OWLS in the Classroom

Hi everyone!

I had a unique experience today and thought I would share with you.  We have been doing just a wee bit of looking at Owls as part of our learning on observation skills in Science. We have some live owls coming next week.  (I'm so excited!)

Anyways, I thought maybe I would do a little drawing lesson in Art with an owl theme. We do a lot of brain based learning so I thought I would tie the lesson into that.  Years ago I read a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards in an attempt to learn to draw better so that I could also teach it better.

What a fascinating book!  I highly recommend it.  I learned all about how drawing is a process of connecting lines not looking holistically at an image.  I practiced drawing myself by doing some of the practice sessions (like drawing an image upside down so that you weren't stuck on the image but on the lines that formed to create the image).

Back to today!  I decided to give students (2nd and 3rd grade) a very detailed owl printable that a friend had given me and I simply had them trace it.  I actually didn't have any tracing paper so I just put a regular piece of paper on top.

My goals:

1. Have the students focus on lines.
2. Teach students that drawing requires silence so that the right side of your brain can do the work.

WOW! What happened next surprised me!

First, students were shocked at the picture and the thought of tracing it. (It's tough!!)  Many figured they couldn't do it.  Off they went, and went and went...!  Those students drew so quietly and so focused for about 30 minutes!

What was even more surprising to me is that the students that generally have the hardest time working quietly and focussing were the most focussed in the class.

Students were showing each other their work with pride.  The compliments were flying.

The best part of all was that my special needs student did not want to stop (and usually always needs a "break") and did a fabulous job!

As students were packing up to go home, one student came up to me with a beaming smile and said, "I am so proud of myself!"

It wasn't a fancy lesson. In fact, it was a very old school and simple concept but it had an enormous impact.

I'd love to hear if you've ever had a similar experience.  If not, give it a try!  Amazing!!

For more on Fall observation skills and activities click here.

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