In the beginning...
Back in October, we began to have intentional small groups with the children to reflect on the black and white areas (you saw much of this in our Fall Classroom Stories presentation). During those conversations, all those months ago, the children established that the black area was "night" and the white area was "day".
Why do you think we chose black and white materials?
“For night and day!!” - Nora [with enthusiasm], 5.0 years
“I feeled like that black space was in the night.” - Reed, 4.7 years
Reading our documentation
Today we started our morning by doing a quick tour of the classroom (there are now some unit blocks in the black area, etc.). At the end, we stopped at our documentation of our "What is night?" journey.
Can you read the panel?
"No! We can't read." - George, 4.10 years
What do you see on the documentation panel?
Sometimes I see shadows at night. - George
Because of the light. There was so much light. -Lochie, 5. 4 years
Light makes shadows because you block light that makes a shadow. -Giacomo, 5.2 years
That makes the light shine on the front of you, the back of you, because you block the sunlight… It’s kind of like a dark picture behind you. -Lochie
Why do we have all of this work?
Because we were painting, we were painting night. -Reed, 4.11 years
Why do you think we chose to ask you about night?
Because we wanted to paint night. -Lochie
And was/is there anything in the classroom that made you think about night?
Yes, the black area. -Reed
And the white area. -Lochie
The white area makes me think of snow. -Reed
So that's why we asked you about night and thinking about day. What are we going to hang? Do we remember from yesterday?
And our sunset and our sunrise. -Nora, 5.5 years
The moon! -George
What is day?
What is day?
“There’s a sun and it’s super duper hot, and sometimes it’s freezing. Sometimes it is raining.” - Elle, 5.2 years
“I have no idea.” - Nora, 5.4 years
What is day like?
“Like the sun.” - Janie, 4.11 years
“It’s like the whole earth has light.” - Nora
What does it look like or feel like?
“So, the Earth rotates around the sun.” - Nora [showing us with the globe]
“It feels like I’m going in a circle, but I see different things.” - Janie, 4.11 years
What does day look like? Or what colors do we see during the day?
“This is the sun setting.” - Nora
“Now some yellow.” - Janie
When does day start?
“In the morning.” - Janie
How do you know it’s morning?
“When you see the sun rising up.” - Janie
What about the sunset? What does that mean?
“That it’s almost turning night.” - Nora
Why does the sun rise?
“So it can do everything in the day.” - Nora
What kind of things?
“Anything you want." - Elle
How long is day?
“10 hours.” - Janie, 4.11 years
“35 hours.” - Nora, 5.4 years
“I don’t know.” - Jane, 5.2 years
“Actually, I don’t know either.” - Nora
“I told Melanie this question yesterday about night and day. Is night the same time as day?” - Nora
Ask your friends. [she repeats it louder to them]
“Is night as long as day?” - Nora
“Yes.” - Janie
“No. It’s really not, Janie.” - Elle, 5.2 years
Which one is longer?
“Day.” - Elle
“Wait, I might know the answer to this. Elle is right. When it changes the year, and the fall, the summer. At summer it gets warmer, so the days are longer and the nights are shorter. And when it turns to winter, the days are shorter and the nights are longer.” - Nora
When we were thinking about night we asked, “Can there be light at night?” My new question is, “Can there be darkness during the day?”
“No.” - Nora
“Sometimes. When the lights are off in my room.” - Elle
“When it’s cloudy and about to rain or snow.” - Nora
“When you’re under your blanket, or under the pillows.” - Janie
“Or just at night.” - Nora
How do you know it’s daytime?
“When the sun is rising.” - Janie
But you said that there can be darkness during the day. Is that true?
Janie and Nora start saying yes and no.
What are the colors of night?
“Black, navy.” - Nora
“Navy gray!” - Janie
So, what are the colors of day?
“Yellow. Blue.” - Nora
“Red.” - Janie
“Seriously? Red?” - Nora
“Orange.” - Janie
“In daytime, the sky is round.” - Nora
Is it round at night?
“Yes.” - Nora
Tell me more about it being round.
“It’s like I kind of notice that we are in Earth, and look out. It’s round. It goes up and then to the side and down. So, it’s like I see the earth.” - Nora [who also had her hand on the globe, but was looking outside]
Jane and Elle asked if they could represent night as well.
During our team meeting, as we reflected on the small group and their paintings, we began to notice a few patterns:
1. Day inspired a greater number or colors and a brighter color palette.
2. There were more people included in the paintings and conversation.
3. Weather played a role in their thoughts and paintings.
During most discussions about night, the black and white areas, day, etc., the children have mentioned creating a sun for the white area and a moon for the black area. To encourage more thought around "day", we are beginning the process of creating a sun for the white area. It has also been mentioned by the children that we need a sun set that moves across the ceiling and a sun rise that can be moved with a pulley system to reflect the movement of the sun. These are all "on the horizon" (pun intended).
Yesterday, our morning meeting was a brainstorming session about the design of our sun. The low table was set up with drawing tools (pens, colored pencils, pastels, oil pastels, markers, and sharpies), collaging materials (paper, scissors, glue sticks, tissue paper, etc.), and some tools to assist with the shape and size of their circles (protractors and compasses).
We started by reading a book about the sun and discussing what we know. We learned that the sun is not the biggest star nor is it the oldest, but it is very important for us.
Then, we opened up the table for drawing their ideas about the sun. We asked for them to think about the shape, colors, size, movement, etc. They also mentioned the light that shines from it and the fact that it is made of gas.
Here are their initial drawings:
The sun: circle vs. sphere
As part of our process for creating a sun for the white area, our morning meeting was a challenge to create a sphere out of wire. First, what is the difference between a circle and a sphere? Many of them used their fingers to draw a circle "in the air" or on the table. Then, they used their hands to show what a sphere might look like!
What shape is the sun?
A circle! - Tucker children
Do you know what it is called when a circle is a 3-D shape?
A sphere! -Nora, 5.4 years
This is a sphere. -Nora (holding blue wooden sphere)
But flat circles are called… -Lochie, 5.4 years
I think you are trying to say that when it is two dimensional it’s a circle but when you add more dimensions to the circle then what it becomes is a sphere.
That’s also a sphere (points to a globe)— the planet. -Lochie
So here is our challenge: Can we make a sphere, not a circle, out of wire?
You can definitely do it!
I can do it! -George, 4.9 years
I’m starting with a circle and then I’m going to turn it into a sphere. -Jack, 5.8 years
This was not a simple challenge, and many of the children started by making the familiar shape of a circle. As they worked, we encouraged them to use multiple pieces of wire to add dimension to their work. There were a few spheres on the table for them to feel and observe as they worked, but none of them chose to wrap the wire around them to achieve their shape. They did, however, continue to use their hands, and occasionally the pliers, to achieve 3D shapes. Every child had a different approach to their work.
Jack started by making a small wire sphere and then wrapped many layers around that to create a large, somewhat heavy sphere.
Lochie and Jordan connected pieces of wire at two points to create a sphere that was a bit more "open".
Other children twisted and shaped singular pieces of wire to achieve a 3D shape, while others twisted together multiple pieces and then shaped them into spheres.
This morning meeting challenge/work lasted for approximately 45 minutes. The children were focused and collaborative. They were passing around materials, supporting each other's ideas, and asking questions of each other and the teachers. They shared their processes with the children around them who might have been struggling a bit to get started, and in the end, there was a great deal of pride and excitement about what they had achieved.
"Our challenges are fun!" - Sylvie, 5.1 years
Next up: a large chicken wire sphere for our sun!