It was a busy day in Brown Room. At morning meeting Toniann shared that a pilot would be visiting the Brown Room after snack. In scheduling the visit Captain Louis asked her where did the children's idea start? How did they start thinking about airplanes? Jill was at meeting this morning and shared that Louise went on a trip to Florida and then the idea sparked in the classroom. The children started taking trips to Florida in dramatic play. We looked at documentation of those times and thought about questions that we would like to ask the pilot when we met him later.
Sam: Did you fly here?
Rowan and Margaret: Do you choose the food?
Then we talked about how airplanes take us somewhere and Jessica suggested: Do you decide where the airplane goes?
Margaret and Elle: What's your name?
Toniann shared his name: Captain Louis.
Afterward in the studio, Margaret was interviewed by her Birthday Committee as they began preparing for her birthday in early May. In the classroom, we combined clay and wooden blocks to build and explore the two materials. We had fun playing with the clay in a different way and seeing what happens when we combine it with wood. We invented all sorts of creative ways to work with clay and wood. We built with clay blocks, then we smushed and re-formed them into new shapes, we built waters just of clay, we used the clay to bond pieces of wood together or to ornament the wooden blocks. Kian made three towers that had a funny and surprising lean, but which were stable because of the clay. Leigh build a bird feeder and then a bird to perch on it. Charlie, Sally, Lou Lou and Rowan made tall towers. Charlie experimented with lots of different tower designs. Margaret made a cow, and Elle made a ladybug. As we were wrapping up our work time, Margaret challenged herself to build a really tall tower of blocks.
In the construction area, Sam used wooden blocks to make a runway for the airplanes and he and Sally flew them all around—that is, until the airplanes crashed into the runway several times and smashed it to bits. In the message center, Lou Lou carefully gut and glued paper to make a butterfly.
After snack, the time arrived and in walked Captain Louis. He told us that he flew airplanes for 35 years. He started flying as a teenager and went to the airport to take lessons. The first airplane he flew was a 2 seater: one seat for the instructor and the other for the student. That airplane only flew 60 miles per hour. Then after years of school he could fly a 747 airplane that seats 500 people and can fly for 10 - 12 hours. When Louis showed the picture of the 747 Sally said: It hurts my ears.
Captain Louis told us about how he has flown other things, too, like a hot air balloon. Then he took us on a pretend flight to New York City. He talked about how that would happen. The pilot checks the weather in the city they are flying from and along the flying route and then in the city that they are going. He explained how there are 2 pilots: a captain and a co-pilot or a 1st officer. One drives and the other talks on the radio. Captain Louis showed a picture of the cock pit and explained that it has a lot of gauges that tell the pilot many things. He explained how the control column works: pull toward you and the airplane goes up, push forward and the airplane goes down and keep it still and it drives straight. After the pilot does all of the safety checks the passengers are loaded and the airplane can call to taxi out to the control tower. Captain Louis named the flight: St John's Preschool Airline 123 going to NYC. Can I get permission to taxi? He asked again because the children weren't sure what to tell him. Captain Louis: I am asking permission to take off and you have to tell me yes. And then they did!
Captain Louis explained that someone is watching the airplane all of the time and that there are pretend highways in the sky that the airplanes fly in so that they are safe. They fly high at 35,000 feet where there are no clouds. Then he took the airplane in for a landing. Will asked: Are we going to the gate? Sally: I want you to pretend drive. Then Captain Louis took the airplane in for a landing.
Captain Louis also explained that he flew some airplanes at the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. He pointed out the Falcon 20 as one and for us to go see it. It was so special to have Captain Louis and hope that he is able to return again. He left books for us to borrow and study. The children thanked him and then showed him their airplane work. Thank you Captain Louis!
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.