Me and We, Public vs. Private

When people ask me "What's happening in your studio?" my first instinct is to tell them what art I'm working on at home, where I have an easel and sewing machine and make things all the time.

It usually takes me a couple of beats before I realize that they are asking what's happening in the Sabot studio. It is strange to me that other people could think of the studio here at school as mine. Is it strange that I don't think of it that way?

Is it because they assume I take ownership over what happens in this classroom? I never do....well, I guess I take responsibility for the materials and the messes, and for asking good questions that make things happen. But the children contribute more than I do here. I definitely don't own any of it.

The same thing happens with this blog. I think of it as documentation from Sabot school. This is the Sabot studio, here. It belongs to the children and the school community, not to me alone.

This blog serves as a stand-in for face to face dialog in a world where people don't have much time. It is a way for me to show some of what's happening at school, because I don't really have anywhere else to show it. 

Blogging is kind of solitary, but it's not meant to be self-aggrandizing. It's more like what people say about how swimming is a sport where you're mostly competing with your own best record, I guess. I'm trying to get better at supporting and showing the children's processes and to figure out what it means to be an Atelierista within the context of Sabot school.

I know there are teachers who are passionate to learn to ask better questions and use documentation more effectively reading right now, so thanks. What's happening in your classroom?


  1. I'm just back from the Lesley Reggio Institute, trying to process all I saw and learned and try to apply some of it at home. And I wanted to say what fun it was to see more about some of the stories I've read here! I'm glad you share what's going on in "your" studio; it's very inspiring.

    We're mashing rain-damp sidewalk chalk with mallets and mortar-and-pestles, mixing them with water, and painting the patio, construction paper, and bare bellies here in our studio.

  2. We are only in our second year here at Rosalie School. I was noticing earlier in the year that the families and the children were using language that suggested that I own the school and the things in it. I also noticed that we were having problems with taking care of our things. We began an intentional effort to increase the feeling of co-ownership for all the people of the school, and I think we have been seeing results in terms of caring for our things. There have been days when the children decide to spontaneously clean things like the patio on the playground or all the dishes in the mud kitchen. We shall have to keep an ear open next year to see if the language has changed.

    With the increasing feeling of co-ownership, the parent-coteachers requested more transparency about the process of writing the diary entries: how the notes and photographs they take become mini stories, traces of the daily life at school. So we are currently engaged in a diary meta-project which is quite exciting for us.

  3. Lise...thanks for your comment and I hope you enjoyed Marty's presentation!
    Emily...thanks so much! Your comment is really helpful. I would love to know more about your project.

  4. Anna: I love the distinction you make between responsibility and ownership. The failure by many people to make that type of distinction is the cause of a great deal of pain and friction in a whole host of settings and relationships we encounter as we grow. As much as I am immensely grateful for your presence as a catalyst in my son's intellectual development, I am equally (if not more so) grateful for the thoughtfulness you show in all of your interactions that I have seen shape his view of what it means to participate in a relationship where you have responsibility to one another without ownership of one another.


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