Happy birthday, Nadia!
When it was time for the Brown Room children to interview our friend, Nadia, in preparation for her birthday committee, they had a sneaking suspicion that Nadia would share that her favorite color is purple.
Nadia has purple shoes. - Elizabeth
Because Nadia likes purple. - Eloise
Our friends were delighted when Nadia agreed; her favorite color is, indeed, purple!
With that knowledge in mind, Nadia's birthday committee settled in to mix the purple that would be added to the frame of Nadia's weaving.
We remembered that Nadia really enjoyed working with leaves to make leaf prints. Inspired by this, we decided to paint the frame of Nadia's weaving with a special, new tool - a leaf!
I'm putting purple around this. - Eloise
With the leftover purple paint, the committee headed to the easel to begin work on Nadia's birthday message!
On the next day, they set to work to weave!
The finished gift ....
Time to celebrate!
If you have had the chance to stop in the Brown Room recently you may have noticed our
Stemming from a mutual fondness for babies and the shared experience of having younger siblings at home, we wanted to foster both this interest in caregiving and the growing awareness of each other's families through the addition of baby dolls in the classroom.
Thank you to everyone who donated some baby items to add to this space in our classroom!
We now have plenty of bottles, clothing, blankets, pacifiers, diapers, utensils, and toys to help care for our babies.
Recently, while we wait for everyone to arrive for the day, children have started gathering in the baby area.
This has offered opportunities for relationship building as well as extended discussions and information sharing about our individual families.
What do we know about babies?
They like to play. She (Katherine) does tummy time. - Thomas
I like to play with him (Lucas). He likes everything. He likes a duck. A yellow one. A nice duck. - Lily
My baby likes the avocado. It goes shake, shake, shake. It’s soooooo soft. - Thomas
She (Charlotte) likes the monkey. She shakes it. - Eloise
She (Isabelle) does a shaker. Purple. Shake it. - William
Babies get gas. The Mommy burps him. - Lily
Mommy burps Lou. - Harry
Sometimes they do spit up after they have milk. - Benji
Mommy wears a towel (when she’s burping Lucas). - Lily
Caring for the Brown Room babies
Elizabeth kisses her baby and says, "have a good sleep."
William does the same.
While caring for their babies, Benji, Dahlia, and Harry incorporated the idea of washing the baby clothes and doing laundry into their play and conversation.
Benji and Harry cover a basket full of baby clothes with a blanket :
Benji: We need to do laundry. Put clothes in there. Now we need soap.
Harry goes to retrieve a small block.
Harry: This is soap.
Dahlia: Then we need to fold. It’s ready!
Harry: We need to wait.
Benji: For the clothes to be ready.
Dahlia: You’re right. Turn it on! What’s gonna happen?
Benji: It bubbles.
Following our leaf hunt, and leaf printing experience, the Brown Room children have continued to make increasingly complex observations about the colors, textures and transformation of the leaves around us. In order to research and foster this interest, we've introduced a number of books that illustrate and present a variety of learning concepts around leaves and the changing season. Leaf Man by Lois Elhert has been a favorite.
With such inspiration being taken from Leaf Man, we introduced a Leaf Man-inspired, natural materials collage provocation.
After reflecting on the enthusiasm, creativity and connections evident in the process of our conversations around fall, leaf prints and collage, we thought about further opportunities for the Brown Room children to engage with leaves. We chose to also introduce clay impressions, the process of making a print by pressing a material into a slab of clay. As we have not yet worked with clay slabs in the Brown Room, we provided a wide variety of natural materials alongside the slabs in order to encourage a sensory, tactile experience with the clay.
Descriptive words we heard as the children worked:
cold, smooth, squishy, sticky, bumpy.
The finished pieces ...
We went on a leaf hunt! - Thomas
A number of weeks ago, Thomas' family got in touch with us to share that Thomas' grandmother, Cynthia, is a botanical artist, and wondered if she might be able to support us as we continue our work around color. Now that we see signs of fall all around us, we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to engage our friends in the colors of the season - and to explore printmaking for the first time, using leaves! Cynthia shared that the best leaves for printmaking would be soft ones that have retained flexibility. To prepare, we decided to embark on a neighborhood walk to collect leaves for the occasion!
But before we headed out, we wondered ....
What color leaves will we find on our leaf hut?
Gus: Green and yellow.
Thomas: Orange leaves.
Gus: Maybe red leaves.
Elizabeth: Maybe purple and maybe brown leaves.
Gus: They’re blowed down on the sidewalk.
Lily: They change colors!
Gus: Then there’s no more leaves.
Sam: Do you know what season it is after fall when all the leaves have fallen off the trees?
Thomas: Then it’s Christmas. After Christmas, then snow.
Having made our predictions, we headed outside! As we searched, we made sure to look out for soft leaves, rather than crumbly ones. Those went in a special bag to carried back to school for printmaking.
I love the tree. We make the tree feel happy! - Lily
We even passed by some familiar spots on our walk!
The next day, we were excited to welcome Cynthia - who Thomas introduced as Grammy!
Kindly, she walked the children through each step of printmaking.
First, choose a leaf.
Then, select a paint color - and paint the bumpy side of the leaf.
Place the leaf on paper, bumpy side down. Cover it with wax paper, and use a brayer to flatten it onto the paper.
And you have a print!
When asked about her favorite color, Isa referenced an item of clothing she was wearing at the time; a pair of pants that appeared to be not quite blue and not quite green, but maybe both?
Isa's favorite color served as the perfect opportunity to introduce a new color name to the children -
Teal looks like blue and green. - Dahlia
Dahlia, Graham, and Lily served as committee members for Isa's birthday. They prepared a special teal weaving and accompanying message to present to Isa at her celebration.
Using their teal palette, Graham, Dahlia, and Nadia painted a large easel paper with all of their variations of teal.
Isa was consulted when deciding which variation of teal matched the vision of her "favorite" color.
The selected favorite was then used to paint the frame for Isa's weaving!
The large teal easel painting was then cut into paper strips to use as weaving materials to create Isa's special gift.
Lily joined Dahlia and Graham to weave together and create a special message for Isa to include with her weaving.
I can make a message! Is this teal? - Dahlia
(searching for teal markers on our studio shelf)
A Gift for Isa
What words should we include on the birthday message for Isa?
The Brown Room children are continuing to develop a stronger understanding of the visual projections "calendar" in the classroom.
Visual projections are a form of documentation and provide a way for the children to read and interpret the work that is taking place in the classroom. They serve as a way to reflect on work that has already taken place, anticipate what is upcoming, formulate "plans" for our days together, and strengthen our awareness of the passage of time throughout our school year.
During drop-off, we encourage you to take a moment to look at these together with your child!
An Interest in the Bell Tower
We turn the key to open the door. - Harry
The bell tower says ding, ding, ding. - Gus
It’s a BIG bell. - Benji
A huge bell! Like a big ice cream bell. - Gus
I went up up up up up all the way to the bell. - Benji
I’ll bring my toolbox to school to fix the bell tower! - Thomas
[ Photos from the children's visits to the bell tower ]
Constructing the Bell Tower in the Classroom...
We're making a bell tower.
The bell goes inside. - Gus
R E D S
Children are exploring variations in color hue using a wide variety of mark making materials - focusing on "one" color family at a time!
A BIG GIANT RED! - Benji
Spending time Outdoors
"Photoshoots" inspired by our class picture days!
A Halloween Walk With Our Rainey Room Friends
We were mixing. - Van
Since the beginning of the year, we've been discussing - as both a teaching team and staffwide - how and when to introduce the wonderful paintbrushes and paints that were created during May's New Parent Reception. With our friends expressing so much fascination with the process and results of mixing watercolors, we decided to introduce tempera paint mixing. This led to a conversation about how many of the Brown Room's grown-ups came to St. John's to mix paints, in much the same way we did!
With the children's understanding of paint mixing enriched by experiencing it for themselves, we introduced the New Parent Reception paints & paintbrushes on Friday of last week.
I choose the one with the bow. - Lily
The diversity in structure of each paintbrush meant that children had to adjust their technique depending on the brush that they were using. Brushes with more pointed materials at the tip, like sticks and leaves, caused children to use small, careful movements to create lines, dots - and occasionally splatter paint. Meanwhile, brushes with cotton-ball and fur ends lent themselves to full-body movement as children spread the highly saturated brush across the easel.
Look, look! I made that! - William
The children observe their collaborative murals, made using paints from May's New Parent Reception.
P.S. Happy Halloween! Thank you to Rainey Room & Tucker Room for hosting fabulous school-wide festivities today, including pumpkin exploration, Halloween-inspired collage and construction, "potion-making" and story-sharing.
Birthdays in the Brown Room fall right at the intersection of two of the children's fascinations:
color, and one another! We explore color through gathering, and weaving with, diverse materials of the celebrant's favorite color, and we learn more about one another through research into their preferences.
Earlier this month, we prepared to interview our next celebrant....
I got the green! - Betsy
To prepare to weave Sam's birthday present, Sam's birthday committee searched the school for green weaving materials.
With their materials in hand, Sam's Birthday Committee was ready to weave.
But first, we decided to utilize our newly-mixed green watercolors to add even more color by painting the frame, and the base for Sam's birthday message.
We're painting the picture. - Harry
She's gonna be surprised. - Benji
On to the weaving!
A few days later, it's time to celebrate Sam's school birthday!
... and bring out her present!
for coming to Classroom Stories Night!
It was so nice to have everyone gather together for an evening of sharing, learning, and laughter.
We hope you enjoyed gaining a better understanding of what the children have been up to in the Brown Room for the past few weeks!
If you'd like to take a look through the presentation slides, they have been printed and are hanging in the classroom on our documentation wall.
As we mentioned on Thursday evening, the children have been experimenting with COLOR.
Today, we'd like to share some of these recent explorations with you. The children are gaining a stronger understanding of the properties of color when working with primary colors to create secondary colors and experimenting with the cause and effect of color mixing.
Here are some of the books we have read together in the classroom that have inspired our work and supported our understanding while expanding our existing knowledge of color!
Color Mixing with Watercolors
How many different GREENS can we create?
I put blue on yellow and it changed. - Lily
Blue to yellow makes green. Oh my! It made green. - Betsy
The children are also beginning to sort, organize, and categorize color hues into different collections or "families".
As their understanding of color variation continues to develop, children have chosen to give names to some of their different color findings and creations.
We hope to continue researching and collecting to add to our growing color collections!
You can find this documentation in our classroom studio.
Giving names to the colors we've mixed...
Our first birthday celebration in the Brown Room!
Last week, we celebrated our first birthday of the school year.
Our friend, Noah, recently turned three years old!
This was the children's first experience celebrating a friends birthday at school and therefore, their first exposure to all of the traditions that come with birthday celebrations at St. John's.
When initially introducing the idea of a "school birthday celebration" to the children, we first asked them to share their thoughts about birthdays... What is a Birthday?
Happy birthday. I singed it. - Elizabeth
I sing it! - Eloise
Eat cake. - Thomas
Blow candles. - Lily
While we don't always eat cake at our school birthday celebrations, the children's ideas around the concept of a birthday were representative of many parts of our school birthday traditions.
The birthday child then walks around our special birthday candle while the children count each lap around the candle to correspond with their friend's age.
Presenting and Receiving the Gift
At the beginning of each year, classroom teachers make a decision about the type of birthday gift the children will create for each other during the school year. The decision is one made with much intentionality and is often related to a previously observed interest of the collective class, mastery of a specific material or technique, or perhaps a way to introduce and experience something brand new for the children.
Although what will be produced is decided by the teachers (ie. a weaving), each gift is created by the children themselves and is only done so after taking time to research together, obtain important information about their birthday friend, and then use this information to then create something thoughtful, beautiful, and uniquely individualized for the birthday child.
I was the birthday committee! - Gus
Elizabeth, Gus, and William were the members of our first birthday committee
for our friend, Noah
To inform their work, Noah was "interviewed" during a recent morning meeting.
The birthday committee then used this information to support the birthday work moving forward.
Noah's Birthday Interview - September 25th, Morning Meeting
Sam: Noah, your birthday is coming up and we need to know something. I have a question for you. Do you have a favorite color?
Sam: What’s your favorite color?
Sam: Oh, Noah likes the color red.
Lily: I like pink.
Sam: We all like different colors.
Eloise: I like purple.
Van: I like pink.
William: I like yellow.
Sam: Now that we know that Noah likes the color …?
Sam: What color do you think Noah’s birthday present will be?
Thomas, Eloise and William: (in unison) Red!
Sam: We’re going to make Noah a red present.
Lily: We’re gonna make one. We’re gonna make one! A big one, like this big.
(Lily holds both arms up in the air above her head)
We were looking for red stuff for Noah’s birthday. - Gus
Noah receives his birthday gift - a weaving made of red materials to represent his favorite color.
The children also collaged a message to accompany Noah's weaving.
Inspired by Noah's favorite color, in the message they shared some of their ideas about other things that they are reminded of when working with the color red.
He can open it and see red! - Lily
The Birthday Calendar
Celebrating a birthday is an ideal opportunity to introduce both our
classroom birthday calendar ...
and the All-School Birthday Calendar...
The birthday calendar is always there. All day. It’s names and colors. - Lily
We are looking forward to sharing a bit more about birthdays with all of you during our upcoming
Classroom Stories Night presentation on Thursday, October 19th!
In anticipation of this exciting evening, we will be dedicating our afternoon teacher work time to preparing the presentation and materials for this evening to share with all of you.
Therefore, we will not be able to post our typical blogs over the course of the next week.
We thank you for your understanding and cannot wait to share more of the classroom work with all of you very soon!
When reflecting on the post we shared around clay earlier this week, we (the teachers) were able to newly appreciate the depth and complexity of the work being done in the Studio. As they worked with this new material, the Brown Room children made so many connections and had so many unique inspirations and explanations for their creations. We had to make another post about clay!
Today, scissors were available to use with clay. This served a dual function: to support our friends as they continue to gain mastery over scissor use, and as a way to introduce the use of clay tools. Many children also expressed a desire to "make my symbol", which led to the introduction of symbols encased in frames, placed on the table for inspiration.
Gus makes a "skeleton", while William uses scissors to cut tiny pieces off a flattened piece of clay and Betsy pokes holes in her clay, emulating Elizabeth.
P.S. Brown Room will be leading Sing-A-Long tomorrow! Check out the children practicing with Sam below. Please note that you're welcome to join us even if it's not a school day for your child.