Drawing Our School

In the Cloud Room, PSA’s new Kindergarten classroom, the children have been making drawings and paintings a place that is important in their lives, their homes. After we finished our home drawing study, we asked the Clouds what we should do next. Multiple Clouds said, ‘draw the school!’.

When we drew our homes, we first drew from our memories, and then explored further details by drawing from a photo. We followed the same process with the school, we started by attempting to draw PSA from our memories. We noticed the challenge of trying to remember details of such a large and unique building!

Student: “The school is so big that’s it’s like a neighborhood and each classroom is like a house and the people inside of the classrooms are like the people that live in them. When you want to visit, you just walk down the hallway to a different neighborhood.”

Next we brought our clipboards and paper outside to the front of the school, this time attempting to draw PSA from observation. Some of the Clouds reflected that this version was easier because you don’t have to remember as much, but others reflected on the challenge of trying to capture the many details of our building even when we could see them right there!

Student (about the drawing from memory): “I started with the white posts in front of the school. I put windows because we can’t see outside if we don’t have windows. It is tricky to make this from memory because I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t see the downspouts. The most important part of the school is the middle because that is where I get in the school. I go in the school each time that way. I remember it.  

Student (about the observational drawing): “I drew this when I looked at it. I drew the trees because I saw the trees when I was outside. It was easier to draw the school when I was looking at it. There was more things I noticed. I noticed windows above the door so I drew windows above the door.  I noticed the downspout and didn’t draw it the first time. I didn’t draw it before because I couldn’t see it. The school is really big so it is kind of hard to draw it on small paper. The windows are really big too. One side of the school is longer than the other side.”

Student (about the drawing from memory): “I drew all of the windows and all of the doors. I tried to draw a roof but it didn’t really work out. I couldn’t remember what the real roof looked like. I saw the roof dirty a long time ago so I drew the roof dirty. I didn’t really remember what the school liked and I forgot one side of the school. It was hard to draw from memory because I couldn’t really see what the whole school looked like. This one was harder because wasn’t actually looking at the real school.”

Student (about the observational drawing): “This was when I drew the real school. This picture has two parts of the school. It has a shed, the flower pot and a taller roof. I noticed the roof was taller when I looked at the school. It was easier to draw this picture because I saw what the school actually looks like.”

Student (about the drawing from memory): “That’s the playground and the two swings we can swing on and the slide. And the sandbox. And the front door and the windows and the number 11, and the code! And two trees. And then me.”

Student (about the observational drawing): “This one was different. There’s a lady but not me. There’s the front door and the number 11 again and the code box. Well it was harder to draw from looking at it but easier from memory. I don’t know why! I also did the bricks and the windows. The bottom ones are the windows and the top bricks.”

Next, we decided to we needed to go back and do some research notes. We divided into two groups and went outside to look closer at the building. One group looked closely at the north side of the building, while the other looked closely at the south side.

Research Notes (North Side):

  • 13 windows
  • 4 water spouts
  • 2 faucets
  • 1 roof

Research Notes (South Side): 

  • 9 windows
  • 1 shed
  • 1 roof
  • 1 down spout

Things we noticed during our research:

  • One side is longer than the other
  • The ‘middle’ is not really in the middle
  • The windows are the same distance from each other
  • There are a lot of downspouts

Along with doing some counting and noting down some details, we realized that the school is very long, so following our research notes, we offered the Clouds the opportunity to draw again, this time on long paper. This was the most successful yet!

Next, we took a look at the school from a new perspective, a bird’s-eye view! There are a lot of new details to focus on from this angle.

Student: “This is PSA from above!! I can tell because see, there’s the parking lot and the circle.

Student: “What’s this part? (comparing to labeled map) Oh, that’s the music studio!”

Student: “I kinda focused on everything and I drew Penny at the door and I drew our classroom. I wrote ‘us’. I made the parking spots. Two of them are the wheelchair parking spots. I made the path and the trees and the bushes. Looking at PSA like this is kinda like a video game. I noticed something new from this angle too!”

Student: “And here’s the Green room. I know because this is the Rainbow room and it’s right by the toilets.”

Student: “And here’s our toilets. We go out our room like this and back right through the door. And then that means this is our playground because it’s by our room. We go out the door like this!”

Reflection by Amy Vetterli and Mallory Williams, Cloud Room Teachers

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