"But the other side of the world's not far!" -Giacomo
Yesterday, a few children were asked to consider, or reconsider, the so-called problem of how messages made for Cedar will go from our location, here, to Cedar, all the way in Kenya.
The pink tape was placed on the floor as a way to physically conceptualize being on two sides of one space. We played around with the idea of getting people from one point to the other by physically moving small wooden pieces, from one side to the other. Sometimes we were in America and sometimes we were on the Africa side.
Earlier in the week, ideas about how to get messages to Cedar, in Kenya, were discussed and recorded. Audrey, who loves owls, offered a new idea today about how we and/or the messages can get to the other side of the world:
"The owl could take us." -Audrey
"The owl could fly up... The owl could fly. To the sun, up..." -Audrey
"We should make wings on it." -Lucia
A Short Walk for Wood...
Elyse spotted some wood on her way to work. So we decided to spend our backwards day on a walk. Kim, Sarah, and Audrey's sister Tegan were still in our company. We gladly invited them along, and they gladly accepted. We first checked out the trucks of the tree removal company. Then we knocked on a neighbor's door, and Kim asked if the wood was available for us to have and use. It was. Thanks neighbor!
Happy Birthday, Elyse!
"I made this message for you." -Jack
Thank you all so very much for sending along a touching happy birthday song or message for Elyse! So sweet and beautiful they all were, and she felt the love from every child!
A Rodriguez Family Tradition
Last Friday we rolled up our sleeves! We also took off our shoes and covered ourselves in a trash bag and a smock. All this so that we could keep tidy while we painted a wooden box with acrylic paint. The paint we typically use at the easel is tempera paint. Tempera is a water based paint and washes out easily. Acrylic is not water-based; it does not wash out so easily. Working in groups of two, the children were polite and patient with working with each other and waiting their turn. They also were relatively successful in keeping tidy. Here's to small successes! And did they have fun? Of course they did! Just look through the slide show. And now we have a box painted by the Brown Room.
"How 'bout we go here and we jump over to Kenya." - Lochie
Monday, we began morning meeting by noticing who was missing from our group. Violet noticed that Cedar was not here, so we took the opportunity to remind the children that Cedar was with her family, on their way to Kenya. Knowing that this is a bit of an abstract concept (a foreign country that none of them have been to), we provided a map for them to see and touch. First, we identified our home, Washington, D.C., and Kenya.
Before Cedar left, we talked to her mom about the possibility of sending messages through the mail; we also started a What'sApp message group so that we could communicate with them while they are abroad. Our hope was that we could stay in touch with Cedar over the five weeks while she is in Kenya, and we felt that this presented an opportunity to build on the children's desire to create and send messages, but it became much more than that.
We then posed the questions: How could we talk to Cedar? How could we send her a message?
Jack: My force.
Sylvie: Get on a plane and go there.
Lochie: Get a plane. We could go on a plane like Cedar.
Revisiting our conversation
Elyse: We talked yesterday about how to talk to Cedar while she's in Kenya. Giacomo suggested that we make a message for her, but we never decided how to get it to her. Jack suggested that we send it with his "force", and Lochie and Sylvie suggested "a plane". Do we have any other ideas?
Lochie and Sylvie: On an airplane.
Lochie: Send a message on the airplane.
Brigitte: [Pointing to the map] Do you know what this part of the planet is?
Brigitte: So, can we walk across it and bring it all the way to Kenya?
Sylvie: I think we go on an airplane.
Lochie: No, No, I don't walk to walk in water.
Brigitte: Is there a way we an walk across?
Lochie: How 'bout we go here [moving his finger from the western United States, down through South America] and we jump over to Kenya?
Sylvie: But maybe we have to take an airplane.
Giacomo: To get to an airplane port, it's a little bit far.
Lochie: How 'bout if we jump a little bit [pointing at South America] closer and then jump [moved finger to Kenya].
Elyse: So, how will we send [the messages] to Cedar?
Lochie: Umm...How do you put a message in the phone and send it to Kenya?
Elyse: We have two questions we have to answer.
Lochie: Maybe we can get a big container and a big phone attached to it the container. Then it will send.
Sylvie: But maybe we have to take the airplane all the way to it.
Elyse: How does the container get to Cedar?
Lochie: How 'bout we put a lot of things and attach it to it and Kenya, and then we can send a message and then we can drop it on Kenya. And we can also go back to here.
Elyse: You guys are really thinking about this.
Sylvie: Maybe we have to bring it on the airplane.
Lochie: Drop all the things on Kenya, and then send a message goes on to Kenya and then back to here.
"What could we put on the map as a reminder of where we are, and where Cedar is?" - Elyse
Sylvie spent some time working on the idea of using all of the Brown Room symbols on one piece of paper. She referenced our school directory so that we could ensure that all 14 children were represented. She also chose a piece of paper to stamp Cedar's symbol on, so that it could be placed near Kenya. Once she finished, we took the large paper over to the map. Sylvie found Washington, D.C. and we held the page of symbols up to the map.
Sylvie: It's too big.
Elyse: Why is it too big?
Sylvie: We cannot see Washington because it's too big.
Elyse: So, what can we do?
Sylvie: Maybe it can be small.
Elyse: Do you have any ideas about how to make it smaller?
Sylvie: I don't know.
I shared with Sylvie that we have a big printer at school that might be able to make it small enough to fit on our map, but we would have to walk over to where Molly and Jessica work. Sylvie agreed that we should walk over there to try and make the symbols smaller, and George decided to join us too!
Once we shared our ideas about the symbols and size of the paper with Molly and Jessica, they said that they could help us figure it out. Using the copier, Jessica showed us how we could push a few buttons to change the size (scale) of the image. First, we printed one at 25%, but Sylvie seemed unsure about whether or not it would be small enough. George suggested that we needed it to be bigger, so we printed one at 50%. Sylvie still seemed dubious that these would fit on the map, so Molly suggested that we use the 25% copy to make an even smaller version. It worked! We now had four options for our map; so, we thanked Molly and Jessica, and went to test them.
Once in the classroom, we held each copy up to the map, and Sylvie decided that the smallest one was the best because it did not cover up Washington, D.C.
During second meeting, before snack, Sylvie and George shared the story of their trip to the copier and how the copier made the image smaller and smaller. Now, we can find Cedar on the map and know where we are too. The children then discovered that we had not included our (Elyse and Melanie) symbols, so this is one of our next problems to solve.
Our questions or information so far:
Sylvie: What does she does in Kenya?
C.C.: Ballie is a baby and she does not have hair so long like mine.
Elyse: What is your favorite thing to eat in Kenya?
We had a wonderful Monday in the Brown Room! We missed Melanie, Janie, and Cedar, but we are so grateful that Caroline came to spend time with us! Caroline mixed paints in the studio and shared some of her favorite books with us!
Outdoor construction was in full swing, and the children were using a variety of materials. We heard a lot of grunting and communicating as they figured out ways to lift the heavy materials. We also acquired some elephants in the outdoor classroom yesterday, and they found their way back on Tuesday as well.
A Tea and Sandwich "Picnic"
BIG group HUG for Cedar "Bug" (the Baille's are away for 5 weeks)
"What are you going to do when you first get to Kenya?" -Elyse
"Lie on a lion. ... Lie on a grumpy lion." -Cedar
Hugs, kisses on the cheek, smiles, laughter, love... Hurry back, Cedar!
We love you, Cedar, and we will miss you so very much!
Today, a few of the children wanted to add buttons to their sewing, so we worked to thread the needle through the small holes on the buttons. This takes strong fine motor strength and control, as well as excellent hand-eye coordination. There was a sense of excitement about choosing buttons and securing them to the fabric.
"We saw a lion." -Maxon
Yesterday, we welcomed the children back to school, and we will continue to welcome everyone back over the next few days. We took some time to check in with each other, get a few hugs, and share some memories from our breaks. It sounds like everyone was busy and happy. Some of the children took time to draw and watercolor while they chatted about memories of Santa, La Befana (an Italian tradition), Disney World, and more.
"If you put it on top, it changes." - Lochie
In an attempt to help them explore their hypotheses, answer their questions, and discover new materials/concepts, we offered the overhead projector, shadow screen, and a variety of materials. Some of the additional materials were familiar, while others were novel. The children had been experimenting with constructing towers and pathways in front of the screen, so we provided blocks, animals, and other building materials. Closer to the projector, there were baskets of transparent and translucent materials. Closer to the screen, there were some reflective materials.
"It's gone [light]. It can't get out." - Lochie
"It's hair. Why is there hair?" - Violet
The second group (Cedar, Violet, and Maxon) concentrated on the orientation of the light, the shapes and sizes of their shadows, and the reflective materials. Again, their actions seemed to demonstrate their working theories about how the overhead projector works, the creation and size of a shadow, which side of the screen allows them to create a shadow, how things project onto their bodies (photo to the left), and much more.
In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to explore all of their theories, create new hypotheses, and continue to layer our work with light, shadow, projection, etc.
If they share any reflections or insights with you at home, please feel free to send them to us in an email, or share them at drop-off. We would love an additional information about how they are processing and enjoying the experimentation with light.
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Happy Birthday Melanie! It was so wonderful to celebrate Melanie this morning with a short video, singing, some small gifts, and some delicious treats and coffee.
St. John's has created a beautiful culture around celebrating the birthdays for each child and staff member. It is such a wonderful opportunity to learn about each other and celebrate our uniqueness as we work on birthday committees, develop a sense of community in our classrooms, and lay the foundation for empathetic gift giving and thoughtfulness for another person.
"It's for Janie!" - Cedar