A Shared Exploration
This month, the Rainey A and Rainey B teachers wanted to introduce a shared exploration between the classrooms. While we continue to enjoy our Friday fun days, we as a team wanted to do some more collaborative work to prepare them for a shared Tucker year next year. After some discussion, we decided we would introduce paper mache as it was something neither class had explored before AND aligned with a larger school interest in paper as a material. While we planned to begin this last week, the snow ruined our plans, so we began today.
Before the paper mache process, one has to create a sculpture as the base. Using cardboard materials and tape, the two rooms created designs as they sat parallel to each other.
As the exploration continued, both groups took time to assess and modify the materials they were using.
Can you cut this? I want it to be small. Ugh, it’s not working- Jack
Sylvie, use this tape. It's much stronger. - Janie
Is it strong enough? - sylvie
Can you cut this? I want it to be small- Jack
Can you use this (a paper roll)? - Violet
In the end, both groups decided to merge individual projects into larger structures. Rainey A created a treehouse and Rainey B built a castle, later turned house by the sea.
This is going to be a tallllll building - George
Hey! It looks like the treehouse has wings! - Lochie
Oh! It looks like a window! - CC
I want to live in this house - Audrey
These are the water. This is a palm tree. These are slides and this is a door - Janie
We also took time to enjoy and discuss each other’s creations!
I like the ladder they made - Sylvie
I like the ladder and the roof and the door. They are beautiful - Janie
It's really really strong - Sylvie
I think this (part) is CC's- Lucia
Ooooh, it’s like a snow castle! - Elle
You should shake it. That’s how you can tell if it’s strong- Lochie
Wow, I like it- Marley
In the coming weeks, we will spend time paper macheing and then painting our creations. We can’t wait to share them when they’re done!
As discussed in an earlier email from Molly, the school has decided to make a unique pair of St. John’s pajamas! The idea is that the children will collaboratively design a pair of pajamas that will be produced and sold to families by Brown Room parent, Lou Lou Baker. Today Rainey Room A began discussing and mapping out some of our initial ideas.
After our discussion, we used the morning to put some ideas on paper. Using colored pencils, markers and cardstock we drew our designs.
Elle: I don’t know how to make pajamas, Brigitte.
Lochie: The pajamas could be long or short!
CC: I’m going to draw a star? But I don’t know how to make that.
Violet: I made a unicorn, Brigitte!
George: I’m making a ship, a sinking ship.
Lochie: I made a flower. See the leaves and the stem?
Elle: It’s so small! I haven’t seen a flower that small!
Elle: My favorite things at St. John’s are pictures and doing the family game. You don’t draw the family game.
CC: I made the S’s into turtles. Like sea turtles! This one (the O) is a sun.
Lochie: I made flowers for J.J. because she was at St. John’s.
Jack: Look at my picture, I want to draw a new one. This one has a rose and a thorn, but the thorn won’t hurt anyone.
Where Narrative and Structure Collide
I'm visiting my exhibit! - Sylvie
Today, Rainey Room B worked on collaboration and communication to create a cohesive narrative that combined several ideas and skills. We have talked about creating houses to protect from bears, tigers, angler fish, weather and a host of other ideas. Our job was to use the scissors, magazines, building blocks and toy animals to build out a fleshed out narrative. The first part of our challenge was creating a story that everyone agreed upon. Immediately Lucia had an idea.
What if we had a zoo in our classroom. And we could feed them with crackers. - Lucia
A house and a zoo - Jane
Every animal lives in a zoo - Sylvie
Cutting out the animals for our zoo was an opportunity to practice critical thinking and hand eye coordination. Each time we cut out an animal, Jordan challenged the group to see if they could cut off even more of the background, leaving only the animals we wanted to add to our story. Our perseverance was tested as we made multiple attempts to cut with accuracy.
Jane, focused primarily on the magazines, cutting out wolves, sharks, divers and turtles to add to our story. If less is more, then more is even better. Janie and Sylvie decided to focus on creating the exhibits and homes for the animals. Crafting a safe, fun environment for the zoo was paramount.
What do we need to make? - Jordan
A fence so people can be safe - Janie
Maybe we can use the bricks - Jane
Good idea - Sylvie
Bricks stay up really good - Jane
We need a high wall to keep them in - Sylvie
Lucia joined the group and immediately set about cutting out more animals for our zoo. She realized that the animals needed food along with their new homes to be happy.
I put food inside for the beavers. Is that a good idea Sylvie? - Lucia
This is a bridge. You can walk over it and see the whale - Sylvie
I added benches for people to sit down - Jane
As our narrative grew, we created pathways for patrons, seating for the weary and a host of exhibits for everyone to enjoy. Some of the animals even escaped their homes, possibly to eat pancakes with Lucia, as she suggested. Our zoo story is not finished but we are so excited!
Wow! It feels like the last blog was a lifetime ago. To try and catch you up, here’s a quick recap of the last week!
Oceans in a Jar
On Wednesday, we took time to create our own oceans in a bottle. Our intention with this exploration was to explore the colors and textures of the sea. In order to do so, we dissolved tissue paper in water and discussed what (if anything) happened to the water.
At the end of the exploration we had seven, unique oceans each featuring a variety of coral, seaweed and water colors. When we returned from the weekend, we took time to observe our ocean jars after the time away.
Elena: Is there a way we could turn this ice water into sea water
George: Let it melt?
CC: We could add blue water to it when it melts
Lochie: Hey, I have a great idea! We could melt this and then put our other waters that have colors in them into it.
Taking CC’s advice we sprayed blue and green watercolor paint on our iceberg and we’ve enjoyed watching it melt over these last two days. (Brigitte puts it in the freezer when the children go home for the day to make the exploration last!)
Big thanks to Elle’s grandparents for joining us as the mystery readers today!
Thinking about pajamas as we gradually progress with our pajama exploration with relevance to the school wide project and our own Rainey Room B collective.
What are pajamas?
What about Jordan? The Making of a Portrait
We had not yet traced Jordan's figure to create is portrait. So that is what we did to finish up our day! The collaborative efforts along with the attention to color, detail, and the human body, as both self and other relative to identity and empathy, will help support group cohesion, drawing development, and the above mentioned pajama project in conjunction with the aforementioned attributes: collaboration, identity, and empathy.
The children acknowledge that Jordan had a blue shirt, black pants, and brown skin but somehow the colors got mixed up. So we persevere.
Although accuracy of color on Jordan's portrait was not evident, this was not the case with the children's investment to the project. This was definitely visible!
A Conversation for Another Time...
LUCIA: "How to touch the sky?" (asking Sylvie)
LUCIA: "How about a giant ladder?"
SYLVIE: Hey... We can make a tree house!
SYLVIE: Then we'll have a rope ladder to climb up into the tree.
Janie's Flower Bouquet
Liz reads a story for Janie's birthday. "What color of spots does Miggy have?"
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JANIE!
With only four more birthdays remaining to be celebrated, we are now half way through our birthday celebrations!
It's a Mystery... Reader!
The children loved reclining to listen to our first mystery readers--the whole Hou family!
Audrey's mom, dad, and older sister, Tegan (below) all take a turn reading.
On the last book, an Elephant and Piggy story, Audrey joined in the reading with her family.
We're looking forward to next Monday's Mystery Reader!
Whether (not to be confused with weather - wink) in person or virtual, it is always a pleasure to see the children's faces, share in their company, engage in conversation with them, and spend work time together. Today was no different!
Lucia, Audrey, Janie, and Giacomo drew on and off of the paper for our snow books.
Photograph of snow and ice crystals
Elyse and Jessica Kuhn who also joined us, shared photographs of snow.
*Feel free to take photographs of snow and share with us via email, keep drawing in your snow book.
Lucia's illustration of "sparkly cloud" (below)
There are all types of everything!
In our conversation we discussed different types of snow, showed different types of unicorns, talked about different animals and also different types of clouds. (Above) Lucia created a sparkly cloud. Could we make a sparkly cloud to add to the other clouds in the classroom (snow cloud, storm cloud, and rain cloud).
Types of Snow
Audrey's illustration of "storm and snow" (below)
Adding Detail to Our Portraits
Melanie: What’s rainbow skin.
Audrey: When you have rainbow (on) skin.
Sylvie: What rainbow skin means is it looks like it and there’s lots of color in it. Red, yellow, green, blue, dark grey…
Lucia: Red and purple skin
Sylvie: Purple is in the rainbow too.
Janie: And pink!
Snack and Story:
"...Banjo did not only have a sausage on his plate. That would be silly, wouldn't it? Just a sausage, one measly little sausage...." -Ahlberg and Ingman
Portraits After Pajamas:
The children love wearing their pajamas to school and what's not to love about wearing pajamas to school on Valentine's Day -- it's like icing on the cake!
Picking up from pajama day, our intention today was for us to build upon the work, extend the children's interest, and keep school joyful by we mixing things up a bit.
"What happened?" the children asked when they saw our green morning meeting rug (known as "the grass) newly placed on the studio floor.
Why: The open space of the studio allows for bigger movements that drawing our bodies necessitates.
We slowed down starting with cooperative and tactical efforts such as rolling out the butcher paper, cutting the tape and using it to keep the paper in place, and determining an order for turn taking. The children were quick to invest. What started off with a single aim to trace our bodies' shapes, in support of later illustrating our pajamas, ended up with five wonderful drawings showing progressively more detail with each time we traced the outline of a friend .
Four limbs. Four friends. Each person took an initial turn at tracing around the shape of Audrey, one limb at a time. But what about the head? After the head was traced, it was decided that Audrey needed hair.
"I'm drawing her hair. My hair is blonde."-Janie
"It looks like a cockatoo!" -Lucia
"She needs eyes." -Jane
Exploring the Colors of the Ocean
As part of our continuing research about the ocean for our eventual background project, we took time today to explore the ocean's colors. Since there isn’t enough time in the day to visit and observe the colors in the actual ocean, we made do with the second best option: watercolor. Using materials that we are well familiar with, Rainey A explored the colors and motion of the water by dripping, dropping and brushing the water over textured paper.
As the exploration continued, some friends became enamored with the movement of the paint on the page. For others the experience reminded them of times when they had visited the beach.
Now that the our oceans have dried, we will have an opportunity later in the week to layer on some texture and detail.
Today we had our second day of the mystery reader series! We wondered all day who it could be!
Elle: Maybe it could be my Nona and my mom!
Jack: Remember when it was my mom!
George: I think it's going to be my mom!
In the end it turned out to be Laura and Stephen Rodriguez! Big thanks to the both of them for sharing three wonderful stories about many animals real and imaginary! If you haven’t signed up yet, please do! We would love to have you!