All School Activity: Collaborative Drawing & Listening Session

Recently, during the afternoon following Grandparents & Special Friends Day, the students gathered to clean campus after our big event, to talk about the importance of kindness, and partake in an activity that allowed the them to explore a type of art they don’t often generate.

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Doodling is a word that to many denotes distraction and lack of concentration. However, studies have actually shown that doodling helps students retain information and even listen closer. In the spirit of Waring’s tutorial system & Endterm ideals the school broke up into vertically aged groups to create large doodles together. Each student armed with a Sharpie, they listened to a This American Life  podcast that was thematically related to their summer reading “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson. The episode, entitled “The Problem We All Live With, Part II” explores the attempt of the Hartford, CT school system to integrate. They were asked to draw silently as they listened, build off of their group members’ ideas, and even take the opportunity to relax a little.

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Students are used to the concept of a “free write,” which is a stream of consciousness writing piece, as well as visual composition and line quality. Pairing these concepts, they drew collaboratively as they listened for an hour to the story. Their ideas were physically close on their drawing paper, and also started to bleed together creating a visual version of our typical verbal discussions. Below are the images they produced (click to enlarge).


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