Teaching & Learning



Observe, Listen, Record

“This is kind of like painting with a line.” Marlena, age 4

By actively standing back, observing, and recording children’s words and discoveries, teachers learn that children have unique ways of thinking and working. They also see possibilities for extending explorations.

Notice the long, straight, horizontal line that Marlena is making.
Watching Marlena print her M was when I realized that line printing could also be a powerful visual literacy tool. It was also when I realized the need for a curved line tool.


Revisit and Discuss Explorations

Gather a group of children together and hold up their papers one at a time. Invite observations, discoveries and explanations. Revisiting one’s work is a way to learn and practice analytical thinking skills.

Revisiting provides opportunities to:

  • Reinforce basic line concepts
  • Use and build descriptive vocabulary
  • Understand children’s intentions
  • Generate ideas for further explorations

Sequence Tools

Sequence Tools & Materials

Keep the expression, “Less is more” in mind when beginning any exploration. When students have only one line stamp with which to practice, they find a great many ways to use it and notice the unique ways in which their classmates are creating and constructing with just a single line. Sequencing the addition of tools and materials when you observe that they are needed, is a simple, yet powerful way to infuse new energy into a class. It a strategy for keeping everyone engaged!

Teaching Tips

When a child, or any person discovers that he or she can print a strong, decisive line, something important happens. It is a recognition of oneself as capable. That sense of self as competent gets reinforced through repetition. It is through repetition, with slight variations, that new avenues of expression and creation open. It is a subtle, yet powerful shift in self awareness. The goal of this program is to offer strategies to guide this creative process.

To forward the Teaching/Learning Process

  • Observe, listen and record children’s words and constructions as they make discoveries and insights.
  • Sequence the addition of line printing tools, explorations and colors.
  • Pose questions about the basic lines and the thinking process behind the constructions.
  • Revisit activities through discussion of children’s work.
  • Use a descriptive vocabulary in your interactions with children.
  • If possible, photograph students and their discoveries while they are immersed in their work.
  • Save memories of key experiences to display and share with children and parents.
  • Use the same skills to observe and discuss the natural and built environment and to appreciate works of art and architecture from different times and places.