We have a range of books on the adventures of ‘Maui’ at Kindergarten. These books are extremely popular with the children, beautifully written and illustrated and the teachers find themselves reading them again and again! One of these books by NZ author Peter Gossage is called ‘How Maui slowed the Sun’ and yesterday I found myself re-reading the book several times throughout the day to different groups of children.
Today we decided to use the book as a provocation for some extended exploration in the form of a large collaborative piece of art. Using the large illustration of Te Ra (the sun) from the book we began our work. To set a guide for the scale of the mural I outlined the half circle and eyes, but the remaining art was all down to the children.
“Drawing beside a more experienced peer is helpful for the less experienced – children learn by ‘borrowing’ graphic solutions from each other. And the more experienced drawer gains support from the other’s attention” (Kolbe, 2005)
We began by using a limited range of coloured pastels and referred to the picture as a guide often. We all observed how effective the illustrator was in portraying Te Ra’s expression, as Ryan commented “so scary” or Jivahn “he’s cross” by using a simple combination of just oranges and yellows.
Co-operation with others is encouraged and enhanced when working on murals.The children take each other’s ideas into account as they plan the mural, offering suggestions and encouragement to each other.
Once we had filled in the work, blending our colours together with the pastels we added lines, spirals, drew the teeth and the sun’s rays, then finally moved onto adding more depth to our already stunning mural with some dye – again keeping the colours to yellow and orange.
The mural really invited children to work together and support each other in their task. They discussed and shared their feelings and opinions on Maui, Te Ra and the illustrators art throughout the book.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, have a look at this video on You Tube, spoken in Te Reo with English subtitles.