Drawing and Painting in the Studio
In the weeks before Thanksgiving, the Brown Room children explored using colored pencils in addition to crayons for drawing and mark making. Today, the children explored a new material: PASTELS! Children explored using a combination of materials and saw how pastels can be blended. To match the wintery weather, blues and whites returned to our easel tray as well in the studio.
Ragnar and Cal both experimented with the pastels and pencils to see how the marks that they made were different. "I'm drawing my mommy." -Cal
Ford: "I’m making a house, a house for you."
Fay: "I’m making a house for Ford. I need this color. I’m going to do another blue, this blue." (light blue).
Scenes From the Brown Room Restaurant
Leading up to our Thanksgiving Feast the children had an opportunity to prepare vegetables for our soup. This week, we're using our imagination to cook up some delicious meals in dramatic play.
Exploring at the Light Table
Fay: "I need another square."
Charlton: "We’re building a airport."
Ford: "Here’s the elevator."
Charlton: "Here’s the gate."
Ford: 1, 2, 3, blast off."
Charlton: "We need another airplane. To Africa. To lions!"
In keeping with our previous birthday gifts, wood was incorporated into Charlton’s gift, while the base of his gift was a slab of white clay. The children have loved working with clay, since it was first introduced a few weeks ago. As an extension of our nature walks last week, we introduced using natural materials to print in clay. For Charlton’s gift, children use pieces of wood that they collected on their nature walk, which included bark, twigs and ginko shoots to print into the clay before glazing it with red and blue.
Day 1: Collecting Wood from Nature
We set out with a specific mission on our nature walk this time. We were looking for pieces of wood from nature that we could use to print into the blank clay slab. We found bark, twigs and strange little pieces of wood with stripes that we found out were "ginko shoots."
Day 2: Printing in Clay with Wood
Ramsey, Bailee, Ragnar and Mimi joined Karen in the atelier to use the collected wood pieces for printing on the slab.
Karen: How’s the clay feel?
Bailee: Dirt (noticing that the pieces of bark were starting to fall apart and pieces of wood were starting to flake off).
Ramsey: Look! Yeah!
Karen: What colors do you think Charlton would like us to use for his birthday gift?
Ramsey: Brown. Because I think.
Bailee: Black! No Green!
Ragnar: I’m gonna do this one. I”m trying to get the dirt away. What happens if I press this one? Down? Nothing. Now done done? (Pulls the bark out of the clay). Yes it is.
Mimi: I see blinking (looking at the lights in the atelier).
Ragnar: Why is the light blinking? I think it is out of battery.
Day 3: Underglazing the Printed Clay Slab
Mimi and Rawls contributed to glazing Charlton’s birthday gift in red (his favorite color as confirmed by his dad, Addison) and blue (his favorite color according to Ford).
Mimi pointed to the blue glaze, “Blue. I want that one,” but opted for red when she saw that Rawls was already using the blue. As Rawls brushed the glaze over the printed clay slab, he mused, “Blue, blue, blue." After Mimi and Rawls used the underglazes to color the clay, the next step was to fire it in the kiln. A clear glaze was applied after the first firing and the clay slab was fired a second time.
Day 4: Charlton's Birthday Celebration
The children of the Brown Room thoroughly enjoyed Charlton's special birthday treat, madeleines from a local shoppe. Charlton's mom and dad, Eliza and Addison joined us for his birthday celebration and shared two of his favorite stories from home: Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Dusky Rinker and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. Following the St. John's tradition, Charlton walked around his candle three times to signify his three revolutions around the sun and then blew the candle out. Rawls and Cal presented Charlton with his gift and when Charlton and Eliza opened it together, Addison exclaimed, “It looks like a fossil.”
The Brown Room Leads Singalong
Today, the children of the Brown Room led their second singalong of the school year. All week, we've practiced singing some of our favorite songs. On Thursday, we chose our set list for today:
In The Outdoor Classroom
In the outdoor classroom today, more children joined Karen in a small group to listen to the story Saturday by Oge Mora. After listening to the story about a little girl who is thankful that she gets to spend special Saturdays with her mom, the children shared what they were thankful for and drew pictures to share their thoughts.
My mom and my dad. dinosaur. The Allosaurus, that’s his head, his eyes, his mouth, his arm. Here’s his food. The Allosaurus food. He eats stegosaurus. That’s the Triceratops his eaten by the T-Rex. I draw my mom and dad and me in the car. The boat. -Charlton
Mommy. Daddy. Isabelle gave me all these (crayons). -Ellie
Mommy and Mafe. Dada. -Isabelle
I have yellow trucks in my home. No. I don't have yellow trucks. I have red, blue. I'm going to draw a baby race care. That is a baby ace car (pointing to a red one). This is a mommy race car. That’s my name. See the red. (pointing to 4 red, vertical marks at the top of his drawing).- Rawls
Final Preparations for Our Thanksgiving Feast
Ellie: We need more friends.
Rawls: We need Cal and Ford. Ragnar too.
Ellie: Emma. Need Emma.
Where's the zipper (referring to the ziploc bag)? I did all of it. I filled all it up.- Charlton
One leaf. -Seon
Somebody get more. -Isabelle
Preparing for our Thanksgiving Feast!
The Brown Room Check-in Board
Bailee Chooses a Symbol
On Tuesday, our newest friend in the Brown Room began the process of choosing her symbol. Bailee experimented with the music note symbol first. Then she chose to experiment with a few more symbols: “Clock. Shoe. Cupcake (birthday cake). Shoes. Yeah! Bug (ladybug) yes!"
Today Bailee worked with a smaller set of symbols to choose from based on her preferences from the day before. The curated selection that she chose from included the music note, the birthday cake, the ladybug and the clock. Mimi joined Bailee while she worked on choosing a symbol. Mimi shared that she had chosen "The frog. It's swimming." To which Bailee replied “CC loves ladybugs. CC loves ladybugs,” talking about her older sister who is in Tucker Room when picking up the ladybug symbol. Mimi questioned Bailee: “The ladybug?” to which Bailee adamantly replied “CC loves ladybug. No! Clock! Clock!” as she chose her symbol.
Using Our Symbols in Messages to our Friends
Recently, children have shown more interest in visiting the "post office" since finding messages from family made during their visits for Classroom Stories and Parent Teacher Conferences. We've talked about how we can also make messages for our friends at school.
Exploring the Textures of Clay
In anticipation of our Thanksgiving feast, Brown Room has been hard at work preparing our clay pieces for the tablescape decorations. Some of last week’s slabs went into the kiln over the weekend, and the difference in texture sparked conversation during the printing and glazing processes. We left the kiln fired clay on the same table as the raw, wet clay slabs and several children took note of the difference in color, feel and malleability.
Fay and Ford shared a similar conversation during the glazing process today. Ford made note that when even he added the underglaze, the brown or "black" coloring of leatherhard clay showed through.
Fay: I’m painting the whole part
Ford: Me too
Fay inspecting the leatherhard clay: This one is wet. We gonna put it in something to dry in. This one has a green crack. Here is an orange crack
Ford: It has leaf cracks
Fay: The top is dry, the bottom is wet
Ford: It’s all black
Tomorrow, we will try a new technique with the glazed, leatherhard clay called sgraffito. Using a pointed tool, children will have a chance to scratch a design into the clay and reveal the natural clay color underneath the glaze colors.
Noticing Changes in our Environment
While in the outdoor classroom last week, Ford made an observation about the sun in the sky and trees:
"I see something (the sun through the trees). No leaves!"
This observation led to a conversation about the leaves on the ground in the outdoor classroom and the changes that we are starting to see in our environment. Coupled with the children's interest in exploring the environment at St. John's even more, we explored our neighborhood by taking nature walks on Monday and Wednesday.
Nature Walks in the Neighborhood
Creating Thanksgiving Table Scapes: Printing On Clay With Natural Materials
To introduce the children to the task at hand, creating decorations for our Thanksgiving Feast, Elena and Karen shared some of their families' Thanksgiving traditions. Elena shared how her family has a big meal of all of their favorite seasonal foods, while Karen shared that her family has a big game of football to play before sitting down to dinner together. Children found slabs of clay and sorted natural materials in the studio as a provocation.
Emma: I doing teeny tiny this. What happened? (after pulling the leaf back out of the clay). Leaf! Pressing down. What happened? Pressing down. This and this! Clay!
Ellie: Rolling. Rolling. More shell. Me have that pine cone (then rolling the magnolia seed pod on the clay slab).
Isabelle: Me have some. A shell (commenting on a shell that Emma had chosen to use).
Mimi: Tiny piece. Tiny piece.
Louisa: A leaf. A ginkgo. Ewwwww! Pointy! (describing the magnolia see pod).
Bailee: Ah! Ah! (Bailee laughs) A-ha!
Fay: Now I wanna get a big one. I’m making it again. I’m doing this. I’m making holes everywhere. A big howl. I’m making lines. I’m going to put it right here. Another one! They’re the same! (noticing two prints made with the same shell were the same)
Happy Birthday Ramsey!
Initially we began with watercoloring the pieces of wood. As per Ramsey’s birthday conversation, his favorite colors are green and yellow, so that’s where we began. However, as we began painting it, the children made some observations about the colors, noticing it wasn’t turning out exactly to their liking.
When the boards dried, there was consensus that tempura paint would look nicer so we started Ramsey’s birthday project over. Ford and Louisa took on the responsibility of repainting the pieces, big and small.
Ford: I’m making a green board. A homemade kinda board. This is good work and hard work.
Louisa: I’m painting mine all the way
Ford: Oh, I forgot this side!
For added dimension, we also added a small weaving to the board. This was in part inspired by the work we’d been doing that week cutting strips of paper for our messaging centers. Mimi took the painted pieces and arranged them on the board while Ragnar added detailing to the weaving portion.
When we presented the final gift today, Ramsey seemed thrilled. He was particularly interested in the yellow pieces Mimi had arranged in the corner. We’re so happy to have had a chance to celebrate the beginning of his third year! Happy Birthday Ramsey :)
Explorations in the Outdoor Classroom
It's Friday, so that means "Backwards Day" for the children of the Brown Room. Inside this week, we began working with some new tools: scissors and the digital microscope. Today we took our scissors to the outdoor classroom and introduced a new tool for magnification, magnifying glasses. Ford and Ragnar took the opportunity to get closer looks at a tire, while Ellie checked out the surface of the picnic table. Ramsey explored the wood and treads on the play deck.
At the picnic table, a few children decided to enjoy the crisp fall morning, while practicing cutting paper. Ragnar practiced cutting fringes along a long strip of paper, while Emma worked to cut small pieces.
Ragnar: It's not cold outside now.
Emma: I'm doing this for the pictures. Open, close. Open close. Scissors, scissors, scissors.
Exploring New Materials in the Outdoor Classroom
Another new material in the Outdoor Classroom this week were bamboo poles. The poles have been used as "hiking sticks" and as "flashlights," but today the children found another purpose for them. The bamboo sticks became tools used to fix the "leaky roof" of the Cob House for Ford, Rawls and Charlton. Ramsey and Isabelle decided to join them.
Ford: We're fixing the roof!
Charlton: We're fixing the roof!
Ford: So not water comes through there (pointing to one of the bamboo crossbeams of the house).
Rawls: We're making the roof.
Coming Up Next Week in the Brown Room...
On Monday we will officially welcome Bailee into the Brown Room. While she has joined us for picture days and time in the outdoor classroom, we are very excited to welcome her and share all of our Brown Room with her! In anticipation of her arrival, we’ve spent the week preparing a gift to welcome her. After some deliberation about what we should share with her, Ford, Fay and Cal decided they were interested in making Bailee a book to showcase important spaces, people and experiences. When we brought the idea to Wednesday’s morning meeting, the children were excited, particularly at Ford’s suggestion that we make paintings for Bailee.
Elena: So Ford has suggested making something out of blocks for Bailee and Fay suggested little blocks. Cal, do you have any suggestions about what we could make to welcome Bailee to school?
Ford: uhhhh a book!
Elena: A book! How would we make a book?
Ford: you use these (holding real books) t and then give it to her just like that!
Elena: so how would you make a real book?
Fay: A hammer!
Elena: A hammer!
Fay: Yes, and a screwdriver
Cal: A Hammer and a screwdriver!
Elena: What would we put in our book?
Fay: a picture…. A picture of blocks!
Ford: a picture like this (holds up Bailee’s picture)
Fay: A picture of a window!
Ford: a picture of a rainbow!
Fay: We have a bookshelf, Coco has a bookshelf.
Elena: So this is a good idea! It sounds like you’re suggesting a book of things at school. What other things can we find at school to put in the book?
Ford: painting and cutting!
Some children, with the help of Jen and Jordan, embarked on creating tiny paintings to fill Bailee’s book, while other children traversed the school looking for things to photograph for Bailee. When the children felt stuck about where else to photograph, we turned to an expert, Bailee’s sister CC who is currently in Tucker Room. CC shared tons of ideas like “you should take a picture of the cubby so Bailee knows where to put her bag. Not just the cubby, right there (the bag hook) too”.
CC also shared with us that Bailee’s favorite colors are purple and blue. Or as she put it “I think B told me that blue and purple were her favorites. Yeah it’s blue and purple”. Based on this advice, Ellie and Rawls painted beautiful purple and blue watercolors to adorn the covers of the book.
While we are still in the process of assembling the welcome book for Bailee, we couldn't be more excited for her arrival! This welcome gift has brought so much joy to both children and teachers, and we look forward to sharing it with Bailee on Monday! Check out some of the images children captured below.