• Betsy McKenna

Talking with Children About Their Art

(Excerpt from Art Workshop - Essay by Betsy McKenna)


It’s a Rocklifter!

Mom(me): I love your elephant!

Son: Mom, this is not an elephant. This is a machine that moves rocks. It is a rock lifter. The front of the machine is a long hose that sucks up the rocks like our vacuum. I am taking away the rocks so the boy can play.


I remember well when those words came out of my mouth and I remember even more clearly how I wish I had never said them.


How I wish I had said:

Wow, you have worked so hard on this drawing!

Tell me about what you’ve done?

I see there is something very long in this part of the picture.

What are you thinking?

I noticed that you have used a lot of red and yellow.

In this part of the picture, your lines go round and round and round.

I can tell that you have spent a lot of time thinking about this idea you have drawn.

You seem very happy about what you have done!


The questions and comments above are provocations. Ways to open the door for more conversation from the child.



Original post date: October 30, 2016