We made something to take home! Our room was fragrant with pine and greenery. It required some fine motor strength and coordination to wrap the wire, make the crinkly paper stay on, etc. They are beautiful, and we hope that you all enjoy the "ornaments"/wreaths. It was such a joyful experience in the studio today!
We have celebrated a few birthdays already, and each of them has been special and has taught us something new about each child and family. We are so grateful that you have shared photos, videos, favorite books and snacks, and spent time with us in the classroom.
The children were enthusiastic about sharing Melanie's gifts, singing "Happy Birthday", and snuggling with her for a quick birthday photo! We hope that Melanie felt all of our love for her!
"It's for Janie!" - Cedar
Another important part of our culture here at St. John's is the exchange of messages with our "all school" mailboxes. As you know, each child and staff member has their own mailbox. Thus far, the children are most excited to make "messages" for their parents and siblings, and the mailboxes have been used for making messages for themselves. The children have been noticing that some of their mailboxes are empty. This started a conversation about why they are empty and how we can change that. Again, they wanted to make messages for themselves, so we presented the idea of making messages for each other.
Another intention was to focus on the composition of their messages and the tools and techniques involved (e.g. glue sticks, scissors, layering materials, using our stamps for to/from, etc.).
A new language: Sewing
"Can we save this?" - Jack
We all agreed to save the structure so that it would be in the classroom on Friday morning. Unfortunately, after hours, we remembered that something would be happening in our classroom the next morning, and we would actually have to deconstruct the structure before Jack, Janie, and Giacomo could return to the classroom.
Revisiting our work the next day (12.13.19)
The idea for helping Jack remember his structure was to create a book with photographs of his work. We included photos from every angle, close-up photos of the details, and the photograph that Cedar requested to take of Jack's structure. The idea was to explain the situation to Jack and invite him to use this tool to "recreate" his structure. We also wanted to ask him to invite others to assist him.
"But I don't remember everything that I used." - Jack
Friday morning, during morning meeting, we explained everything to the whole group.
"Jack, I want to invite you to revisit and recreate your structure if you'd like to." - Elyse
"But, I don't remember everything that I used." - Jack
"Well, we made this book for you that includes many photos of your work that you did with Janie and Giacomo." - Elyse
"But, I cannot see the little things." - Jack
"We included photos of it from every side, and some close up photos of your details." - Elyse
"Oh, okay." - Jack
"I'd like to have you invite some friends to help you." - Elyse
"Okay, I want to ask Cedar." - Jack
"And me too!" - Reed
"And me!" - Jane
"I want to help Jack." - Giacomo
Blocks in the outdoor classroom 12.12 and 12.13
This was the first day that we used the large blocks while we were in the outdoor classroom. They require strength, stability, and some determination. The children also collected rocks and stones to add to their pathway, and this required even more strength and a bit of team work.
"We're making a choo-choo!" - Cedar (Day 2 - 12.13)
"We did it [our first floor puzzle]!" - Group
From Process to Product: the making of another birthday gift
"Let's paint it white." -Reed
Having already creatively worked, on the beginning steps of a multi-step process, to make a birthday present for Giacomo, we picked up where we left off and continued on to the next steps. We needed to do some painting. So, we set up the room to give lots of space to paint. Then we let the painting begin.
We shared the paint jars, we worked closely next to each other, we took turns without complaint, we observed as we waited for our turn, we handed off the paint bottle to the next person, and we traded places in the line rotation to keep going. We did it all while enjoying the process of creating a gift for a friend.
"Let's paint some black." -Lochie
The process was joyful and the results were pleasing.
When we are painting, getting paint on our hands is all part of the process!
The "clean-up" (wink wink) was also joyful.
Additional highlights from the day:
Thank you, Lauren and Yaya (and so many parents) for sharing the morning with us!
Jane opens her gift
The "elephant" gift! What does it make you think of? "An elephant." -Hillary
Thank you Grandmommy
"There was an elephant at sing-a-long today!" - Lochie
Wait, what? Did you see it? Did you see the elephant at sing-a-long today? If you are like the other grown-ups, you might have missed it, but he was certainly there; the children reassured of us this fact. They all agreed, there was an elephant in Blake Hall, and then he followed us up to the classroom.
"I think it might be a baby elephant." -Lochie
Pretend play as elephants presented a problem of not enough elephant trunks. There were only two "trunks" and we needed more. What can we use to make elephant trunks? More rubber tubing was found in the school and brought back to the Brown Room for more trunks. Then questions emerged: Can we make the elephant sound? What sound do elephants make? We realized that we didn't know how or why elephants make the sound(s) that they do. We paused at this pondering and decided to listen to elephants vocalizing their sound. (Possible questions for later: What are they saying? What are they communicating?)
Painting: Standing at the easel. Sitting on the floor.
Our Birthday Calendar and Birthday Committee Work
Look below at the number three and four. What do you see? On the number three is Jane's symbol and on the number four is Giacomo's symbol. (Happy birthday Jane and Giacomo! Their school celebrations will take place in the next two weeks!) "Where's mine?" Reed asked. The children will learn to know who is having a birthday relative to each month and day in relationship to the symbol hanging on that number.
Below the literal, monthly calendar are photos of the children. Cedar points to an image next to her photograph. What is it? Next to every child's photograph, an image of their birthday gift will be placed next to it as the birthday celebrations happen. This will allow the children to witness and track the passing of time. There is picture next to Cedar, C.C., Lochie... So who comes next? Jane! Then who? Giacomo! And so on and so forth.
As you know, animals have been a conversation among the children in the Brown Room lately (all year?). Elephants, zebras, giraffes, and lions have been a focus. With this in mind, we have been asking ourselves, what is it they know about these animals; what do they want to know?; how can we experience these animals?; what are they thinking about when they are talking about them?; and more. These questions led us to wonder about how we could bring these animals into the classroom, beyond our wooden/plastic animals, and since inviting an actual elephant/giraffe/lion/zebra into the classroom is not possible (or is it?), we chose projection.
We've invited the children into experiences with the projection before, and to be honest, the large images did not seem to hold their attention. Each instance (as noted in their conversation below) had exciting, rich, engaging moments, but the focus always seemed to be on other materials involved (e.g. wooden animals, blocks, etc.). Our conversation at today's morning meeting made it very clear that they were engaging with the projection, and they formulated clear memories about it. It was a great reminder to never underestimate what children are experiencing, hearing, internalizing, and processing.
"Do you remember anything we've shown on this white screen?" - Elyse and Melanie
"A deer." - Maxon
"An elephant." - Janie
"Pictures from outside." - Lochie **the first experience when we projected the photos he had taken of the sky**
"Oh, a book. That book." - Giacomo **we projected two or three images from Head to Toe**
"Oh, Head to Toe?" - Melanie
"A bear." - Maxon **during the first experience, Mason compared his bear to the bear's shadow**
"A lion." - Cedar
"My lion." - Janie
Yesterday, the children interacted both with the projection and other materials. The projection sparked many comments about what the elephants were doing, the body parts, and other animals that make appearances. There was dramatic play with elephant skin, trunks, and quite a few lions. Some of the children also built more animal houses to the side. **more to come about this later**
"Could we use the light table materials for an elephant?" - Elyse
"Maybe, we can try." - Audrey
"What could it be?" - Elyse
"Ear." - Audrey
"I have two ears." - Audrey
"But maybe him have big ear." - Audrey
"I need a long trunk. I'm gonna make a really long trunk." - Audrey
"I make an elephant in the water." - Audrey