Wednesday, March 31st
The value of documentation.
As educators, we are forever strengthening and developing our practices. One area of practice in particular that we'd like to share with you all is the ways in which we document children's processes.
"Documenting is an indispensable but extremely difficult ability; however it can become an extraordinary opportunity for discussion and formative professional experience." (The Wonder of Learning: The Hundred Languages of Children)
We continue to learn how to best capture children's learning through experience, practice, and utilizing different methods of observation. We hope you enjoy the following examples of documentation related to a project this week that involved creating dragon sculptures out of clay. These examples are just two possible methods (out of many different potential approaches) in which we are able to utilize documentation as a valuable tool.
March 30th, 2021
Happy Birthday, Cate!
Is it a different projector? - Lily
The children were instantly enthusiastic about investigating the new sewing machine further. Together we learned about the different parts of the machine such as the presser foot (which can be adjusted with the presser foot lifter to hold down the fabric or paper), the upper and bobbin tread, the reverse switch lever ("to sew backwards"), and the foot switch to adjust the needle speed. In the process of sewing we also had to thread needles and learned how to change needles in case the tip breaks off.
A few impressions from trying out the sewing machine in the classroom for the first time on card stock:
Cate noticed how the tread is creating lines on the card stock and how you could created image with sewing as well. She then brought her paper to the message center to draw a flower on it before returning to the sewing machine. Cate then tried to "trace" her flower drawing with the needle.
Bea, at first a bit hesitant, touching and guiding the paper with only one hand and on the edge of the paper, developed great confidence quickly. After only a couple minutes she operated the sewing machine all by herself, being able to adjust the needle speed with her foot comfortably.
Wednesday, March 17th
We started our day with chapel this morning.
Here are a couple thoughts from our friend Wilder about the Tucker Room's chapel responsibilities ...
A Final Design
Using our collection of stair designs that we sketched thus far, we were able to arrange an image for the final staircase design for the school pajama project!
We can't wait to see what the final designs from all of the classrooms will look like when printed onto fabric!
Thank you for all of your help, Lou Lou!
Today, Ines brought a new fruit to share with us and it was so interesting!
What is it?
Dinosaur egg! - Luke
It looks like a princess egg. A cape and a dress. - Frannie
A T-Rex egg. - Luke
I'm scared of it. - Lucas
Some of us enjoyed it, some of us didn't, but many of us were excited to try another new food!
Dance Party! - Luke
We finished our day with some "music and movement" time in Blake Hall or how many of us like to describe it, a Dance Party!
We're looking forward to our Parent-Teacher conferences with all of you tomorrow and Friday and we hope everyone has a fantastic Spring Break!
March 15th, 2021
Cate's birthday committee
On Monday, a new birthday committee formed and started their work for Cate's upcoming birthday. She will be the first child to turn 4 in the Brown Room! Cate had already let us know about her favorite color a couple weeks ago, "It's pink!" (Cate)
Throughout the school year we deepened our relationship with materials by incorporating them into our birthday present. Since we are currently working on sewing and it is also one of Cate's strongest interests in the classroom, her birthday present will be created through sewing. The birthday committee, consisting of Luke, Remy and Finlay, began their work today by collecting materials at the school's sewing table.
After we attached the fabric to the embroidery hoop we chose, we went on to the next step: threading needles!
We continued to prepare our materials by cutting fabric we would like to sew on the birthday present into different shapes and smaller pieces.
Today we continued the wonderful birthday committee work by adding the materials we had prepared yesterday. Sewing through multiple layers of fabric requires a heightened level of precision and control. Fantastic job, Finlay and Remy!
... securing our stitches in the end by making a knot.
Mystery Reader and new foods (continued)
On Monday, Bea brought one of her favorite snacks for us to school; beet chips, sweet snap peas and hummus. The children were especially interested in investigating the snap peas and popping the small peas out.
I like the outside - Lily
You can also eat the outside. - Bea
I lick one piece and I bite it. 14 beans inside. Look, it has beans inside. - Daniel
Bea's mom, Abby, also joined us for snack to read a book to us, "Franklin's Flying Bookshop" by Jen Campbell. When reading this book at home, Bea noticed a connection to one of our current projects at school - a dragon - and wanted to share it with her friends in the Brown Room. Thank you Abby and Bea for a fantastic snack time!
It's been a while since we were here to enjoy a Friday backwards day.
Yesterday, we witnessed a special delivery at school. You may have heard that we received new sand and mulch for the outdoor classroom!
Although we couldn't use the space yesterday, we enjoyed watching the delivery take place and couldn't wait for today to be able to enjoy it for an extended time this morning!
And not being able to use the outdoor classroom didn't stop us from enjoying yesterday's beautiful sunshine.
Today, we could not wait to get outside!
Is this new sand or snow? It's not cold at all! - Hugh
It's soft like snow. - Daniel
New sand! White sand! Yay! - Daniel
Snow is cold, sand is warm. - Cape
This sand is like sugar. - Hugh
We REALLY enjoyed our time outside today!
In true Friday fashion, we ended our day with a dance party!
March 11th, 2021
Today we got to spend some more
time with our friend Saul over Zoom!
During Morning Meeting the children discussed the possible reasons for our Zoom meeting with him.
Maybe it's Saul's birthday? (Wilder)
That was a great guess. So we went over to our Brown Room birthday calendar and searched for his birthday by looking for his symbol, the guitar. But no, today is not his birthday.
Because we want to see him. (Finlay)
What a wonderful thought! And yes, we do want to see him and continue to build a meaningful relationship with him.
Considering that Saul hasn't spend a lot of time in our (physical) classroom we were thinking of a few things we would like to share with him and show him about our work, projects, and materials in the Brown Room.
What would we like to share with Saul?
I want to share the sewing project. (Bea)
I want to make him a message. (Wilder)
I want to show him some books. (Daniel)
The farm set. (Frances)
I want to share the farm set when I'm done reading books with him. (Daniel)
I want to show him my birthday present on the birthday calendar. (Daniel)
During our Zoom .....
...Michael shared his taxi with him.
...Bea brought Saul into the studio to show him our project work on stairs for the St. John's pajamas.
... Daniel and Saul shared their constructions with each other.
... Lily, Cape and Saul explored our color blocks together by holding the blocks in front of their eyes and the camera.
Saul shared with us that he has also done sewing before - just like we are doing in the classroom right now! We hope to connect with him about this more in the future.
During our snack time we reflected on our call with Saul:
I showed him the things on the wall (our pajama project documentation/drawings of stairs) and the cozy area. - Bea
Silver (remembering Saul sharing his favorite color with us) - Wilder
He was sitting in something. - Bea
A yellow chair. An orange chair. - Wilder
A laundry basket and it was white and blue. And a couch. - Bea
That's so incredible! How did he get in there? - Daniel
Saul, thank you for joining us today! It was wonderful to play, explore, chat and share with you. We hope that we can see you again, soon!
An "Updated" Day in the Brown Room
If you recall our Classroom Stories Night presentation in the fall, we used that opportunity to show you a typical day in the Brown Room through video.
Not only has our Brown Room environment changed so much since then, but so have the children!
We thought it might be nice to bring you back into the present day classroom. Enjoy!
Getting ready for Morning Meeting
Discussing Current Project Work - Dragons!
Today, we shared ideas with each other about what we want our final dragon design to look like so that we can begin to move forward with starting the actual dragon costume! Wilder used our documentation board as a reference point when mentioning what "parts of a dragon" we needed to include in the actual costume.
Choosing Our "Plans"
What do we want to begin working on?
Not only are we currently working on our design projects (dragon costume & pajama project), but we are also learning how to sew and reflecting on our "trying new foods" experiences.
Engaged in Uninterrupted Work Time
First, we take turns washing our hands. Then, we begin eating and enjoy our daily story time!
Sometimes, we use this opportunity to have a "second meeting" together as a large group.
We might reflect on the days work, continue a morning meeting discussion, or try something completely new.
Today, we played "Pictionary" for the first time!
Potty, Changing Shoes, Getting Dressed for Outside
This week we continued our dragon project and tracing work.
Today we had a large group meeting to discuss the next steps in our projects. After collecting different kinds of designs, drawings, paintings, tracings and dragon studies we decided it is time to make a final costume design.
What do we want the dragon costume to look like?
The group decided on the colors green, yellow, purple, orange, blue and black striped for the body and red for the dragon's head.
"Horns. Two on the top of the head." - Finlay
We also decided on adding a tongue, fire, a mouth, and "people for dragon" (Luke).
"A curvy body and sticks to hold it up." - Hugh
"The biggest one ever." - Luke, thinking about the size of the costume.
Bea added that the body would also need "scales". Which brought up a concern for Jade: "Are they sharp?" But we agreed that scales can be sharp or soft.
That discussion brought us to another topic:
What kind of materials should we use for our dragon costume?
"I think we need fabric." - Hugh
"I think we need scales that are hard." - Jade
Hugh had the idea that if we want to be able to touch the scales they should be soft and made out of fabric as well.
How can we connect the different materials?
As a response Luke interlaced his fingers and said "Like this."
Bea and Finlay both shared their idea to use sewing as a way of connecting the materials.
This discussion helped us visualize our final dragon costume. After deciding on critical parts of the costume, such as colors, size and details of his "body" we are now entering the material collection phase of our project.
March 04th, 2021
A giant dragon? Like this big?
(stretching her arms out wide) - Remy
We projected large images of a variety of dragons onto a special easel, with paper on one side and plexiglas on the other. This way children can trace the projected image without creating a shadow on the paper. The children worked in pairs collaboratively on this new part of our dragon design project. During the tracing process we repeatedly turned off the projector light by closing the shutter, to notice the shape of our drawings on the paper. This gave us an opportunity to compare our drawings with the projected image and identify areas that we would like to work more on. After the tracings were final the children brought them into the studio to then paint them.
Wilder and Cate:
Lucas and Luke:
before Lucas and Luke started their tracing work they also drew and designed their own dragons:
Cape and Jade:
Bea and Lily:
Happy Birthday, St. John's!
Today our wonderful school turned "the number two and four" (Bea). We celebrated this important day with a Sing Along, lead by the Rainey Rooms. After Sing Along Molly, as a representative for the school, received a gift from the Tucker Rooms; the numbers 2 and 4 made out of clay. We will find these numbers soon as the newest addition to the "school's birthday count" next to the steps leading up to St. John's. Molly also brought in cookies for everyone in the school. "These are so delicious" (Lily). Thank you, Molly!
Wednesday, March 3rd
There is so much going on in the Brown Room!
Did you know that we currently have TWO design projects in progress?
If you need a reminder to catch you up, we are currently designing both a DRAGON costume as well as working on an all school PAJAMA design project.
Today, let's focus on sharing updates about the pajama project!
The Brown Room is now well on their way to making some awesome contributions to the all school pajama design.
Last week, we became acquainted with the pajama project documentation board at school and began to grasp an understanding of the meaning of this exciting collaborative project.
We immediately had some questions about the project specifically regarding what the process of designing pajamas for the school would entail, so we asked Lou Lou Baker (Cape's mom) to join us on zoom and further explain her job as an artist/designer. This helped us gain an even deeper understanding of the work! After Lou Lou was able to guide us through her own process, we were ready to use this learned information to begin our own designing.
What would "St. John's" pajamas look like?
Before beginning to take on the challenge of creating physical designs for the pajamas, we needed to have a collaborative brain storming session together as a class to begin to come up with ideas for potential designs. We know that pajamas can have endless amounts of amazing designs on them (we have seen so many different types of designs during our school pajama days), but what if we wanted to create pajamas that made us think about our school? What would St. John's pajamas look like?
With a shirt and pants. - Bea
My symbol! - Finlay
The playground. - Hugh
... (thinking about the outdoor classroom space)
Mushrooms! and trucks are on the playground. - Lily
Rat traps are on the playground. - Daniel
As we continued our discussion and shared our ideas with one another, we decided to focus on thinking about the school environment. We recalled on our many "school tours" where we had the opportunity to become more familiar with the entire building and all of the spaces within the school. We even reflected on some of our school tour documentation and looked at photos of the different spaces around the school.
St. John's symbol! - Bea
(noticing the "imagination brain" in many different photos around the school)
You could draw the kitchen. Or paint the kitchen like Cape's mom. - Bea
And the stairs when you go to pick up (dismissal). - Bea
Suddenly we noticed that there are LOTS of stairs in the photos from the school tours. There are staircases all throughout the school! How many different stairs could we think of?
We walk up stairs to go to school. - Lily
There's two stairs! - Hugh
One down to the kitchen, one up to the school, and one down to pick up. - Bea
And Molly's stairs! - Wilder (referring to the staircase to the bell tower in Molly's office)
And one to go outside! - Hugh
That's a lot of stairs! We counted and could think of five different staircases that we have visited/used within the school.
A small group of children volunteered to begin the pajama design process with staircases in mind.
Where is the best place to get inspiration for drawing stairs? From real life examples of course!
We set out around the school to observe different staircases and begin sketching our initial designs ...
Research / Observations:
Curvy, curvy, curvy. So that you can step on them. - Hugh
This is my first time (drawing steps). They go up and down. - Lily
They go up and down. - Daniel
They turn! They're like zig saggy and they curve. - Hugh
(observing the difference in the shape of the staircase up to the school)
We could follow the finger! - Lily
(tracing the shape of the staircase with her finger in the air)
It's a triangle. - Daniel
(observing the difference in shape of the landing step versus the other ascending steps)
(observing the staircase outside)
The shadows on the stairs do line line. So that's why I have to do (draw) line line. - Hugh
They look like an accordion body! - Hugh
10 stairs! - Lily
(counting the amount of steps on the staircase descending to the chapel of the carpenter / dismissal area)
Our initial designs are fantastic! The intentionality behind the work and effort we are putting into this project already is truly amazing.
A special birthday!
How can a building have a birthday? - Hugh
Even a school can have a birthday!
Tomorrow, our school turns 24 years old.
We will celebrate tomorrow with a special school sing along and Tucker Room children plan to present a birthday gift to the school.
In the Brown Room, we decided to create our own special birthday messages with well wishes and love for our school too!
Happy Birthday St. John's!