Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Diorama drama

Well, we did the diorama.

In the end it was surprisingly painless, because Littleboy 1, having moaned about it making it, suddenly decided 10 minutes into the project that he absolutely loved it and launched into it with his boundless enthusiasm. At the same time his brother, feeling left out, decided that he was going to make his own diorama - not for a school project, just because he wanted to. So they both spent a morning cutting out coloured paper and writing captions on stickers.

Thanks to those who commented on the former post for confirming that UK schools, indeed, also ask for dioramas. However, I wonder if this may be an American import (like "show and tell", "playdate" and various other kiddie terms that have crept across the pond).

"A diorama is a rite of passage for every American schoolkid," confirmed my friend K, a former teacher, who came round the other day and admired the shoeboxes and their contents. At some point, she said, every child is asked to make one, and as they get older they are required to be more and more complicated and impressive. (I'm glad Littleboy 2 got his moment, then, before we leave - he took it school and showed it to his teacher, who reportedly said "Wow!")

I must admit, I thought Littleboy 1's sea turtle diorama was pretty good.....until I was in his classroom this morning and caught sight of some other children's efforts. One had modelled animals out of plasticine, one had included real sand (why didn't I think of that?) and someone else had typed in the captions on a computer and printed them out, including the Latin name of his sea creature....oh, wait, maybe that was his Mum.

Clearly, in New York dioramas are a competitive sport.


Sea turtle, by Littleboy 1. (The pink blobs are jellyfish)

Tigers by Littleboy 2. Done just for fun.

11 comments:

About Last Weekend said...

Oh I had to think about what a diorama is! because we're in California the kids do endless Mission projects with sticks and macaroni and ones about extinct animals and "how To" And in all my years I have never learned "How To" anything

Conuly said...

LOL, it's always the parents.

Iota said...

Did you hear about the school that had to close, because a child brought in a WW2 artillery shell for 'show and tell', and the teacher worried it was still live. And it turned out it WAS!

Show and tell with the 'ow and t' taken out = shell. Maybe there had been a big blot on the page of the note describing what was required, and the mum had read it as "It's your child's turn to bring in a sh...ell".

Anonymous said...

Although I know what dioramas are, neither I nor my kids were required to make one. Nor do I know anyone who has made one. I live in the Midwest so maybe it's an East Coast thing.

Was Living Down Under said...

Wow they look really good! I think letting the children do it on their own - giving them the tools and the space to do it with is the way to go. It's hard not to get competitive when you see what the other parents (children?) put up but it's much more meaningful if the children do it themselves (or at least lead the way). It's a balance isn't it - supporting them but not getting so involved that you end up taking over.

Kit said...

Thanks for showing pictures, as I didn't know what they were at all. My kids went through a phase of making something similar (without the labels)just for the fun of it, but it was never a school project.

Clare Taylor said...

We have them here too - but then since we're essentially in the US system, I guess that's no surprise!

Melissa said...

Very impressive. We have definitely made one of those before (without the labels). We made an african safari scene with grass and rocks from the garden and plastic animals.I was quite proud of my art project (not the use of the word 'my')

Nota Bene said...

Funny how kids moods can change on a whim...they're terriffic!

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

My daughter had to make a diorama for The Hobbit and was very sad when she wasn't given enough time to finish it. I think she loved that it was such a different way of showing a scene other than the usual arts kids do.

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