I saw this video and thought I’d share it with you as it’s such fun!
Official music video for “Crayola Doesn’t Make A Color For Your Eyes” by Kristin Andreassen, from her album “Kiss Me Hello”. Written by Kristin Andreassen and Megan Downes / Yellowcar Music / ASCAP. (c) 2009 Kristin Andreassen
Winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Award for Best Children’s Song (2007), and featured on A Prairie Home Companion.
Directed by Ballard C. Boyd
Director of Photography Will Beckley
Animation by Weston Malgren
Produced by Kristin Andreassen & Ballard C. Boyd in participation with the Conservatory Lab Charter School, Brighton, MA.
Featuring Alliyah, Brandon, Carlos, Chavez, Daborah, Emmanuel, Gabriana, Isaiah, Jarel, Jason, Jordyn, José, Joshua, Kelis, Miguel, Morgan, Nicolas, Rayne, Samantha, Tambre, Thyrah, Trevor, Yantaya, Sofya, Stella, Nora
Thanks to Megan Howe, Courtney Mulvilhill, Pampa Rotolo, Diana Lam, Anne Whittredge, Annie Sevelius, Tracy Campbell. Special thanks to Lindsay O’Donovan, St. Columbkille, Jerome Wade, Bud Durand, and Numerous Friends & Family.
Many people have asked me to show how to draw a lego minifigure and Laurence Maher, a long time youtube follower, asked me again recently when I met him at The Great British Fayre. You can see all about it here.
I thought about which lego person I should draw and then I realised I could draw one that looks like me! Wouldn’t it be great to have a lego figure of yourself? What would you dress yours up as?
My head is full of dragons as I’ve just finished writing my next book, which is about dragons, and now I have to design the cover and think about the inside illustrations. So “!m afraid you are going to have to put up with a few dragon drawings!
This is quite a long video for a change – a lot of pencil technique involved!
I used to worry about repeating myself but, when writing stories for very young readers, I love repeating words and phrases, twisting them gently to create new, surprising meanings with the same jumble of words and letters. It helps increase word recognition and the decoding of meaning.
Repetition is the essence of learning, making strong connections and pathways that form the foundations on which new connections are built. Repetition in physical activity is a given – press-ups, shooting at goal, exercises at the barre.
Reading is the the most difficult skill most of us will ever set out to master. But somehow, we have come to underestimate the difficulty and assume that it’s the job of schools to sort it out. But schools can’t cope with all they are asked to do, especially the way the curriculum continues to be fiddled about with.
Every time there is a crisis, the same voices wail in the media, “Schools should be teaching this!” And so more gets dumped on schools and they are expected to cope.
Schoolchildren now work at conceptual levels that are so much higher than they were in my childhood. Don’t believe the dumbing down stories. Children these days have to learn a breadth of information and life skills that hardly existed for my generation.
Once, Literacy meant the ability to read and write. Now it seems to have been redefined as the ability to write and decode text. And yet, for all the expense and effort, reading and writing levels fail to improve – arguably they have decreased.
I’ll repeat myself:
Reading is the the most difficult skill most of us will ever set out to master.
Phonics are great as a help when children are learning to read, but that is not the end of it. They need books, and most importantly they need stories. Stories with a beginning and a middle and a satisfying end, not an extract full of adverbs.
Children need to read bucket loads of books, and to get them to read books they need great stories. Children are hard-wired to listen to and learn from stories. Once they know that between the covers of a book lie multiple, parallel universes in which they can reside and become the heroes and heroines, they become addicted and want more. But they need to know those stories are there in the first place.
If there is no time for reading at school, how will they find it at home, where they are barraged by the cheap, unsatisfying pulp of the TV, internet, games and texting? If reading is not promoted or cherished at school or at home why should they bother? If they are never read to, how do they know what lies between the covers and why should they care? Why should they be bothered to read the books when they can wait and watch it on DVD?
If you want to improve your children’s writing skills it’s easy… let them read books – lot and lots of them. How are they ever supposed to learn the skill if they never practice? Want to be a great footballer? Watch Beckham or Ronaldo. Want to make great movies? Go watch a lot of movies. Want to be a Blue Peter presenter? Try watching Blue Peter!
How can children possibly hope to learn to write and improve their writing skills if they rarely see it being done and have no idea what it is they are trying to achieve?
Want to be able to write, understand particle physics or just do well in SATS? Then learn to read. All human knowledge is wrapped up in books. To be able to access that knowledge you need to be a fluent reader, and to become a fluent reader you need to do the work and read a lot of books.
Repetition, reading the words again and again, in new combinations until you can read anything with out thinking, allows the brain to get on with the business of learning what it is that the words have to say.
We all know how repetition is boring – doing the same press-ups every day, we soon give up and go flabby.
But the wonder of stories is that the repetition is wrapped up and served differently every time. Each new story somehow leads to another. Stories make the hard work of learning to read a pleasure. Stories should be at the core of education, cherished and repeated. Every school day should end with story-time, yes – even in secondary school. Stories – read aloud, just for the joy of it.
Not everything in life needs to have a measurable outcome. But reading stories, just for the joy of it, reading lots of stories, again and again, has the most immeasurable outcome of all: Literacy – the ability to read and find out independently, to understand, add to and pass on the learned knowledge.
This all comes from the core skill – reading. I hope you won’t mind if I repeat myself again.
Reading is the the most difficult skill most of us will ever set out to master.
If you want to improve your children’s writing skills it’s easy… let them read books – lot and lots of them.
I’ve just finished writing a story for my new publishers, Firefly Press. The story has a dragon at the heart of it, so now I have to draw the cover of the book and I’ve had to start thinking about the illustrations inside too.
I started doodling dragons to get in the mood, and soon realised what it is I find difficult about drawing them. It’s the wings!
If dragons are of this world, they must have evolved from a common ancestor to lizards or Komodo dragons of today. But their wings will not work the same way as a bird or a bat, whose wings are their arms or front legs. In the case of the bat the skin is stretched between it’s very long fingers.
So how do the wings work on a four legged dragon? They already have front legs so the wings must have evolved from something different entirely, or they are from a different world altogether?
I heard on the news this morning that more and more families are hiring home tutors. While that may be a good thing if your children need particular specialist help, there are things that you can do that will have a much deeper effect on your children’s education and also on the happiness of your family. They are not only cheaper, they are free!
The press and politicians love to bash schools. They do it to sell more papers and gain more votes. The care and education of the children comes a long way down their list of concerns.
Schools actually do an amazing job. Each year they are asked to achieve more and more, and are given a hard time if they can’t squeeze more into the same sized brains that enter their doors each year. The world is changing just as fast for teachers as it is for you I. Schools and teachers are doing an amazing job keeping up while meeting unhelpful political targets. Teachers want to teach, not win votes for politicians.
Teachers only have so much time in the day and rarely have time for a one to one sit down with your child. If they do, they are probably, subconsciously making sure there is no physical contact and that no part of the conversation can be misconstrued.
Children come home from school tired. They’ve been working hard all day. The last thing they want is to see the smiling face of a home tutor when they get through the door! They’ll put up with it and may even, reluctantly, learn something because, generally, children do what they are told.
You, as a parent are the best home tutor a child can have and you come free! Every thing you do is a potential learning situation. Separating colours for the wash, weighing and measuring, counting, adding and taking away. So many irritating moments can be made simpler and more fun but remembering to turn it into a game. I know it’s hard to remember when you are exhausted too, but it does make it so much easier than fighting and arguing.
But there is one simple thing you can do that no teacher or home tutor can do that will change the lives and educational prospects of your children more than anything else.
Snuggle up together at bedtime and share a book.
You don’t have to be the greatest reader in the world or be able to do all the whacky voices. You are your child’s hero, so whatever you do will be great. If you can make the time to spend twenty minutes or half an hour reading to your child every night, you will be increasing their educational prospects more than any other intervention could ever hope to.
However sophisticated we think we are, we are still apes and we still need moments of physical closeness to bond. It is that closeness that children crave that modern life does its best to exclude. If children learn to relate reading with the best, cosiest time of their day, they will want to learn to do that magic trick themselves.
Following along as you read, is the best way to learn those long words and see them being decoded before their eyes. Learning to read is the hardest job any of us encounter in our lives. It requires thousands of hours of practice to become fluent. And fluency in reading is the key to pretty much every subject in education. Even sport has become an academic subject! Without fluency, don’t waste money on home tutors. They will force learning in one ear for it to pop out of the other. A tutor should enhance a hunger for knowledge, not be there to force it in.
The stories you read at bedtime will stay with your children for ever.
And, if you remove TVs and computers and any other electronic distractions from the bedroom, you’ll find that children who’ve had that special, bedtime story and a quiet review of the good bits of the day or prayers, if you are that way inclined, will go to sleep happy in the knowledge they are loved and that someone has the time to care about them.
This can be your quiet-time and relaxing end of the day too – every day.
Learn how to draw a a scallop type seashell using Derwent Academy Watercolour Pencils and a Derwent water brush. When drawing with coloured pencils it’s best to start off with the lightwer colours and build up the density and hues as you go.
Start with a lighter colour to give you a guide to work to and don’t press too hard. You could use a very light pencil and erase any construction lines afterwards.
I was with Derwent Pencils at the British Family Fayre in Westerham, Kent on Saturday. I had a great time showing how to use watercolour pencils and aquatone sticks with Derwent waterbrushes great fun was had by all! great to meet everyone – very tiring but great fun :)
I will be at the Great British Family Fayre on the 31st August 2013. Why not come along?
I’ll be with Derwent Pencils, showing off their great products and showing how to draw all sorts of things.
To get you in the British mood, I thought I’d show you how to draw a British Pillar Box. There’s one of these on the corner of almost every street. It’s what you put your letters or mail in for the Post Office to come an collect and send to your frinds. You might call it a mail box. They are painted in “Pillar Box Red” except for one or two gold ones which are in the towns where Olympic Gold Medal winners live!
You can tell how high they are by the amount of black showing at the bottom. The more black, the higher they are. I learned this when I was younger and could not go past a pillar box without leap-frogging over it!
In this video I used my nice new set of Derwent coloursoft pencils.
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