Friday, November 01, 2013

The Children Had A Better One

I thought this would be a good idea: painting a tire with black tempera paint, then rolling it across table tops on an unfurled sheet. I imagined the kids enjoying it, and they did, just not employing any manner or method close to how I'd planned.

Oh, the kids liked the idea of painting the tire and did a through job of it, going beyond the treads as I'd envisioned to cover every bit of its rubber surface, including the interior concavity.

When it came time to roll it, however, no one wanted to pick it up, so that job fell to me and other adults, who, naturally, fully besmirched ourselves while handling the slippery, awkward tire while the children stood back, laughing, pristine except for the usual touch of pigment on their fingertips. Not only that, but both the tracks we left on the sheet and the action of the tire rolling across the table tops, even when we set up a target to knock over, were unimpressive.

But they loved painting that tire, again and again. And again and again we rolled it; rolling, but only modeling behavior that the kids themselves would apparently never chose to do, sufficiently edified by the results of our adult efforts which we clearly did not "sell" to them as something toward which they might like to aspire. Indeed, children learn from us in more ways than just imitation.

When we finally said we were done rolling that damn tire, they painted it again, one more time, thickly, then turned their attentions to our toy dinosaurs, who proceeded to stomp their prints upon our sheet and elsewhere. And, of course, they painted the palms of their own hands, preferring it seems the more controlled manner of applying paint to skin than the clumsy accidental one that emerged from my stupid tire project.

There's probably a good idea of my own here somewhere, but in this case, and as always, the children had a better one.

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MTB @ Team Activities said...

Hi, Tom!

That looks like so much fun! That black tire tread across the tie-dye background is BEAUTIFUL. You should approach local galleries---I would buy one!

I just found your site---I run the blog at Team Building Activities for Kids Central . com, and I'd love to write a guest post for you. Maybe about how teamwork affects class participation, or about team artwork projects, or something else (any requests?). I figure it might be a good fit for your readers.

If that sounds like a good idea, please let me know (you can reach me at matt @ teambuildingactivitiesforkidscentral . com).

All the Best,

Teacher Tom said...

Thanks Matt! I like that you see tie-dye. It's really just a sheet that was painted several weeks ago with liquid water color, then sort of left out in the weather/rain/etc. until this project. The sheet is still out there, staying nice and moist and paint-y until our next project! =)

Thanks for the offer, but I don't publish other people's posts here. The Teacher Tom blog is for my own personal reflections as part of my reflective practice as a teacher.

Matt said...

That's pretty cool! I think I might actually use that method (liquid water color + weather) to make a t-shirt!

No worries about the guest post---thank you for the reply.

Keep up the awesome work here---it looks like you are truly engaged, in the best sense of the word. All the best.