For weeks now, we have seen the children taking on the simple task (or problem) of hanging their bags in the outdoor classroom. The lift and reach is not so easy when you are not yet able to lift the bag up and over the hook. Through their independence, observing, interdependence, and assisting, the children have been collectively learning and teaching. We're not even three weeks into the school year, and we're already getting the "hang" of it!
Collaging and Conversing
Audrey and Marley share a jar of Elmer's glue and cooperatively work together to use the one jar with two brushes.
"You wipe it on and wipe it off," Jane said referring to the technique of wiping the glue brush on the rim of the jar to avoid the drip and drag of the glue from jar to paper. So you wipe off the glue brush and wipe on the glue to the paper.
Without provocation or verbal request from Audrey, Jane and Reed thoughtfully offer and share materials with her.
Jane: Do you want one, Audrey? Reed: Do you want one? Audrey: Yeah.
"I am a seal and I can clap my hands." -Eric Carle
"Clap! Clap!" -Marley
"Can you do it? I can do it." -Eric Carle
"Who has been to sing along?" Elyse asked the children in preparation for our Friday sing-along.
"Me, me!" Audrey replied. "And me." Marley added.
Then Elyse asked, "What is a song?" "Twinkle, twinkle." Reed said.
"What makes a song, a song?" Melanie asked.
Jack responded, "A tune."
Look at the Camera: Picture day part two
Helping Hands: Supporting each other a day at a time
September 14, 2019
As we mentioned on Friday (September 20th), Elyse brought her camera for the children to see and experience. While our intention was to introduce the idea that someone would be photographing them, we also discussed the sound it made, the photos it produced, and how we would photograph them with that camera throughout the day. The children had the opportunity to see photos of themselves, and some photos that did not work out so well (under and overexposed). The presence of the camera appeared to create a variety of reactions from the children, but as we continued, they seemed to become more comfortable with it. The photos above are some of those shots.
September 23, 2019
We've been talking about it for a few days and working with our cameras/comfort with cameras present in the classroom. Today was the day that Steven came to visit. It went really well, and we think we will have a beautiful group shot. The children seemed to be comfortable with Steven, and he was able to make them smile, laugh, and engage with the process. Some children were more active as he captured them, while others preferred to stand still and "pose". We are looking forward to doing some work with our cameras and photography.
Another special part of this day was the presence of George and Violet, who will be starting in the Brown Room in the near future. It was such a joy to have them join us.
We also had visits from Molly and Jessica while Steven was photographing us, and Jen joined us for snack and some work in the studio. We are so grateful for our community who joins us and supports us.
Backwards Day: Morning Meeting and Snack Outside
We held morning meeting outside. A main part of our conversation was showing them a camera, sharing with them that Elyse was going to be taking their pictures, and to let them know that next week, Steven the photographer will be taking their photos on picture day. They enjoyed seeing some of their friends faces on the camera screen.
"It's a camera." -Giacomo
Just being together...
Have a wonderful weekend!
Today, our mini atelier (studio) was full of carefully chosen papers, ribbon, and lace. Children were invited to feel them, listen to them, and select some for a collage. Each child took a different approach to their work, and more about this will be documented as we invite other children to engage with the materials, and we will extend the offer to all of the children to return to the studio to build upon their work.
Materials have the potential to be relocated and reimagined through the children's solitary and interactive play. Getting to this takes some time, especially when adjusting to a new environment, people, and a daily schedule. Although still novices, the children's newness will eventually be replaced with a sense of comfort and belonging in the classroom without eliminating curiosity, wonder, discovery, and creativity. However, there is a heightened sense of novelty as the children continue using familiar materials in new ways, exploring new materials in new ways, and enjoying familiar materials in the company of burgeoning friendships. Gradually, the children are displaying new and increasing connections in their discovery of materials and in each other. Through both shared and peripheral experiences, we are progressing together with a commonality of newness.
"We were in here. We were singing." - Cedar
"I'm going to draw my house with the blue door on the outside." - Lochie
The children have been exploring our mark-making tools in the studio and message area. The markers, crayons, and colored pencils have been the most frequently used, and the pencil sharpener has been a focal point as well. During morning meeting, they had a few hypotheses about what the material inside of the sharpener might be. The group consensus was that it was "paper", and Giacomo added that the smaller shavings looked like, "salt".
"I need help." - Janie "Put your foot here, okay?" - Cedar "She's helping!" - Janie
As Cedar worked, she communicated with her words, facial expressions, and movements. When one position did not work, she calmly moved Janie's leg until she could find a solution. Once Janie was wearing both shoes, she moved to the sink to wash her hands. Cedar rushed to be by her side, and assisted her with getting soap from the dispenser. Unprompted, Cedar stepped down and grabbed two paper towels. She waited patiently behind Janie, and then she offered her one of the paper towels. Janie replied with a "thank you", and they left the bathroom.
One Week In, the First Sing Along, and a Backwards Day
One after the next, familiar faces appeared as we anticipated everyone's arrival today in Blake Hall, for our first sing along of the school year. How memorable it was for us to make eye contact, smile, and wave to the children as each of you entered the space, and we sat together with readiness to sing along!
"...Take a plane to Kenya." -Cedar
Cedar engages Elyse in conversation about how she saw a giraffe in Kenya:
"It's too far to walk there (Kenya)," remarks Elyse to Cedar
"Could we take a field trip?" asked Melanie.
"No, take a plane." replied Cedar
Soak up the weekend and enjoy it, until we reunite on Monday!
Tours and detours
One of our most useful tools for connecting to each other and our families at home, have been the photo albums. The children have been discussing their photos with each other and with us.
Although our classroom is important and the heart and soul of our Brown Room family, we recognize that we are part of the larger community that is St. John's. With this in mind, we decided that we should take a few tours of the school so that we can connect with the other members and spaces within this community. This will be a journey that takes place over the next several weeks. As journeys often do, it has already provided a few detours along the way, which led to unplanned discoveries and surprises.
Just outside of our classroom door, the children discovered that there were rainbows and sunlight. It was all around us: on the floor, the walls, the cubbies, the Rainey Room window, and even the door at the end of the hallway. We also received a special treat when the children noticed that the sun was reflecting off of the sequins on Marley's shirt.
"Look at the sun!" - C.C. "It's a rainbow there." - Reed
Though each tour has stopped at the mailboxes, today's group recognized their symbols and began to inspect the contents of the boxes. The discussion became about creating messages for mommies, daddies, and siblings. Choosing their own materials, each child created a message and stamped their symbol; through these experiences, we are noticing that the children are forming a relationship with their chosen symbol. Our tour eventually moved into the "Middle Room" where the children focused on the light table and a large photograph from the school's 20th birthday.
Our intention is to continue exploring our environment over the coming weeks as we settle into our new space.