Speaking through collage

This week in Nitzanim v’Anafim (“Buds” for 1st-2nd grades and “Branches” for 3rd grade), we explored the rest of Genesis 18, in which Adonai (God) and Avraham (Abraham) have a conversation about Adonai’s plans to destroy the city of S’dom. Avraham asks, “Will you destroy the righteous, too, along with the wicked?”

This was a long chunk of text, so we spent the whole week exploring what was going on between Avraham and Adonai. Some children acted out the conversation with their bodies and voices, while others drew comics that explored what the characters faces and bodies might look like during this conversation.

We then got to try out some new art modalities to get a little deeper. We asked: what are Adonai and Avraham feeling during this conversation? How does Adonai feel to be questioned? Is Avraham feeling brave? Scared? Upset? Children chose a background color based on what feelings they imagined the characters having, and collaged on top to create the scene.

This new way of creating about the text was incredibly evocative for the children in Nitzanim v’Anafim! As they worked, they spoke about their ideas and how they were using the materials to show them.

“Adonai is mad. All different kinds of mad. [Adonai] is pouring down mad. [I used red felt to show] soft mad, because [Adonai] wants to destroy the city but what if [Adonai] finds righteous people? Then [Adonai] can’t destroy the city.”

As the educator, getting a chance to see how children worked with these materials in this new way was incredibly helpful for thinking about their final projects for the theme. I’m excited to say that not only did children share fascinating ideas about the text through their artwork, but many children also reported that they really enjoyed working with the materials in this way. In the words of one 3rd grader: “Who knew gluing things down could be so satisfying!” Over the coming weeks, we’ll continue to practice new ways of using our materials to build our skills as we go into final project season!

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