A Visual Timeline of Feelings

Nitzanim v’Anafim (“Buds” for 1st-2nd grades and “Branches” for 3rd grade) has spent this week wrapping up our explorations of Genesis 13 before moving onto the next text within our אַבְרָהָם‎ וְלוֹט (Avraham v’Lot) theme, Genesis 18. We’ll work to keep all our big ideas about Genesis 13 live as we move onto the next text, as these past few sessions have been the richest of the year thus far!

There are several key plot points in the story of Genesis 13 that children have been interested in, so for our final exploration asked children to choose a certain character and a moment in the text and create about what that character might’ve been feeling at that moment. While building has been quite an expressive modality for these children, I decided that watercolors might be a helpful modality to express feelings with.

We started off by experimenting with our watercolors. While I showed the children a few different techniques for creating with watercolors, they also discovered their own new ways of using watercolors to show feelings. Here are some of their ideas about how different kinds of watercolor techniques could express different kinds of feelings:

  • A darker color could show a stronger feeling and a lighter color could show just a little bit of feeling
  • Blending colors could show blended feelings
  • Starting with water on the paper and adding drops of paint to it could show a feeling that starts small and gets bigger
  • Putting one color on top of another could show two feelings at once

They also shared ideas about which colors feel like “happy” colors or “sad” colors, or how leaving blank spots on the page could show that someone might not know what they are feeling.

After coming up with a bunch of different ways we could express feeling with watercolors, we moved into showing our ideas about the characters in the text. Here are a few examples of what Nitzanim v’Anafim thinks Avram and Lot are feeling throughout Genesis 13:

How Avram was feeling during the argument: “Inside he feels out of control of his sad. [On the outside he feels] a little sad.”
How Lot was feeling when he and Avram separated from each other: “I’m doing colors I kind of think are happy because I think they kind of like each other…I made them really dark to show strong feelings. I’m adding green and blue because I think those are sad colors…very light because he’s a tiny bit sad [to separate].”
“Avram wanted to separate. He pretended to be mad to cover up his sadness….The words in the text sounded like he didn’t really want to separate.”

Once our paintings were dry, we added them to our text timeline on the wall, a beautiful visual representation of our ideas about Genesis 13. You can tell which parts of the text evoked the most feelings in our kevutzah (group) by where the paintings are clumped and the intensity of the colors!

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