Thursday, November 02, 2006

Da Vinci-- Reposted

Sometimes I hit the "publish" button before I have thought through my motivations.

Two nights ago I posted a narration exchange between Mariel and myself, and then deleted it after realizing I was just venting frustration, which is not something I really like to do on my blog. So I deleted the post, but someone noticed and asked where it went. ::blush::

I wonder if I was being revisionist in deleting it, but my initial thought is that it is not revisionist when the deletion occurs as a result of the realization that one's motivations are not of the sort one wishes to act on where one's blog is concerned. But it is revising, nonetheless, so I suppose technically it is revisionist history. Oh well. I still stand by the deletion.

However, there are lessons to be learned in the exchange, so I will now repost it, in a slightly different format, as a lesson to myself and others on what not to do in a reading and narration. I have come to the conclusion that the question I asked was rather above the ability of the child-- too vague, as Krakovianka said. Another part of the problem with that narration exchange was that it was an exchange rather than one question posed by the teacher, and a monologue delivered by the student, however short. I kept pestering her with questions after she was not able to answer the initial one, thereby frustrating the child and myself simultaneously.

My responses and additional questions are in the brackets. The reason I pestered her so much was because I wanted her to go beyond da Vinci's desultory habits and get to the genius of his mind. She never went there. I'm glad she understood this large flaw in da Vinci's character, but I was hoping she would be able to understand that he achieved much, in spite of it. (Think of how much he might have achieved with more discipline!)

[Describe Leonardo da Vinci’s personality. What kind of person was he?]

He was careless and very forgetful. He never finished anything.


Well, sometimes he finished things.

[How did he become respected and famous if he was like that?]

He painted the Mona Lisa, and that is a very famous painting, because she was very pretty. The real one is still in a French museum. He wasn’t always careless and forgetful. Sometimes he would remember to do things. One time he made a sketch of a lady, who thought he was going to do her painting, but he never did her painting. Her name was Isabella d’Este. Her husband secretly threw away the sketch because he hated it.

[Could you tell me more about his personality? Some more positive aspects? Tell me about his talent.]

Well, he had a talent for painting and inventing things, and dissecting bodies. Those are his talents.

[He doesn’t sound like a very pleasant person.]

Hey, he didn’t dissect live bodies, he dissected dead ones!

(I finally asked her what she would think of da Vinci if she had met him. She went on to tell an imaginary story of what she thought would happen if she met Leonardo da Vinci. They visit about various and sundry everyday things, he paints her portrait and they share lunch together.)

And here is her narration on the next exam question. I think she did well, although she does get one or two things wrong:

[What are some ideas, inventions and artworks that Leonardo da Vinci came up with?]

He came up with the idea of inventing huge wings, and then falling into the sea probably. He also came up with the idea of army warships that would be able to float on a river, a sea or an ocean even. It would have a round top with holes in it that the men could shoot things or throw things out of, and the enemy had to be a really good shot if they could shoot in a hole. His famous painting, the Mona Lisa, is still in France today. Once it was bombed, but some security guards were able to save it before it was bombed. And then once, a man threw rocks at the window where it was, shattered the glass, and the painting, and got arrested. He drew many sketches of the human body, and that helped doctors figure out what was wrong with their patients. Once, he helped a king by digging a large river under an enemy kingdom, but it was never finished because the war was long over by the time they were done with just a quarter of it.

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