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Painting and Reflecting

We started our day off with watercolor and mirrors. I put the mirrors out in anticipation of spontaneous self-portraits, but the children were far more fascinated with watching the process of their painting in the reflection. The children were delighted that they could see their art in the mirror as well as on the table in front of them.

“Look! I put a blue line here and you can see it twice!”

“Someone put my painting in the mirror!”

“I have to fill both paintings up with color now.”

I'm very happy with the direction this painting invitation took. I am curious that the simple addition of a mirror in front of them would have such an impact on their work on its own. The children never really looked at their face, only their hands and the work they were doing.

As is often the case, I spend the afternoon reflecting on the experience. Asking myself questions about the work I do helps me improve my practice--something we all strive for. Some of the questions I considered:

Would a single color marker or pencil intrigue the children as well as the colorful paint? Would the mirror's reflection further influence their mark-making in the same way? How might it differ? Could the children respond to the reflected images in a way that drove them into a deeper concept such as visual balance, symmetry, etc.?

If, in the future, I wanted to again attempt to inspire them to draw self-portraits, how might I have set up this invitation more successfully? Would displaying some interesting self-portraits be an inspiration? Would a collection of photographs of interesting faces be enough?

Teacher-research: it's ongoing.

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