Here Come the Birthdays: Getting started on the fall birthdays and the work of the birthday committees.
After brainstorming several different ideas for the birthday gift, we were eventually inspired by the children's interest and love for stories and books. Each child will be given a story, written and illustrated for them by their birthday committee. Once decided, we recognized a connection to a centrality of libraries within neighborhoods.
Monday commenced the birthday committee work. This year Dagny's birthday will begin our school birthday celebrations. Her committee, Elena, James, Vivienne, Tegan, got a story started by contributing either their ideas and imagination in words, drawn pictures or both. They will present Dagny's completed storybook next Tuesday.
With so many fall birthdays, the work of the committees will steadily persist for the next month. In fact, Caleb's birthday is on Monday, October 02. His committee, Tommy, Abby, Maisie, and Hugh enthusiastically joined together in the studio today. The committee members first had a discussion about some preselected books. This invited a way to learn about the type of stories Caleb most appreciates. Then the story was written--in a day! Tomorrow both Dagny's and Caleb's committees will complete the storybooks by adding the work of their illustrations.
What's a Neighbor? What's a Neighborhood? And More About Us Being Neighborly.
,The concept of being a neighbor and the tangibility of a neighborhood are at the center of our Rainey Room yearly projection. On our first day of school, and remarkably our first day to have all 15 of us together, as a class, we opened up this topic. Beginning as we typically do, we presented the children with a blank slate of our knowledge and a question to provoke and encourage their own thought processes and their sharing of what they already know.
We asked, "What is a neighborhood." This produced responses related more to the word hood than to the partnering word, neighbor. The hood of a car and the hood of a jacket were referenced. So, we simplified it: "What is a neighbor?" Caleb: A person who lives next to you. Vivienne: I have a neighbor across the street. Zarina: I have three neighbors on one street. Tommy: My house is here [gestures with a tap of one hand] and my neighbor's house is over there [directs by placing a hand further from him]. ... My neighbor lives across the street. Melanie: If a neighbor lives next to us, who lives next door to us? Hugh: I do. Melanie: So Hugh is St. John's neighbor. Allison: Do we have neighbors in the school? Caleb: Brown Room and Tucker. Maisie: I have a neighbor right next to me? Melanie: How do you know they're your neighbor? Maisie: Because they're on the same pavement as me.
Going outside to get a closer look at our neighbors. Who are our neighbors?
We followed up on the conversation about neighbors by reading back the above conversation to a small group. Next, we depicted our homes, our neighbors homes, and/or neighborhoods by drawing our "neighbors".
Again: "What's a Neighbor?" Max: It's somebody who lives next to me. Cate: Molly lives next to me and has two dogs. Molly also has neighbors...with no dogs.
And: "What's a Neighborhood?" Lily: We have a neighborhood. Caleb: A place where your home is in. Max: I live with my sisters. Melanie: So a neighbor is not someone you live with? Max: No (suggesting that neighbors are not someone you live with).
Later, while drawing their homes and their neighbor's homes: Melanie:Where is your house, James? James: Reservoir Road. Melanie: Where is that? James: It's near Wisconsin Avenue. Melanie: Where can we find those roads, those streets? James: Washington. In Washington. Cate: (exuberantly chimes in) DC! Washington, DC! ... We all call it different words. Melanie: So, what is Washington, DC?\ James: It's a city.