Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kids Draw the Darnedest Things

A teacher named Mr. Taylor from Rutherford Elementary School in Nanaimo, British Columbia, asked his 9- to 11-year-old students to draw pictures illustrating common English idioms. This generated thousands of drawings, which Taylor put up around the classroom.

But he did more than that. He scanned them and loaded them onto a website called, so we can all chuckle at the ways kids think about language and try to come up with a visual way of expressing these sometimes murky concepts.

Many of the drawings are not super-interesting to look at -- there are a lot of stick figures, and lots of words labeling concepts or objects that were hard to draw. But it's a treasure hunt to look through and find the funniest ones!

Here are a few I particularly liked:

One child touches the exposed pink brain of another, saying Squishy!
Pick your brains. Lots of background details and a funny way of thinking about the key concept.

An animal surrounded by many tables. At the top is a label reading Chinese Food
A bull in a china shop. I love this child's idea of what a china shop is! A nice example of how kids (and adults, admittedly) sometimes have no idea what an idiom means.

Two horses sit at a table with a chess board between them, house in the background
Horseplay. A fine drawing by a child who lacks confidence in her/his concept -- note the arrow at center, pointing at the chess board. As if we might not think two horses sitting at a table was unusual enough to focus attention on the table between them!

A doberman pinscher has a little white dog in its mouth. Doberman is thinking Mmm, puppy!
Dog eat dog. Mmm, puppy!

Black wolf with red eyes and white sheep padding near a real sheep
Wolf in sheep's clothing. This drawing is simple, expressive and energetic.

Thanks to Mr. Taylor for all the work in creating the site, and for being a teacher who inspires his students to have fun with language.

Via the excellent thatwhichmatter on Twitter.

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