Don’t drown in a glass of water

drawingI love learning languages. You find out other people have such amazing ways of encapsulating life experience in the most vivid of ways. What if you want to share some of these gems with your class? Well, the French saying applies to me. I wanted to explain this expression to my senior students and so I grabbed my lovely electronic pen and went to all that real estate on my board and tried to draw it for them. I could have just stood there and tried to have explained it and explained it and all they would have looked at is my face. I could have taken the easy way and just told them in English. Forcing them through their own passive French, engaging their brains and creating heads which would think this in French meant I had to draw as I was explaining. I have replicated the drawing I did on my iPad in SketchBook Express which is a great app for non drawing people like me. For those with talent it would be brilliant. I have no fear of using my appalling drawing in class. Immediately it lifts the pressure. Students cannot believe what they are seeing and they stop worrying about what THEY can’t do and become absorbed in my lack of capacity to draw. It amuses them no end but they are not a bit mean. It’s just funny. I do not drown in a glass of water when I am confronted with having to explain something in French to my French students. I use the tools and talents (or lack thereof) and teach. A similar thing happened in my year 9 class this week. We are doing a more demanding version of introducing ourselves. I had a text on the board and only that text and I could add notes as we were going through it. I got to the expression of riding a horse. I did not translate it. I drew a horse, which luckily they recognised first go, and sat someone on it and repeated the expression in French and it was how they became familiar with it. So, don’t let your students drown in a glass of water and don’t drown yourself in a glass of water when it comes to technology. Be bold!

Cartoon workshop at the pencil museum

Shoo Rayner is a children’s author, illustrator and drawing teacher. He interacts in the virtual world as a teacher and mentor with remarkable ease. He is confident, competent and has a good sense of humour. He has put a number of drawing tutorials online and his website fills in the background details of those videos and how they came about. He demonstrates clearly how , as a teacher, you can make the move online and become successful. There is nothing laboured about what he does. He has that artist’s sense of frame and flow and knows just how to connect with others because he is a teacher. None of this comes easily. It is a result of who he is and then some serious application of his skills. I couldn’t resist putting his cartoon koala on my blog because, apart from koalas, it just so happens we have a Keswick here. It’s a suburb right next to the city of Adelaide from where our interstate trains leave and our army barracks are.

How to draw apps

how to draw app What I like about my iPad is it enables me to do the things I might not be able to do without it. As such it has an invaluable place in my life. I am surrounded by artists and people who are good at art. I’d like to be able to draw because I think with tablet devices it would open up some new avenues for teaching and learning and get away from the all too easy cut and paste non thinking approach. I am ever grateful for cut and paste but how wonderful it would be to create my own creations, no matter how simple. I downloaded two free drawing apps. I started with the cup on the Easy Drawing Lessons app. I drew a mug which I could actually show to others this morning. I had used my stylus and by the time I had finished I actually felt like I’d be able to get a pencil and paper and draw it myself. This was a major breakthrough. There must be students like me who feel like they just cannot draw. The other app I downloaded was How to Draw. This is a series of video lessons. They are explained so well and then you can see what is being done. It inspires confidence. I can look at the videos as much as I want to learn. I felt as though I’d be able to replicate some of those techniques. I feel happy now. I feel like I have something which can move me forward and enable me to explore tablet applications for teaching and learning in a different way.

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