It's the last Friday of the month and teachers will be working on school maintenance and clean-up this afternoon, so no journal. Have a wonderful weekend!
This morning, the first Brown Room children mot arrive discovered warm clay pieces just out of the kiln. It was fun to feel their warmth and weight, and to notice how their appearance and texture changed during the firing process. In the classroom, several children glazed their clay pieces while others worked in construction and dramatic play. The comic capers of captains Austin and Will continued, this time with a flight that involved putting out fires. When Louise joined, she turned her fire hose on Captain Will. Jack built a large "car-go" ship designed...cars, of course. Margaret and Charlie used teamwork and their growing knowledge of building concepts--balance, stability, size and shape--to build a beautiful tower worthy of celebrating.
At snack, we looked at photos of the children coming to St. John's next year. Everyone was excited to think about being in the Rainey Room next year, and very interested in the new Brown Room children. We looked at their photos, noticed how young they look, and talked about how much growing they'll have to do before they came to the Brown Room. Leigh recognized her cousin Cannon, and Margaret was super excited to see her friends Sadie and Sophia. Soon we'll start making cards to welcome them to St. John's.
The outdoor classroom today was all about physical challenges--climbing, swinging, balancing. After many tries, Jossie and Leigh walked along the sandbox wall without assistance. Louise showed Lou Lou how to climb up to the monkey bar and swing all on her own. What a thrill! Doing things with our bodies for the first time, and doing them independently, are just more reminders of how big and strong we're getting. Rainey Room, here we come!
Today started with a very unusual chapel. Ginny couldn't join us, so Marley led chapel. The lighter didn't work so the Tucker Room friends pretended to light the candles, while Jessica raced back to the school to find a lighter and save the day. Then Kate read a book about bees that had all of the children buzzing (literally) with excitement. We all just rolled with it, and had lots of fun laughs.
In the studio, some friends were busy at the easel while others worked hard at glazing their clay pieces. Everyone was thoughtful and focused. Leigh and Lou Lou kept each other--and the rest of us--in stitches and helped to brighten up a rainy dreary day. At the same time, a group of friends created a construction site with clay and trucks in the studio--working together and manipulating the clay with their trucks and hands. At snack, we had edamame. It was a little intimidating at first, but we had a great time shelling the peas and loved the taste. It was a hit!
Outside, despite the cloudy skies and drizzle, we had a fantastic time in the outdoor classroom. Sam sailed some passengers to the park, with assistance from Will. We made good use of the beautiful wheel barrows that Victor rebuilt for us. The children noticed how strong and smooth and beautiful they are, and are very curious about Victor. We talked about writing him a thank you note.
Today at morning meeting, Austin wanted to show us a magic trick: “I’ve got something up my sleeve.” He searched for the right object to use until he found a gold bead. After he put it up his sleeve, it disappeared somewhere inside his jacket. It just disappeared…ta dah!
In the classroom children worked on collages. The glitter and glue were indulgent. It was exciting for them to watch the glue ooze out and make pools on the paper. The next stage: adding glitter! Shaking out the glitter and covering the base. Then with much surprise to everyone the glitter would only stay where there was glue. We would pick them up and the glitter not attached by glue would slide off. The work created was very thoughtful and are still a work in progress.
In the studio, one group of children glazed some of the clay pieces they’ve built—many of which just came out of the kiln yesterday. Another group worked on organizing the rocks and other natural materials we’ve been collecting from the outdoor classroom, examining the rocks, taking photos, grouping them, and labeling the categories. Louise and Austin developed categories including “Chocolate” “White Gold” and “Rainbow Rock Star.” Austin grouped one set of rocks inn different shapes and sizes, saying “These are all in a group because they’re fun.”
Rowan decided to take his camera to other parts of the studio and into the classroom to document friends and the work happening, and others joined him. Jossie worked with Jack and Kian to stage a photo shoot with the train set, saying, “I need to take a picture of this. Now move that there. That needs to come this way.”
Here are four images each taken by Austin, Grace, Jossie and Rowan:
Outside at the end of the day, Jack invited everyone to take a trip on his sailing ship. Kian joined him as captain of a second ship and they shuttled their friends to places near and far.
Elle: Where are we going?
Jack: To the air and space museum.
Sam: I’m going to sleep here in the dining car.
Jack: It’s not a train. It’s a ship.
Sam: Okay in the dining room.
Jack: Who wants to go on the sailboat? We’re sailing on the water.
Kian: I’m going to Florida.
Jack: I’m going to the zoo. But I can’t stay at the zoo. I have to steer the ship.
Elsewhere in the outdoor classroom, lots of friends joined Marley in spreading out the bales of hay in the sandbox. Everyone was determined and worked very hard. Sally asked, “Who made this mess?” to which the children and Marley replied, “We did!” What a wonderful day!
This morning we continued our exploration of clay and wooden blocks, and several friends got right to work, even before morning meeting. While some friends worked on Margaret's birthday gift in the studio, others continued at the clay table, developing creative new uses for the wooden construction blocks. We used them as tools to pound the clay into flat slabs, and we ornamented them with small pieces of clay. We even brought in airplanes, using them both as part of the physical structures and as part stories we developed about the planes and towers. Today there was no slipping or scoring, but there was a lot of mushing, pounding, poking, stacking, twisting and anything else we could do with our hands and minds.
In dramatic play, we invented new and more complex airplane adventures. Austin and Will were ready for takeoff when ballerinas Louise and Lou Lou, dressed up for their performance, asked for a ride to the show. When the pilots explained theirs was a jet plane that could not take passengers, the ballet dancers needed help. Margaret and Charlie decided to create their own passenger plane so that they could give the ballerinas a lift. After fashioning themselves some steering mechanisms, they were off to New York!
At singalong, we discovered that the other classrooms love partner dancing as much as we do. It was fun to laugh, sing, and cut a rug with all our St. John's friends and families and a great way to end the week. Have a wonderful weekend!
The day started with meeting and during sharing Cisco and Louise talked about their day yesterday at the women's lacrosse game: Georgetown University's Hoyas against the UCONN Huskies. Cisco asked, "What did we shout out, Louise?" Louise called out, "Go Hoyas!" Lucy also joined us for morning meeting, which was a treat for Jack and us all.
Then on to plans Austin, Will, Charlie, and Louise sewed in the studio. Building on the knowledge and experience they all have in sewing at this point we launched into new territory. We were learning how to make big stitches and small stitches and exploring the ability to make a design. We thought about choices in fabrics, threads, and needles. Thinking about the thicknesses of the different threads and the sizes of the eyes of the different needles. All important considerations!
The light table was filled with friendship, joy and exciting happy tall structures. The table in dramatic play was pulled out and a festive meal developed. Lou Lou was busy cooking and preparing the food to eat. She thought about ingredients, the size of the bowls and pots for her portions. Grace, Jossie and Leigh were at the party discussing their food. Will and Austin enjoyed making shapes on the peg board together. They were taking turns, building and layering the rubber bands. Jack, Charlie and Margaret enjoyed an airplane story together. They passed two airplanes out to each person and negotiated, which airplanes that they wanted and then developed a story together. The airplanes were flying up and down a runway (the platform) and then landing on the water.
At the clay table, we continued to explore texture and structure with clay and wooden blocks. Today we cut the clay bricks into different sizes and shapes. Jack built a boat and a milking machine, and Jossie and Margaret built towers both very large and very small in scale. At the end of the day, the sky looked threatening so instead of going outside we decided to stay in and do some partner dancing. It was wonderful just being together.
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!
It was a glorious backwards day. We started by congratulating Louise and her dad on the arrival of her baby sister, Frances! Louise said she was excited to meet her when she comes home today.
Leigh, Lou Lou, Jossie and Margaret got right to work glazing clay pieces they had made with Jill and Kate, and Jack decided to join them for some watercolor painting. After we finished, Margaret and Charlie noticed a very large rock under the picnic table. We’ve been talking a lot about rocks lately, and this one was intriguing. It was huge and yellow. Grace said, “It’s a volcano.” When Margaret dislodged it, she turned it over to discover it was hollow on the inside. We wondered why that was, and noticed that the shape was kind of like a shell. Louise and Grace thought they could hear the ocean.
We found lots of other interesting artifacts in the outdoor classroom. Leigh and Charlie found small rocks that sparkled a bit in the sunlight. Margaret found an interesting brown rock with holes. We wondered what it would look like under the microscope in the classroom.
Jack invented lots of challenges on the slide—climbing up, sliding down upside-down, sending down trucks, and then sending his lovies. Margaret and baby bear joined in the fun as well.
We heard lots of interesting noises outside. At one point, a helicopter passed by. Charlie and Will described its path across the sky, Charlie saying, “It went that way,” and Will explaining a bit more...
We ate snack outside and in the middle we heard the bell ring. Everyone knew immediately what the sound was and where it came from. It also reminded us of our earlier experience exploring the bell tower and the church.
Margaret: It’s the bell.
Austin: It’s behind there.
Lisa: Behind where?
Louise: The cross!
Lisa: And what’s under the bell?
Jossie: Marley’s office. There’s stairs and that leads to the bell. There’s stairs in Marley’s office.
Will: Remember the music came out of the pipes?
Austin: It was so loud!
As if on cue, Toniann and Grace came out of the building and said they’d heard the organ player practicing in the church. He was finished by the time we came downstairs at the end of the day, but we’ll keep an ear out for him next week.
Happy Friday. Have a great weekend!
At morning meeting, Louise had exciting news to share: her baby sister is on the way! We were all happy and excited for her. In the classroom afterward, there was a lot of activity in the message center. Louise worked to make messages for her mother and the baby. She carefully prepared and thought about the materials and the words that only she could write in the message. Margaret joined Louise and collaged a book message for her mommy. They were excited by the envelopes and decided to use them in sending their messages.
In construction, there was a lot of work in planning through train layouts. Trial and error of deciding which track would fit was the challenge while working through layouts for the engines and cargo to travel on. Questions about how to make the line straight or curved, up or down, problem solving getting the bridge to get it to work right and also fit the right sized piece into the layout all took team work and making lots of wrong choices to figure out the ones that would work best. Friends were helping friends and thinking through the layout as a collective unit to play a fun game of "Traffic Light Says Stop or Go" at the end.
In the studio, we continued our work on intentional building with clay. We covered a range of subjects and expanded our work in lots of directions. Leigh and Lou built volcanoes, Jossie and Grace used techniques they learned with Jill and Kate to build arched rainbows on a stable bases. Will, Charlie and Jack built free-form tower-like structures. Leigh and Will also learned how to hollow out a large figure to ensure it dries and fires properly. Everyone worked carefully, using special tools and techniques to ensure their pieces were stable and held together. The work in the studio echoed some of the work lately in construction, and shows the children's deepening fluency in the language of clay.
At snack, Lisa shared some souvenirs and stories from her trip to New Orleans, including LOTS pretzels and peanuts sent as a gift from the flight crew to the Brown Room children. Last Thursday, children asked for photos from the trip, including inside the airplane, the airplane snacks, houses in New Orleans, dinosaurs and dragons. Lisa shared photos of all of these things as well as photos of a cargo ship and a trolley car. We had fun trying to name these vehicles and talking about how a cargo ship was different from a tugboat. Austin explained, "A tugboat would be tugging something."
Our outdoor time today ended with a real spring cleaning. The children teamed up to try to get all of the sand and dirt off the mushroom table. Despite their efforts, they weren't satisfied with how dirty it remained at the end the day. Jossie finally called it, saying, "We're going to have to finish this tomorrow." Luckily tomorrow is a backwards day so we can start first thing!
Toniann's day started today in Early Birds with Early Birders Sam and Zarina. Sam arrived first and bee lined it right into the Brown Room classroom before even putting his coat and cubby bag away with his Dad. Toni gave him the choice to work in the Brown Room or the middle room and he chose the Brown Room to work at the observation table. Then Zarina arrived and she chose to sew. Zarina found a beautiful bead and said, “This is my favoritest bead ever!” Sam came over and asked, “Is there another?” Zarina showed him the bead, “Isn’t is beautiful.” Toni handed him the jar and he looked and looked and found another. “Look! I have one, too.” Then he joined us in sewing, too.
9:00 came quickly and children came into Brown Room excited to see their friends. After meeting children were excited to build. Lou Lou began alone and worked through decisions about how to elevate the “H” block that she wanted at the top of her structure. She wanted it really high but wasn’t sure how to do it. She thought it through trying one block and then another and then took them all off. She approached it differently this time. She worked by placing the blocks one at a time before putting the “H” on top. Then viola! She decided four was the right height and it was just how she wanted it.
Kian worked really long at his structures. He started slowly with a tower of cylinders and then switched to different sizes and shapes with a medium rectangle on top- taking a big risk. He was happy and surprised that it stayed. “Look it stayed!” Kian said. Then he worked around it with medium rectangles. It collapsed and needed to be rebuilt. He got right to it. This time going up with 4 cylinders and then placing 8 square shapes in a stackup style on top with an upright square block standing at the top.
Right near by Lou Lou and Charlie enjoyed a playful game of build up and knock down. Laughing and giggling and enjoying the joy and playfulness of the game together.
Kian then added 6 square blocks up a medium rectangle to then have it collapse. He was very upset and Toniann asked, “How can you make it more stable?” He thought about the gears and brought them over but they wouldn’t stand up so he said, “No, they are wheels.” Toniann, “Will these make it stable?” Kian, “NO! Ha Ha!” Laughing hysterically. He chose a peg board and stacked the pegs on the opposite side of the blocks. Kian said, “This will help!”
He got to work rebuilding and stacked them up just as he had. Then he had an idea with large rectangle blocks. He counted them out and decided he wanted 8. Nine ended up in the group and one needed to be taken out. Then he stood up 4 large rectangle blocks. He said, “They are so strong! They are so stable!”
But then a structure was knocked down and Kian was so very frustrated. Jill offered to show him the criss cross technique. He refused several times. He needed a bit of time to recover and then decided he was ready. He stepped up and Jill said, “Ok, criss cross.” Let’s do it. She showed him the process showing which blocks worked and which blocks didn’t. Everyone joined in and the tower was so high! She decided it would stay up and live in the room until tomorrow. Can’t wait to see what happens then!
Outside Will was excited to ride bikes but it just wasn’t as much fun without friends he said, “Where are the other bikes?” Toniann asked, “Do you want friends to ride bikes with you? Will said, “Yes!” We called out and asked more friends to join and they sure did!
Margaret found something really cool that we want to take a closer look in the classroom tomorrow. Sam found a "golden rock" and observed it was really dirty. It will be interesting to see what's underneath all that dirt next week. Enjoy the rest of the week MTW group!
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.