I recently asked Libby to join me at the front of the room and gave her permission to stand on a chair, nice and high for all to see. (Libby was chosen because she didn't really need the drawing lesson.) Everyone else got out their whiteboards. I then drew Libby bit by bit, adding commentary about what I was doing. As I drew on my whiteboard, the kids drew the same thing on theirs. Afterwards, each child had the opportunity to draw themselves for a classroom book we were making.
Below I've posted self-portraits from the beginning of the year and from the activity mentioned above. The difference is quite remarkable, and it didn't happen on accident. It's cool what can happen when someone says, "Hey, try it this way" and models what that looks like. This certainly won't be the only time I take them through this process. We'll do the identical lesson several more times. By the end of the year, there won't be a stick-like body part left in the room. Model, model, and model again. Anyway, check out our before and after shots.
In Writing Essentials, Regie Routman says, "When my teaching breaks down, its almost always because my demonstrations have not been sufficient." She also says, "One demonstration is rarely enough." When I reflect on what my artists, mathematicians, writers, and readers are producing, am I seeing products that match my vision and their potential? If not, I might need to look at my demonstrations and take the time to model, model, and model again what I believe they are capable of doing.