Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2nd Graders and Leprechauns

I happen to be traveling at the moment and I don't have access to my scanner or my handy-dandy computer drawing system. My plan was to draw some blog posts with my iPad this week, but I'll start that tomorrow. Today, I'm giving you a rare peek into my school visit presentation.

Since getting into graphic novels and US history, my school visit audience is usually 3rd-8th graders. I don't visit many K-2nd grade classes anymore--which I did when I was doing mostly picture books. Today was fun, though, because I got to do my old picture book presentation. The finale is a group effort where the students help me draw a monster, or, since it was St. Patrick's day, a leprechaun.

I have a marker and an oversized piece of paper on an easel. I start with the head, and take suggestions for each monster part down to the feet, and then we name him/her/it. Since these are leprechauns, they all have the classic hat and belt--and a last name starting with "Mc".

These are what three separate groups of 2nd graders came up with:
 Fishy McShamrock has chickens for arms, and fish tails for feet.

 Gorilla McDonald has "wavey" fingers, and also "wavy" feet.

Fanae McWilliker has five arms and frogs for hands. We couldn't figure out how she eats with frog hands, or if she feeds herself by letting the frogs eat.

I've done this drawing exercise with kids for years. It's very strange to see the shifts in specific body part requests. Four years ago, there was not a SINGLE monster that didn't get a "Uni-brow". Kids were insane for the "uni-brow." More recently, it's been mustaches. Today's had a strange similarity, pointy noses and zig-zag mouths. All three groups, not knowing what the other groups had chosen, asked for those two traits. I drew them differently, so the monsters--I mean leprechauns--would be different when seen together.

Another odd similarity is animals for limbs. I was stunned at the weirdness of "chickens for arms", and then the third group asked for "frogs for hands."

I don't know what any of it means. But it's interesting.

As I'm posting these leprechauns, there are a few hundred 2nd graders who are writing stories about them for homework. The frogs for hands issue is now theirs to work out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nathan -
My son was in the Fishy McShamrock group. He came home yesterday and for nearly 5 minutes he didn't take a breath as he told me about his morning with you. I am now charged with finding your graphic novels at our library. You must have really been a dynamic speaker and made an impact on the kids because my son hasn't come home so excited about reading as he did yesterday. Thanks!