Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cool Schools

Last week I visited the St. Albans School for boys in Washington, DC for a "Parents and Sons" event. After a potluck supper I shared my digital slide presentation.

Both the students and their parents had perceptive questions afterward about dinosaurs and about the process of writing and illustrating. I signed a lot of books, sketching pictures of Tyrannosaurs playing soccer, hockey, and even hang gliding.

On November 2, I'll spend a day at the Carl Traeger Elementary School in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since the beginning of the school year, students there have been developing their own fantasy worlds based on their direct observation of nature.

The students have carried their sketchbooks into the tall grass of the prairie outside the classroom to sketch bugs and flowers, and in class they've drawn pictures of stuffed animals, shells, and skeletons. They'll create their own fantasy characters and their own utopia, which might be called "Pigtopia" or "Dogtopia."

This method of sewing together science and art with the golden thread of fantasy was developed by teachers Teresa Moucha and Alice Toepel, who wrote the grant and developed the curriculum.

2 comments:

Scott Radtke said...

I'm from Oshkosh and Carl Traeger was my neighbor growing up. He passed away when I was very young, but my family lived next his widow until about ten years ago. I love that you're spending time there, It's a little like being home when I read the post. I told my sister to see your presentation at the museum.

Eric Orchard said...

It's so great that you're doing this. I'm lucky to teach in a school where the kids draw and paint and sing but the predominant attitude is that art is a specialized skill and no one wants to do it because someone else can do it better. I think illustration is agreat way to bring democracy back to the arts.