Children were given the opportunity to create videos or photographs of shadows and movement. Here's some of Lane's photography which seems to capture shadow, light, movement, and relationships:
As teachers, we observed the children noticing shadow, light, the ways their bodies could move to achieve a goal such as make their bodies move faster on the swings, or overcome a challenge like climbing up and through the curved bars. We also observed a general joy in being together and the building of relationships and connections between children and their experiences. Lane noted while on the swings, "My shadow is perfect. It even shows my laces!" Sam tried physical movements we haven't seen from him before and he started a game of running into the "woods" to the count of ten and returning when a teacher called, "Ten!" Leigh and Lou Lou inspired and challenged one another during climbing on the large monkey bars, and Lou Lou introduced the children to Chimpunky's tree. (Chipmunky is a friend of Lou Lou and her sister, Ellie who we've made a tradition of visiting on KW trips to Montrose Park.) Lou Lou and Sam spent time gathering acorns for Chimpunky and building things for her such as a bed of leaves. Meanwhile Lane and Leigh swung and pushed one another on the swing.
Enjoy the slideshow of our time at the park and have a wonderful weekend!
We look forward to seeing what thoughts come out of our fun research at the park today and in the days to come.
Evelyn: "I noticed that the shadows are moving."
Leigh: "Because they're swinging."
Sam: "You took a video so the shadows are not making a video." (Sam compares the concept of the video taken which captured Grace explaining her interpretation of the moving shadows as video.)
Grace D.: "When we stop it (the video on the computer), it doesn't look like a video anymore."
Maren: "Lane looks bigger and Grace looks smaller when it looks like that." (Maren describes the scene paused on the screen where Lane's body is stretched long to pump and Grace's body is low and pulled in. Maren is noticing the difference in body movement at the various stages in swinging.)
Evelyn talked about how long Grace and Lane were on the swing. Since she was there observing some of this in real time, the question was asked of her, Grace, and Lane if they noticed what happened to the shadows after the children got off the swing. They were not sure. This seemed to spark thoughts about when shadows appear or go away:
Sally: "You know how you make a shadow when you're swinging and you move and the sun hits the shadow and the shadow copies you; it can move like you but when it's shady it's black."
Lane: "So when you go in the shade the shadow doesn't come up but when you go in the sun the shadow comes up."
Evelyn: "The sun makes a shadow."
Austin: "If the sun is gone you don't see your shadow."
Grace M: "And also, when the sun is here, you have a shadow."
Children were invited to explore their shadows in movement...
We observed children moving with the tempo, beat, and movement of the music. Other concepts children seemed to explore:
Many children were interested in experiencing the shadow videos from the perspective of the "audience."
Some chose to move-along with the shadows and others observed the various perspectives of what was occurring with light, shadow, movement, and music, such as Maren who moved from one side of the screen to the other observing. Towards the end, she deciding to join the dancing!
Playing with Light and Shadow through Projection
Most children worked with projection today. They created shapes with the translucent building discs which they placed on the projector, switched transparency drawings, and layered various drawings and transparent/translucent items on the projector. A few times, the children discovered the light seemed to go away and children who were creating shadows alerted the children at the projector that they could no longer see their shadows. So it was discovered that even with several layers of translucent or mostly translucent items, the light would eventually be blocked. Austin again attempted to draw a background for the projector but changed his mind to work with other materials. Austin and Sam eventually created a scene using the translucent discs and chose to dance to the Star Wars theme.
Children also had opportunities for drawing movement and shadow as well as building with magnets:
We're looking forward to our field trip tomorrow with more to discover about our movements, shadow, and maybe even "shadow videos"!
Drawing Bodies..... and Other Things
Children continued to work on drawings of bodies in motion today. Maren started this work off by depicting her representation of Evelyn on the climbing wall. Maren also completed a mixed-media representation of hopscotch! Grace finished a ballet drawing she started yesterday and did a drawing of her jumping as well. The drawing table often becomes a communal spot... a place to share ideas and conversations. Today was no different, as children moved from body drawings to birthday messages for Louise's grandfather while Lou Lou worked on birthday card for her dad.
It's all about the process.....
We learn so much when we are able to observe how children work, how they make decisions, and how they solve problems. Throughout the year, we will try to make their processes visible through step-by step notes. Here's some examples from today's clay work and Maren's drawing of Evelyn.
Movement and Shadows
Each day, the children's ideas give us more avenues to examine. How is it that shadows sometimes look upside down? What do we know about the ways that shadows move? Stay tuned! We took over 100 photos today of children moving and dancing with their shadows. Today's musical selections included "Tiny Dancer," "Shake It Off," "Let It Go," and"Let's Go Fly a Kite," among others. With a larger group moving and dancing, we noticed a greater need for negotiation , collaboration, and patience. Children took turns being audience to cut down on the chaos behind the shadow screen.
Creating the Background
Throughout the afternoon, several children worked at the projector to create the backgrounds that appeared on the shadow screen. Sam, Austin, and Evelyn were especially invested in this important role. At times, Evelyn took the transparencies from the projector and held them up to the shadow screen, as if trying to discover the various ways that images could appear on the screen. Later in the afternoon, Austin expressed interest in drawing his own background. He went to the drawing table and drew snow. However, it took some trial and error to determine which drawing materials would show up in the projection. He came up with a result that satisfied him. He then sat in the audience while others danced to "Frozen," to complement his snowy back drop.
In addition to the light and shadow, children took time to draw and build with magnets and metal. Grace D. worked on drawing her body climbing the rope ladder and Grace M. began a drawing of girls doing a curtsy. We're looking forward to seeing what the rest of the week holds for our KW community!
Layering Languages in our Body Exploration
We began our time together reflecting on our movement exploration so far through the use of some video observations. This included the video of Lane and Grace yesterday viewing their "shadow videos" in motion. After lunch children were invited to explore their body motions in shadow form and perhaps make a "video" with their shadows. We began with only light, shadow, and our bodies.
Another video we had shared with the children was a video taken during Early Birds where Sally and her sister Marley made a rainbow out of their bodies. Sally had also made a picture of a rainbow on transparency which we brought out today along with other options for projection. The children chose to put Sally's rainbow on the projector. Lou Lou began dancing and soon singing...
"That's a rainbow...we can make a rainbow...we can hug a rainbow." -Lou Lou
Other songs chosen to move to:
Lane: "The other 'Tiny Dancer.'" (First the Florence and the Machine cover, then Elton John's original.)
Sam: "Light and Shine...the one we sing at school." ("This Little Light of Mine")
Lou Lou: "My favorite song is 'Dance Hula.' ...There's one called 'Dance Hula Lady Bug.'"
For Leigh, we played music from The Greatest Showman.
As the children explored, they added layers, increasing complexity from simply light and shadow, to added projection, layers of projection, singing, songs, music, dance, individual dance, group dance, jumping and big motion exploration, varied speed of motion, moving to the beat and rhythm, and eventually instruments. These layers of languages intersected as the children experimented with their body movements, light, and music.
"I want to see what it looks like when we flip it over."
Sam said as he flipped Sally's rainbow illustration. He worked with various materials at the projector, layering and rearranging the materials to create different perspectives. You can see his hand's shadow as he works with materials while Lane and Lou Lou dance in the foreground:
It has been such a fascinating first two weeks!! We hope you have a fabulous weekend and we cannot wait to see where these explorations take us next!
"Are we going to the workshop or are we going to Volta Park?"
Sally's observations of movement through sequence of children swinging:
Other photos and quotes of children's movement at the park and in the outdoor classroom:
"Our shadows are making videos!"
A surprising moment of joy and discovery was observed when Lane and Grace D. were on the swings.
Grace: "Our shadows are making videos!"
Lane: "On the ground."
Grace: "Do you see?"
Jessica: "I see. They are moving."
Lane, leaning back as she pumped her body on the swing: "This is so much higher!"
Grace: "This is so much fun with our body! We get to watch a video when we're swinging and we move our bodies. That's so cool, right?"
Jessica: "What makes it fun for your bodies?"
Grace: "Because we have a statue." (Possibly meant shadow?)
Lane: "It's fun because we're swinging."
Grace: "We have a video what looks like to swing!"
Grace and Lane looked down during much of their swinging, seeming to observe the way their bodies moved through the movement of their shadows.
Mud Cookies devoured!
The Mud Cookies were delivered this morning by Early Birds! Everyone in the entire school enjoyed the special treat made by KW! The overall critique was that they were very delicious and, "Did not taste like mud." Instead, reviewers described the cookies as tasting like peanut butter and chocolate.
Last week, we made the mud cookies pictured above. This week, our goal was to make mud cookies that were actually edible. After consulting with Leigh and Lou Lou, we decided that we could substitute peanut butter for the mud, protein powder for the dirt, oats for the leaves, and a little honey for the water. Before making the cookies, Joslin expressed her concern, "I don't like to eat mud." However, after the cookies were made (and each child had a taste), she happily reported, "They don't taste like real mud at all." The cookies will be served for snack tomorrow morning!
Drawing: Additional Leaf Transformations
At the meeting, we reflected on yesterday's leaf transformation drawings. Before getting started with the mud cookies, Leigh and Lou had time to transform a few more leaf compositions.
Lou Lou started by finishing the umbrella leaves she worked on yesterday. Her second leaf drawing was a Princess with a Crown. "These are the jewels,," she said as she added the details to the crown area.
Children took different approaches to the task. Some worked on carefully tracing the leaves, while others transformed them into something else. Grace David initially worked by drawing around the leaves at the light table, but it wasn't quite what she wanted. With Sally's encouragement, she created the rainbow leaf tree she wanted,
Another Drawing Challenge
Last week, we collected images of children using their bodies in various ways outside. Today, we asked children to draw from the images. Not every child took us up on this challenge, but the children who did gave it their best effort. Take a look!
"Well, everybody is amazing." Sally
Sometimes, the best part of our day is being together. In KW, we can form new friendships and learn from or inspire each other. On the playground today, children tested new physical abilities, which led to Sally pointing out that everyone is amazing. There was also a birthday celebration for Shelly, who turned "5 D 5." Once inside, children shared ideas while setting the table and eating lunch. For the children not inclined to draw (today), there was clay. Finally, this group always likes time spent with a good book!
It's all about the process...
Next week we plan to make Mud Cookies we can eat!
The majority of our indoor time today was spent painting at the easel with the new colors we mixed yesterday. As it was such a small group of children today, we teachers took had an opportunity to observe the children's processes very closely. We practiced using sequence to look closely at the choices the children made as they worked.
Here's Sam's process in sequence captured by photographs the thoughts he vocalized as he worked:
Lou Lou's and Leigh's collaborative painting captured through illustrated and written notes and photographs:
Slowing down and seeing the children's processes in step-by-step sequences, we observe intention behind their decisions. Children express meaning and knowledge through each choice they make whether it is selecting a paint color or line of a brush stroke. It is also seen that they sometimes change their mind about the meaning of their representations.
Relationships and Messages
One of our core values at St. Johns is RELATIONSHIPS and as we begin the school year, we find the relationships within our school and between home and school provide a great foundation for the work we'll do together over the coming year.
Check out this slideshow with captions to see some of the ways relationships were at the center of our time together in KW today (and every day):
Also today, children mixed colors of paint which gave the opportunity of exploring how colors relate to and have an impact on one another as they combine.
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