Talking About Art
"Ms. Stewart?! Can I bring this home? I want to show it to (fill in the blank with a family member)". I hear this question daily, and as much as I want to say yes, I also want artwork to stay until the student has fully worked through ideas and had a chance to reflect, revise, and exhibit. Thus, I am publishing photos of the students' in-progress artwork online in hopes that they will be able to share their process and thoughts with you. 

I encourage you to view the galleries with your child and to ask them about what they're working on in art class. They have been busy! Below are some tips on talking about artwork with children. Enjoy!

Ask Open-Ended Questions.

Open-ended questions encourage the child to talk beyond one word answers. Some examples: “Can you tell me about this area (point to it) of your drawing?” or “How did you put these pieces together?” or "What was the hardest part of making this?" or "How did you get this idea?" 

Make Objective Comments about Process.
These are comments that focus on what you notice in the art-making process: colors used, shapes drawn, paper splattered, a pattern of stickers. Some example: “I noticed that you used red and orange paint to make this,” or “you spent a long time working on this sculpture!” Stay clear of comments such as “I like your house” or “how did you make that tree?” While it may look like a house or tree to you, that may not be the child’s idea. 

Paraphrase Comments and Ask for More
After the child explains their ideas, paraphrase it back to them. This shows the child that you are listening carefully and that you value their thoughts. If the child says, “The bumblebee was sad about that,” you could say, “Oh, the bee was upset. Why was he sad?”