January 14, 2007

Sprittibee Answers Some Comments - Part 2 (Dinosaur Art)

If you caught the last part (Part 1), this next paragraph will be a review for you (you have my permission to skip it and move on to the next one):

As a blogger, I sometimes get quite a rainbow of different people's opinions after I click "post". Not everyone shares the same views in life, so I would expect that there will be many who might not agree with everything I say in here. On occasion, I get a rare comment that leaves me scratching my head. I saved two of these comments in particular to post about on a later date... and since I'm out of good blog material at the moment, I thought I would give you a chuckle by letting you read one of them (below).

The last comment was about religious and spiritual matters. This one is about teaching... or rather, the detrimental effects of arts and crafts on children. I warned you that it was rather odd, didn't I? Anyway... I'll let the comment speak for itself, and for your enjoyment, I'll share my response that I made in my comments section back then... and included in my comment was a comment from my buddy Cindy (who is a seriously funny gal) that she emailed me. The original post and a photo of the craft that upset this reader can be found at the link in this sentence or under the title of this post. Be sure to stop over so you can see it - it's lovely!


Commence head-scratching on 3, 2, 1...

Comment #2:
"I just have to say that I think this is a great diorama that can be used for visual display. It appears that quite a lot of time and effort was put into it. I am currently an education major myself, and, within the year, plan on teaching children from grades one through six.

While I think this could be a fun object for students to look at, it (at least to me) is an activity that will come to hinder a child’s performance in and out of school.

For adults, this activity may seem enjoyable: something to clear the head and release the stress and tension of the daily grind. But think about how it would be for a child to construct this. When considering that a child’s motor skills aren’t really even fully developed until their early adult years, this task would unquestioningly frustrate a child to the boiling point..

Also, it should be noted that there is no creative aspect to this activity. The child is merely coloring inside the lines; cutting out patterns presented before them; and gluing them into a shoe box. Where’s the imagination? Where’s the critical thinking? Where’s the exploration? What exactly are they learning?

Now, I should point out that I am not in any way trying to be disrespectful. After three years of schooling as an education major, I just have to say that this activity is developmentally inappropriate for any child, especially one at the kindergarten level (as assumed in the subtitle KinderCrafts).

Again, please don’t take this message the wrong way. But looking from a developmental standpoint, this activity is extremely inappropriate, and detrimental to a child’s well being."

I think I should give you a moment to shut your mouth and stop staring at your screen in disbelief (or stop laughing; whichever you are doing). Yes, that comment just takes the wind out of you, doesn't it? It is almost stranger than fiction. These are today's education majors, people... and we thought the public school system was already in trouble!

After I collected myself and realized that this person must have been serious, here was my response (my buddy Cindy's emailed comments are enclosed within this blockquote as well):

"Christopher... your comment was just too funny. At first, I thought maybe you were joking, but now I think you may have been serious. I sent your comment to my friend who came over with her two boys to do this project with me at my house and here was her response:

"Heather, my kids are still in therapy. Whenever they have nightmares, the first thing out of their mouths is "It's those dioramas you made us do two years ago!! I'm still frustrated to the point of boiling!"

Pulease. This guy is too funny. If he can't see the imagination and creativity in purple-glittered volcanoes and Crayola dinosaurs, then he's living in his own la-la-land.

Note that he's only a 3rd year education student. It's his duty to point out the flaws in his fellow human-beings. Presumably he's without children of his own. He won't know anything about the real world until he actually gets out and about in it."

Without sounding rude, I would like to say that I'm not sure where you got your information on the facts about children and motor skills... but it has been my observation in life (as a child previously and now watching my own children) that they are capable of doing a lot more than we think they are. I watched other people draw as a child and became able to draw at a VERY early age. I was drawing very well on the back of church attendance cards when I was practically still in diapers.

My children enjoyed the project in this post because of these fun things about it:
1. They got to see their friends (two other little boys came over to do this with them)

2. They got to take time away from regular schoolwork to do an art project (I think kids need stress release also)

3. They got to paint the back of the box blue (sky) - I don't know if you know this yet, but kids love paint. They don't care WHAT you let them paint, they love it! My kids also helped me paint my kitchen walls (another job for adults).

4. They got to rip up construction paper and watch me cut some. They got to cut their dinosaurs out, and they got to wad up paper to use as rocks. My kids were in First and Second grade during this project. It was near the end of the school year. They still like cutting, wadding up paper, and tearing it. How is that beyond their motor skills? Where in the world did you get your information that a child's motor skills are not fully developed until their early adult years? Have you seen the painting that I did at the age of 11 on my Favorite Paintings post (see this link for my copy of Robert Yarber's "Falling in Love")? How do you explain Mozart and all the other child prodigies? You should let a child do and explore things and not limit them by what YOU think they can accomplish. The Native Indians used to teach their children how to ride horses without saddles by the age of 6! Young girls tanned the skins of deer along side their mothers. Pioneer children helped with back-breaking chores on the farm. Children will excel when you respect them as people and allow them to create their own expectations for success. With limited supervision, they are able to do almost anything. My friend's son who is only 8 can cook you a plate of eggs all by himself.

5. They got to color dinosaurs. This is actually a learning experience as well. They were learning what different dinosaurs look like (as I'm sure I didn't know how to draw them all). They got to be creative and color them whatever colors they liked. Kaden made his triceratops rainbow-colored. In case you didn't know this, many kids ENJOY coloring books. My daughter is STILL coloring in some of her free time of her own free will. She's 7. Sometimes I will even color with her! Coloring may not be the most creative thing you can do, but it is enjoyable and a mindless stress reliever.

6. They got to create a river/pond and bank with sand and ModPodge. This part of the activity was very fun. I helped them to design their water and they got to dust the glue with sand and ModPodge over their blue water to make it become glossy and shiny like real water. The kids really like to look at that part of the diorama. It is hard to see in the picture, I realize. We had sand in the garage in a bucket that they used, and they went upstairs to their rooms and got a few playground rocks they had collected and added some of them as well. To a 6 and 8 year old, this would seem creative, I'm sure!
7. They got to make puffy clouds and add glitter to their purple volcano. Glitter is always fun for a kid. I don't care what your "professors" have taught you. Girls especially love glitter. My son is a volcano nut, so this was his favorite part of the diorama as well.

8. The kids had something PRETTY that they COMPLETED together and with ME and FRIENDS that they could LOOK AT to REMEMBER how much FUN THEY HAD. They are quite attached to them. They would NOT let me throw them out. They are in storage right now because they made me pack them so they could see them again when we finally bought another house.

I look forward to getting them out again and letting them put them on their dressers.

Crafts are really not such a bad thing... you should get married and have a few kids of your own... and then do some with them!"
Thanks for the comments - Keep them coming. Some weeks, a kind word is all that keeps this blog in business.

God bless each of you... and have a great week!

Encouraging Previous Post:
Little Dinosaur

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous said...

Oh.....my......goodness! I came across your blog a few months ago, but haven't really kept up with it because I discovered a world that related to us more than homeschooling. We aren't quite at that point yet. We have a daughter from China and I got all caught up with bloggers in the same boat. I popped onto yours today and found this lovely specimen of a college student's ideas... Anyway, I DID however tell Susie at Bluebird Blogs that I liked your layout when I was telling her what I want. Blah, blah. All that to intro myself and tell you that I am astonished at this dude's idea of what children can and cannot do. Poor guy. I was in the education field for over 10 years. Is he nuts? Does he have even ONE clue about a child? Has he ever even interacted WITH a child? They are soooooo amazingly creative and BEG to do new things with their hands and minds!!!!! I am with you about being even more nervous about what kind of students our "system" is producing. He'd really flip out at all the fun hands-on stuff that Classical Christian Education encourages. Maybe he thinks they can all stick an iPod in their ears and learn without actually having to touch anything. I could go on , but this IS just a comment section. Hope to hear from you. My custom blog isn't up and running yet, but your site was one of the reasons I am getting one. Have a great day....and don't get hurt being so creative!

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Don't be surprised if this last thing posts about TEN times or more because it never would post and I just kept trying. I swear I'm not an idiot, but now it looks that way doesn't it? Oh well.

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Panda Mom. My blog design was done by Natalie Jost. Her link is on the very bottom of the site in my colored sidebar to the right. She does good work, but is a little more expensive than Bluebird. :) I love the design, but I'll probably do something different next year in June if I can afford another re-vamp. Either that, or maybe farther down the road if I'm too lazy to mess with it.

I'm glad that another education major disagrees with this advice from our craft-hating commentor.

Stop in and give me your link once your site is up.

I deleted your extra posts. Blogger had a few hiccups while I was working on posting here and on my foodie blog today. I don't know what was up with them, but I got an error message during publishing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chuckles! Too funny!

Anonymous said...

Wow Sprittibee, you have some pretty vocal commenters. Your fingers must be quite strong from all this typing, do you play piano (I do, and find my piano playing is better when I've been typing a lot, very strange).

Have a great weekend, and best wishes to you in the coming week,

Anita =)

Sprittibee said...

Yer-welcum miss Alexandra, mam! ;) This Texas homeschool mama does what she can to rustle up a grin now and then.

say no to crack - funny name! Had to laugh at that one. I used to draw a picture of a frying pan with an egg in it on all of my book covers in school with a caption beside it that said, "This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?" Ha!

I wish I played piano. My mom happens to be a piano teacher and I could slap her for not FORCING my whiney, lazy butt to learn how to play. I do type pretty fast, however. This post was cheating, though... since I mainly just copied and pasted the main text in each blockquote from the comments section of the original post with the dioramas. Yes, I cheat from time to time on blog posting! Makes life easier. The hardest part of this one was all the formatting... bolding, italics, hyperlinks, etc. But, hey - I'm glad it looks like I'm forking over the extra effort. ;)

Happy week all! I sure wish it would stop raining! I'm tired of all the rain!

Anonymous said...

Ha! I'd forgotten about that one.

I wonder what he'd think about the fact that we've had our kids construct a life-sized model of a human ear, using props and parts that they gathered from around the house?

Oh, the horrors.


Anonymous said...

Sprittibee - wow, my mom was a piano teacher too! I refused to touch the piano as a result, until I was in college. Insomnia got me into it, a great way to relax at the end of the day.

BTW - my name has more to do with the "plumber's" variety of crack than the "drug" variety ... as you may have already guessed. I run a silly humor site (probably one of the few whose intent is to stay almost completely unoffensive), and thought that was a funny name for it.


Sprittibee said...

Hey Cindy. Glad your kids are not in therapy right now over the glitter volcano incident. Yes, I think that guy would probably freak out if he knew even a small bit of what our curriculum covers and suggests as hands-on activities. My favorite suggestion that we should keep from him is gathering acorns, cracking them, grinding the pulp into flour, and baking acorn "cakes" like the pioneers did. How gross is that?! We opted out of that one (after we gathered the acorns). I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

Anita - Glad you turned to the piano as you got older. I turned to typing as a insomnia builder. ;) Notice, I didn't say it helped. :)

I have to get over and see your site. I love things that make me laugh. I really am just a big nerd at heart.

Anonymous said...


As a member of the education community who has completed her education degree (B.S. from the University of Kansas if you must know) as well as completed two years of actual classroom instruction, not to mention the homeschooling of my own children, I feel compelled to inform you that all attempts to have a child color within the lines (or follow any set pattern for that matter) stifles their intellectual development by forcing them to adopt another person's definition of beauty, including whether or not marks should go outside the lines and the color choices involved.

And that sentence isn't a run-on just because you are probably out of breath after reading it.

(and I am joking).

It's all about low-expectations under the guise of not limiting the child by giving them any. I went through my share of that in education courses, but my university is more noted for its behaviorist theories of education which at least do desire some sort of an outcome. Your other commenter was probably educated in California or one of THOSE places : )

By the way, you probably shouldn't teach them handwriting or spelling, either. And if I remember correctly, that particular philosophy of education isn't particularly fond of narrowing a child's world to such simplistic formulations as "2 + 2 = 4." So methinks you should tread very carefully : )'Twould be better to just pop in a video and tell them how smart they are rather than actually do anything to promote anything that would actually help them become smart. Self-esteem is the god of education reform.

Hanley Family said...

not sure how I ended up here again, but that last comment was from me. I'm not anonymous. I'm Dana.

Sprittibee said...

Howdy Dana! Nice to see you in here. ;) I enjoyed your comment, but I am glad you came back to claim it! :)



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