Happy Friday Brown Room Families!
Being that it's the last Friday of the month, there will not be a "typical" blog post today.
Teachers will be focusing on caring for the school environment.
Please enjoy a joyful moment from our time spent in the outdoor classroom.
Hugh and Lucas were involved in making a delicious pasta dish for all BR friends to enjoy.
They incorporated some very interesting techniques throughout their process and made each other laugh a lot!
Hugh, Lucas, and Bea then collected plates and serving utensils to make sure everyone was served a delicious pasta lunch before going inside!
Have a very happy weekend!
Other children will be living in our room? - Cate
It is true, our time in the Brown Room is almost over. But what will happen after the summer?
We're gonna move to a new classroom! - Cate
I think Rainey Room. - Wilder
As part of our transition and preparing for the end of the school year together, we introduced the children to the new, incoming Brown Room children. We learned their names and discussed observations we made about their photos.
Maybe some of them are my baby brother's age. - Cape
This one is very tall. They're not babies. - Wilder, pointing to Ellie's photo
I know her! - Cape, pointing to Louisa's photo
That girl's Andy's baby sister. - Daniel, pointing to Emily's photo
She looks like Bea. - Wilder, pointing to Ellie's photo
The children seemed to be very excited about the next part of their St. John's journey but also expressed a few concerns. Let's address those!
Will we bring the dragon costume?
Yes! Our dragon costume will move into Rainey Room with us!
I'm gonna miss my symbol when all the children come. - Daniel
Don't worry! We discussed that we will not only bring our symbols with us to Rainey Room but we will keep them all the way through Tucker Room!
What about the portfolio drawers?
Did you know that you will bring home everything in your portfolio basket at the end of the school year? And we will also start new portfolio baskets in Rainey Room.
Making messages for the incoming Brown Room children
To welcome the new children we are creating thoughtful messages for each of them, which they will receive as part of the New Parent Reception on Thursday, May 13th. For the messages, we are using a combination of languages, such as machine sewing, collaging and drawing. During this process we are reflecting on our favorite things at and about St. John's, the Brown Room and the outdoor classroom.
What should the new children know about being a part of St. John's?
What do we like to do in the Brown Room?
So far, in the messages, the children revisited materials and languages they explored in the past year, their experiences in the (outdoor) classroom, morning meetings and the use of symbols at St. John's.
When not engaged in current class project work, we often find children using all different kinds of materials in our construction area to come up with inventive creations complete with imaginative stories behind their processes. Not only is our construction area for "building", but it is also a space for tinkering, exploring mathematical concepts, role playing, story telling, and much more. We frequently alternate the variety of choices that can be found in our construction area to promote continued exploration of materials with different properties (ie. wood, metal, plastic, fabric) in a collaborative manner.
Today, we would like to highlight work by our friend, Luke. Although Luke has often spent time in our construction area working alongside or partnering with other children (Jade has been a wonderful influence on his creative abilities in this space!), this week we observed him working independently for two consecutive days on the following structure.
He expressed such pride and enthusiasm in this self-led project!
At the light table ...
This week we have explored a new provocation at our classroom light table.
The collection of materials includes foam pieces, wire, a variety of "push pins" and "paper fasteners", and small pieces that are able to be thread onto wire if desired.
The inspiration for the provocation came from our interest in threading while hand sewing, as well as our desire to encourage three-dimensional work versus working primarily on a flat surface.
Many children spent extensive time manipulating the wire into different forms. From our observations, this seemed to be both the most exciting and rewarding part of this experience!
Both wire cutters and needle nose pliers are available at the table for the children's use.
Thank you to our guests.
Thank you to Wilder's parents, Willoughby and Steve, for joining us on this beautiful day as our mystery readers!
Continued Dragon Work!
Work continues on our dragon costume on an almost daily basis. We are SO excited to share more about this project with you in the coming weeks!
As we are approaching the end of the school year (wait, already?!) we are reflecting on our time in the Brown Room and the people in the school who supported us and St. John's so tireless throughout the year. Two of those people are Victor and his mother Lucilla. Lucilla has been an important part of the St. John's community for many years and unfortunately we have not yet had the chance to meet her. But the children in the Brown Room have developed a wonderful connection with Victor, who is the school's handyman, problem-solver, engineer, and so much more. Whenever the children noticed something in the school that would require Victor's attention and skills, we wrote a message or note about it to him.
They fix things when they are broken. - Finlay
When the water from the sink was too cold. - Hugh
And he even he fixed the potty! - Remy
As a way of showing our appreciation for Victor and Lucilla we are creating a plate made out of clay for each of them. As you might have seen on the blog before, lately the children are showing great interest in baking and creating food for one another in the outdoor classroom. We want to expand on their interest and would like to bake a little something together at school for Victor and Lucilla, once their plates are ready.
We then used the plate as a mold for the clay to be shaped on to to create a rim on the plates.
Our next step in the process will be to decorate the plates further by using underglazes once the plates are leather hard to bone dry. But what colors should we use? What are Victor's and Lucilla's favorite colors? Since Victor comes to school in the late afternoon, after we have all gone home, we decided to write, or better, paint a message for him.
We can put colors on here (the message) so they can choose their color. - Hugh
To create colors for our message, we used a special kind of paper, called Paper Palette, which is a poly-coated paper that can be primarily used to mix paints together. Since one side is coated, the paint won't dry and is not absorbed as quickly, in comparison to regular copy paper.
The back feels like normal paper. - Remy
What colors can we mix using only the primary colors, RED, BLUE, and YELLOW and white ?
Finally, the weather is now warm enough for our seedlings to move outside! After watering them, using a spray bottle, Luke and Remy also sang songs to our growing plants. We are sure that it will help them grow big and strong!
Speaking of being outside, over the weekend, things changed in our outdoor classroom ...
We want to send out a huge THANK YOU to the incredible St. John's community for improving our beautiful outdoor classroom. We appreciate your endless support, love and dedication for St. John's!
Moments from a wonderful and busy Friday...
While Frances was working hard on a special project (which we will keep a Brown Room secret for now...), Finlay asked "are you getting hungry?" and prepared an incredible spread of "foods and lemonade" for her. Frances decided to take break from her work, wash her hands and sit down for a little snack break.
We explored the high seas by boat and cast our "fish trappers" (Cape). With the help of nets and shovels we caught "lobster, and fish and sharks" (Wilder) and "pink fish and purple fish" (Frannie).
A large alphabet puzzle also captured our interest today. Many of the children worked together on identifying letters, attaching them to each other and matching pieces and letters to their friend's names.
Together we enjoyed some delicious snacks outside. Hugh served some of his specialties, "potatoes" and "French Fries potatoes" to his friends, which Finlay cut with a knife to share with Lucas.
Cape had a day high up! He climbed up on the rope swing all by himself and used his body to start a swinging motion. Cape also explored his surroundings from a different vantage point. From the top of the rope ladder he noticed:
"I can see roof tops and the roof of the school. I can see the bell tower. I can see a chimney. It's far away. I think I can see Christ Church over there."
We checked on the seeds we planted last week Friday and noticed some change in the flower pots. The seeds started to sprout! We will continue to water our seedlings and hopefully bring them outside next week, when the temperatures will be warmer.
We hope you will have a great weekend !
A crown for our friend, Frances.
After beginning our paper mache gift for Frances earlier in the week and allowing it to dry, it was ready to be painted and bedazzled! Frannie specifically requested "pink jewels" when asking for a crown, so we did our best to collect materials that we thought she might like to embellish it.
Before we were able to glue on the jewels, we had to make sure the paint was dry. Teamwork and a hairdryer worked well!
After a delicious snack of brownies with sprinkles, we continued our Brown Room birthday traditions.
A Birthday Song for Frances
When Frannie was 0 years old she liked to ... pull her sisters hair!
When Frannie was 1 year old she liked to ... smash her food!
When Frannie was 2 years old she liked to ... wink her eyes!
Frannie is 3 years old and she likes to ... light the fire for the birthday candle!
Not only was Frannie's family able to join us on the computer for her celebration, but they later surprised us in person as mystery guests!
Frannie's big sister, Louise, read to us today. Thank you so much Louise!
It was so nice to have you all here to visit us.
A closing thought from the birthday girl ...
Working in other areas of the school environment.
This week small groups of children have taking their explorations out of the classroom to the Greeting Hallway area of our school. In this space, we often find intriguing provocations and interesting materials at the large light table or underneath the color wheel window. Currently, there are a variety of flowers arranged throughout the space as well as a digital microscope available to encourage further exploration. Since introducing the digital microscope into our own classroom to further our research with scales, we continue to find its features fascinating and have been enthusiastic about continuing to use it as a research tool to further investigate other materials.
In addition to the microscope, there are also watercolor paints, a variety of drawing materials, paper, and Mod Podge (a "new" adhesive for us) available to use.
Investigating with the digital microscope.
Some children were interested in taking a closer look at the various flowers that were arranged in vases at the light table.
Images taken by Cate, Wilder, and Michael.
Other children found different types of materials available in the Greeting Hallway (many of which we have had previously available to use at our own classroom light table) and examined them closely.
Remy even found it interesting to use the microscope on her own body and clothing!
The digital microscope offers a new lens in which we can view both familiar and unfamiliar materials in way that expands our knowledge, understanding, and perception of the objects observed.
Watercolors, Drawing, and Adhesive
A hyacinth in a nearby vase inspired the following watercolor paintings created by Lily and Bea.
Look! Look! I made a flower!
You know what's nice about flowers? You can also stick them together so it's one big one.
(making her flowers "touch" on her painting)
You can also draw flowers. (beginning to use a sharpie next to her watercolor image)
Look I wrote my name so I didn't forget it's mine.
Children were also introduced to a new type of adhesive - Mod Podge!
Some used the Mod Podge to arrange tissue paper on transparency paper to create beautiful images.
After reviewing her work, Cate made an insightful observation about the work she created using a combination of all these materials together.
Look, Sam. Look what happens when I flip it over! It's see through. I can see it! - Cate
What happened to our paper mache creations?
After our initial introduction to paper mache last week, we let our creations dry with the intention of following up this week to see what happens to the material after working with it in its "wet" form and allowing it to dry. We decided to further enhance our work by painting over the paper mache. Some expressed that adding paint to the paper mache project gave their objects more character allowing a transformation into something new!
Has your paper mache work becoming something new?
A ball. - Cate
A ball. For mom. - Luke
A yellow shark. - Jade
It's pooh stick bridge. Where you can throw sticks into the water. - Hugh
A bottle for water. - Bea
Thank you, Genevieve, for being our mystery reader today!
We always welcome extended family members to join us as mystery guests too!
Today, Ali's (Frannie's mom) godmother came to read a book about a fairy ballerina named "Twinkle" to us in the outdoor classroom. It was nice to meet you, Genevieve!
What happens when we pop the balloon?
The paper will pop, too. No, broken! - Bea
It will rip it apart. - Finlay
I think it will blow away when we open the window. - Jade
Together, we followed up on last weeks paper mache creations and experimented with the sphere we created around a balloon. And what happened after we popped the balloon was a surprise to all of us...
A birthday committee for our friend Frannie
Previously, Frannie had expressed her wish for a pink, which is her favorite color, crown for her birthday present from her friends. On Monday, Jade and Luke began their birthday committee work by constructing the base for our paper mache present. They arranged cardboard triangles around a round metal bowl and connected the individual cardboard pieces with tape. Making sure that, with the assistance of tape, they created a smooth and sturdy surface and structure.
A Mystery Reader and a tea party with some unexpected guests...
Yoga with Remy
Paper Mache ... continued!
Today we continued exploring the process of working with paper mache. For some of us, this was our second experience working with this new material. For others, it was our first time.
We offered the responsibility of measuring & mixing the flour and water together to those friends who have not yet had the experience of creating this material.
A variety of recyclable materials were offered as the foundation for our work. We tried paper mache on a few different types of surfaces including cylindrical, flat, textured, and smooth. We also worked with bases that provided different types of edges to work around.
The more we are exposed to and offer opportunities to work with a material, the stronger our relationship evolves. Deepening our relationship with a variety of materials develops confidence and competence in effectively using these materials as a language to communicate our interests, ideas, and unique identities.
We are so excited to continue working with paper mache in the coming weeks!
Baking & Cooking in the Outdoor Classroom
Using our outdoor environment for dramatic play experiences has been an interest for the children all year. Most recently, both cooking and baking in the outdoor classroom have become more prevalent.
Today, everyone seemed to be getting involved!
Rainey Room friends are currently interested in plants and flowers. They offered us some of their leftover flower seeds to plant if we were interested and we were! Together, we went through the process of filling the planter pot with soil, creating a hole in the soil with our fingers, placing the seeds in the holes, covering them with soil, and then finishing by watering them gently.
We are bringing the pots into the classroom to continue to observe throughout the germination phase until the plants are ready to be moved outdoors. Even if we are not able to witness them bloom, it will be interesting to observe the growth cycle of these different flowers.
Enjoy the lovely spring weather this weekend!
It's coming together...
Today we explored and took a closer look at the individual pieces of our dragon costume. We are currently in the process of adding the hand-sewn scales to the fabric and have previously chosen the colors for our costume but haven't decided on a specific color order yet. During morning meeting, we (re-)arranged pieces of paper in representation for the large pieces of fabric that will serve as the body of our costume and decided on the following order:
RED (the head), BLUE, PURPLE, GREEN, BLACK, ORANGE and YELLOW for the tail.
Bright in the front and then black and then bright in the tail. - Wilder
I think Louise (Frannie's sister) is going to like this! - Cape
.After we decided on a color order, Finlay asked the question "But when is it gonna be done?"
Together, we thought about what would still need to get done before the costume is finished.
A head! - Hugh
More sewing for those two.
(pointing to the two pieces of fabric that were without added scales) - Wilder
So this morning we focused on hand sewing additional scales for our dragon costume and other sewing projects...
Wilder, Michael and Hugh also explored a few new materials, such as nuts, bolts, hooks and washers, in our construction area. Many of the Brown Room children have recently shown an increased interest in machinery and tools.
These materials provide opportunity for a variety of exploration (e.g. size, shape, weight, functionality, movement) and promotes critical thinking.