Hello everyone. Today is the last Friday of the month, our monthly school maintenance day, so there will be no classroom blog posts. Have a wonderful weekend!
We planted the first seeds of our classroom garden today. Rachael worked with a group of children to prepare a bed by lining a wooden box with plastic, and collecting rocks to place in the bed for drainage. It took a lot of work to collect enough rocks, but they did it. They then carefully filed the bed with potting soil, spread lots of chia seeds, buried them, and watered them.
Lou Lou: We don’t need more water. It will drown today. It will drown right now.
Leigh: I think it’s gonna grow a big huge flower.
Lou Lou: Yeah, bigger and bigger.
Back in the classroom during morning meeting, Margaret shared her collection of baby clam shells in morning meeting. As she passed them out for everyone to hold and examine, we asked questions and shared ideas:
Rachael: Where did you find them?
Margaret: They came from Bolton Island, from the beach.
Rachael: Why did you collect them?
Margaret: I wanted the baby clams because I want to share them. I wanted to show all these to my sisters.
Rachael: Did you see big ones too?
Margaret: Yeah, here’s a big one.
Rachael: Why are some closed and some open?
Margaret Because water buried them. The ones that were buried are closed. Sand and water buried them.
Rachael: What’s inside the shells?
Sally: You hear the water inside it. It goes [whoosh].
Sam: It has a pink thing in it.
Elle: And then clams, open shut, open shut.
Later we spent some time investigating baby clams. Margaret and Sally carefully counted them and began to draw pictures. Then they were curious about what it looks like when baby clams open and shut, so we looked for videos. We saw lots of different types of clams in various shapes and sizes, and watched a few digging themselves into the sand. It was fascinating, but Margaret was pretty sure that her baby clams had never had a slimy protruding, tongue-like thing, and they certainly had never spit saltwater at anyone.
Today we moved the bugs into a container of dirt and geared the energy at our garden table towards building. Rowan had a clear vision of how he wanted the garden to look, and Austin followed his lead. Many of Austin's ideas were included, but when an idea or material was declined, Austin was not dismayed and moved onto his next suggestion. Rowan was able to convey his ideas with an excitement that was encouraging and not dismissive. Should children always compromise their ideas to come to agreement or are they developing a different skillset by being directive or following someone else's guidance? In this case, both children enjoyed and thrived in their roles. Rowan was focused on building his garden and Austin was equally invested in helping to create the garden Rowan envisioned.
The questions continued as the children passed around the rocks:
Jack: I think a volcano erupted when we weren’t there. The volcano was sleeping, but then it erupted and the rocks came out.
Grace: The rocks came out?
Will: Did the lava come out?
Jack: Both, I think. This is part of Mount St. Helens. This is part of our country. Mount St. Helens is part of our country.
Will: This was in the sand.
Jossie: When the volcano erupted, did Jack wake up?
Jack: We weren’t there when it erupted.
Lisa: Was the volcano nearby?
Jack: No, it was far away. It was Mount St. Helens.
Leigh: Like Lou Lou’s mom.
Elle: Did the volcano have lava and it was at the bottom and it shooted out at the top?
Will: Did it float away and they were trying to get it?
Sally: My volcano was nearby, so close to the house. We went to a meeting and saw a big giant mountain. It was a volcano. My mom came with me and we walked up the mountain and went sliding down. We saw it was sleepy, then it woke up.
Jack: When the lava is close to someone’s home it can burn them. It’s super duper hot.
Sam: Cecilia showed me a video of a volcano in the Phillipines. It went “[explosion noise]”.
This week we experimented with translucent plastics to learn about color mixing. Today, we combined watercolors in white tempera paint so we could begin working on our easel. Kian exclaimed, “I’m making dark blue!” As he continues to mix the dark blue watercolor into the thicker white paint, he corrects himself,
“I mean, I’m making light blue! It’s a magic trick! It’s turning dark, then light!”
During circle time, friends continued to share their collections. Lulu brought in a collection of rocks she gathered with her family at a beach. A red stone with white spots was her favorite “because it just has little holes in it”. Kian brought in his collection of monster trucks. His favorite was a Scooby Doo truck he got from his birthday. Austin shared his items (we don't play golf and don't know what to call these things so if you know please help us):
"They came from a golf tournament. It is a material for golf. If the ball is really into the grass, push it in and take it out or you can stomp on it with your club.”
We noticed images on the medallions:
“Its like a club house and golf stuff” Austin
“It has golf hitters” Jossie
“It’s called golf clubs and putters for when it’s close.” Austin
It was a day of thoughtful exploration and in the outdoor classroom. Lots of friends practiced riding bikes, directing traffic, and sorting out traffic jams. In the process they worked together to manipulate the bikes and trikes and solve logistical problems. Maybe because we’re thinking about and closely observing outdoor spaces, Sally noticed the bird house and wondered if the birds were inside. This led us to think about the time of year we saw the birds hatch last year, and wonder when we might see them again.
Austin worked on a rock collection he started yesterday, sorting his treasures into containers by size. Sam joined him and they carefully washed the rocks before using the digital microscope to examine them more closely.
We also got to examine the collection of pennies Sam brought to share with the class today. This collection generated lots of observation and discussion during morning meeting.
Sam: They’re from home.
Rachael: Where did you find them.
Sam: In my room.
Rachael: Did anyone help you collect them?
Sam: Mommy and daddy and Claire.
Rachael: What do you like about them?
Sam: I like them because they’re small.
Rachael: What do you notice about the pennies?
Jossie: A person.
Lou Lou: A boat.
Rowan: The white house.
Sam: Some are different and some are the same. Some are silver.
Several children wanted to know how many pennies were in the collection. We had a lot planned for today, but maybe tomorrow we can count them!
Many friends showed us their gardens when we went on home visits and Lou Lou suggested we make a garden in the classroom. To begin our research, we took to the streets of Georgetown and went on a garden walk. The children were given cameras and clip boards to record their experience. They noticed flowers, urns, statues of of rabbits, birds, a turtle and fox. They also noticed different types of berries and "small apples". We will continue our garden explorations so we can begin to build our own; please let us know if there are any near by gardens that catch your eye.
Leigh brought in her collection of shells to share with the class. Many of her shells were painted with rainbow stripes and Will noticed one with a painted tree. Leigh told us the story of when she collected her shells at the beach in a purple bucket with her mom while baby Reidy stayed in the house with Natalie. Offering the children the opportunity to share their stories seems to foster a sense of pride and reminds them part of the reason their collection is special is because of them memories they hold.
We're starting today's blog with the first official Rainey Room class photo, taken yesterday. Thanks to Charlie's family for the inspiration. After many attempts, we mostly got everyone together. And by the end, we had a new respect for our school photographer, Stephen.
Yesterday, Will shared the collection of sharks teeth he found over the summer. The children were fascinated and several spent time with Jen examining them with the digital microscope and drawing pictures of them.
Today we were lucky to have warm weather for our first backwards day. We found our old friend, Shelly! She had gone to the ocean while we were away, but now she's back and ready for action. We had lots of other adventures in the outdoor classroom, including exploring the old water pump. Children were curious about who built it and when. They wanted to know why it didn't work and how it could be fixed. Neither the teachers nor the parents we asked knew the history of the pump. We'll have to do some investigating.
Kian found some huge rocks and assembled them into a collection, carefully washing each one and placing them into a box to carry inside. He told his friends, "Don't touch these. They're very fragile."
Later in the classroom, we spent more time examining objects in our collections area. We puzzled over a collection of small objects, observing, touching, describing and wondering before Jack recognized them as sea glass. We also went on a mission to identify one of the rocks in our collection, using reference books. No luck, though. So we'll keep trying.
Our friends were all about being cozy today. When given the option to explore the school, or read books, they chose books. So we cuddled up and went through the shelves. In one story, a fish gets lost and becomes scared in a new unfamiliar place. Jack shared, “I’ve never been in the Rainey Room.” We asked how that made him feel and he said scared. Rachael told the children she was new to the school also and had so many new people to meet, she felt nervous and scared too and that’s okay. But, after spending time here, she started to feel less scared and more and more excited. Rowan said, “It’s fun to make new friends!” We all agreed.
We had our very first sing a long of the year today so in the morning we practiced some of our favorites, Wheels on the Bus, Three Little Sparrows and Puff the Magic Dragon. At the end of sing a long, We sang out the Brown room and a couple Rainey Room friends stood up to leave, until they remembered, we aren’t the littlest ones anymore!
Jossie: Where are you getting that?
Worker: From a truck.
Jossie: Excuse me, How did the sand get on the truck?
Worker: With a lot of effort.
Jossie: Where did it come from? I don’t know either.
Elle: The beach!
Jossie: But its white!
Rachael: What color is sand at the beach?
Jossie: Maybe it came from a sand place. A shop. A sand shop.
Our first full day was full of adventure and surprises. We eased into the day by writing messages and playing with bugs. During morning meeting, we made plans to explore the Rainey Room together by taking a tour of the classroom.
Rachael asked the children give her a tour of the school, showing her their favorite places and things. The children were most enthusiastic about showing her the outdoor classroom—including a secret passageway.
Austin was also excited to show Rachael the bell tower, a special place that most of the children had never seen. On the way to the bell tower, we stopped to check out family collages in the entryway, and some of the children noticed a collection of tiles on the wall. Jill and Molly happened to be there and told us the history of the tiles. The climb up to the bell tower was dark, smelly, and steep, but we made it almost the whole way. Then it got a little too spooky. Molly climbed the last flight of stairs and snapped a photo of the bell. What an adventure!
The rest of the day was quiet and relaxed. We recounted our adventures, read stories and enjoyed being together.
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.