Our Shadows are Real Animals

I have been making videos with first graders exploring the theme of play between animals. As much of the action has taken place outdoors, in the school yard, I was not surprised to see the element of shadows come into the children's narrations of their videos. Many creature-like shadows came alive underneath the children's running, skipping, hopping, trampling, searching forms, and upon viewing these taped images, the children took note, and seemed to be taken with the arresting shapes their shadows made on the earth, and intrigued by their abilities to manipulate their own shadows. See this compilation and notice the scientific and poetic conclusions the children have drawn about shadows. What sparked my interest in compiling this short piece, aside from my own wonder at shadows and thrill at seeing young children explore them, was the breathless comment of the boy in character as a Mouse searching the school building for a lost cat and bird, who turned to me and said with amazement: "Our shadows, they look like real animals!!"

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