Investigating the Natural

“Together we became investigators of the ordinary….” ~ Alexandra Horowitz, from On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation

Dear Families and Friends,

What is it that we’ve been missing all these months? Just ask Mrs. Cosgrove’s fourth graders at Thomaston Grammar School what they noticed today when they did some close looking. Gathering outdoors on a fall morning with a team of Leaps of Imagination artists, kids were on their toes.

Right from the start they reminded us about what it means to imagine. “It’s what you make up in your mind.” “It isn’t real….right then.”

Then Alexis let the class know that in the next couple of weeks we’ll be focusing on our connection with the natural world. “Do any of you already feel attached to some place special in nature?” Children were quick to respond. “To Mt. Battie!” “I feel connected to the sea!” “I like to go to the swamp to see if I can see fish.” “I like to swim in the ocean. I like to see what animals I can find, like crabs!”

Kids began eyeballing chunks of bark, noticing with their magnifiers. Just as Susan had illustrated, they kept their eyes on the bark while imagining they were “traveling” along its edges to replicate the shape. Take a look at what they created.

In our weeks together, 30 fourth graders and 4 Leaps of Imagination artists will continue to investigate, paying attention to evidence of texture, shape, and pattern. Kids will begin to realize that when they are intentional about looking, they’ll see what they’d likely have missed.

In a world in which there is unremitting distraction, TGS’s fourth graders can teach us all something about getting absorbed in the “ordinary.”

“I’m going to be doing some of this kind of drawing at home this weekend,” one boy remarked.

With an eye to next week, when we’ll be working with both groups of fourth graders, Nancy, Susan, Alexis, and Dee

3 thoughts on “Investigating the Natural

  1. It’s so great to have you back at TGS! I’m sure the 4th Graders are thrilled to be working with you again! I hope to get a chance to say hello next week and look forward to seeing the students’ creations!

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