"I thought I heard your voice"

Last week, I arrived at the state university where I am a part-time instructor. I walked into the office of the elementary education department and the Head of the Department greeted me by name. I have only seen her three times since I began working at the university and she greeted me by my first name. Even as an adult, I am caught by that skill - intention - that teachers at all levels try to offer: the idea that each person is recognized and acknowledged, my face and name having been filed away in the Head of Department's memory.

"Hi, Jeanne," said the Head of the Department as she casually glanced up to see me, To See Me.

We spoke for a few minutes, standing in the office doorway, about final grades and next term's courses.

I started making my way down the hallway to the Co-chair of the Department and as I arrived at her open door, she looked up from her desk and said, "Hi...I thought I heard your voice down the hall..." We chatted for a few minutes about the semester, upcoming courses, and her sweet dog Lucy who was in her office.

As I left that day from campus, I thought about Being Greeted By Name and My Voice Being Known.
I thought about how these same ideas are abundantly important in the early childhood classroom.
The most basic LITERACY: Young children know others by face and sound. This is how they "READ" and engage and connect. They see others and hear others, they discriminate details of how things look and how they sound. Young children are making meaning of their world bit by bit, face by face, sound by sound, voice by voice.

Classroom Games & Books:
1. Make class books of close-ups of parts of children's faces (you can take a regular portrait of the child, then crop in editing for Just Eyes, or Just Mouths, etc). Put the book in the Reading Area and children will love identifying their friends by these small clues!
2. If you don't have a tape recorder to make a "Sounds Like" tape/CD to play, you can make a Sounds Like book! Have the children make a drawing of their own favorite sounds and create a class book. Perhaps someone loves Truck Sounds or Wind Sounds or Jingle Bell Sounds! Friends can identify their friends' favorite sounds in their drawings!
3. You can play Sound games at your meeting/circle time. Children can say Good Morning or any other phrase using a different kind of voice - a mouse voice, a booming voice, a high or low voice. They can make up lots of ways to play with their voice!
4. You can play I Spy Describing Games for eyes or hair..."Do you see someone who has long, brown, curly hair? Who could it be?"..."Do you see someone with big green eyes? Who could it be?"
5. You can read Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle's : Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Look around. Listen. Who do YOU see? Who do YOU hear?

hands-on nativity scene

One of my favorite explorations during the Christmas season is offering the children the pieces of the Nativity scene to get their hands ON. The classroom is lucky enough to have two distinct kinds of hands-on pieces for children to handle - you can see a few pieces of both sets in the photo.

Have nativity pieces for children to interact with along with a book - they love it!
1. One lovely set was gifted to our classroom nearly twenty years ago. A mom hand-painted pre-cut wood pieces from the local craft store, small enough for small hands, painted with rich colors and even some gold on the kings crowns (don't children LOVE silver and gold!).
2. The second collection is from a purchased hand-carved set with lightly washed-in colors, larger sized yet still handle-able by young children. These pieces I purchased one or two at a time over some years.

It is wonderful to be able to have pieces that are For Children to use, handle, play with, explore, experiment as they wish. So many Nativity scenes are 'extra special' to only look at on display, never touch, breakable, treasured, all that - it is important to offer pieces to children at home/school that invite them into the scene of the Birth Day :)

In your classroom:
You can make pieces from CONSTRUCTION PAPER, decorated by children, laminated to last longer and make more handle-able.  
You can make pieces from CLAY or PLAYDOUGH.
You can make pieces from RECYCLABLES & CARDBOARD.

Out of print but worth a search!
This particular book, The Christmas Story: A Nativity Tale for Young Children by Anita Ganeri, is a favorite to read, act out and also put out alongside the creche pieces. The book is unfortunately out of print, yet perhaps available if you search for it from sellers. The main reason I love it is because the pages are literally photographs of children dressed as though in a play acting out the Christmas Story and the story is easy to read and follow for the young age group.

* To note, this exploration is appropriate at our religious based school, where we explore religions of any students along with Christian celebrations.

Happy reading. Merry Christmas. Peace. Joy. Jingle.

year one for zella!

the enthusiasm I feel for my first year of blogging!
I started blogging one year ago today.

I was encouraged to start blogging by a professional mentor who thought I might enjoy the creative aspects of writing along with incorporating my classroom photos and educational theory. It was a gift that I didn't know would be Such A Gift: Blogging has been the richest form of professional development and networking that I have ever experienced, and it only keeps getting richer and better.

Thanks to all the readers, bloggers, educators, and parents for offering support and comments over the year via this blog, twitter or FB. I am inspired daily reading so many fabulous blogs that inform my own teaching and enrich my lens on valuing childrens learning and development.

In celebration of Year One For Zella, here are my 5 favorite posts from the last year...


My five-year-old friend Mimi loved to draw. That's all she really loved to do.
Hmmm, let me be more clear: Mimi really really loved drawing mermaids.

2. Word Bank Treasures
Using a Word Bank in your classroom is an exciting, hands-on way to offer words to children to USE without imposing direct teaching methods.


3. choices turn into "I Need to Do This"
During Choice Time, the children direct themselves in or out of the classroom, engaging with peers and materials and teachers. During Choice Time, teachers have the opportunity to listen and observe, photograph, document...

4. Moving at the Speed of Children
People have often asked me how I can work with young children. 
"Aren't they wild and busy and on-the-go all the time?
Don't they go in all different directions?
Aren't they moody and needy and unpredictable?" 
Ummmm, not really, no, not really.
What IF... children could DO what they wanted with whatever materials they chose?
What IF...children could THINK of an idea then try it out with whatever materials they chose?
What IF... children could INVENT anything they wanted with whatever materials they chose?

Happy Reading.
Looking forward to writing Zella in Year Two...

edublog nominations! (clap, clap)

The Edublog Awards are here!

I will start with a personal admission: I am not usually a fan of the awards kinds of things, the center of attention kind of things. I prefer the focus to be the children, period, and my role is to fade out as much as possible to allow the children to shine.

The Edublogs are a bit different. Or, at least, I perceive them to be different because they exist within the blogosphere and are cloaked by professional development and networking.
I see the nominations in the Edublogs Awards to be a valued acknowledgment by e-colleagues to recognize bloggers For Their Inspiration in their specialized field (early education, in my case).

I appreciate the acknowledgments I have received already by other bloggers. Literally, just being nominated by them has uplifted my efforts of my blogging work and my support of others' work.

I follow many many blogs and now - in return - it is quite difficult to reason out who I would like to most Thank For Their Inspiration by nominating them for an Edublog Award. 

With THANKS to all bloggers who have supported and commented on Zella...
I offer these nomination for this year's Edublog Awards:

Best Individual Blog:  Teacher Tom  the powerhouse blogger for early childhood education

Best Individual Tweeter:  Brick by Brick  ECE networker & support extraordinaire 

Best Group Blog: Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning  global community builders

Best Teacher Blog: Let the Children Play  the queen of all blogs & cheerleader for all bloggers 

Most Influential Blog Post:  Teacher Tom's "Spoiled Brats"  a must must must read  

Clap. Clap. Clap.

anonymous white napkin

Couple weeks ago went to RE 'Wonder of Learning' Exhibit at the Steinbeck Center.
Couple weeks ago had the rich opportunity to be inspired in person by the stories of Dr. Lella Gandini.

what if you explored a napkin? what if you really really looked at it as Special?
Still letting it all sink in.

Letting words, ideas, and images soak in.
Letting the affects really take hold.

That's how it works for me.
Listening, watching, taking notes.

Relying on these experiences to change me as an educator, to make me a better facilitator for children and new teachers, and to afford me a new lens to really see learning in a new way.

Ideally, as well, relying on these experiences to steal away at least one: "Aha! I have not thought about THAT in THAT WAY before..."

My steal away this time, in particular, had to do with part of the Exhibit that showcased the exploration of White and White and White. Children explored different white papers, textures, and properties of white on its own and what happens to white when manipulated. 
The White Napkin.
It was fascinating to think about the Study of Something that usually is a tool in our everyday lives, as though it itself is already known because we use it. Aha! But perhaps it is not really known very well at all...

The Diana Preschool's White and White Project with 3s & 4s suggest to us:
"A paper napkin on a table is an anonymous object camouflaged by daily use and presence. A customary material which when explored reveals many properties. It is white, lightweight, soft and delicate and just slightly rough to the touch. In layers it obscures light but when unfolded it is almost transparent...Hands, mind and material come together to know each other."
Thoughtful and deliberate exploration of something the children USE daily. 
Have you ever thought of this kind of exploration?
Have you ever given something so simple such focus?
Dr. Lella Gandini: "Young children are not yet attached to their ideas and are willing to test, risk, change and make mistakes."
Let the children explore something we might think is obvious.
Look around your classroom. What might that be?
Look for the anonymous. Look at it Special.
The Diana School: "It is special when we look at it special."

Yep, still letting it all soak in.  Yep.

RE speaker in Los Altos 11/09/11

"Creativity is Dressed in Everyday Clothes”
An Inspirational Evening

with Author, Lella Gandini, Ed.D.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Christ Episcopal Church/Ventana School, 1040 Border Road, Los Altos

7:00 - FREE presentation by Dr. Gandini
5:30 - ($20) Open Studio Time (see below)

In Dr. Gandini's presentation she will cover how:
~ Creativity should not be considered a separate mental faculty but a characteristic of our way of thinking, knowing and making choices.
~ Creativity seems to express itself through cognitive, affective, and imaginative processes.  
~ A child's creative process is fostered by his/her environment and by peers and adults who observe and listen to their ideas.

~ Intellectual and expressive activities are both rich in possibilities, and when used create more constructive and meaningful learning exchanges with children.

*Join for an Open Studio and Social Hour with Lella Gandini - $20 per person.  Heavy Apps and beverages will be provided.  Opportunities to explore materials in Ventana School's  Studio.  To RSVP for this event please email Elisa Merrifield at elisa@ccla.us.
**Child care will be available with advanced reservation only. $8 per child/$5 sibling fee.  Please reserve a spot by contacting Elisa Merrifield at elisa@ccla.us or call (650) 948-2151 ex 115.

Questions? Contact: Elisa Merrifield at elisa@ccla.us or call (650) 948-2151 ex 115.
This free event is being hosted by The Third Place. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

Hope to see you there!

join an evening with Lella Gandini

children, light and mirrors...so many possibilities.
For over twenty years, the Reggio Emilia Approach to early education has been the vehicle that has transformed and revitalized teaching and learning with young children around the globe.

When educators, schools and administrators say they are "Reggio Inspired," well, we all know what that means: It means we are trying to be with young children in a way that is uplifting their journey of making meaning of their world.

The opportunity to attend even one Reggio Emilia conference in Italy is on the Wish List of so many of thousands of educators. Mostly, we have to rely on attending local conferences or workshops to gain new perspectives and revisit the theories of how to facilitate children's exploration in the most respectful and authentic ways we can. Read read read, join discussion groups in your community, tour the Exhibit when it comes near you, and become a teacher that listens (instead of "teaches").

OK, here's the best news:
If you live in the Bay Area in the gorgeous state of California, USA, there is an opportunity to hear the inspiring Lella Gandini, Reggio Children's Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach. Dr. Gandini is the co-author of "The Hundred Languages of Children" - THE resource for starting your journey to understand the RE Approach, its history and key principles to early education.

The Ventana School and Christ Episcopal Church in Los Altos are hosting an evening with Dr. Gandini on November 9, 2011.
*This is a free event for the 7:00 presentation.
*If you would like to join the 5:30 Open Studio Social Hour with Leila Gandini, there is a charge of $20.
**Child care is available for a fee, see the online registration for details.

“Creativity is Dressed in Everyday Clothes”
An Inspirational Evening
with Author, Lella Gandini, Ed.D.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Christ Episcopal Church/Ventana School, 1040 Border Road, Los Altos

the many faces of creativity, perspective, color & joy.
In Dr. Gandini's presentation she will cover how:
~ Creativity should not be considered a separate mental faculty but a characteristic of our way of thinking, knowing and making choices.
~ Creativity seems to express itself through cognitive, affective, and imaginative processes.  

~ A child's creative process is fostered by his/her environment and by peers and adults who observe and listen to their ideas.
~ Intellectual and expressive activities are both rich in possibilities, and when used create more constructive and meaningful learning exchanges with children.

*Join for an Open Studio and Social Hour with Lella Gandini - $20 per person.  Heavy Apps and beverages will be provided.  Opportunities to explore materials in Ventana School's  Studio.  To RSVP for this event please email Elisa Merrifield at elisa@ccla.us.
**Child care will be available with advanced reservation only. $8 per child/$5 sibling fee.  Please reserve a spot by contacting Elisa Merrifield at elisa@ccla.us or call (650) 948-2151 ex 115.

Questions? Contact: Elisa Merrifield at elisa@ccla.us or call (650) 948-2151 ex 115.

This free event is being hosted by The Third Place. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

not-scary books for halloween

Gotta love happy reads for Halloween time. 
I appreciate books that are kid-friendly and are not scary for the <5 year old group.
Granted, some kids do like scary books, yet generally in a class group of children there will be 1-3 who don't like to be scared.
So, I just leave the potentially scary stuff for children to individually check out from the school library or with their guardians.

Books about Pumpkins:
  1. Picking Apples & Pumpkins. Amy & Richard Hutchings. Real photos at a farm!
  2. The Pumpkin Patch. Elizabeth King. A real pumpkin patch.
  3. Pumpkin Pumpkin. Jeanne Titherington. Growing your own pumpkin.

Book about the Day of the Dead:
  1. Felipa and the Day of the Dead. Birte Muller. Felipa looks for the long-lasting soul of her grandmother, Abuelita. Beautifully written & Illustrated.

Books for the Fun of Halloween:
  1. Franklin's Halloween. Paulette Bourgeois/Brenda Clark. Franklin book series is so appropriate for children!
  2. Georgie. Robert Bright. A ghost looking for a friendly haunted house.
  3. Boo! Made You Jump! Lauren Child. Love Charlie & Lola?? Of course!
  4. Pumpkin Soup. Helen Cooper. It takes teamwork to make good soup!
  5. The Bumpy Little Pumpkin. Margery Cuyler/Will Hillenbrand. Choose the pumpkin YOU like best!
  6. Room on a Broom. Julia Donaldson/Axel Sheffler. Adventures on a crowded broom!
  7. Angelina's Halloween. Katharine Holabird/Helen Craig. Angelina series.
  8. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever. Steven Kroll/Jeni Bassett. Two mice tending to 2 pumpkins for the Big Contest!
  9. Bats at the Library. Brian Lies. Did you know Bats love to read???
  10. Big Pumpkin. Erica Silverman/S.D. Schindler Best best best recorded tape/CD - must get! Teamwork of ghost, bat, mummy, vampire to help witch get her pumpkin!
  11. Winnie the Witch. Valerie Thomas/Korky Paul. Colorful adventure of Winnie!
  12. Winnie Flies Again. Valerie Thomas/Korky Paul.
  13. Winnie's Midnight Dragon. Valerie Thomas/Korky Paul.
  14. Too Many Pumpkins. Linda White/Megan Lloyd. What if accidentally you had a yard FULL of pumpkins and you didn't even like pumpkins???
  15. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. Linda White/Megan Lloyd. A huge favorite, great call-response, so wonderful & surprise ending!
  16. The Teeny Tiny Ghost. Kay Winters/Lynn Munsinger. The ghost who didn't like to be scary or loud!
  17. On Halloween Night. Harriet Ziefert/Renee Andriani. Repetition, rhyme, & colorful illustrations as one girl gets the elements of her costume on for Halloween night!
Happy Reading!
Do YOU have a favorite Halloween book?


Think about the children in your current classroom and from years past.
There are always faces that flash straight to mind due to one reason or another.

I must say, for me, children with some attitude or flair come to mind. Not necessarily the "busy" or "bossy" ones or the "ohhhh, gotta keep an eye on that one" ones. More so, for me, I reflect on children who seamlessly incorporate a certain tone  to deliver a phrase or in their conversation AND have a way they use their eyes and hands to help express their opinion or announcement. Makes me smile just thinking about Leo and Lara and Marina ...

"No more photos, pah-lease"

My blog today is inspired by my friend Laura's daughter "S" and a caption Laura attached to a recent photo of S  on a social networking site:

"Ah, shades of things
to come...I was taking photos of my daughter on a recent flight to LA when she puts her hand up and says
'No more photos, pah-lease'"

Take a moment to appreciate S and her calm yet clear request to her mother.

Take another moment to appreciate the one leg casually crossed, the one hand propped under her chin, the eyes looking upward and - yes - the hand signal STOP to reinforce the "pah-lease" no more photos.

[Couldn't have been a better photo of this request to stop taking photos.]

Laura and her daughter reminded me about ways that adults and children relate together. I appreciate that S has her own personal style to communicate with her mother. I appreciate that S has an opinion about something - photos, in this case - and how she feels at that moment on the airplane to not have photos. I interpret, though, that this was a comfortable request, not demanding, not defiant. S just happened to also have the hand signal and the eyes up, as though she couldn't have put out the request without the eyes and the hands, too. Pah -lease!

Other phrases or words from children who had the pizazz to go with it:

1. "ACTUALLY" : this has been a popular word over the years, used by a number of children to begin their sharing of an opinion or what seemed to them to be a correction of their peers [or me!]. Often, the word would be said slowly to articulate the four syllables AC-TU-AL-LY allowing the child's audience to get ready for something quite brilliant that was forthcoming. Along with the word, the head might be tilted to one side with eyes focused forward and two hands might be offered out like a tray that will deliver the new 'actual' information.

2. "Let Me Tell You Something!" also known as "Did you know?!..." An informative phrase. Might be when children arrive at school, out of breath running up to me, eyes tilted upward with forehead scrunched as they have information bursting out about a trip to the beach, a bug they found, or what they have in their lunch box.

3."Oh, Man...".  Children have used this when blocks fall over, when they hear the recess bell that recess is over, or when they can't find a chair at the snack table. This phrase has the shoulders slumped, the mouth squished, the eyes squinted in. Disappointment shown at its fullest along with "oh, maaannnnn......" dragged out in despair.

personality, pizazz, & flair at their best.
I hope your children have their personal style to share information, to make an announcement, to communicate with adults and peers. 
I can only imagine you can appreciate the flair and pizazz of PEOPLE - who happen to be young - who express themselves both in word and action. 

Do YOU have an example of a phrase or word that children have used with flair? "Pah-lease" feel free to share! [head nodding, eyes extra-wide open, one hand swishing out to the side]
** special thanks to Laura and S for their inspiration of living life with colorful self expression!

friday thank you notes 10.06

Reading other bloggers allows me to listen to children in new ways.

What a week.
(I am just saying).

Big things going on and - as always - amazing bloggers in the blogosphere that continually inspire me.

Big Thanks to 5 bloggers who made me think in new ways, made me think about children in new ways, and likely made me laugh a bit, too.

Check out these hot posts:

1. Documentation Gone Mad
Jenny from Let the Children Play posted a wonderful link on her Facebook page that addresses the role of Documentation for early childhood educators and how it often replaces the actual time spent to form relationships with children. Interesting perspective and reflection: click here to read about Documentation Gone Mad via Early Life Foundations. 

2.  Children are INTO Stuff
Do you know about Salt & Nectar? You must! Check out this post with guest writer Leslie Harper Foss who shares about children being Into Stuff  - really really really Into Stuff - click here to read Let's be "INTO" Stuff

3.  Cooperatively NOT Sharing
What if we leave young children to their own problem solving in their own time? What if adults - US - don't intervene to allow these very young to (cooperatively) NOT share? The ever-inspiring Janet Lansbury shares her perspective and a short real time video of Toddlers (cooperatively) NOT Sharing.

4. Grinding Coffee (he had me at COFFEE!)
Let's face it, sometimes you just cannot NOT read Teacher Tom's reflections, theories and matter-of-fact "this is our school" stories on his blog. Check out this post on simple machines, hand-ground coffee and treasures found at estate sales. Click here for "Grinding Coffee" from Teacher Tom

5. Using Your Fingers to Guide Your Reading
Gill Connell is masterful at making connections between physical development and any other curricular area for young children. Click here and check out this post that answers a parent's question regarding a child's use of fingers to help guide their early reading. Wonderful support for children using their bodies - hands, eyes - as they journey to become a reader!

Cheers to diverse, thoughtful, and respectful bloggers who continually uplift the life and learning of young children.
what do YOU think? do you have a favorite read?

book list from bloggers & friends

Don't you love when you get MORE IDEAS FOR BOOKS from people who love to read books to young children just like you?!
Yes, of course, absolutely, yes!

Here is a list from bloggers and friends via my Zella Facebook Page.
(you can follow me on FB via the button on the right column ... OR JUST CLICK HERE).

Give the list a look, check out on Amazon if the title looks interesting to you or for your child! Add them to your "look for" list during your next library visit! There were only a couple books that I couldn't include on the list because the title given didn't quite match up to a title I could find with an author, so my apologies to any favorites that are missing!
To note: while I am so excited and appreciative of the contributors' ideas on this list, it does not mean I have read all of them and therefore need YOU to be the evaluator of what books you like for your family or your school. Perhaps some are too young, too scary, too commercial, too short, too long...ahhhh, yet perhaps so many are just fabulous and a bit of a treasure to find :)

Special THANKS to book idea contributors:
Natalie Giulianelli, Alida Fernandez Chacon, Learning for life, Jo Pentony, Randi London Albertsen, Angie McLaren, Lucy Kiermaier Michaud, Images of Learning Project, Rachel White, Stephanie West, Courtney Floyd, Playing in Prep, Sara Brooks Long, Maria Navaratne, Rainbows within Reach, Jaana Swanson

Books recommended by bloggers, educators and parents:

Bitsy and the Bear ~ Angela McAllister
Captain Flinn & the Pirate Dinosaurs ~
     Giles Andreae

Charlotte's Web ~ E.B. White
Dear Zoo ~ Rod Campbell

Duck on a Bike ~ David Shannon

Fox in Sox ~ Dr. Seuss
Funny Face ~ Nicole Smee
Go Dog Go ~ P.D. Eastman
Good Night,Me Andrew Daddo
Green Eggs and Ham ~ Dr. Seuss

Hiccup: The Viking who was Seasick ~
    Cressida Cowell
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World ~ Marjorie Priceman
Hush Little Baby ~ Sylvia Long
I Was So Mad ~ Mercer Mayer
Little Rabbit Foo Foo ~ Michael Rosen
Love you Forever by Robert Munsch

Mrs. Wishy Washy ~ Joy Cowley
On the Way Home ~ Jill Murphy
Owl Babies ~ Martin Waddell
Popcorn ~ Frank Asch
Purple, Green and Yellow ~ Robert Munsch
Pussy Willow ~ Margaret Wise Brown

Red, White and Blue ~ Debbie Clement
Remember the Night Rainbow ~ Cooper Edens
Room on a Broom ~ Julia Donaldson
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes ~ Mem Fox

The Giving Tree ~ Shel Silverstein
The Gruffalo ~ Julia Donaldson
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry & The Big  Hungry Bear ~Don & Audrey Wood
The Spiffiest Giant in Town ~ Julia Donaldson
The Very Busy Spider ~ Eric Carle
The Wolves in the Walls ~ Neil Gaiman

Today I Will Fly ~ Mo Willems
Too Many Pumpkins ~
    Linda White
Where is the Green Sheep? ~  
    Mem Fox
Where the Wild Things Are ~ 
    Maurice Sendak
Wild Child ~ Lynn Plourd
Zero ~ Kathryn Otoshi

+ books and poems by:
Eric Carle, Beverly Cleary, Lois Ehlert, Mem Fox, Virginia Lee Burton, Shel Silverstein

CHECK OUT MY Favorite Read-Alouds page
And, of course, I would LOVE to add more books to our great starter list! What are some of YOUR favorite books for young children? Please comment below & offer 1 or 2 or 3...or more!

the ink monster

How to create an ink robot monster while sitting next to your best friend at the art table:
Space Station guys in all yellow ink and Robot Monster in all black ink. Of course.
Start with one black pen, then draw!
[So simple]
Here are two boys who chose to work next to each other at the art table  - they are best friends - and both have their own vision of what will come to life on their paper: their unique vision, their unique hand-eye coordination, their unique motivation to create what they will create.

Doesn't it fascinate you to see what children will create 
when their time is THEIR TIME?
Robot Ink Monster. Completed. Please admire.

Consider the alternative IF I HAD TO BE "in charge" of art time:
How would I know to offer the one boy only a yellow pen and the other boy only a black pen?
How would I know that one paper should be turned wide and the other paper turned tall?
How would I know to direct them to outer space for their vision and to write space terms?


I wouldn't.

Art and time is for the children.
Our job is to provide materials, variety of spaces to create, and time. 
How hard is that? it is not.

[so simple].