...


I told him I liked his idea, and I began to draw a map of my trip that I'll be taking this summer...


As I began drawing, three more children began to make maps of their own....







I was inspired by a child, and, in turn, other people in the room were inspired. I had also been thinking about having the children do the What Shape Are Your Thoughts activity from Sketchbooks for Schools, but was not sure who would be interested, or how to introduce that rather abstract idea to them. And then, it just fell into my lap.

I'm excited about the concept of mapping with the children as the year comes to a close -- mapping places and things and ideas! I'm glad I decided to draw on this particular day.