Just a few small stories from our time outside for Backwards Day:
Cannon and Lane played eagles. They built a nest, added eggs and then fed the babies as good parents do.
Olivia led friends in an Elsa (from Frozen!) game. There was dramatic singing, running and lots of fun! Many friends were involved and her excitement sparked enthusiasm from her peers.
The swing is always fun too!
Later in the classroom.... A Hopscotch How-To Guide
Ellie, Maren, Grace and Palmer went to the atelier to work on the instructions for the hopscotch game that is going to be gifted to the Hyde Addison children. In addition to adding details to how to play, they created instructional illustrations of hopping on the squares.
Here are the original instructions that the group was revising today:
Today's instructions had more detail:
"You have to throw the bean bag on one number on the board.
Then you jump to it: one foot, two foot, one foot, two foot.
You have to go to the finish line, turn around, then when it's your number you pick it (the bean bag) up.
If the bean bag lands somewhere that's not the finish line you still have to jump to the finish line."
Maren drew two illustrations: the first showed how to hop on one foot. First she drew the hopscotch but then she realized that the start of her hopscotch was at the end of the paper. She asked, "Where's there space?" To solve this problem she added a paper overlapping with her first and drew the person.
Grace drew a bird's eye view of how feet land on the squares. It was important to her that the feet were in shoes (because you play the game outside) and that she shoes were the same, or else "It would be mismatched and be confusing. And someone will forget if it's the same person". She used a thumb to help her draw. "I need someone's thumb. So I can make it look like a foot."
And finally, some info about a brand NEW area in the classroom... Creating a Board Game
The Hopscotch Painting is Coming Along!
We are testing out different strategies to complete each square. There has been lots of progress, but some problems have appeared. Some squares are filled in with a solid color, while some have numbers. Some numbers face different directions, and some are very small. With each obstacle, we keep finding creative solutions. More to come later in the week.
Other great moments from our day,
including areas like the restaurant, the Wire/beads table, and a special "Rainbow Scratch Art" station...
Crowns for the Royal Banquet
Children created these beautiful crowns for us to wear while we are pretending to be kings, queen, princesses, and knights at the restaurant area in dramatic play.
Day 1 of Painting the Hopscotch
Some quotes from today:
Emilia: On the squares outside they can be rainbow, and inside they can be striped rainbow.
Palmer: But we’ll have to paint straight lines. Do you wanna paint faces on the hopscotch?
(From a nearby shelf he gets out some googly eyes)
Emilia: YEAH! That’s a good idea Palmer.
(Delegating painting jobs)
Emilia: I’ll do on the outline.
Palmer: I’ll do the in-line.
(Delegating paint mixing jobs)
Emilia: I’ll be pink.
Palmer: I’ll be blue.
Gigi: I’ll be green.
Brooke: Let’s make sure not to fill up the jars with too much paint, because it might spill out.
Emilia: Yeah... If people were doing colors there, there, there, there (pointing all around the room)… And it was all the way up to the top, and then they were twirling, then putting it onto the ground, it would make a BIG MESS!
Brooke: What color should we start with?
Grace: Green. Because I think it looks beautiful.
Evelyn: Pink. Because it’s my favorite color.
Fletcher: Maybe white?
Fletcher: (looking at the thick paint texture) This looks like icing.
Ellie: Mine too.
(Evelyn begins with pink on square #1... the other three are watching)
Ellie: We can’t see it. Spread it a little more.
Brooke: Hmm, what do you guys think?
Grace: Bad. You can’t see it. Wipe it off.
(Brooke reassures them we can paint over it if there are any errors)
Brooke: If it's too small, what will we do next time?
Fletcher: Make it bigger.
Grace: I have a great, great idea. We can try to make that line, and then it can be a bigger number.
(Evelyn paints a horizontal line at the bottom of number 1. Then she slowly, carefully follows the pen line to make the surrounding square pink, too. The group watches.)
Fletcher: It looks FANTASTIC!
With the lovely weather, the Rainey Room couldn't help but enjoy a long backwards day! It started off with a discussion at morning meeting about taking a break from the magic wands and being careful about things we say and do during play. Following that, Granny J, Gigi's grandma, read a story entitled Vincent Comes Home. Thanks Granny J! Safe travels as you head back home to the west coast!
There was TONS of fun play outside this morning: building, animals, swinging, taking care of an orangutan, and much more.
During one play sequence Palmer, Oliver and Wolf B pretended to be firefighters:
Palmer: The fence fell down and the bricks fell down and the fire came out of the hole.
Oliver: The fire was in the tree and all the way up to the bell tower.
Wolf B: There was A LOT of fire.
Palmer: See that house there?....it was on fire too.
Oliver: There's fire! Get on the hoses!
Palmer: There's a fire at the warehouse.
There was also hopscotch work! The original hopscotch idea formed outside one day when the children were drawing with sidewalk chalk. Today the work continued outside. Melanie and Jen worked with various children to trace the carpet hopscotch squares onto the canvas. It was a BIG project and took about an hour.
Wolf M: "Everyone can do it, even the dinosaurs."
Grace: "It's a tricky game... you can try to hop over without stepping in the hot lava."
Hammer and Nails
This week the children are having their first experiences working with hammers and nails. It's been fantastic to try something new! They are learning about techniques: holding the nail until it's firm in the wood, gripping the hammer higher up as a way to have more control, and also concepts about force. Teachers have noticed that despite using lighter weight hammers, the children get physically tired doing this work. While some children seem to have a clearly established dominant hand, others use the hammer in both.
Earlier in the week Ellie noted: When I see someone building outside of my house they use hammers and they use nails."
As Gigi tested her nail she commented: I'm checking if it wiggles.
Later she shared: It's ok if you miss. (don't hit the nail)
As different groups of children tried this experience we talked about how, like most things, using a hammer is something that improves with practice and time. At first it might seem challenging but it's important to keep trying.
Today Wolf M said to Emilia: My hammer makes a different noise than yours.
Emilia replied: Let me hear. (She walked to his end of the table to get a good listen.) Then she said: Mine makes the same noise. Listen.
Next Phase of Hopscotch: Transposing it onto Canvas
The teachers have been doing some tinkering behind-the-scenes of the hopscotch project! We have realized that in order to realistically give this gift, it has to be easily portable. At meeting today, we proposed a solution to the children: a large canvas onto which we can re-create the hopscotch game with paint.
When we used the word "neighbors" in discussing Hyde-Addison, Grace was confused, insisting that they're not our actual neighbor since they're not next door (to our left or right). Gigi gave her perspective: "Some neighbors are next to our house, and some are across the street."
In the studio, we took Palmer's suggestion from last week: "Un-tape it." Then we moved every single number onto the canvas. It took one hour and six minutes to get every single number in the right order and correct pattern! But we DID IT!
Melanie: How are we going to remember where the numbers go?
Palmer: We'll go in order! One, two, three...
Olivia: We have numbers here to protect us. And we could draw it on there.
Melanie: It’s starting to get confusing, isn’t it? Lots of numbers over there.
Palmer: And they’re not putting it in the right order. They’re putting three on one??
(He looks at the jumbled numbers)
Palmer: One, two... twelve, four, seven?? HAH!!
Grace: (revisiting morning meeting) Now I understand why. Gigi's plan is my plan.
Melanie: That they're our neighbors?
Grace: (nodding) But we don't know them.
Melanie: Right, we have to introduce ourselves.
Maren: They are still our neighbors but we do not know them.
Grace: (looking down at the numbers, still jumbled) That's not how hopscotch goes.
Grace and Maren repeatedly jump on the hopscotch game while counting 1,2,3, etc. It becomes apparent putting numbers 11 through 19 is way harder than the single digit numbers. This is completely age-appropriate, but it does put an obstacle in our way. We'll have to get resourceful in order to complete sequence - we begin using a number line.
Melanie: Does 13 really come after 8?
Gigi: I think it comes after 14.
Grace: Eleven comes after nine.
Maren: But we have no more room! (She independently shifts all numbers down to create more room) What about this?
Melanie: (Reading it) One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve ... fourteen?
Lane: ..... THIRTEEN.
Maren: Thirteen is a 2 and a 3.
Lane: It's a 1 and a 2.
Emilia: It's this one. (She picks up number 15)
Ellie: It's a one and a five.
(We look at the number line)
Melanie: (pointing at phone screen while reading) Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen.
Emilia: The 3 and 1?
(They leap into action)
Maren: FOUND IT.
(We move onto 14, looking carefully at the number line)
Lane: FOUR AND A ONE, I FOUND IT.
(As we progress, new group members are continually joining while others leave for a new plan. Fletcher and Evelyn arrive and help diagnose the problems in our numbers)
Fletcher: One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen.... SIXTEEN!
(He's able to put the numbers in order without any problem, but forgets the pattern of two squares, one square. Gigi notices the problem as she hops across three squares in a single column.)
Gigi: There's one, one, one. I hopped for one, one, one. One foot.
(Fletcher notices a similar problem as he hops)
Fletcher: WAIT A MINUTE! It's supposed to do 1, 2, 1, 2.
Evelyn: WAIT A SECOND! Uh ohhhhh. Where is that silly number?
(Evelyn tries putting 13, 14, and 15 in a horizontal row.)
Gigi: There's one in the middle.
Evelyn: I see the problem. We need more numbers.
(We rearrange the pattern so that it's back to normal, but 15 still winds up in the wrong spot)
Fletcher: No, that's not supposed to be it.
He quickly rearranges the numbers into the correct order, maintaining the pattern! It's finally finished.
ALSO: We have officially let Hyde-Addison know we want to meet up with them. Children helped write the email! (Ellie also helped but isn't pictured here!)
Hammers and Nails!
More on this to come soon.
Why is the Rainey Room making a rainbow hopscotch?
Much like our fairy project earlier this year, rainbow hopscotch is becoming a class-wide project investigation. At St. John's, children and teachers build the curriculum together. The children give us clues about what they are interested in all the time - at meeting, on the playground, during dramatic play, etc. We as teachers use their ideas and hope to create opportunities for deep, rich learning experiences that involve a wealth of different materials. When children had the idea to make a hopscotch game for the children across the street, we knew this project could allow us to introduce valuable learning opportunities. The glue that holds it altogether is the children's motivation to give the gift, and to make it beautiful. We keep giving children different "languages" with which to express the game of hopscotch. Tape, carpet squares, watercolors, sharpies, numbers, patterns... these are all different "languages" that children have been exploring. We take this terminology from the poem by Loris Malaguzzi (excerpt below).
"The child has a hundred languages, a hundred hands, a hundred thoughts, a hundred ways of thinking, of playing, of speaking. A hundred, always a hundred ways of listening, of marveling, of loving, a hundred joys for singing and understanding, a hundred worlds to discover, a hundred worlds to invent, a hundred worlds to dream."
-Loris Malaguzzi (Founder of Reggio Emilia philosophy of teaching)
TODAY in the studio...
More children had an opportunity to reflect on the hopscotch that we constructed on the studio floor. Some were able to draw a hopscotch with a consistent one square/two square pattern, while others focused intently on drawing and numbering squares. Afterwards, most had time to add watercolor paints (to actually make it a rainbow hopscotch).
The first group was Maren, Lane and Grace who were finishing up their work from yesterday.
Oliver was keen to join and worked diligently. He chose to add the numbers 7, 8 and 10.
Next Palmer and Wolf B had a go. They were very focused on the one square/two square pattern.
Later Wolf M came over. He also focused intently on the pattern.
The last to go today were Ellie and Olivia. We ran short on time so they didn't get to water color yet. Both girls were extremely focused on writing the numbers.
Tomorrow the friends who haven't yet had a turn: Fletcher, Gigi, Cannon and Emilia will get one.
Also there is no blog tomorrow because it's the final day of the month and teachers will be working on school-wide clean-up and organization. Have a nice weekend!
Today Maren, Lane and Grace worked on trying to draw hopscotch again.
First they reflected on the first drawing a small group had made:
Next they reviewed the large format drawings that kids had completed in Blake Hall and compared those to the hopscotch that was constructed in the classroom.
Then they tried to draw new versions of hopscotch that would address some of their concerns about the one on the studio floor.
One big take away from today's work was the one we constructed on the studio floor needs revisions. Maren noted that the 4 and 5 squares, as well as the 14, 15, 16, and 17 squares don't follow the pattern because they are single squares one after the other. We need to ensure we can correctly depict the hopscotch board before beginning to create the final gift for Hyde Addison children.
More friends had turns with tracing today. Emilia opted to trace an elephant while Palmer and Fletcher traced trucks. Evelyn had another turn with tracing today as well. She noted, "Tracing is better than drawing unicorns."
At the easel, Wolf B and Cannon decided to have a go at painting gorillas. They used the image Cannon had traced yesterday for inspiration.
Tracing with Pen and Watercolor
We are building our skills of tracing around the outline of an image using tracing paper. We are hopeful this skill will come in handy within our hopscotch project. Brooke printed out images that she knew children would be interested in - particularly, a gorilla for Cannon. At meeting, Cannon smiled and said, "I always don't know how to try a gorilla!" But he gave it his best effort and it turned out beautifully. It's great to try new things, even if you're not sure it will work!
A Hopscotch Surprise
Today we began solving the problem: How do we send our hopscotch to the children at Hyde-Addison?
We realized we might need to reach out to them and let them know a surprise gift is coming. At morning meeting the children dictated this letter:
Dear children across the street,
This is a letter from Grace, Palmer, Wolf M, Lane, Evelyn, Ellie, Wolf B, Cannon, Olivia, Oliver, Emilia, Maren, Gigi, Fletcher, (and Alexandra and Ada). What are your names? How many kids are in your class?
We have something to give to you. It's a secret.
The Rainey Room, St. John's, DC
Children brainstormed ideas of getting this hopscotch game out of our studio and delivering it to the other children. Wolf B said, "How do we take the whole thing off?" Lane said, "The problem is the teachers don't have carseats." She thought we could drive it over. Palmer said, "The school is close to us!" Meaning we don't need to drive. Maren suggested, "Probably just put it in their mailbox." Wolf B had the idea, "It has to be a secret."
Then, in small groups, we discussed more logistics. Palmer said the first step is to "Un-tape it." Lane recommended that "100 people can help." Grace agreed saying, "Molly, Jessica, the other Jessica...."
Palmer understood how long the hopscotch has become, going all the way to 20, and said, "We need a big door to do this. Bigger door. If we want it to go through the door, then we have to turn it sideways." Lane responded, "We could just fold it in half like a taco."
Ellie: "We lift the hopscotch up and then we'll take the tape off the ground and then we'll tape it onto the street. ...But where will we park if we put the hopscotch on the street? ....We'll just do it on the sidewalk!"
We began trying out our idea of using cardboard as a way to carry the numbers. Ellie and Fletcher helped to fetch the cardboard from the closet, and put the boards in a long line to measure if it was enough. Ellie could visualize the next part of the process in her mind...
Ellie: We have to put a line with the boards and then put it on. And then we tape the boards to the hopscotch.
Another hopscotch note from today:
Grace, Evelyn, and Gigi created a beanbag to give to the children at Hyde-Addison so they can play hopscotch! They used the sewing machine, then carefully put the rocks and beans inside!
Here is a breakdown of the last two days building a hopscotch game in our studio:
Some great hopscotch quotes:
Gigi: I like jumping over things and in the middle.
Oliver: (after laying down a piece of tape) One... two... three... four. Four inches long!
Wolf M: (after figuring out how to use the tape dispenser) We are DOING THIS! Nobody will ever slip. Tape it together guys, because tape it together means we have to DO it! We can do it as our own.
Palmer: (singing as he works) I got to move it move it!
Cannon: (also singing) Then we get to try it out!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
Since our school hosted visitors during and after school for an ECES presentation/workshop (Early Childhood Educator Series) we will not be having a journal today.
It was a very eventful and fun day!
See you tomorrow!