Getting To Know Isabelle
On the last day before spring break, we interviewed Isabelle during snack. We learned a lot of new things about Isabelle when she shared.
Her favorite color: pink
Her favorite snack: goldfish
Her favorite animal: kitty cat
Her favorite place to go: ocean
Her favorite toy: her "duckie"
The Birthday Committee-Day 1
The first members of the birthday committee had a very important task. They were going to venture into Tucker closet to choose materials that would be part of a plaster collage that represented Isabelle's favorite things.
Karen: Today we are working on Isabelle’s birthday committee. We are going to make a plaster collage that represents her favorite things. We are going to go to Tucker closet to choose materials for her plaster collage.
The anticipation and imagination was high as the children thought about venturing into Tucker Closet.
Cal: Can we go now?
Karen: First, what do you think we would find in Tucker closet?
Cal: Costumes like superhero and catboy.
Charlton: Maybe ninjas and…
Cal: Maybe Captain America.
Karen: Before we go, let’s look at this tray of materials that I pulled out, knowing what Isabelle likes.
Charlton picked up small white shells, "Because they’re special because they’re for Isabelle."
Cal picked up some small metal tacks, "Yeah, because she loves these, because they’re kinda shiny."
Charlton: I’m making the ocean for…It’s for Isabelle, because it’s special. Look at all of the shells.
Karen: Alright, are you ready to go to Tucker closet?
Cal: Let’s go!
Charlton: Let’s go!
Once in the Tucker Closet, the ocean theme for Isabelle's gift really took on a life of its own.
Cal pointed to a bag of small pebbles, "Oooohhhh. How about these? They are kinda like the beach."
Charlton: Red things. Sea creatures like hummingbirds. We need red stuff. We need 1 more black and then a pink. We need a yellow one because it’s her job to have a yellow one.
Cal: I'm so excited to put all the materials in the plaster.
After Karen explained to Ramsey and Mimi that Charlton and Cal had decided on making "an ocean" for Isabelle, they ventured into Tucker Closet to add to the materials that the first pair had chosen.
Ramsey pointed to some translucent shapes that looked like ice cubes, "I want these. They are eyes. Water eyes."
Mimi picked up some small wooden cubes, "These are small squares. For in the water. They will be small fish."
Ramsey placed a gold brooch pin on the materials tray, "This because it’s gold. Sharks live in saltwater."
Mimi eyed a golden wire and metal creation and explained, "Because it’s gold. It’s always in the ocean. It’s gold and it's pink when it’s dark."
Ramsey picked up the gold brooch pin again and remarked, "This could be treasure. It could have teeth."
Ramsey picked up a cone shell and declared, "I like this color," before handing the shell to Mimi.
Mimi held the shell to her ear, "I hear it in the ocean."
The Birthday Committee-Day 2
Karen poured the plaster into a metal tray as Mimi and Charlton pondered which pieces they would place in Isabelle’s “ocean.”
Charlton began placing the pink and black plastic pieces in the plaster, “Too much sharks, pink sharks, black sharks.”
Mimi placed 3 small white shells in a diagonal line in the plaster, “Shells, shells, shells.”
Charlton observed, “Shells in the ocean.”
Mimi picked up the small wooden blocks that she had chosen from Tucker Closet and remarked, “For fish.”
Cal and Ramsey added some finishing touches to the “ocean” for Isabelle.
Cal: It's…can I have the rocks please? The blue ones because they are going to sink. I’m going to use these for the ocean. These are dolphins .
Ramsey: Some crocodiles and some fish and some killer whales. And a dinosaur shark. It’s half dinosaur and half shark. That's the gold for the pirates," referring to a gold brooch that he had chosen the day before. Then he gently picked up and placed 5 small silver pieces that had “Sharp teeth. Some swordfish, because these little things have some swords. This is the dinosaur fish. It breathe air."
The Birthday Celebration
After a special snack of chocolate croissants, Isabelle's mom and dad, Jessie and Louis, as well as her big sisters, joined the Brown Room in Blake Hall for our celebration. Jessie shared one of Isabelle's favorite storybooks, A House in the Woods by Inga Moore, which Isabelle calls "Piggies in the Junkyard" after her favorite part of the story. Isabelle then walked around the birthday table three times to signify her three turns around the sun and blew out her candle. To concludeIsabelle's celebration, members of the birthday committee, Charlton and Ramsey presented her gift.
As we continue with our dinosaur explorations, we’ve set up a digital microscope provocation in the Brown Room. Using the techniques we learned early in the fall, we invited children to explore the table and the microscope on their own time. In addition to looking at our dinosaur toys underneath the microscope, we also included prehistoric-like materials such as bird feathers, turtle shells and a horseshoe crab to inspire some thought and conversation about what dinosaur’s bodies may have looked like.
Over the two days, many children have shown interest in the materials and the microscope, but Seon and Fay spent the most time enjoying the experience.
Fay: I want to do this one first.
Ragnar: Oh, this one has spikes!
Fay: Look, there’s holes. Let’s try the feather. I’m just doing this. I’m going to try the teeny dinosaur. Now lets do the head, it feels bumpy on the leg. Let’s try the leg.
Weaving in Tucker
Over the past couple of weeks, Tucker Room has been working on creating a sun made of chicken wire and woven materials. This project, part of their larger exploration of day and night, has continually caught the eye of Brown Roomers when we've gone into the Tucker closet or are hanging out in the hallway outside the classroom. Today a small team of both Brown and Tucker children worked collaboratively to help finish the weaving on the sun.
The Brown Room children also spent lots of time making messages for each other today. It seems like just overnight their interest in the message center and mailboxes has grown tenfold!
Welcome back to the Brown Room! After a week of rest and relaxation, Brown Room is diving right back into our dinosaur work as we resume our dinosaur drawings. The purpose of this exploration is not only to strengthen fine motor skills and build intentionality with choice of color and writing tools, it also encourages keen observational skills. As they drew, each child shared their observations and knowledge of dinosaurs with their friends.
We presented the children with a variety of dinosaurs and four different types of paper to choose from. Children had a chance to walk around the studio and examine the materials before settling in to work. We presented the children with Arteza double sided markers, so as they drew they had to choose between the finer tip point or the wedge point for each color.
Ford looking at the T-Rex: One, two fingers… maybe I can make the teeth.
Win: I made this and this and this and this (pointing to different spots on her page)
Ford: I’m going to put this one (pulling out the surf blue color). Actually this is kind of a dark blue. I'm still working on that (T-Rex). It’s mixed this and that and that (pointing to three different dinosaurs on the table).
Elena: What part of the dinosaur is that?
Ford: The um, bone teeth. I’m making a car for the T-Rex. It has blue for the road. Can you read this color (holds up a marker)
Elena: Yes, it’s called burgundy, it’s like a dark red.
Ford: It’s a dark one. What’s this one?
Elena: That one is warm grey.
Ford: Warm grey? It’s like black.
Above: Mimi's two dinosaur drawings. Note the attention to the spots and color blocking in the top image and the color and shapes in the second, as both were traits she observed and replicated in her design.
Charlton: I'm doing stripes. There's stripes on his (T-rex) mouth. Uh oh he has a big green marker.
Ragnar : I kind of like tracing. I'm making a big line. I'm not drawing fossils, pink now? I think this is dried out. Why is it dried out?
Charlton: Where is my green one?
Ragnar: I need mine. Is this black?
Charlton: i have black
Elena: this one is called cool grey.
Charlton: its a dinosaur. This is his head, these are his eyes and then this is his body and this is his legs. It’s too many legs. I'm using some colors.
Ragnar: I’m drawing a rock.
Ford: I drew a T-Rex ranasourous.
Charlton: This one has stripes. I made the triceratops and dots. See big dots (pointing to speckles on the triceratops).
Above: Charlton's (left) and Ragnar's (right) drawings of dinosaurs. Charlton took time to draw out the circular shape for the head, a horizontal line for the "teeth" and four green legs off to the right side. In blue you can see the circular head of the triceratops and the dots on it's skin. Ragnar decided to draw rocks and initially chose grey and blacks for his image.
Below: Ragnar's second exploration with the drawing materials where he "made a tent. Tent. Tent. Tent. Tent. Tent. This is a road. The all white is the highway. I made a highway"
Cal: I chose brown. His is kina silver. He is black and silver (describing the pterodactyl). A wing dino. Here are the wings. Oh. I forgot the wings. This is his wings. Here. WHoa. THose are fancy marker. Oh fancy.
Happy Birthday Emma!
Thursday, March 10
Today was the first day of our birthday committee. In our birthday interview, Emma told us that her favorite colors were red and blue so we wanted to create a gift that reflected that. We also knew that one of Emma’s favorite materials is wire, so we decided to work that into the gift as well.
Unlike previous gift provocations, we didn't present all the materials in the initial exploration. Instead we asked the first birthday committee group to source red and blue materials from the Tucker Closet. Ford and Louisa combed through the closet looking for red and blue materials to use with wire for Emma.
Ford: Emma could like this (red decorative ornament)
Louisa: I like this (sparkly blue ribbon)
Ford: Can we take these? Beads?
Once we took the materials back to the atelier, Ford and Louisa got to work seeing which would work best with the wire.
Ford: I need that (the wire cutters). See, im cutting. Cutting tiny pieces
Louisa: Look, beads! I’m putting these on the wire. I want to cut it.
Ford: See the beads? I’m putting them here.
Slowly but surely, Ford and Louisa winnowed down the materials opting to take out some beads that were too small to fit on the wire and some solid, circular materials that were hard to use with the wire.
Monday, March 14.
In the Brown Room studio we continued with stringing, bending and designing the wire. Children commented both on the chosen materials and properties of the wire as they worked.
Rawls explores how his "swing" moves with gravity.
We finished the day with some of the wires attached to the wood base. The wires created an interlocking look which Ford described as “It’s going to be a wheel right here, a roller coaster”
Tuesday, March 15
On Tuesday we worked to finish the gift. Mimi worked on a “necklace” which she attached to the perimeter of the gift. When working on it, she described her thoughts. “I think she’ll like it." In response to the beads Mimi added, Win replied: “Look! Ok, I need this” and picked up one of the beads for her own design.
Wednesday, March 16
Today we joyfully celebrated Emma’s birthday! She shared delicious pink cupcakes that she and her mom made and her parents read Boni Ashburn’s I had a Favorite Dress. We cheered Emma on as she walked around the candle three times and enjoyed some time in the sunshine singing birthday songs and Emma’s favorite Baby Shark.
Happy Birthday Emma!
Jen, our Atelierista, explained to the children that plaster is a powder that we mix with water. The children learned that when mixing plaster, that we need to be careful of the dust, so we had to wear our "dust masks." The children helped to make the plaster by sprinkling the powder into the water and then stirring until it was thick and "gooey, gooey," as described by Fay.
Charlton: Is this messy? Is it a little messy?
Cal: Can I try?
Jen: When we use the powder, we need to put on masks for the dust.
Karen: What does the plaster remind you of?
Ragnar: It's like flour.
Fay: Like when you bake a cake.
Rawls: It’s doing this too!
Ramsey: I see bubbles going into the water.
Rawls: It’s white.
Ramsey: It’s like milk on my finger.
Bailee: Bubbles. Bubbles. Bubbles.
Choosing and Placing Our Materials
The next step was to place materials in the plaster. A variety of designs ensued, each child making one unique to their own wishes, preferences and and personality.
Talking About Materials
Cal looked at the tray of materials: For me? Whoa! What’s all that?
Charlton: I’m going want some shells.
Cal: I love the wood (picking up a small wooden disc).
Charlton: These are kinda like little pumpkins (picking up a small seed pod).
Rawls: I’m going to do these. And I like these. This is from a coke (picking up a metal soda can tab). Rawls picked up a seed pod that Charlton had described as a "little pumpkin" and said: It kinda looks like a a lollipop. It’s a lollipop.While pouring the plaster into our trays..
Cal: Wow, it’s making it….
Charlton: You’re getting messy Karen. I touched it (touching the plaster).
Karen: How’s it feel, Charlton?
Placing Our Materials
Cal dropped a small piece of metal into the plaster: It’s sinking. Oh. That are sink. Maybe I should dump. It’s like a sailboat (referring to a wooden disc). Kinda like a sailboat with a lot of people on it.
Charlton placed a shell in the plaster and then picked it up and placed it in another spot.
Bailee: Uh-oh. It’s sinking. I think it’s underwater. Whoa. My hand dirty. It’s gooey. Gooey hands. Look it’s going underwater. It’s not going under.
Karen to Ramsey: Is yours just the way you want it then?
Ramsey counted the objects that he had placed in the plaster: Just the way I want them. It’s touching the plaster. Look I covered a lot.
Ragnar: I want to add the things that sunk in.
Fay laughed: My screwdriver (small silver screw) is like so small and it sink in. Ooohhh. Look. I’m putting them in. I putting another thing in. Gooey. Gooey. Gooey. I’m going to do my one more. This one all done.
Ragnar: This is sticking in so it can go under.
Fay: Look at mine. I want to put this there. Look. Look, I’m all done. I add this! Look at this, I made a corn (placing an acorn in the plaster). I made an acorn airplane to fly to the stars.
Look for more work with plaster in the coming weeks after Spring Break!
Elsewhere in the Brown Room
The work on Emma's Birthday Committee continued in the studio. More dinos have joined Dino-World too! Lastly, everyone got into the action in the outdoor classroom on this beautiful day as well.
Today Brown room enjoyed sing-along outside on our picnic blanket. We sang and danced along while Rainy Room led us in some favorites like Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes and Sleeping Bunnies (as featured in the photos below!) We’re looking forward to some in person sing alongs after the spring break!
Clay in the Outdoor Studio
After sing along, we had a chance to do some outdoor studio work with clay and dinosaurs. Unlike previous clay provocations, there was no precut clay at the table, and instead we encouraged the children to cut and use what they needed for their designs. We also had clay tools on the table (which are not always present) and we observed how the children used (or didn't use) the tools in their designs.
Once they had gathered the necessary amount of clay, children took different routes with their creations. Ellie, Emma and Louisa pushed the dinosaurs into the clay and made notes of the different imprints the dinos left. Ellie and Emma focused mostly on the dinosaurs and the clay, whereas Louisa gravitated to the tools, using them to flatten, scrape and eventually apply clay onto a dinosaur.
Other children chose, instead, to cover the dinos in the clay to shape the body of their own creations.
Ragnar: Can we put the dinos in the clay?
Ford: I need this, is this a knife?
Ragnar: Remember when we were at home and my dad had to get clay from school? That was fun
Louisa: I’m putting clay on the T-Rex
Charlton (after building a substantial pile of clay on top of the triceratops) Woohoo! I’m carrying a mountain.
Charlton shows Ramsey how to use the loop to scrape clay out of tricky places on the stegosaurus' back.
Ragnar carefully covered the back of this Parasaurolophus, paying particular attention to the face. Unfortunately, when the clay dried, it fell off of the face, but while working on it Ragnar had added a small stone detail to the eye to make his creation come alive.
Ramsey used one of the larger loops to make "cookies", making them until his pile got too tall and toppled over.
Seon observed Ragnar's work as she prepared to work with the clay herself.
Isabelle tears small pieces of clay from the large slab while Seon, Ramsey and Charlton all work n the background.
when they weren't in the studio, Brown Room enjoyed trying out an obstacle course that Brigitte helped them to build!
We also want to say a big thank you to Jessi Sterchi for joining us as our mystery reader today! She shared Isabelle's favorite book Marisol Doesn't Match by Monica Brown. As Jessi read it, Isabelle echoed almost every word and was delighted her friends had a chance to share in her favorite story.
Today, in the studio, we offered the same provocation as yesterday: tracing huge fearsome dinosaurs! We chose this drawing medium for two reasons. First, the children were so excited about tracing this technique when we presented it earlier in the year, but also so we can capture the scale and size of dinosaurs. Today some children tried the dinosaur tracing for the very first time, while others shared their experiences from the day before.
Above: Ramsey deliberates which dinosaur scene to recreate while Emma explores how her body changes how the dinosaur is displayed on the plexiglass screen.
Karen: Do you remember what it means when we say trace?
Ragnar: You draw the lines.
Ramsey: It has a long neck. I want to long-necked dinosaur because it has a long neck. It has a long, long.
Charlton: You have to draw on the line.
Charlton looked through the dinosaur scenes on the laptop: There’s alot of them. I want one with a T-rex, just two (dinosaurs).
Charlton continued tracing : I got his head.
Charlton pointed to each of the three dinosaurs in his chosen scene, touching each one as he recited “rock, paper, scissors, rock, paper, scissors.”
Karen: Do you play rock, paper, scissors with someone at home?
Charlton: I have a brother. His name is Cannon.
Below: Charlton settles on an image of three dinosaurs in a circle, which features one of his favorite T-Rex toys. He then explores the process of drawing with sharpie and eventually traces the T-rex's tail.
Ellie: I made a one, you have to hang (it up). Hang it up there (pointing to the window). (To Emma) You doing so good with dinosaurs!
Emma: I draw with all lines.
Ellie: I write emma’s name. I write Ellie, see says Ellie.
Ellie: We need Charlton’s dinosaur.
As Ellie and Emma finished working on their bronotosaurus, Charlton walked back into the studio with his giant T-Rex toy. Ellie noticed, and insisted that we have Charlton's dinosaur for tracing. Using a Elena's phone camera, Ford quickly snapped a couple pictures of the T-Rex.
We were able to airdrop Ford's photos to the computer and observed how the dino looked on the screen.
Ellie: Charlton look, draw your dinosaur!
Charlton: What is it stomping on?
Ellie made sure to give the T-Rex's teeth and eyes the most attention as the toy's red mouth fascinated her.
Below: Louisa traces the outline of her beloved dino resulting in the drawing in the third picture.
Ellie: Those are horns.
Louisa: No, those are not horns. Those are spikes, it’s a part of the dinosaur.
We love how joyful our dinosaur work has been this week, and we're very excited to add a digital dimension to our giant drawings!
Welcome to Dino-World!
Thanks to everyone who has brought dinosaurs into the Brown Room as part of our home research. We’ve been documenting children’s contributions to Dino-world and look forward to sharing photos once we’ve captured everyone with their Dino! Here’s a sneak peak of some of the play in Dino-world thus far. Seon, Ellie, Louisa and Cal were excited to introduce some of their dinosaurs from home to their friends and Dino-world!
Cal: Oh, a peterodactyl!
Ellie: This dinosaur is sick. Stomach hurt. He ate too much rock. He eat too much. Him need to go to doctor. Get shots!
The children loved the experience of tracing the Blue Door for the school’s birthday celebration so much that we included another tracing opportunity in this week's projection. Now we’re working with our very own dinosaurs from home!
The first group, Ellie and Mimi worked together to trace two different dinosaur scenes. Ellie became excited when she saw two of her very own dinosaurs from home projected on the screen and they chose to trace that scene first:
Ellie: That’s my dinosaur. Look at mine, Karen!
Mimi: I’m done with mine. I put an eye.
Ellie: Trace another. Trace another. I tracing.
Ellie and Mimi traced as second dinosaur scene. When finished, Ellie pointed to the dinosaur that she had traced:
This one is mine. I write my name. I write my name.
Emma entered the studio and thoughtfully looked through he options for tracing before settling on her choice.
"No. Not this one! That one!"
After Emma made her choice, she invited Fay to join her at the easel.
Fay looked at the dinosaur and began counting its legs. She pointed to each leg with her marker: I count them with my marker. 1, 2, 3, 4. 4! I put my dinosaur in a car (as she drew an oval around it). Fay then wrote her name inside the oval.
Emma observed Fay writing her name, “Fay do it. I do it. I get my symbol.” Emma stamped her symbol next to the dinosaur that she had traced.
Seon and Louisa were the final duo to explore tracing dinosaurs today. They worked diligently side by side for quite a bit of time, paying careful attention to the details of their dinosaurs outlines.
Seon: I do the purple one.
Louisa: I want the pink!
Elsewhere in the Brown Room
At the light table, Isabelle and Win worked on collaging blue doors to complete our stained-glass window installation. The sewing table and the message center also continued to be popular destinations for our Brown Roomers.
Continuing Collage with Two Very Different Sets of Materials
During our preparations for the school’s birthday celebration, the children revisited the language of collage. Today, collage was presented in two areas of the classroom with very different materials.
At The Light Table
First at the light table, children continued creating “The Blue Door” of St. John’s using translucent materials in shades of blue, white and silver on transparent paper. Now that they have completed their "Blue Doors," Charlton and Mimi's will be added to a “stained-glass" window in the Brown Room.
In The Studio
The materials for collage in the studio were varied, including some interesting pieces from nature. They also included both two- and three-dimensional objects. It was interesting to see how children chose to use the various materials. Some children chose to use only 3-D materials, while others combined the 2-D and 3-D materials to make vertical structures on their collages. Some chose to use only one type of material, for instance only shells or only wood cookies, while other combined multiple materials.
Our Mystery Reader Today Was...
The children are always so excited when they hear that a mystery reading will be joining us later in the day. Making guesses about who the mystery reader might be has become a fun game for the Brown Room children. Toady, Mimi suggested that "a baby" would be the mystery reader. Ford thought that it could be "a cockroach." In the end, Bailee guessed correctly when she hypothesized, "My mommy!" Courtney joined us as our surprise mystery reader today and shared two stories during snack:
The Big Celebration
The anticipation has been growing for weeks as we have prepared to celebrate the 25th birthday of our school, St. John's. Today was a big day and we welcomed families into Blake Hall for the celebration! We hoped that the joy of this shared materials experience celebrating our beloved school and its community shines through in the photographs below:
Our Second Mystery Reader Was...
Ellie's mommy, Meredith joined us on Thursday and shared two of Ellie's favorite stories with Room on the Broom and Curious George and the Dump Truck.
If you haven't had a chance to sign-up for a Mystery Reader visit, there are still spaces available here.
Looking Ahead to Dinosaurs!