Ellen: Mmm, school [Draws two windows]. Do you know this is Reecey’s school? Just over there – ‘cross the road’.
Researcher: Is that your friend, Reece?
Ellen:  Yeah, he’s my friend, and my cousin. You can write that if you want … ‘This is Reecey’s school … and Trany, Leanne and Warwick…’ and do you know my name is the same as my Nanny’s? You can write that too: ‘my Nanny’s name is the same as mine’. Not the same as my Mum’s, just the same as mine. See the E? Mmm, that’s for me, and my Nanny [writes name on top left of paper]. [draws a dot, continues drawing over it until it is a filled in circle] Mmm, a door [adds a rectangular shape around the circle. Repeats the actions to complete another ‘door’] Reecey, he started school just now. He did. An’ he just lives near me … This is Reece’s part here – and a little door [laughs]. An’ he’s gotta be really little to get in the door [laughs]. This is the window. He could just climb out the window if he can’t fit in the door!

The narrative and the drawing together reflect the meanings Ellen was constructing in response to the task of drawing what she thought school would be like. Ellen’s strategy of making meaning of the task was to relate it to her friend and cousin, Reece, who had just started school. In keeping with this, Ellen described school as a personal place as well as a physical space. Yet, it is the physical structures only that are represented in her drawing – it was her narrative that reflected the personal element. The combination of drawing and telling provided opportunities for Ellen to focus on both physical and personal elements. Throughout the process of drawing, her conversation was reflected in the drawing and vice versa: the marks Ellen made on the paper both influenced her comments and were guided by them. For example, Ellen started drawing a dot, which became a circle and then a door. Her label of ‘a door’ came after the drawing. On other occasions, her conversation influenced the drawing – for example, when Ellen added a window because Reece might not be able to get out of the door. The ritual process of drawing and having an adult scribe some words was anticipated, and Ellen was clear about what should be noted on the drawing. However, her conversation included much more than this – it became a more personal narrative relating to family and friends and the contexts in which she was familiar. (Einarsdottir)

Improving Schools-2010-Barnes-143-57.jpg

4th July Wednesday
Ian and Fin (age 4) glue gunning Fin’s sculptures, they’ve been doing this for about 3 sessions. Fin is building structures and making his own decisions, he first decides where to glob the glue and then chooses his shape from a large pile – he is deep in thought, with concentrated and serious expression – he sometimes commentates-‘put this here’, ‘tap’, ‘glue’, ‘brummm’, ‘I put on compartment’, gun, more, bullets, ‘stick brick, we need a door on it’, ‘its s an aeroplane . . . brummmmm’, steering wheel, ‘bang it on, hammers over there’.

Ian: Where do you get your ideas from Fin?
Fin: From you Dad.
Ian: This is brilliant work it is so exciting.
Fin: Turn it over again, get this side to work . . . we don’t need a picture.
I’ve finished now, it’s all finished.
[Pause] (phew-1 hrs work)
Fin: Let’s join it (to a previous sculpture).
Ian: No, it’s too difficult, they won’t stick.
[They start manoeuvring the pieces toward each other]
Fin: I’ve finished now [two sculptures now one].
Ian: Unbelievable.
[Fin has a 3 minute break. Now, sat back at his table with the glue gun sticking more bits]
Fin: Difficult, to do this. Won’t stick, no.
Ian: More glue?
Fin: Got glue gun, where does it go? I’m going to glue this on, don’t touch the glue Dad.
[Same sculpture]
Ian: I think it’s sticking Fin.
Fin: ZZZzzzzzzzz . . . Boooooschsch
St st st st st . . . it’s an aeroplane.
148 Improving Schools 13(2)
Downloaded from at UNIV OF GEORGIA LIBRARIES on November 19, 2012
[Fin walks around his sculpture making mechanical noises, looks with admiration at the
Fin: Look I’m going to stick this on.
Ian: You’ve actually done it.
Fin: All on my own.
Ian: I’m going to draw your sculpture later. Fin you’re a genius.
Fin: Got lots on it.
(Tina, diary, 4 July 2008)
(Barnes 149)