Phenology Sit Spot Project

Phenology Sit Spot Project

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As the seasons change and you settle into your home environment, it’s a fantastic time to take notice of what’s around you and begin to document this change.

Through this home phenology project we hope that you will get to know the place where you live even better as you focus on your surroundings. Not only will you be connecting closely with the natural world for this project, but you will also be able to connect with each other.

Though we are all at our own houses right now, we are all working on this same project- so in essence, we are doing a collaborative project. How will it work? Read on! 


1. Please locate an outside spot near your house where you can go to sit every day for 10 minutes. Make sure it’s a spot that’s comfortable and that you are excited to spend time.

2. When you get to your sit spot on the first day, please fill out the Sit Spot Journal Template to get grounded in your place. This is good practice for people that enjoy nature journaling, so you may want to continue doing this every time you go to your spot. (You can either print the Journal Template OR write down the information on a separate piece of paper).

3. In your sit spot, please draw a thumbnail sketch of your view. See below for the definition of a thumbnail sketch.

4. When you’re done with your thumbnail sketch, you can choose to stay in your sit spot and do some journaling. You can either write about your observations, or what you’re feeling or thinking about at the time. Your teachers may also provide you with some journal prompts in the coming days, but for this project you will only be sharing your thumbnail sketches with others. 

5. Your task is to continue visiting your sit spot daily and completing a thumbnail sketch. You can alternate between ‘big picture view’ and ‘detailed view’ for your sketches, as you may want to incorporate some close-up objects nearby. Make sure that at least one of your sketches each week is a ‘big picture view’. By the end of this project, (date to be determined) you will exhibit a set of thumbnails similar to the one pictured below.  

What is a thumbnail sketch? Thumbnail sketches are shorthand notes for artists. These sketches are quick, abbreviated drawings. Usually,they are done very rapidly and with no corrections – you can use any medium, though pen or pencil is the most common. Thumbnail sketches are usually very small, often only an inch or two high. The thumbnail does not need to be immensely detailed, however a viewer should be able to recognize changes between each sketch. Make sure to include weather patterns or lighting changes. Your sketch can be rendered using whatever materials you have access to- pencils, markers, crayons, watercolors, or paper collage. 

Pro tip– remember to work from the background toward the foreground, larger shapes to smaller details.

This is a visual to inspire you- your final composition might look similar to this, or very different. The most important thing is that your artwork is personal.

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Here is a guide for dividing a circle into 5ths (what a great math connection for students working on fractions!).

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             Web page for instruction

Phenology Sit Spot Journal Template


Date and Time:

Location of Sit Spot (as specific as possible):

Weather (temperature, cloud cover, wind):

Sunrise and Sunset (optional):

What you notice from your spot:

What has changed in this space since the last time you were here?