At our morning meeting this morning we looked at these photos and Lily recalled that they are from our experience yesterday when we walked to the front of the building to take note of who our neighbors are here at St. John's. We have been talking about our neighbors and Cate noticed that we also have neighbors here within the school, the Brown room in the front and the Tucker room in the back. Along with discussing what it means to be a good neighbor and take care of our classroom and materials, we are hoping to begin exploring the idea of neighbors in a more elaborate way.
We've got some new recycled materials in our construction area and upon entering the classroom the children were immediately drawn to them and began to experiment building with them. James wondered if perhaps these styrofoam 'brackets' would make "a stable base for a house."
Later in the day, as the children worked with stability and balance, their tall building collapsed and Melanie wondered if perhaps we could built something low to the ground instead. This invited the children to reconsider their original structure and they announced that it is now a boat! How wonderfully imaginative the children are and how easily they can reimagine a structure and breathe it a new life.
While the construction area is a buzz, some of our ladies found a peaceful moment together while they bonded over their similar stuffed animals friends!
We have been investigating measurement in various forms throughout our day and in various areas of the room. Measurement also comes into play during snack time as we have been collecting our left-over drinking water in a beaker located next to the sink. Each day the children pour their left-over water in the beaker and we notice the changing water levels. Today was a very exciting day as Caleb, Max, and Maisie notice that the water level has reached the top, over 1,000 ml! Tomorrow morning we will use this water to feed the many plants in our classroom.
Catching up with our Birthday Committees
Our birthday committees were hard at work today as we finished illustrating stories for both Danny and Caleb's birthdays coming up. The children really enjoyed getting to use their own words and ideas to tell a story for their friends and they were responsible, from start to finish, in the creative process. It is so wonderful to see how the children are not only enjoying themselves but they are also bonding with their friends in the process. Tommy was thrilled to share his elaborate illustrations for the cover of Caleb's story with his friend Hugh who was equally as interested in hearing what Tommy had to share. We are looking forward to these celebrations and to share the stories with the whole classroom community!
Here Come the Birthdays:
"Those flowers are beautiful! ... I wish I could jump in there." ~Zarina
Everyday the children take notice of what we the adults do not always see or at times take for granted. At other times, the children also take things for granted, and it requires the guidance of the adult in helping them return their attention to the active world around them. All the while keeping our imaginations near to us.
A handful of children had not yet contributed their a jar of mixed paints to our new collection of paint colors. Although mixing paints may seem like a perfunctory activity, often it is not so simplistic. As Hugh stirred his multi-blend of pigments together inside a small baby food jar, Adney remarked, "Wow, that's a complex color." He also noted the physics happening within his own jar of paint: "I think the colors go down in the center and this pushes up the white. When I put in the red, the colors went up about a 1/4 inch." (Note the height/depth of the white in his jar--photo at top left.)
As observer and facilitator it is remarkable to witness the choices the children make in their exploration with the paints, as a medium of color, and the directions this takes them in an otherwise basic act of lift, squeeze, and stir. On some occasions it is this very aspect that fascinates and engages the children. It may also be their sense of control and independence over the manifestations of color and the element of surprise in the final outcome. Tegan's surprise seemed connected to achieving an intended objective--to make purple: "I made purple because my favorite color is purple."
In many cases, the "all colors" black finds its way into nearly every jar (unless otherwise encouraged) leaving the question "why?" lingering just high enough to be out of reach. Then again, the children often engage in their act of paint mixing with a "more is better" approach. In which case, the black paint may just be along for "the more, the merrier" ride. Of specific interest today was Tommy's choice to entertain pattern making when mixing his second jar of paint: "I'm making a pattern. First it's blue, then yellow, then red!" He called this color, "rainbow." Later on and perhaps inspired by Tommy, Dagny also declared, "I'm going to make a pattern."
A House for Ribbit
Among the many happenings in the classroom, the construction area has been a real highlight these past few days. The children worked together to build two neighboring structures, a house for Ribbit (our friendly classroom frog) and another structure that is debatably a house, apartment building, or castle (depends on who you ask!). A few concepts arose based on their conversations and play...
Height- The children discussed making the structure as tall as St. John’s. They brought over stools and stood on the large hollow blocks in order to stack the blocks higher and higher.
Comparison- Curiosity arose whether the structure was taller than Melanie and they considered how tall they had to build the structure in order to be taller than her.
Cooperative and Collaborative Play:
The children worked together to bring their individual visions to fruition. It is quite amazing to observe how the children seem to have this underlying sense of agreement and understanding for how things should happen and who should do what. There is no single visionary, the children each contribute their own ideas to the building of the structure and they discuss and work together to compromise and make decisions.
We created a system for everyone to participate in the community clean up by assigning jobs for stackers, passers, and shelves. The stackers stack the blocks for the passers to hand off to the shelvers who place the blocks on the shelves. The system was effective and included all the children while giving them each a sense of purpose and accomplishment when the task was completed!
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Demand dictates supply. The children have been rambunctiously playing throughout the classroom from the day each one of them walked through the Rainey Room doorway and we all began our new school year together. Although not offered, there was voiced interest yesterday to paint, establishing an natural segue into our plans for the children be in command of mixing their own paints to create a color palette to begin the year. Including a color, mixed and named with "a crazy name," by Caleb as no more paint color.
Only the basic colors were put on the table. This was to increase the exploration of how primary colors work together to create new and beautiful secondary and tertiary colors. White and black paint was also put out on the studio table for the choice to add these color modifiers to change the shade and value of the color, if desired. In some cases, the children discovered (in a manner similar to last year's exploration) that too much black simply darkened their color more than they wanted. This kind of trial and error process created a natural situation where the jars of paint with a lot of black were visually referenced as such. Allowing the children to later make the choice to mix in or not mix in black paint or to add a little or a lot of it based upon their discerning observations of the actual phenomena.
During our morning meeting we presented to the children the problem that Dagny had posed yesterday, regarding the construction and layout of the road to Disneyworld. She noticed that the blocks were placed in the direct walking route towards the cash register and telephone. We asked the children if they had any ideas for how we could solve this problem and allow for a better flow of foot traffic around the room.
Tommy, Caleb, Max, Hugh, Will and Lily got to work rebuilding the road along the tape lines we left yesterday as a reminder for the layout of the path. Hugh came up with a clever solution to the problem, placing the number 8 blocks at various points along the route to signify a walking path for pedestrians. “When the cars see the number 8, they stop at the number 8,” Hugh explained.
Our shop opened early this morning, with parents being the lucky first customers of the day! As the morning progressed so did their play as the restaurant gained a new name for the day, Sun Burrito.
"I'm the shop keeper! Do you want a cheese burrito? It's called Sun Burrito." - Elena
"I'll order something, can I have a cup of tea?" - Lily
"Here's some pie! Do you want to have some pie? It's your favorite kind!" - Vivienne
"My job is to hold these and these (small chips from a board game) and I got this (a small box) if I need to go somewhere!" - Will