Since the weather improved so much, we thought we'd try again to find some curious gardens around our neighborhood with Hugh, Lily, and Sam. Jill prompted the children, reminding them about the curious gardens in the book and how they wanted to explore the city. We wondered if the children could help us find gardens that were trying to explore Georgetown. The children agreed. On our way out, Jessica Kuhn told us about one that she likes near the used book store on P Street. So we went searching until we found it. Then we continued looking around the neighborhood and used photography to capture some of what we found. The children noticed "traveling" plants; moss and grass growing in paths, on the sidewalk, and on walls; a tiny garden through a hole in a wall; and interesting doors to what we thought might be curious gardens.
After our walk, we returned to school where we decided to revisit our work on the Curious Garden city. Lily and Hugh asked questions about the changes that had occurred since their work on Tuesday. Sam helped fill Lily and Hugh in on some things and the children made a few adjustments. Hugh wondered why people thought the area near the crane was a construction site and Lily helped remind us that the crane wasn't there for construction but it was used "to lift things that need lifting." Then Lily and Hugh contributed some new ideas:
Hugh - These cars are parking here...I didn't originally make that call but now that I thought about it...
Jessica K. - Is there a traveling plant in this curious garden?
Hugh - Um, no. (He explained it could not stick.)
Jessica M. - I wonder if there is a way to make a traveling plant stick? Do you think you could help come up with an idea?
Hugh - Yes, but not today. Lily, do you want to help me work on this port?
Lily - OK, what else do you need me to lift?
Hugh - This Ferry is going to Easton. The Ferry is getting ready to close.
Lily - Round it up! (She winds the crane up.)
During our time in the Middle Room, Lily also decided she wanted to work on her hand sewing from earlier in the week.
We did get outside for a short walk before the rain started. We carefully looked a a few places that might be curious garden possibilities. We will have more neighborhood trips to discover other curious gardens in the coming weeks.
,We had our first cooking project of the year today in KW. The idea was presented to the children that they could make pumpkin bread to enjoy at snack tomorrow with their classrooms. Grace, hearing that we would make the snack for Rainey and Tucker rooms, also thought we should make some for Brown Room. We thought that was a great idea and planned to make a snack for Brown Room on another day when we have more ingredients. All of the children had a hand in helping add ingredients to the mixer, including Sam who cracked eggs for his first time. The children watched the mixer and described the ways the mixture was changing, such as the color. Tegan and Louise said it smelled good and Grace observed, "It feels good."
Once the pumpkin bread batter was prepared and in the oven baking, we sat down together to talk about the beginning stages of our city with it's "curious garden" being built and transformed in the Middle Room. Tegan shared important details about the work done yesterday with Lily and Hugh. Then Sam recalled what was added/altered by children in Early Birds this morning. We added these ideas to our new KW Messy Journal. (You can find it on top of the Tucker cubbies and see notes about our curious garden and other KW work-in-progress.)
Tegan and Sam showed Grace and Louise the curious garden city and all of the children got to work adding and changing parts of the city. Louise thought there should be flowers. So Tegan built some flowers out of Kinex and placed them in the pot of a plant. Louise also thought the city needed more buildings, a treasure chest, and, "We need people because we forgot." Grace agreed, "We need people for cars." Louise said, "We need a house for the people to live, we need a big house. Grace, can you help me build a house?" Grace and Louise began building a house of blocks for the people which we plan to resume another day. Lastly, Sam wanted to, "Free-up the railway," and began moving all of the greenery off of the 'tracks.' Tegan wanted to keep the greenery on the railway. We were undecided about whether to change the greenery..
Here are a few other glimpses of our time together today:
Other children chose to transform a curious garden. We have been reading and re-reading the book The Curious Garden, at the children's repeated request. Before KW began, Jessica and Jill set up a provocation with plain wood blocks and small bricks in the middle room. Children were invited to come in and transform the area, much like the boy in the book does. Lily, Tegan, and Hugh worked diligently to create a more interesting and beautiful space. Here's some of the conversation as they worked:
Hugh - And now it's becoming colorful.
Lily - Not so boring.
Hugh - Green (grabbing green materials). Blue pond.
Lily - This could be the way for the cars. This is the road.
Hugh - We can make a parking lot.
Tegan - We can make a parking lot and a street.
Lily - What if we use some of these animals for the pond?
Hugh - Yeah! That's great.
Tegan - Guys, this looks like a home! For the turtle.
Lily - There can be a zoo.
Tegan - I'm making green.
Hugh - A train? That's a great idea.
Tegan - Okay, this could be a green train.
Lily - We're going to use these letters and we're going to use the crane to lift stuff up.
Tegan - I'm trying to make a train, to make it even longer. We can have the train going this way and another stop going that way, so the train can go both ways.
The three children engaged in a great deal of problem solving and collaboration as they made the space come to life. We left some of our curious garden in place for the Early Birds to explore tomorrow. We will continue to work on this big idea so that any interested children will have a chance to create their own curious garden.
,We've had some small groups in KW, like today with Hugh and Sam. These small groups are giving us the opportunity to slow down and focus on getting to know one another and explore shared topics of interest. Surprisingly, many of the topics carry over from day to day despite different groups of children. The Curious Garden, for example, is already a favorite book the children like to read and discuss. Today we played outside, had lunch, and read together before heading out on a walk to the canal. Sam wanted to read I'm Afraid Your Teddy is in Trouble Today which the boys found hilarious and asked for an encore reading. Before leaving the school, we stopped by Molly's office where she showed us a secret treasure hiding place!
Earlier in the week Hugh had told us he wanted to check on the ducks KW frequently visited last year. So today we walked to the canal where we found four ducks. Hugh wondered about the presents the children left for the ducks at the end of the school year and whether they would still be there, "I hope they really like the presents we left for them." Unfortunately we weren't able able to walk to where the presents were left as there was some construction happening in that area. However, the children did notice many plants and gardens growing up in and around the canal, on the side of the wall, and on roofs of buildings. Hugh noticed, "It looks like the garden book."
The boys were interested in the renovations of the canal and what boats might go in the canal if it were fixed. When we returned to the school, Jill helped Sam and Hugh look up what the canal used to look like many years ago. Hugh said, “You should type in old time, like when you were born.” Sam and Hugh were so excited to show Jessica what they found on the computer. Then we finished the day reading The Curious Garden one more time.
Last Thursday, Lou Lou and Tegan began individual sewing projects. Their big ideas include making blankets and pillow for their lovies. They are using smaller pieces to create a patch work effect in their work. Today Tegan finished a pillow for Saoirse while Lou Lou patched together more pieces for her blanket. Tegan understood that she needed to sew three sides of the pillow before adding any filling, or it would just fall out. When she wasn't at the sewing machine, Lou Lou enjoyed examining the fabric and stitching with the digital microscope. The two friends also created a quilt-like effect using materials on the light table. Some stories (including one about a quilt) made our day complete.
We had a relaxing time in KW. We started in the outdoor classroom, enjoying the beautiful weather. The children played Hide and Seek, Tegan worked at continuing to master the swing, and Lousie and Sam played in the sand. Louise and Sam made a game of burying a boat, which symbolized treasure for the other to find.
When we went inside, Sam had his turn opening the surprise waiting for him. He opened his place card made by mom! Then Louise had a turn setting the table while Jill read a story about Elmer a patchwork elephant. We had gathered books with quilting themes after our sewing exploration last week. Tegan's style of sewing squares of material together reminded us of a quilt and so we're curious to see if these stories will connect with our sewing work. After the story we had lunch together and had a surprise guest: Molly!
During lunch we revisited the question we have been discussing over the first days in KW: "What is KW?" Here is some of what was said during our conversation:
Sam - Is anybody here? Where are they?
Louise - Just us here.
Jessica - Why is no one else here?
Louise - Because they got home.
Sam - Maybe they're in a house.
Louise - Some days parents come late.
Sam shared a bit about Early Birds and as we wondered what is different about KW, Early Birds, and our mornings in Rainey and Tucker rooms. Sam told about the microscope he likes working with and said, "After all of you are done (eating) I will show you what the whole dinosaur looks like, OK?"
So after lunch, Sam showed his dinosaur under the microscope and the children explored other found objects and fabric under the microscope. Tegan continued working on her blanket, sewing pieces of fabric together and lying them out to plan what comes next.
It was our first full day of KW and it was a day full of surprises! We started the day by opening the place cards that parents had made for children last week. Although Tegan and Lou Lou had already received their name cards, they were very good at keeping the secret. With the new name cards, Hugh showed Lily showed Lily the table setting process. Right before KW started, Elena asked her friends, "What is KW?" We tried to tackle that question at lunchtime:
Hugh - We stay longer than regular school
Maisie - I would say, you're going to have fun.
Hugh - We don't just do stuff indoors. Sometimes we start outside. I already know the basics, like put your lunch (box) under the table. We always go outside. We always go on a walk if it's not raining. Or we should. You can't stay inside all day.
We asked the children if there was anything they wanted to do in KW. These were some of their ideas.
Tegan - Do projects every day, like sewing.
Maisie - Can we do weaving?
Hugh - We should spend some time outside.
Lily - Play. I like playing games and dressing up.
Lou Lou - Play with friends.
After lunch, it was time for our big surprise! This summer, Marley gave KW a gift card for Thomas Sweet! The children were thrilled to have this special treat. Another surprise was when we saw Jessica Kuhn in her car on our walk back to school. Enjoy the slide show and we will see some of you tomorrow!
Kids' Workshop got off to a fantastic start! Lou Lou and Tegan were thrilled to open their surprises - the place card their parents made for them during the Welcome Party. Tegan showed Lou Lou how to set the table and we enjoyed a lovely lunch together. After lunch, the girls made made messages for their families. The messages were quite involved and we noticed that they were working off each other's collage ideas.
There's been interest in exploring the sewing machines this year. We began with basic stitching in a straight line. Lou Lou and Tegan explored their sewing with the digital microscope. Tegan started to sew pieces together and came up with the idea of making a blanket for Saoirse. Lou Lou thought she would make one for Ella the fox. The girls are also excited about making pillows for their lovies. We will be working on this in the coming weeks. We ended the day outside where each girl accomplished something new. Tegan got up on the swing by herself and Lou Lou was able to balance along the sandbox border by herself. We can't wait to see what happens the rest of the year!
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