On Tuesday we talked about what we know about echidnas which turned out to be very little. We knew they were spiky and they ate ants but we were unsure if they had a pouch or if they lay eggs so we used Google to find out. I explained that nobody knows everything and sometimes you have to use the tools around you to find out things you don’t know. You could ask someone else, check in an encyclopaedia or another informational text or you could use the internet. And of course we now do know that echidnas lay eggs and have a pouch.
At the activity table we drew our echidnas in crayon. We talked about how the crayon is made from wax and that makes it waterproof and able to resist the dye. We talked about the shapes we’d use to make our echidna. Quite often I will get a child say, “I can’t draw that.” I tell them I know they can draw a straight line, a curved line and a circle and if they can do that then they draw. When I am demonstrating I verbalise what I am thinking and break it down into simple steps so that the process isn’t so daunting. For example, “Oh I am starting just off centre here as I need room to draw the echidna’s long snout in. His body is a hill shape and then I join it up with a straight line at the bottom.” And of course we had to add some ants for the echidna to eat along the bottom.
Once we’d completed our crayon drawing we did a brown Edicol dye wash over the top. This seems simple enough but there is a real art to it. We’re still teaching the class how to use long backward and forward strokes to create an even coating. We’re also still reinforcing that the dye goes a long way and you can spread the puddles out to fill in the white spaces. We’ve learnt from past experiences that the dye puddles can take a very long time to dry and that you need to carry the artwork to the drying rack with two hands as dye drips! It’s all part of the learning process.