Monday, January 7, 2008

Beauty Is . . .

Today is the first day back from the holiday break. I expected a lot of hyper kids who weren't used to sitting in chairs anymore. I was wrong. The kids were great. It was like we didn't have a break at all. In fact, it was better than before the break because all the Christmas excitement and general craziness was gone.

Today I talked about beauty with the third and fourth graders. First we listened to a short clip from the Philosophy Talk, "What is Beauty?" The kids loved it.

Then we looked at several images from around the web and discussed whether or not we felt they were beautiful. The kids had such profound things to say. They really understand that each person can have their own definitions of beauty and although we don't all agree, we can all respect each other's opinions.

As we looked through the images I asked the students to tell me which ones they thought were beautiful and WHY they are beautiful. It was wonderful to listen to their explanations. I made lists on the board of key words that I heard them say. The lists included amazing, pretty, feelings, love, inspire, luscious, simple, fancy, meaningful, lovely, emotion, expression, and so many more. Time and again it seemed that something beautiful reminds us of other things that we hold dear.

We also tried to make distinctions between words like cute, pretty, nice and beautiful. Some of the kids definitely felt that there was a difference between cute and beautiful and I loved listening to them try to explain what that difference was. They had to search their brains for the right words. Really, it was great.

Near the end of class I asked them each to finish this sentence on their own, "Beauty is. . . " Here are some of their responses.

Beauty is a wolf howling at night.
Beauty is the sky that shines so bright.
Beauty is a rose and it is red and soft.
Beauty is bunnies, sun, dark, light, waves, trees, flag of the USA.
Beauty is family because they love you, care for you and are very very nice to you. That's why I think beauty is family.
Beauty is a flower in the sun sparkling in the shine.
Beauty is something that makes me happy.
Beauty is anything that is simple.
Beauty is something that people like and appreciate.
Beauty is a wolf!
Beauty is some horses. They are perfect to me.
Beauty is a cute kitten because it's happy. It can be so loving. It's fantastic that a cat would do that.
Beauty is something that takes time like a drawing.
Beauty is anything that makes me happy or something that amazes me.
Beauty is something that makes me want to do good things.

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