In recent days, children have noticed a lot of noise and activity from the construction site across the street, asking questions and proposing theories about what's happening. Today, we opened the window above the cozy corner to let in the fresh air and the sounds. At one point during our morning, there was such a commotion that everyone noticed. While some children ran to the studio, Louise and Austin watched from the classroom window, getting a different perspective on the site.
Louise: This is amazing!
Austin: Hey, dump truck!
In the studio, we looked at pictures of the visits to the construction site and the children were excited to name their friends and vehicles in the pictures. While a few children were at the window watching the site they noticed the excavator moving a tunnel. It was exciting!
Today was the second day the photographer visited the school. Margaret joined us today to have her photo taken as well. It was great to have her in the Brown Room and in the outdoor classroom with us.
In the classroom, the children explored a sand table with a variety of small objects and the hand- held construction vehicles and figures. It was a central zone of activity. There was a lot of parallel play in which children were observed physically playing separately but they were connecting the play with words. Rowan was pushing the excavator around and digging into the sand. He would say things like, "I got the sand." Charlie would respond while pushing his own truck nearby, "taking it here." This is a step closer to collaborative play.
Elle, Louise, Josie, and Grace were in the studio yesterday and asked for colors. Today the painters found that red was introduced to the blues in the paint tray. Elle exclaimed, "There's Red! What does red and light blue make?" and she applied the colors to the paper and explored the possibilities. "Its purple. Light purple." Lou Lou and Leigh indulged in the exploratory process as well. They would ask each other often, "What color is it?" and not answer. And the color study in painting continues...
Rowan noticed Sally building a tower with Duplo blocks and went to investigate. He decided to join her, as did several other friends—so many children gathered, that we had to move the table to make room for everyone. Before long, nearly the whole class was involved. It was both exciting to work closely with friends, and challenging to share the blocks so that everyone had access to what they needed to build. The children built lots of towers—separately and together—before moving on to other activities. In the end, Sally had moved on to a different activity but Rowan remained. It was a beautiful example of how the Brown Room children are learning together and influencing each other’s thinking every day.
Toniann's son, Evan, joined us today in class. The day began outside in the outdoor classroom for Backwards Day. The children gravitated to the sinks and filled up water containers. And so began the exploration that we had discussed yesterday on experimenting with leaves and water. Yesterday, children had picked leaves off a low hanging branch as we were cleaning up the outdoor classroom to head home. The children were asked, "Who were they for? What would they do with them?" A few said, "For mommy!" then another response was, "It should be put in water." The child was asked, "Why?" and the child said, " To see what happens."
And so this morning, there was such great enthusiasm for filling, pouring, and figuring out which container would get the most water into the large container. We found many types of containers and engaged in the delight of the water and worked as a collective unit. There was a lot of curiosity and intrigue about the red water pump. Water wouldn't pump out, so the children would pour it in from the back and watch it funnel out. Then they gathered some dried brown leaves and fresh green leaves. The children placed the leaves in the water container and then, for a moment, just watched the leaves rest at the top of the water. A few began to touch them and stroke the water. It was a quiet playful moment of accomplishment. The leaves floated, but no one seemed to care. They were more engaged with the act of moving the water from the sinks to the container and exploring during the process so that the goal didn't seem to matter.
After returning to the building the children asked to visit the room on the other side of the window outside our classroom. We looked for the entrance to the room and were greeted by the Rainey Room teachers and children. Brown Room children experienced the many different provocations around the room. Thank you, Rainey! We look forward to visiting you again very soon!
Today a new group headed with Toniann and Kate to the construction site, to observe the progress and get an up close encounter. The workers were so happy to see us again, and they helped us cross the street. During our visit we watched the dump truck get filled up and then exit the work area. On our way back we thought about where the dump truck was going and and what would happen next. Jack said, "Its the dump, dump song." and we asked him what that meant and he said, "Its going to dump, dump it." Austin mentioned that the dump truck will come back again but, "be empty." It was really great to see the construction site up close and in action today. We left thinking about the trucks and their function.
The director at the construction site across the street welcomed us to come and visit today. He was very excited to learn that the children wanted to visit and that they had been studying the site and construction trucks from their classroom window. He instructed us to keep a safe distance and stay behind the fence: we did indeed! The study continued in the classroom with a live web camera feed streaming on our wall. This evoked tunnel shadow play and exploration of tubes and tunnels.
We’re making friends and learning about collaboration. Over the last week, we’ve seen several children play a game that they started over the summer. Last week, Grace piled onto the slide with Lou Lou, Austin and Louise. Today, Kian, Grace and Elle shared the game with Sally. Coordinating their bodies and movement is’t easy. It takes practice to learn how to fit their bodies together snugly but gently, how to trust each other and conquer their fears of getting bumped and jostled.
On our first backwards day, we learned about persistence, teamwork, and engineering. Joslin, Leigh, Charlie, Will, Lou Lou and Jack were working with the animal figurines in the mulch. They were trying to get the animals to stand but they wouldn’t. Toni asked, “Could they stand in another area of the outside classroom?” Someone suggested, “The sand!” And it was off to the sand box. It began with positioning the animals in the sand, which did stand nicely, and a few children were interested in adding embellishments to the scenery of the animal story. They picked up branches and sticks that were scattered around the sandbox, and poked them into the sand around the animals. Then they positioned a tall branch so it was standing up; and the children were determined to get it to stand on its own. While Toniann held the branch in place, Josi persisted in trying to get it to stand up in the sand. Charlie joined her and tried to do the same. Josi tried different methods, finally making a mound of dirt around the base of the branch.
Josi: I’m trying to get it to work.
Charlie: Help, help. My stick is falling down!
Austin and Louise came over to help. Austin began using his foot to shovel sand onto the pile.
Austin: I use my foot because I don’t want to get my hands dirty.
Together, the group made the mound bigger until the branch stood up and was stable. But then it began to lean.
Josi: It kind of broke.
When it really started to fall, the group worked together to get it upright and piled more sand around the base. Will arrived with a shovel to help. Austin grabbed a bucket and used it to shovel sand. Together, they got the branch stable again.
Josi: We have been working so hard. More up!
Austin: We need more for make it straighter.
Josi: Let’s do another stick. Let’s do one of the big ones!
Austin: The bucket works great. It’s getting bigger!
They got it to stand! And then worked through the process again to get a second one to stand. What a beautiful work day in the outdoor classroom!
The Brown Room children were in the hall and they had just finished reading through books while waiting for the group to be finished in the bathroom. They then began poking curiously at the instruments and the magnetic board. A loud bang and voices echoed into the hall. Suddenly they all gravitated to the sound. It led to the Tucker Room. Questions arose: What is that? What is that sound? What is this room? Who is there?
Brown Room children's keen sense of sound led them to the Tucker Room, where children were in the middle of a dramatic performance. We snuck in to see what was happening, and they greeted us with a surprised "hello." What a great discovery!
First days are special for lots of reasons. They can be filled with challenges, tenderness, wonder, and joy--sometimes all at the same time. This morning Jack was a little sad. Knowing he loves trains, his teachers and friends joined him in the building area, enthusiastically building a railroad network. Everyone joined in the train-building fun.
Then we played a train video. Charlie was the first to notice the train sounds. Others joined him to investigate. The children were fascinated by the colors, the motion, the sounds. They recalled family train rides and real life trains they had seen as they went between watching trains and building layouts for trains.
Will: A sounding train.
Jack: I see a train.
Will: A bell, A close.
Will: I like one.
Grace: Choo Choo! Lots. See me! Look! Start! Start.
Leigh: Doing the bell
Grace: Look, Choo Choos.
Will: A choo choo.
Will: The Choo Choo. Three minutes.
Grace: Choo Choo. Choo Chooo!
Will: Its in the picture.
After we stopped filming, the discussion continued...
Grace: The tracks.
Will: Seeing the end. Its going backwards.
Charlie: Its not working. Its working!
Grace: A whistle!
Will: A whistle!
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.