I may be an artist, but I also fancy myself a bit of a scientist. When scientists want to learn about an animal, they have two methods at their disposal: kill it and take it apart, or observe the creature in its natural habitat. In other words, you can either study what it’s made of, or what it’s like. As part of my quest for scientific discovery, I have repeatedly embedded myself for an entire day in the natural habitat of perhaps the most bizarre and fascinating creatures on the planet: Schoolchildren.
What gives me the opportunity to do this is an awesome program known as Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students), which is affiliated with the National Center for Fathering at www.fathers.com. The purpose of the program is to give your school a little extra shot of testosterone, to give your school an extra set of eyes inside and outside the building, and to give dads the opportunity to invest in their kids and greater community during the school day. Being a self-employed artist and designer, I am blessed to have a flexible enough schedule that I can commit to serving as the Watchdog once a month. On my last Watchdog day of the year, I worked on math with some kindergarteners, read aloud to first graders (redeeming myself from my last nightmarish experience with this — documented in this older post), played basketball with third graders, rode swings with a couple of fourth graders, worked on math with a small group of third graders, and ate lunch with first, third and sixth graders. For scientific purposes, I will share some of my observations as Watchdog with you, my valued readers (all eight of you). Continue reading