Diversity of Materials
As we worked on our light piece today, we did so with a slightly more critical eye. Up until this point, children had used a lot of shiny beads. That is certainly understandable, as beads lend themselves to be strung on wire and are always popular with children. As Louise and Leigh came to work on the structure, we asked, "What kinds of materials have children used the most?" Leigh quickly said, "Shiny stuff. Beads." They quickly accepted the challenge to look through the materials collection and find items that had not been used before today. As Joslin and Alexandra joined later, they also were ready to work with new materials. Children also added to the complexity of the process by layering materials by including two distinct materials on the same wire. Joslin used a totally new technique of putting her chosen item on a large loop. From that point, she was able to form a slip knot to attach it to our frame. Louise highlighted the importance of learning from each other inner collaborative work by saying, "I know how to cut wire because Sally taught me." A bit later:
Jill - What else could we use that hasn't been used before today?
Joslin - Keys!
Alexandra - I have some shiny keys at home, but I don't play with them because they are real keys"
'Tis the Season!
Some of our other experiences today were related to the holiday season. Children worked on multi-media compositions that featured holiday colors, and of course, shiny stuff. Some children built upon the trees that they drew yesterday and re-created them with watercolors and collage materials. Children also made name tags, which will be put to good use when we send home some of our work next week, just in time for the holidays!
It's a Brigitte day!
Jessica had the day off to pack for her upcoming move. While we missed her, we were happy to have Brigitte with us. The children especially enjoyed learning French songs with her, including one very silly one. Brigitte will be with us again on Friday, as Jessica moves into her new home in Takoma Park!
Throughout the different experiences offered in KW today, children worked together sharing ideas for problem solving, creative ideas, and collaboration on tasks. The children have been referring to this as "copying" in a positive, playful tone, showing the joy they find in the shared experience.
Check out the slideshows for a closer look at of today's activities:
Lou Lou: "I don't want these because you can't see the light."
Jessica: "You mean it doesn't reflect?"
Lou Lou: "Yes."
Jack (holding up a sifter): "Look, it's reflecting! Inside!" (Jack turns the handle showing the moving reflective light inside.)
Sam: "I want to get some wire and put beads on it."
Lane: "Me too."
Sam and Lane talk about "copying" one another's ideas. They begin looking through and selecting materials to bead with.
Sam: "It's boingy! I want to put beads on it."
Lane: (Picking up some leftover wire) "This could be the right amount. If this is the right amount, I can put the beads on here."
Lane (discovering a shiny gold thread): "This thread is shiny. Maybe too shiny."
Jessica reminded the children of the challenge to make the light as reflective as possible. Lane decided to stick with the shiny thread.
Lane (after completing her beaded thread and tying it on the frame): "Now I want to make another one, but out of wire."
Jack (sitting down to make a pattern with beads): "Are you going to do a same pattern? A three and three pattern like three gold and three silver."
Lou Lou decided she wanted to sew something for the light. She tried a few different approaches using first copper foil paper and then tin foil. She ran into challenges with the fragile foils, such as the thread pulling larger holes than she intended through the material. She adjusted her approach, pulling the thread through very gently.
Sam ran into a different problem attempting to attach a metal handle to the frame: "It's too heavy."
Jessica encouraged Sam to continue and think about what could work instead. Sam tried a few approaches, ultimately deciding to start with the handle away from the frame, wrap the wire around it several times and then wrap the wire round the frame. He also hung the handle over the frame so it is supported by both the frame and wire.
Close-ups of completed work children attached to the light's frame:
Creating Gini's Gift
We began a new project today that will become a gift for Gini this holiday season. Children used oversized pushpins to poke designs through tin we'll later wrap around candles.. Jack noticed his hand would get tired doing this precise work so he took some breaks. Later he tried a new strategy, "It's better when I go faster." The children used a light to check out their designs. How joyful to see the light shine through the holes in the tin! Jack observed, "It's cool. It looks like a 'W'."
We returned to the Middle Room to get to work. We reviewed what was previously done and the sketches some children had done before they began working. The children were invited to draw, look through the trays of materials, and test out the reflectiveness of materials first. Austin wanted to review the meaning of reflection and Grace M. asked, "Can I make notes first?" Grace M. began sketching while Grace D. and Austin set to work testing the reflectiveness of materials and thinking about how to attach items they were interested in. Grace M. sketched an idea for a rocket ship she could create out of reflective materials and attach it to the light's frame.
"This is hard." -Grace D.
Children realized and reflected on the challenge of discovering and implementing the best methods for attaching the reflective elements to the light's frame. We have decided that it will take some time and we will need everyone's help to eventually complete it!
Along with these challenges children are confronted with many opportunities for problem solving and collaboration. For example, Grace David tried to cut some thick wire, "I can't cut it. It won't work." She tried a couple of wire cutters. Austin observed this and offered his help, "I can help." He cut the wire for Grace, " I cut it for you." Grace D. replied. "Thanks!" Austin and Grace continued to work together. When Grace D. came across another challenge of attaching the wire to the frame, Austin showed Grace tricks along the way and let her accomplish the steps, eventually twisting the wire enough around the frame to attach a brass menorah to the light structure. Austin's patience and willingness to support a friend through their process and Grace's persistence to overcome challenges is a great example of the scaffolding and collaboration we observe and encourage between children on a daily basis.
All week children applied another problem-solving strategy of trial and error to their work, as was true today when Grace D. tried a few options for adhesives before landing on one she was satisfied with.
Enjoy the slideshow with more of the children's efforts today!
Dancing with Reflection
We engaged in more dancing with reflective and translucent materials today:
...there was an option for open clay, children added color to the shadow-tracing work Sam and Austin had done previously, a group worked on a puzzle together, some children built with light, and Molly joined us for lunch!
Working with Light
Children were eager to return to our long-term project of creating an entryway light. Louise and Joslin had worked on it yesterday and today Lou Lou joined the small group. They began by showing Lou Lou where the light would eventually live, so she could better understand the work. Lou Lou headed to the middle room, saying, "Let's get going!" Together they looked at the materials. Joslin pointed out the rainbow sequins, saying, "Remember, this is from the rainbow collection, we put them in the collection." The group discussed and debated which materials would be truly reflective, and again tested them with a light source. Like yesterday, there were opportunities for problem solving, especially involving how to attach materials and objects. They broke out the glue gun today, allowing children to demonstrate their competence and independence. They also thought carefully about the placement of the shiny stuff, noting that if items were on top of the structure, they may be too close to the ceiling to be visible. We are excited to see this collaborative project develop with other children and other perspectives during the coming weeks.
Dancing and Building with Light
Working with light took a more fanciful turn today as children used shiny and reflective materials as they danced. The children noticed the shadows along one wall, but also noticed that the reflections could be almost anywhere.... the ceiling, the opposite wall, etc. Alexandra has been a big fan of building with light, and she sought this out again today. Soon, Maren, Leigh, and Grace had joined her. By using a number of light sources and the stained glass blocks, children noted colorful shadows as they built.
German "Wild Things"
There has been a lot of talk about Alexandra moving to Germany. Today, Jessica read to her and her friends in German! The book was a familiar one.... "Where the Wild Things Are." Kids' Workshop loves all books, although Alexandra admitted that the German words made this version, "a little confusing."
"It's a light for when grown-ups come to meetings"
A Fun-Filled Friday
It was a busy day in KW! We had a small group of four (Lane, Lou Lou, Jack, and Sam). We read another version of Stone Soup (having read another yesterday) and talked about the upcoming Feast. Then the children were motivated to work with several offered experiences before finishing the day with a brief dance party.
The Light Building
Lastly, We spent some time dismantling the light table Fairy House from yesterday and Sam shared the developments of Tucker's light building today including the moving and changing of Sam's building with star lights.
Here's how we found the lights and buildings after Tucker worked with them today:
One More Round of Lantern-Making!
We've been enjoying making lanterns so much we decided to offer one more day to work with paper lanterns. All four children created lanterns. Children shared ideas with one another in terms of the types of cuts to make and how to close their lanterns at the end.
Children were invited to draw and paint light sources found on our walk yesterday and/or depictions of some of our shiny/reflective collection. A few items the children chose to draw and paint today were a menorah, copper brillo-like material, and brass handle. Here are a few comments from the children while they worked:
Leigh: "It goes in the wall and it protects the wall. Light is inside it and it makes the wall shiny."
Sally: "It's a shiny heart. I call it glowing, flying heart. Sparkling, glowing, flying heart. That's the sun and it's reflecting on the heart." (She works some more.) "I did a bouquet of flowers."
Lou Lou: "I saw a lot of Christmas stuff yesterday, so I painted that. Here's two Christmas trees."
Grace M. (Referring to the shiny silver & golden shapes) "Those are the shiny handles." (That she saw on yesterday's walk.)
(Some) photos taken by Joslin
(Some) photos taken by Lou Lou
Today we revisited many of the ideas we worked on last week. Children thought again about the various categories of shiny things and how they could be described and sorted. Here's some of their ideas:
Grace D. - (Examning materials) Metal. Kind of rubber. Diamonds (clear gems).
Joslin - Shiny like cubes (clear gems).
Louise - Hard (metal hose and brass). But this is not hard ( green sparkly tape).
Joslin - It's tape-y..... a roll of sparkly.
As they sort the items and materials.....
Joslin - Where do these go? Maybe with the rainbow stuff.
Grace D. - Metal.
Joslin - That's golden stuff (clear items). That's golden stuff (golden and metallic stuff).
Jessica - I thought that (clear stuff) was the golden stuff?
Joslin - Oh, that's golden (golden and metallic stuff) and that's silver (clear).
They discover more items as they look for a box to sort the stuff.....
Grace D. - This (clear cube) I can see through it.
Joslin - I think these gears go in different sections.
Grace D. - They're with their family.
Lou Lou - (Coming over to see the categories) These are different golden. This is crumbly golden.... actually it's crumbly silver.
Children also expressed a lot of interest in making something with this shiny stuff. We'll keep you posted!
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