As you will remember, our Brown Room Birthday Gifts were collages. Towards the end of the year, the children began participating in preparing the materials - cutting the paper, finding the tools, and setting up the materials for the committee to use the next day. When we began to think about a birthday gift for our Rainey Room year, we reflected on the children's interest and skills with choosing and preparing materials. Our reflection and brainstorming led us to the idea of a kit.
Our goal was to create opportunities for the children to brainstorm (about the birthday child; known languages/approaches/techniques/materials), collect and prepare materials, and think creatively and openly about the use of materials (languages). We also anticipate that it will provide opportunities for introducing new languages/materials.
Rainey Room Birthday Gifts - Kits!
We encourage you to take a few minutes at drop-off to read through some of the children's ideas about kits. This has been a great opportunity for divergent thinking, problem solving, mathematical concepts, creative expression, community building, getting to know each other, etc. It is a challenging concept, and the children are certainly rising to the occasion -- as we knew they would.
"This is hard. It's a lot of thinking." - Henri, 4.1 years
Exploring Materials and Possibilities
Pierce's Wire Kit and Celebration
“I think Pierce would like a wire kit. What colors does he like?” - Gracie, 3.11 years
What goes in a wire kit? - Elyse
“We can put wire and fabric.” - Gracie
“We can put rubber bands.” - Will, 3.11 years
“We can put tissue paper.” - Caroline, 3.4 years
“We can put some examples [of wire and fabric together].” - Caroline
“It [the instructions] would be about what you can make with wire. ” - Will
What do you think he will make with his wire kit? - Elyse
“Something he likes. Maybe a truck.” - Will
Collecting and Preparing Materials
"It's fall!" -Georgia (As said with elation while jumping at the sight of a falling leaf.)
"It's different (dancing) out here. The mulch kicks under your feet," Eliza commented, following our first outdoor morning meeting. We have thoroughly been enjoying the weather outside during our outdoor times, offering opportunities to work with additional, specific materials especially on our Tuesday and Thursday backwards days.
Pictured below, was a table with wire and materials to add to the wire such as beads and cloth with the challenge to create a space between each added material by twisting or turning the wire so that they didn't touch. "How about I twist it together to make it longer." -Adaline Familiar techniques were practiced while some new techniques were discovered such as using a pointed object to perforate the cloth to allow the wire to thread through the finer weave of the fabric. "So first, let me show you, I have to poke it in..." explained Gracie, followed by inserting a piece of wire.
Some more observation, exploration, and discoveries occurred when some of the children, together, they turned over a tree stump. "There's a worm!" they exclaimed. "I want to hold it," Win and other children said, gradually taking turns passing off the small earth worm or millipede. "What's that yellow stuff?" Georgia asked pointing and referring to the lichen like matter. Along with the earth worm and millipedes there were many, tiny white aphid like insects and eventually a teeny tiny snail was spotted. "Can we keep it?!" Caroline asked with a tenderly persuasive plea. Turns then were taken to carefully hold the small piece of mulch hosting the tiny snail with information to hold only the wood so as not to harm or disturb the delicate structure of the snail, which is different than the worm. About the worm or possibly the snail too, Georgia said, "They're even more gentle. They're even more gentle than I thought."
Happy Autumnal Equinox and Enjoy Your Weekend!
"I did math!" - Eliza, 3.10 years
Creating a three-step color with Win
[R to L]: Eliza's "Dark Pink"; Win's "Darker green"; Pierce's "Butter"; Eliza's "Light orange"; Pierce's "Spiderman Blue" and "Race car blue"; Christopher's "Blueberry blue" and "Crab yellow"
Expanding our concept of Color Mixing
"What's happening in the studio?" - multiple children
What do you see? What do you think could be happening there today?
"I see a light table." - Eliza, 3.10 years
"Maybe we can mix colors in light." - Henri, 4.1 years
**we anticipate much more work around Henri's suggestion that we were "mixing colors in light".
In fact, today's work in the studio was set up to offer a broader context for color mixing. There was a light table with trays of colorful, transparent materials in the primary colors as well as some secondary colors (pink, orange, green, purple, etc.). On a second table, there were materials for "tray mixing" with tempera paint.
Pierce paid very close attention to the effect that his layers were having on the color. He observed the green floppy disk and then layered red and blue on top of the yellow transparency. Upon closer examination, he noticed that it had made a shade of green. Pierce was thoughtful and intentional about the placement of his materials and then moved to the trays to experiment with the tempera paint.
Tray Mixing - Tempera Paint
"I like the room, it got organized." -Pierce
The studio was thoughtfully set up to accommodate active minds and bodies. The studio has three established areas: the easel, the studio tables for small groups and of course snack ("We're having snack in the studio!" -Gracie), and a smaller versatile work space to eventually support ongoing, independent clay work, while still being versatile enough to provide other experiences such as drawing or watercolor.
"It's pretend clay!" -Eliza
"We connected all the pieces. We connected the brads to all the pieces so they connect ... stay together." -Caroline
Creating movable collages with sparkly, shiny papers & shiny brads
"Remember that I wanted to make a clay butterfly?" - Will, 3.11 yearsn (RR)
These drawings below are from the last day of Brown Room when the children were asked to imagine anything what they might want to make out of clay. Adaline, Will, and Gracie all drew butterflies. Lillian also joined this group and was enthusiastic to think about a clay butterfly.
Gracie, 3.7 years (BR)
There were some things we already knew about butterflies, and other things we had to learn through exploration and research.
"It's got wings." - Will, 3.11 years
"Butterflies have eyes." - Adaline, 3.11 years
"They all have them (antennae). Every single one, and there's something holding them up [head]." - Will, 3.11 years
Designing their own butterflies
"I want to design a pretty pink one. I found a dark pink! Mine will be closed. It will be asleep." - Gracie, 3.11 years
**We learned that butterflies at rest have their wings closed together. The children decided that this meant that they were sleeping and when their wings are open, they are awake.**
"I want to design one like this (blue). Mine is going to have lines." - Will, 3.11 years
"I'm doing a rainbow one. Patterns are dots, right? - Adaline, - 3.11 years
How do you think you will make dots in the clay? - Elyse
"Remember the holes in my [clay] banana?" - Adaline, 3.11 years
"I'm thinking about purple. It's dark purple." - Lillian, 3.5 years
In each of their drawings, you can see symmetry of lines, color, and shapes. They incorporated our new information about eyes and antennae, and each followed through with their stated design choices.
"Clay with Jen." - Eliza (when reading the visual projections)
Today, the children began their work by sharing their designs with Jen.
Next, we began to get our hands busy with the clay. The children all took slightly different approaches to their work, but in the end, they each had a butterfly or two. Jen also introduced us to a new type of wire today which can be fired in the kiln (most wire cannot be fired). This offered a different approach to creating antennae and legs for the butterflies.
The children are going to continue working tomorrow, and even invite others to join them in this work. In the coming weeks, we will also invite the other children who drew designs in Brown Room to make their own clay ideas.
Below are their current butterflies.
Top (L to R): Adaline's flying butterfly (holes in the wings); Will's butterfly with lines (as seen in his drawing); Lillian's 3D butterfly with wire legs
Bottom (L to R): Gracie's sleeping butterfly; Gracie's awake butterfly; Adaline's 1st butterfly; Will's 2nd butterfly
"I can't believe we're in the wrong room!" - Georgia, 3.9 years
Welcome to the Rainey Room! We have had a fantastic week, and it is so much fun to see how much everyone has grown. They have been so excited to explore our new space and be back together again -- it's as though they never had a staggered schedule in Brown Room.
We have been exploring our new classroom, settling into our routine, discussing our visual projections and new birthday calendar, starting some work for our upcoming birthday committees (spoiler alert: it is not a collage), and created our portfolio drawer decorations.
Please be sure to look for our blogs twice a week! We look forward to sharing all of the work with you via the blog, visual projections, and other documentation in the classroom. We will also have a binder near the sign-in sheet that will archive the blog. Feel free to take a look with your child during drop-off.
Dear Brown Room Families,
We are busy preparing for our upcoming Classroom Stories event this Thursday, May 18th. Please see our last blog/email for information about the conversation portion of our evening. Our last blog also contains the video from Fall Classroom Stories, which will help refresh your memory from where we left off.
Starting on Friday, May 19th, we will also start with portfolio conferences. Please check the sign up for your date and time. We want to emphasize that these conferences are lead by your child, so they will need to come with you that day.
On Monday, May 22nd, all families are invited to join us for a special, surprise event in the Brown Room. We will ask that Brown Room families gather at the Chapel of the Carpenter door (dismissal door) at 8:45 am. Melanie and I will be there to greet the children with a smile and a "sply glass". Please, please, please do your best to keep this secret for us! This event is open to all 15 children and families. We do ask that you keep in mind how crowded the Brown Room will be, so the studio will be open for parents to observe. There is undoubtedly going to be A LOT of excitement around this surprise!
One final note as we approach the end of the year. Images in the blog do get swapped with other classrooms - this is due to photo names, etc. It is a technical glitch that we can rarely control. This being said, please take time to screenshot or save any images now if you would like them. The blog is eventually archived at the end of Tucker Room and you will not be able to access it.
Elyse and Melanie
Happy 3rd Birthday, Caroline!
Caroline Walks Around the Candle Three Times One... Two... Three...
But wait, the candle. You need to blow out the candle, Caroline.
Caroline Blows Out Her Birthday Candle
Then, away she goes!
The Gift is Given
In Preparation for Classroom Stories Night (5/18)
Classroom Stories is next week, Thursday, May 18th at 6:30-7:45pm. On this night, we are looking forward to sharing work, ideas, and hands on fun with all (or many) of you! In preparation for the evening, we are attaching a video that was previously shown at our fall classroom stories.
This video (see below) “Where is Toad” documents our preliminary interest and exploration of our missing toad friend, which dates back to the end of September (beginning of school!). This is a “must see” iMovie — it’s entertaining and informing! Watching will also give you greater insight and understanding into the work that we will be presenting next Thursday.
Immediately following our presentation, we will open up the space for dialogue. In preparation for this conversation portion of our evening (as outlined in Monday's email) we are again sharing our questions for your consideration, here.
We recognize that we will not have time on this evening for responses to all of these questions. We also acknowledge that not everyone will want to share aloud. So, we are inviting responses via three methods: in-person at Classroom Stories, sticky notes available on this evening, and emailing at any time.
We really value your thoughtful answers to each of these questions as part of our partnership.
Thank you for your energy and attention given to this!
Taking a closer look...
[above]: Georgia and Adaline compare the actual material to its microscopic image.
[below]: The collection of materials they found to look at under the microscope.
“We need sply glasses!” - Gracie (September 27, 2022)
Why would Toad hide in the outdoor classroom?
“There’s brown.” - Gracie
“Because Toad is Brown. If I see him with my special eyes [I can find him]. You need glasses because glasses help you see better.”
“We’re making special eye glasses to look for Toad.” - Caroline
“It’s my own Toad spy glass.” - Lou Lou
As we began to approach our projected "walk to look for Toad", we asked ourselves, "What do we need?" We thought about all of the things that the children have said that they would need to find Toad: "spy glasses", footprints, special glasses, a fire truck, etc. It felt like it was time to find a creative way to make "spy glasses".
Inspired by our gift to the school on it's 25th birthday (the beautiful hoops you see every day as you come up the "Rainbow Steps"), we decided to sew translucent/transparent Toad colored materials onto clear vinyl.
**Later, as we took our spy glasses out for our walk, Henri looked up at the gifts and said, "Hey! Look! Those are spy glasses!" We had not told them from where we drew our inspiration.
This full circle moment is a beautiful and exciting example of why we document. We were able to draw from Gracie's original idea that she had all the way back in September, a mere 5-6 days after Toad's disappearance, to use "sply glasses". Additionally, the Monday before we made our spy glasses, Adaline suggested that we might need "special eyes". The timing really presented itself, and we believe that it added depth and meaning to the experience of making the spy glasses.
The vinyl was fragile and the needles were sharp, but all of the Brown Room children persevered and created a beautiful spy glass to assist us in our search for Toad.
Lou Lou, George, Gracie, Will, Adaline, Cully, and Pierce working on their spy glasses.
Testing them out
Camouflage: White on White with light
In this book they describe camouflage as an idea that "plays in the space of the possible: something that is there, but is also hidden and never disappears completely. Chromatic correspondence, such as black on black and white one white, creates a sort of camouflage of the marks that children love to explore with interest, fun, and humor, challenging the invisibility" (pg. 83-84, ed. Vecchi and Ruozzi).
"I can't see it. It's disappearing." :
Drawing, painting, and Experimenting
What if you add light?
"Yes! We can see!" - Cully
"The drawings come back when the light is on." - Will
"My shadow keeps getting in my way." - Gracie, 3.6 years
Reflecting on our work at morning meeting:
Camouflage? What does the word camouflage mean?
“Geckos use camouflage to go underground.” - Gacie [uses her body to show us going underground]
What does the Gecko's skin do?
“Camouflage!” - George
It does! What does that mean? How does their skin change?
“Goes by water.” - George
“Maybe they turn blue when they go in water. Or they turn into blue or into ice.” - Henri
Why would they turn blue in water?
“Because the water is blue.” - Henri
If the water is blue, adnd their skin turns blue, what does that mean?
“That means camouflage.” - Henri
What it sounds like you’re saying Henri is that the geckos skin matches the color of the water.
[Grass is mentioned by multiple children.]
What color is he going to turn if he goes on the grass?
“Green!” - George
Why would he turn green?
“Because the grass is green.” - Lou Lou
What if the gecko was hiding in some sand?
“It’s yellow!” - Cully
“Or brown.” - Henri
“If he hides in pink grass, he would turn pink.” - Adaline
My next question is, ‘If the gecko matches the grass, or the water, or the sand, how would we find him?
“We would look with our eyes. A magnifying glass.” - George
An update on messages for the new children
"These will make them happy. Hmm...what can I do? I'm going to put a flower to make them happy. They can't stay in here [Brown Room] by themselves. We have to help them. They can't be by themselves because they are part of the whole Brown Room." - Caroline, 2.11 years
"She's gonna love this message!" - Gracie, 3.6 years
Introducing the sewing machine with Brigitte
Some joyful moments from the past few weeks