Drawing + Expression of Knowledge


This workshop is designed to help therapists, teachers and parents understand the expectations for drawing within the Primary School curriculum regardless of whether kids are in Special Education, Support or Mainstream classes. We will look at what makes a drawing recognisable and how progress can be measured for IEP and therapy goals, therapy and ABA programmes. Kids are taught to use their drawing skills in school to express knowledge across all subjects. It’s not just about the mechanics of staying within the line or drawing neatly but about how all of the individual parts of a drawing get linked together to communicate a particular concept or idea. The ability to show how one object or part is related to another is essential for a detailed neat drawing but is often really challenging for kids with complex learning needs. Drawing is being used to demonstrate knowledge not only in English and Maths for stories and graphing, but in Science, History and Geography for learning about different cultures, animals and the places that they live. People, animals, buildings and places each have a list of specialised parts that need to be drawn and all of these need to be put together to make a complete picture. Understanding how we develop the lists of what to include and strategies to help reduce the need for 1:1 prompting will be shown. We will explore different ways that kids can show their knowledge across subjects within the school curriculum and how this relates to their knoweldge of the world around them. Drawing a floor plan for your bedroom or a map of the local park starts in Kindergarten and helps form the basis of understanding how objects and animals and people fit together. Skills learnt in lower grades build up for more complex thinking and mapping skills in Grade 5 or 6 where kids are learning about town planning, travel and agricultural resources.

We will spend time looking at the different ways to draw a person in a picture and how to include greater details such as movement, clothing, interaction with others and speech. Construction, fine motor and play activities can also help develop greater awareness of the parts needed to draw a specific object or scene. Knowledge of how movement is represented in a drawing is important for showing the emotions of how people interact with each other and how we move about the world around us. Knowing how to put animals, people and objects in specific places on a page becomes important for showing knowledge about hierarchy for things such as who are the adults in the picture or which animals are predators or prey. Kids pick up details about illustrations from the books that they read, TV shows and movies that they watch. How people interact with each other within these scenes becomes more complex as kids interests develop. An understanding of how drawings are laid out on a page and how different drawings are linked together to form a scene helps kids understand the visual ‘rules’ that are present in most pictures. This concept of visual structure to a drawing or diagram forms the basis of how pictures are made into stories for English, how maps are drawn for Geography and how diagrams and flowcharts are used for Science. We will look at subjects from aross the curriculum and see how the types of drawing demands progress as kids go through the grades. Strategies to help kids understand how speech is used within drawings and how scenes are broken down into distinct pages will be shown for kids with varied skill levels. Progress with drawing is challenging and its common for kids to get stuck at a stage where they have learnt some rote things to draw or motivation and interest remains really low. Kids often have the language to label a lot of parts that need to be included but struggle to get them down on paper. The workshop is designed to provide parents, teachers and therapists with an understanding of just how complex drawing actually is and to provide a range of ideas and examples of how to support kids development. A booklet with colour photos is provided as a resource for use after the workshop.

© Danielle Lord 2017.