Rathfarnham ETNS 2nd class – Artist: Tunde Toth; Teacher: Patricia McManus Sessions 7 and 8

I decided to combine these two sessions here because this collaborative process took two days to complete

Our 7th session took place over nearly three hours on the 6th of February.

Following a number of previous discussions with Patricia, we decided to introduce collaborative working processes encouraging the children to try to work together and not only alongside each other. The process included the planning of images and collaborative decision making on large scale drawings. The class was divided for 8 groups, so we had 3 or 4 children in each group only, making it all a little easier perhaps. The large scale drawing responded to the theme of  “light in nature”, linking the work to the original broad theme of “light”.

The process proved to be difficult and challenging for many children in the class, they had to spend time to understand that making a picture together, collaboratively doesn`t mean that they work alone using a separate section of the large drawing paper. Once finished, each picture was presented to the class by one member of the group and discussed by the other children.

We didn`t mark group numbers or names on the drawings as we wanted to take this process further to explore ownership and authorship of collaborative works. The pictures were collected and given to a different group to draw large, simple shapes on the back of the paper. These shapes were then cut out without considering or checking the drawing on the other side. Some children felt that this was clearly destroying their previous work and they found it difficult to accept that their ownership of the work is so profoundly questioned. I was hoping to hold onto the fun elements of the process, trying to focus on funny and unexpected outcomes and make sure that it is a good experience for all involved. We regularly discussed what we are doing and frequently reflected on the possible answers that came up when we asked “Who made this picture?”, “Who created this funny image cut in half?” etc.

The 8th session on the 13th of February continued this process by taking the cut-up pieces and reassembling them into a random narrative, using simple story making / story telling in a way you would use the Story Cubes. The groups were rearranged for this again, so each piece of drawing has been now handled and changed by a number of hands along the way. This story making proved also difficult for many children in the class as they had to agree on a story line as much as possible and they were now working in larger groups.

It will be interesting to hear feedback from Patricia now, a couple of months later, to see if this creative process has benefited group dynamics, group work, connections in the class.

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