M and H both wanted to make a boat. They brainstormed ideas of what they could make their boats out of. Popsicle sticks, corks, wood, and plastic lids were some of their ideas. They finally landed on the idea of creating their boats with Styrofoam trays. Good thing I collect them! I had lots for them to work with.
H: Mine is going to be a motorized boat. That's why I made it flat.
M: I'm going to make super detail. I'm going to need people as well. Mine is going to be a pirate ship.
H: Mine is going to be an alien craft.
H: I don't believe in the word “try”.
Rachel: What do you mean?
M: It’s either do or not.
M started with rainbow floorboards, and then I showed him how to make walls with popsicle sticks that could be the hull of the ship. H was so into his alien theme that he prioritized making a little alien to drive his ship. Once his alien was at the helm, he started to focus on other details of his ship, like the motor, the pilot seat, the floorboards and a missile launcher.
H: I’ll make purple walls.
Rachel: Not rainbow?
M: Maybe it's too feisty for him. Looks like this boat turned out to be a pretty good idea.
H: What do you think of mine? I'm putting up the purple walls. I'm doing blue and purple walls. I need to tell you something Rachel. I know a lot about matching colors. So, blue would go good with purple, orange would go good with yellow and red because they're all kind of close to each other. I know all that because I'm such a good Lego guy. That's how I know all that. From all the years I've been building Lego, I learned that good colours go with good colours. So a good colour would go with one that's close to it.
H: I can't figure out how to make the back of my boat so water won't flow into it. Ah! I know! Mind if I take these 2 things apart? (clothes pin) … That should keep it good for now. Thank heavens.
H: M’s is definitely more pieces than mine.
M: Well, I take a lot of time doing my work.
H: Can water get through glue? Can water beat glue? I need to put a lot of glue here, so no water can get past it. I am going to put a tiny sail on here, just in case the motor runs out of gas.
M: How about now I focus on the flag. I want a skull and cross bones type.
H: There. Now it's got a flag. What you think of my boat now? Colorful enough?
M: A bit like mine…
H: Remember what I said, matching. I kind of like to match colors? Not like super-multi-ultimate stuff.
M: It’s missing a lot of detail on the deck. Like the cannon and everything. Do you mind if I get started on the cannon? Now where is a piece of wood? I need a fuse sticking out of it as well.
H: If you're asking what little silver thing is, it's a clock. The little thing that he uses. I'm going to make a cannon or something too. My things got a rocket launcher. What do you think of my rocket launcher? I'm just going to add some colour to it. I'm going to put a red thing on the cannon.
M: Now what can I use for a cannon stand?
H: Oh stands! I can help you out with that, I know tons of great materials for stands!
H: Do you like the little symbol on my flag?
M was so excited to show his mom. He ran and greeted her out the door, and he made her close her eyes coming into the art studio.
H: This is my boat. I got a little alien driving it.
M: This is mine. It’s a pirate ship. Here’s the cannon.
That was pretty awesome to see, that they knew their creativity was like a gift to their mother, and M couldn't wait to see her reaction. It's really neat to see the kids be so proud of what they make. Confidence blooming.
The next class, M set out right away to make a pirate flag. He decided on using black felt, and white paint for the skull and cross bones. I decided to explicitly model how to make the skull and cross bones. I made a white circle, and added the lines beneath. M seemed to be a little annoyed at having to follow strict instructions, like: get just the right amount of paint, not a big glob, hold your brush straight up and down, go slowly, add more paint when you need it.
M did one practice flag, and on the second run through, look at how great it turned out. M used every tip I gave him, showed amazing control, and strong determination. Although I’m not sure M will ever be a fan of explicit instructions, (and nor should he be, because that is not where he feels creative) I do want him to understand that he is infinitely capable of learning new skills that will help him to express himself and create wonderful things all through his life.