Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

We spent the entire day at the FARM!  The two kindergarten classes went to the farm to compare how the farm is in the winter versus the summer, as they had previously visited in the Spring.

We were treated to:
-Tatiana predicting that our bus would get stuck in the snow and then our bus got stuck in the snow
-A sleigh ride through the field where the farmers grow Christmas Trees
-Pony rides
-Visits with many different farm animals
-A chance to climb and play in the hay loft
-A bonfire
-A huge snow hill to play on
-The farmer's dog catching snowballs thrown by students
-A rope swing in the hay loft

Highlights for me were:

Farmer K- You're going to get a chance to play in the hay loft!
Every student- YAY!  WOOOOO!
Farmer K- Do you know what that is?
Every student, still excited- NO!!!!

We saw a chicken that I even photographed and did not notice that the chicken was sitting on a nest with eggs until later in the day!  It was very exciting for the students.

I took over 200 photographs and some dialogue.  Mrs. Holden and Mrs. Christie also took videos and photographs, so we have to go through them all and choose some select pieces for the blog.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

We are having quite the winter here! We've had no students for the past two days due to snow days for extremely cold temperatures. The teachers have used the time to organize their rooms, document, plan and display, which was really a great opportunity for all of us.

120 exploration of the block area.
Provocation is, "How can we get to the other side?"
We are going to move this exploration into "Can you build a bridge?" With Popsicle sticks and play dough or plasticine if we can get it.

For today, though, I'm watching E, K and W work with the blocks to build a bridge.

E has found little boats, the size of Hot Wheels cars, and he's placed them on the blue paper which serves as water. K is attempting to build a huge, tall bridge.

Teacher- How do the cars get up there?
E- this is for the helicopter.
Teacher- how do the cars cross the water?
E- They can jump.
Teacher- Not every person driving a car is going to want to jump across the water because they won't feel that it's safe.
E notices a bridge on one of the books in the provocation area.
E- We can build something like this?
Teacher- Why do you want the bridge to be so tall?
They can't answer this.
Teacher- It's not "wrong." There are tall bridges. I just want to know why they are tall. What do you think?
They still can't answer, but decide that such a tall bridge is a hazard to their health, as it keeps falling down and threatening to hit them in the heads.
E is convinced cars can jump rivers, so I find a video online of what happens if a person drives off a ramp into the water.
He then seems to understand that jumping isn't an option.
E then suggests that helicopters can carry the cars across.
K decides to build a huge bridge in the corner.
W creates a bridge that works. She figures out that the blocks need to be the same heights or the cars can't continue on the bridge. She lays flat blocks across so to bypass the issue of requiring a ramp.
Teacher- Why is the bridge so high?
They still don't know.
Teacher- what is under the bridge.
K- Water, rocks.
Teacher- What kind of transportation do you go on in the water?
W- Cars! No, boats!
Teacher- Are boats always the same size?
W- Some are bigger.
Teacher- So why would the bridge need to be tall? What would happen if I take a big, big boat under the bridge?
W knocks the bridge down.
K- it would fall! It would hit the bridge!
Teacher- So tall bridges are okay, right? But what we need is to figure out how to get the cars up on the big bridge because we already learned today that cars can't jump, right?

They look around at the pieces.  I remind them that the blocks can be used on a diagonal, too. This is what they needed. Now they have the idea of ramps and quickly begin to build a bridge that will answer the provocation without requiring a stunt driver.
A successful bridge! 

A tall bridge
112- We used collage materials to create habitats for our clay ocean creatures. 
Using books and collage materials to create an underwater habitat

Lots of fun materials!

108- I pushed in to observe the habitat provocation for the block area. 

Teacher- Tell me about your habitat.
A- This is the sand, this is a bush and this is the fence, so he can't get out.
Teacher- This is a pet camel?
A- He is a zoo camel.
M- I don't know what this is called?
A- You don't know?
M- No. What is it called?
A- Where an animal lives.
I guide them to the word, "habitat."
M- I need to make grass. How would I do that?
Teacher- You can use anything in the block area to make it look like where the elephants live.
Only one student is making their habitat in the wild. The other three seem to be making zoo habitats. I realize that this is because they are usually only exposed to wild animals at the zoo, being that we live in a large, urban area.  I wonder if we could promote wild habitats if we used local animals that they might have seen in the country, a bit more wild than in the city. A trip to Hidden Valley Animal Ranch would be eye-opening, as that place allows their animals to roam fairly free in an open space. For now, though, we have an iPad and google.
Teacher- Do you think lions live in the wild, or are they always in zoos? I wonder about that.
K- I think they only live in zoos.
Teacher- I keep thinking about the Lion King movie. Did you ever see that?
K- yes.
Teacher- Where they in a zoo?
K- No! Can I see pictures on your iPad?
Teacher- Of course.
We look up pictures of lion habitats and he becomes engrossed in looking at many, many photos.
K- I don't have real grass to do this, though.
Teacher- But sometimes it's fun to see if we can make it look like that with the things we have!
K goes to work.
K- here's the lion, the grass and the sidewalks.
He's used fabric for grass and blocks for sidewalk.
Teacher- Sidewalks?
K- Oh! There aren't sidewalks!
He laughs and puts the sidewalk blocks away.
M- The blocks are the road and the white part is the rocks under the road. This is the elephant's house.
Teacher- Is this in a zoo? What else do you have in there?
M- A tree. And rocks.
Teacher- What are the white rocks?
M- The food. 

Below are photos of the giraffe habitat that another student was creating. Ms. Boyd documented a great conversation with her about the giraffes requiring trees.  The student needed more trees, so she created them out of the floral foam and pine cones.  Small giraffes ate off of the small trees, taller giraffes were placed near the taller trees.  I've included these pictures because I thought it was pretty neat. 

Giraffe Habitat

Giraffe Habitat

101 and 103- Preschool classes critiqued the Spring mural again.  We chanted the colors of the rainbow in a fun way that will help them memorize the colors for the color wheel in their regular visual arts classes and, as a result, I noticed more beautiful rainbows appearing on the mural. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

A BIG congratulations goes out to one of our second grade students!  Christian won Honorable Mention at the Peace Project Art Exhibit at Impact Artists Gallery on Friday! Congratulations, Christian!  I'm so proud of you!

120- I sat with the students in the block area of the room as their new provocation was introduced.

The students are exploring the block area for the first time.  The provocation is, "How can we cross the water?" The students are exploring bridges, modes of transportation, and ramps.

R- I'm doing a bridge. I'm going to pass the river.
Teacher- what is this called?
R- a draw bridge. Oh no! It's open now! You will fall in. Let's build another bridge. Let's cover up the river!
Teacher- Do we need the river? Do we use our river here in Buffalo?
R- I just don't want my car to fall in. There are sharks in there.
Teacher- In Buffalo?
R- There are sharks in the ocean.
A brings out a toilet paper roll and the car slides through it.
Teacher- what is that called, when you go in something instead of over it?
J- A tunnel!
The boys are playing on their covered river. J sits and watches. I ask for a bunch of blocks for us and the boys generously hand them over, and a car.
J is reluctant, so I set up three blocks and ask her how a car would get up there. She adds a block on a diagonal as a ramp. She tests to see if the car can go up and down the ramp and succeeds.
At this point, the boys are building a mansion over the river. They've found a tv block and added it to their mansion.
Teacher- is this answering the question of how to cross the river?
R- we already covered the river.
He sees J's awesome ramp bridge and says, "We can use that to cross and go to our grandparents' house!"
They continue to fill the mansion with furniture.
A- now we need food! Where are we going to cook the food?

R places two blocks together and tells me it's a fridge! He finds a large car in the block area and builds a garage around it. A used the triangular blocks to represent steaks to eat.

This is familiar!  The other first grade class made this same discovery in September!

118- The students are exploring balance. I pushed in and talked about visual balance to the "art group." The students created reflections demonstrating what they've learned and explored.

108- I pushed in and did some observational drawing of animals with the students to prepare them for their habitat drawings. 

I thought this was a pretty neat phenomenon. The window was reflecting on the whiteboard and it just looked so cool! I traced the plant, hoping the students would find this natural provocation enticing, but they really didn't seem interested! Maybe tomorrow! 

116- I pulled group two to work on observational drawings for their mural. I had an idea for this!  When they create a good practice drawing for a bigger-sized living thing (like a horse or dog,) I will take a photo and project the photo on the whiteboard.  This will allow them to enlarge their drawings for the mural while not wasting lots of large paper on drafts.

Spiders in New York

103- The students critiqued the mural before working on it today.  They chose a part that they felt was good and a part that needs work.  I asked them to try to fix the parts that need work by adding something beautiful.  I demonstrated neat coloring again.  They showed improvement with more visual demonstration. 
This became a beautiful tree.

B added a house and was very concerned about making everything more neat and beautiful.

102- I brought the other group in to work on their block houses. I've been asking them to look at their houses and really memorize the way they look- the number of windows, the location of the door, the house number- so that these can be as realistic as possible. 

Last, but not least, we now have a template for documenting and sharing the learning that is happening in our classrooms.  Here is one example:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

118- The group of students working on the Navy Seals story chose a format for a photobook to print their story and continued to draw and color the illustrations. They keep adding more illustrations and the excitement hasn't waned. There was talk of building aircraft into the block area and perhaps writing a second adventure with their characters. I gave them paper and I hope they'll work more on this at home.

116- I worked with my group of struggling artists and I could see that another student understood observational drawing! I hope that they will all have the breakthrough soon.  At this rate, I'm pretty optimistic!

108- I participated in a discussion about habitats as they begin their block area provocation. "What does a habitat look like?" is the essential question.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

120- The students are going to investigate solids and liquids on surfaces. As Mrs. Wagner explains this, R predicts, "I think the school is going to blow up [when the solids and liquids meet!]" This is a joke, as he giggles, but it shows that he has an understanding of chemistry safety. He then tells me that he is a scientist working in a lab.

The first solid is flour.
Me- What do you think this is?
G- It's for cupcakes.
Me- What will happen when the water goes on the paper?
N- It will get wet.
Me- What about the solid?
N- It will turn it white.
G- It will go away.
They put the flour and water on the paper. G rubs it in.
G-See? It goes away.
Me- Do you think it goes all the way away?
G- I can still see some of it.
She lifts the paper to see if it goes through.
G- I think it disappears, but I dont know how.

I had a meeting to discuss a possible collaboration between the Burchfield Penney Art Center and BPS #33, so I missed seeing 116 and 108 today.

112-  The students continued their study of ocean animals by creating the animals out of clay.  They learned more about slip & scoring and their attention to detail was so much better after drawing these animals in draft after draft in their classroom.

103- The class continued to work on their murals.

104- This class had an exciting discussion about hibernation using their classroom turtle as provocation. Mrs. Christie provided a huge box if the students were interested in making a bear cave. We looked at photos of real bear caves and the students chose a shade of brown paint and began painting the cave. We will continue this exploration by having the students research and draw habits and I'll introduce cave paintings, so we hope to add the drawings to the cave.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I spent the morning in skype sessions with our mentors, the Cadwells of Cadwell Collaborative, and teachers, discussing and exploring the ideas they had for their block areas.

118- The "Navy Seal" boys came in and continued to color their drawings.  I think we may have enough to photograph them and create the photo book now.

101 and 103 continued to work on the springtime mural.  Some things I noticed:

Two girls in 101 were coloring and telling a story at the same time.  One girl was drawing a heart while the other was drawing clouds and a rainbow.  "Give the heart feet," the second girl said, "that way it can climb up on the clouds!"  This group is doing a pretty good job of coloring things realistic colors and attempting to color in the lines.

103 had a few students who struggled with the idea of coloring within the lines.  One boy kept making scribbles in a circle.  I showed him and explained to him what we were doing, but he insisted on this scribbling motion.  The other kids were becoming upset that he was "ruining" their artwork, but then one girl suggested that his scribble could be a spider web. She drew a big black spider on the web and saved the day.

The left side shows the rainbow and "heart with feet"
and the right side shows the scribble saved by
the addition of a giant black spider! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

120- The students continued their study of solids, liquids and gasses with an inquiry into liquids.  They were given bottles of liquid, one at a time, to investigate and I recorded their observations.

116- I brought a group down to continue work on the mural. The church is almost complete and I've asked them to think of the living things they want to research.  I'm going to use the schools iPads to have them research their living things and draw them from observation.

108- I pushed in to continue documentation of the block area. The block area is occupied by Joe, H and Sadi.
They've set up a store to purchase bugs. They are playing cooperatively. The exterior of the store is composed of blocks, the interior is like a pen for the insects and they are using the human figures as shoppers at the bug store.

Again, this group is taking community places into their Reggio explorations!

Aviyer excitedly moves over to my group to show me that he's made a top out of the gears. He spins it and it works just like a real top would.

Ariana asks me to draw people holding hands, so I stop documentation to show her.  She ended up doing a beautiful drawing of herself and her mother holding hands.

Joe and H sing Itsy Bitsy Spider and the fireman figure is the source of the water that washes the spider out. They were really excited that they thought of this funny joke. 

Sadi has created a cage out of the blocks for the insects and lizards who need to sleep. He tells me that they aren't ready to wake up yet.

Teacher- I wonder what else we could use to make this bug store more interesting...

H selects the marbles.

H- We can use these as their eggs! The bugs are laying eggs!

The other kids think this is pretty awesome, so they fill the bug store with bug eggs.

I notice two extra blocks near the bug store, so I ask what those are for. They say they are for the entrance, but Joe notices that the triangular blocks would make a great ramp. He begins to roll the "bug egg" marbles down the ramp. He does this a few times, then goes back to the bug play.

I notice that Sadi has separated the bugs into categories. Spiders with spiders, ants with ants and what they call the "stinky bugs" are together in one corner, far from the others. 

They take the empty marble basket and make it into a nest for the lizards. I watch them count the eggs- nineteen eggs.

Joe- the lizards had a bunch of babies!
H- they had nineteen babies!
They are turning the characters into a story.
Sadi- the policeman is going to take them into the lizard thing. Those other animals are mean, so the people can't go near them.
H, as a little girl character- oh no! A tarantula escaped! 
Sadi's policeman attacks the giant tarantula and gets it back into it's cage, saving the day.
Sadi- The babies will die if you open that cage!
Teacher- why?
Sadi- because they hate sun!
Joe- that doesn't make sense because lizards are cold-blooded so they need sun. I know all about lizards and every animal.
Sadi- I think it's too hot out here in the sun for them
Joe- I watch animal planet every single morning. They said that lizards are cold-blooded and they need sun, but sometimes they need to go in the water when they get too hot. When they get too cold, they need sun.
Sadi- I don't think so.
Joe- I'm right and he won't listen to me!
Teacher- Would you like me to look it up?
They both want me to. I look it up on google and we learn that lizards can get too hot,  so they will go in the shade, but it takes an awfully high temperature to get to that point. They were both somewhat right, so they were happy. They went back to playing.

You can see that this investigation included their previous study of community places and community helpers. There was a scientific component with the discussion of the lizards.  We're going to use the block area to introduce a scientific and artistic exploration of habitats next.  I think the students have been leading up to the idea of habitats, after fully comprehending and enjoying the study of community, and we happen to have access to a science kit themed around habitats that will fit in perfectly at this point.

118- We read the Navy Seals story that the boys wrote with me to the rest of their class.  The students were impressed!  They couldn't believe their classmates were capable of writing at such a level.  "This needs to be a movie!" "We should turn it into a play!" "This could be a puppet show!" The ideas started flowing.  I can't wait to see what the students do at the block area now that they've had this inspiration. I took the boys back to the studio to add color to their drawings.  When the drawings are completed, I'm going to let them make a photobook out of the story and have it printed, so they can bring it back to their classroom and the children can read it and be inspired by it.

102- I brought half of the class to the studio.  The students chose wood blocks from the wood shelf that would represent their houses. Each child chose a color of paint that best matched the real color of their house and painted a base coat on their blocks.

101- The students continued to work on their acetate mural about Springtime.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2013

This week has been exciting and exhausting! The studio is reorganized and the students are noticing the difference the minute they walk in.  Everything is very open now and purposeful.

116- I brought Group Three in to work on their observational drawings. This group needs the most intense help with this.  Three of the six students have shown great improvement and I'm so proud of the them.  The other three still struggle, but I think they are starting to understand it more each time we practice.

118- My group from the previous day came in and worked on the story their block exploration inspired.  I used their own words, re-reading and reminding them as they told their story, so that there weren't any inconsistencies or loopholes.  They drew while they worked. I'm so impressed with both the story and their drawings. The level of creativity brought out of them simply from exploring the block area of the room and then allowing them time to work together to compose the story is so telling of their ability and potential.

I'm going to post their story and some drawings that accompany it, but my goal is to take this story and create a book for them using their artwork.

The Navy Seals Versus The Evil Doctor
By Evan, Justin, Raymond, and A

A navy seal named Frank One Eye was practicing how to fight criminals when a lady spy named Jessica captured him.  He was taken to a ship owned by a bad man named The Evil Doctor.  Jessica began to ask him lots of questions and used a taser on him.

Meanwhile, there were four navy seals who were friends with Frank. A quiet-but-deadly guy named Sniper 26, a computer genius named Cold Blooded Viper, a strong fighter named Dead-Eye Jack and a ninja named Frost who is really quiet like a bat and can jump like a monkey. The four navy seals decided to find Jessica and save Frank.  They invited their friend Emily to go with them because Emily has a phone to check for bad people and search for Frank. Jessica was pretending to be Emily's friend.

The navy seals found the ship and they saw that that there were lions on it. The seals put their gear on and Cold Blooded Viper and Frost put suits on the tigers they brought to fight on their side. They jumped in the water with the tigers and swam to the ship. 
Tigers, navy seals and sharks...

Emily, Sniper 26 and Dead-Eye Jack stayed on their own ship to fire cannonballs at the bad guy's ship. A shark came along and bit a big hole in their ship. Dead-Eye Jack had to go down there and fight the shark. He killed it and plugged the hole. He was so strong that he fixed it and then the boat started moving again.

Sniper 26 decided to hop on one of the sharks surrounding their ship because its a quicker way to get to the bad guys ship. Dead-Eye Jack and Emily decided to follow Sniper 26 and also rode on sharks.  On the way to the bad guys ship, Cold Blooded Viper found a killer whale and then started riding on it.
This story has a lot of action
The navy seals and the tigers all climbed the side of the bad guys ship. Then, they tried to find Frank.  They headed to the jail under the ship. They saw some of the bad guys and they fought them. The tigers attacked the bad guys so the navy seals could rescue Frank.

There were more bad guys and the navy seals had to fight them with their swords.  Then they had to find the key to save Frank. Emily used her phone to track the key and they found it. When they got to the jail, they saw that Frank wasnt there. Emilys phone showed them that Frank was on a submarine under the bad guys ship!
Oh no! Frank is under the ship!
Sniper 26 decided to call his sharks and Frost called in his vultures. The vultures flew the navy seals off of the bad guys ship and the sharks helped them get into the submarine. The navy seals had their diving suits on and they jumped from the vultures to the sharks. Dead Eye Jack used a hook to open the submarine door and Cold Blood Vipers Killer Whale made the hole bigger so the submarine would sink.
I love that there's a caption with this drawing, so I don't even have to caption it.

When the submarine sunk, the navy seals had to swim in to rescue Frank, who happened to have his diving suit on and his mask in his backpack.  The navy seals went inside the submarine and two of their sharks broke the jail.  Sniper 26 and Cold Blooded Viper got Frank out, while Frost and Dead-Eye Jack went to fight the bad guys.

When the water hit Jessica, they found out she was a robot, because the water made her start getting electric all over. She started shooting her hook guns at the navy seals whale and sharks but then she blew up, along with her submarine, just as Sniper 26, Cold Blooded Viper and Frank One Eye swam out of the submarine.

Emily brought the navy seals ship back by pushing a button on her phone. She found The Evil Doctor, Jessicas boss, and his house is a castle, filled with weapons and booby traps. All of the navy seals except for Sniper 26, and Emily head to his castle on their ship. Sniper 26 stayed with the ship.

When they get to The Evil Doctors castle, the navy seals sneak into his castle. They took out their weapons and prepared to fight the bad guys.  The Evil Doctor heard them coming and he used a zipline out of his window to get to his ship.  The navy seals followed him on the same zipline and they started to get the bad guys.
The Evil Doctor's Castle and Zipline Escape Route
The Evil Doctor called up one more submarine and went into it.  The navy seals and Emily hopped back on their own ship and followed him. Emily tried to make the weapons stop with her phone. They followed him faster and faster and they tried to sink his submarine with their ship by bumping it. His submarine stopped and they went on it and they fought the rest of the bad guys.  They cornered him and captured him so that he could be put in jail.
The Evil Doctor is in jail.
Once The Evil Doctor was in jail, the navy seals, with Frank and Emily, celebrated with a party.


108- The class seems to have lower attendance today, so instead of pulling a group, I push in to document.
I sit with a group using colored transparent markers, magnifying glasses, and tweezers. The interesting thing is that the markers are divided by a piece if styrofoam and the styrofoam itself has become an item to investigate. They crumble tiny bits of it and use the tweezers to carry the pieces, one by one, from the storage container to a jar.
Jaylin- we're doctors. These are boogers!
I wonder how the light table would enhance this play (I imagine X-rays and the transparent colored viewers, similar to magnifying glasses but lacking magnification, would be incorporated into the pretend doctor play) so I turn the light table on and lay out a few items I think might enhance their play- the transparent colored viewers, rubberbands, small colored rectangles and a peg board.
Teacher- you may go to the light table if you would like to study your items there or use the items there to help you with what you're doing here.
They all say, "No, thanks" and continue with their previous play.
Within five minutes, A, went to the table and grabbed one of the transparent viewers. He takes it back to the table and uses it paired with the microscope. He shows me and the other students. Soon Sadi and Jaylin move over to the light table with their doctor items.
Sadi- I'm looking to see how many boogers are in the jar.
A uses the tweezers to lay out the rectangles. 
A- it's food for the people in the hospital

A doctor, hard at work
Of note, one of the students in the kitchen area made a discovery today! The heater near the kitchen has a grate on top which creates the perfect grill! He places the pretend meat on it and begins to grill!

Grilling on the heater!

The talk of doctors, the discovery of the kitchen, the creation of a theater yesterday- these incidents show that our social studies theme of places in the community and community helpers is being fully explored and incorporated in their experiences.

112- Ms. Natal and I decide to tie the ocean investigation we've been working with all year and bring it into the block area. The provocation was adding shells and foam pieces that resemble waves of sea foam green to the block area. Ms. Natal asked the question, "What does it look like under the ocean?" and set that question up on paper near the block area. I arranged the shells and foam in an interesting way and we then introduced the area to the children.

At first, they looked at us like, "What do you want us to do?" But then David and Jaydee started to set up scenes and explore the possibilities.

David found a darker piece of foam and it resembled the dorsal fin of a shark. The animal he is investigating is the shark, so he is making a visual connection here. He sets up walls on two sides of the area where he works, which allow him to pile up the foam to create more volume. Then he places the "shark fin" in the pile so it looks like the shark is under the water.

A- there are rocks on the bottom and this is the branches.
Ms. Natal- Are there branches under the ocean?
A explains what she means and we figure out that she means kelp.
She is using the foam as water and places it over the shell "rocks."
Teacher- what is on the bottom of the ocean?
A- rocks and sand! I'm going to put these here so the rocks can't be seen.
Teacher- what are those?
A- the water.  Now the branches fall.
Teacher- what does your animal, the whale, eat?
A- when they aren't potty trained, they don't eat fish,but when they are, they do?
Teacher- you mean when they are young, they don't eat fish, but they will when they grow bigger?
A- yes!

 101- The students worked on their spring mural.  I decided to introduce oil pastels. I thought that oil pastels would give us the brightness of paint, but would offer the students more control and a chance to work on their fine motor skills. 

A small section of the Spring mural

A small section of the Spring mural

104- I pulled the same six students who created the portraits for the Many Faces of Puerto Rico video and had them go back and touch up their portraits.  I will be hanging these six faces as part of the Limitless Boundaries Art Show at the Student Placement Offices for the month of February!  Congratulations to those students on a job well done! 

And the blog is caught up! Such a busy, informative, exciting week!  Could it have ended on a better note?  I don't think so!  

I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend and remembers why we celebrate it! We'll be back on Tuesday!


Thursday, January 16, 2013

This week has been filled with more documentation sessions for me, than art lessons.  I have been documenting the changes going on as we focus on our block areas in the rooms I work in when the students have center time, and showing the teachers the way I question and document, based on the research I've done on Reggio Emilia.

120- The students are working on science kits, but this group loves to add a creative flourish to their scientific studies, so I don't feel like art is ever separate from what they do.
Teacher- tell me about the solids.
Esmerelda- I see something black, it's little because something is black. I think it's something to eat.
Jolimar- I have to eat these.
Kialis- she is pretending.
Genesis- these are hot!
Kialis- it looks like beans
Kialis looks through a magnifying glass.
Kialis- now I see purple!
Esmerelda suddenly begins to cry. She wants more of the peas and rice.
Teacher- How can you get more of these?
Esmerelda- I can tell her. Genesis, I want a turn.
Genesis didn't intentionally take all of the solids, so she didn't even notice the problem. She invited Esmerelda to work with her.

The groups switch and now I have Eliani, J and Jean Luis.
This group jumps on the container and immediately begins to play. Jean Luis and Jose work together to use the funnel to fill a container.
Eliani- they look like seeds with a little bit of rice in there.
The group decides to pour all of the solids into one container and they work together to accomplish this goal.
J accidentally spills a few on the floor and asks Jean to help him pick them up. Jean Luis is quick to help his friend.
Teacher- I wonder where these came from.
Eliani- maybe they came from the woods.
J- or from shopping
Mrs. Lauer comes over and asks the group what they are doing.
Eliani- we're doing science!
Teacher- what is it called when you are learning about something in science by playing with it?
Eliani- a project?
Teacher- an ex....
Eliani- experiment!
J calls Mrs. Lauer over to show her what happens when the solids are poured out of the jar.

The groups switch again and now I'm sitting with deinariya, Windeliz, Keyra and Natalia.
Natalia- we should put all of this stuff in here, okay?
Windeliz- I think it is going to be the same.
Keyra- see, they are beans
Natalia- if you have beans and then all the flowers grow up.
Keyra- these are beans.
Natalia- these beans are like you put water on it and the water will go inside of it and make the flower grow up.
Keyra- these are magic beans
Teacher- magic beans?
Natalia- if you get water inside of it, the flowers will grow up.
They fill one bottle and put the cap on and Keyra looks at it with a magnifying glass.
Natalia- they look bigger when we use this. If you shake it, it's like a maraca!
They decide to fill the other bottles to make a maraca for each kid.

Windeliz and Keyra play their maracas and laugh.
Mrs. Lauer asks them to try to fill the bottles with and without the funnel and compare the two.
Deinariya- the funnel is easier
Natalia- you can use the spoon and you can share them, too.

Windeliz- we've been sharing! 

It's a maraca!

118- I came into the room while the students were at their centers. The focus for the teachers this month is on enhancing the block area of the room, so I headed over to the blocks to see what was going on.
Justin- We made a ship!
Evan- It started like dominos, because if you hit this, it will hit this and this and all fall down.
A- It looks like a ship, though, so now it's a ship.
Evan- It's halfway sinking
Teacher- Why is it sinking?
A- It crashed into the rock and started sinking.
Justin- There are alligators. If we would put lions up here, the lions could protect the ship.
Evan- Navy seals could jump in and help.
Justin- Maybe we need pirates. This is the pirates' prisoner and she's a spy.
Teacher- This would make an awesome story! Would you like to go work in the studio on a story with me?
They all said yes.
 Raymond, A, Justin and Evan are the students who head back to the studio with me. They draw their scenes while excitedly telling me about the characters and giving me a basic idea of what their story will be.

Title- the navy seals vs. the evil doctor
A navy seal named Sniper 26
Another navy seal who is into computers named Cold Blooded Viper
A navy seal named Dead Eye Jack
A navy seal named Frost

We wrote half of the story on Thursday and completed it on Friday, so it will be in Friday's post.

108- Ms. Boyd has added a lot of interesting new supplies to the block area of her room. The students are using today to explore the new materials in many different ways.
J- we're playing golf!
She has created what looks like a mini-golf hole and is using a block to putt the golf balls around the area.
Roshelys- I want to make a tail.
Jeanivette- I'm making a cake.
Teacher- what is it for?
Jeanivette- for you!
The students used the Pom poms and pipe cleaners to make antenna headbands.
Jaylin- I made animal headbands. Roshelys is a ladybug.
J- This is fun! You should try one on.
Monah- they are having a meeting with bugs.
Roshelys drops flower petals and announces that someone is getting married.
Monah has a block tower set up with a rectangle of single blocks set in front of it. She tells me it's a gate and shows me where it opens to let the people out.
Monah suddenly moves everything out of the gate and starts over. She layers rose petals around the perimeter and places marbles inside of it. The bugs are then placed on the raised tower. She tells me that the marbles are seats. It becomes apparent that the raised area is meant to be a stage and the enclosed rectangle is where the audience sits.
Teacher- is this a show?
Monah- it's the bugs' show. There are going to be some people in it, too.
Teacher- what do bugs do when they put on a show?
Monah- this is a make believe show, so the bugs will be talking. The people from the audience will come up on stage to be in the show.
After she sets up the stage and theater, she creates a sculpture using straws pressed into a floral foam circle.
Monah- this is for when the bugs get tired after the show. They will crawl inside of it and go to sleep.
Another group notices Monah's awesome construction and asks her what it is.
Monah- it's a theater! I'm putting these [marbles] here in case the bugs fall. I'll put the rest in their bed.
At this point, jaylin becomes interested in what Monah is doing. She fetches more marbles.
Monah- now, the show is going to start. 
She starts to line the dolls up in the theatre, then decides to lay them on the Rose petals in the back of the theater. I sense that she is frustrated that the dolls can't sit- they can only stand or lay.
Monah- these two came together.
She seats the couple together, apart from the first group that "arrived."
Jaylin- what if the bugs were the audience?
Monah thinks about that. It solves the problem of the people not being able to sit. She agrees and they find more bugs to serve as audience members.
Jaylin brings over one of the antenna headbands she made earlier in the period, gives it to Monah and says, "now you're a bug, too!

The Bug Theater

Roshelys- these rocks are heavy, like a real rock. I think they are real. I'm a flower girl!
She takes two baskets of Rose petals and carries them around.

Jeanivette notices that the floral foam has become stuck in the straw. J takes it and decides to find a solution. She finds a twig and uses it to push the foam out of the straw and is very proud of her ingenuity. 

103- I introduced the Spring mural lesson to this class, the second pre-k class.  I showed them the multiple pieces of artwork from ancient China, contemporary China, Monet and Botticelli. We brainstormed images of Spring. The list has a few similarities from the other class, but they were also able to think of some new ideas.  I rolled out the mural and showed the students how to draw the flowers from observation. I showed them how to trace the ladybug cutouts and shapes.  Then the students began to draw on their own.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

118- A group of students came to the studio with me to help me reorganize the studio. I gave them the task of organizing our wooden shapes.  They sorted the shapes into twenty or so different groups. A few key quotes I heard were:
"Thin wins!" (when noticing that the thin blocks were the most plentiful)
"These look like noses!"
"There are SO MANY different shapes!" 
"These are all flower shapes."
"These are all ball shapes."
The finished product

102- I sat with the group working in the block area. Jada is lining tiny green squares of fabric along the top of a horizontal rectangular block, which is balancing between two vertical rectangular blocks of the same size. She then places rocks on each of the squares, excepting the center one, on which she is lining up more fabric squares.

Jazmira is lining up the fabric squares and placing a flat-sided marble on each fabric square.

Cameron has created a platform by placing a large, flat piece of wood into the cubbies, so the wood sticks out.  He has horses and Native American figures going for a ride off the platform. They jump to the second table of blocks and then jump back again.

At the second table, Devon and Max are playing with zoo animals. They've built an arch with Ingrid. She has eight foam rectangles with the flat-sided marbles resting on top, one per rectangle, sitting beneath the arch.

Marciano joins Cameron at the platform and turns it into a diving board. The horses are jumping a few times on the board, just as you might on a diving board, then "diving" back to the table.

Marciano- we've made a sidewalk for the horses.

Teacher- is it up high?

Marciano- they need to fall.

The boys demonstrate how the horses fall.

I ask Jada to tell me about hers.

Jada- I'm making a tower of rocks. I'm putting rocks on it so people can get them.

Teacher- Tell me about the middle spot.

Jada- I'm making that for the pretty rock. It needs to be high.

Ingrid- Do you want to know what I'm making?

Teacher- Yes!

Ingrid- I'm making a zoo for the animals, but first I have to make the rocks and then I can do the animals.

Jada- Look! I found a mattress for me!

She refers to two fabric squares of a matching color. I now notice that she is placing the fabric squares in an organized manner- the pile has sections of royal blue, hunter green, and sky blue.  The fabric beneath the stones is all light green. The color choices are purposeful.

Jazmira is now creating an arch like Ingrid's zoo, with a rectangular bridge at the top with the flat-sided marbles on top.  In front of this are blocks that created two second, smaller arches that meet at the center, with rectangles beneath them.

Ingrid soon borrows the idea of lining up the fabric squares, like Jada.
Jada- Are you copying me?
Ingrid- Yes.
Jada doesn't seem to mind. She points out that hers isn't quite the same because the colors are different. She is struggling to keep her tower of fabric squares from falling, getting frustrated at this point in the building process. She decides it's tall enough and places the "pretty stone" on it, which serves a double purpose- it is displaying the stone and the stone is holding the fabric in place.

She then begins to decorate the base of her tower with blue fabric and a special rock on that, with other rocks lined up around the perimeter of the base.

Jada- This rock has blue under it. The beautiful rock needs to be there so they can see it.

Teacher- how do you choose which is the beautiful rock?

Jada- I look for the beautiful colors and a beautiful shape.

Teacher- what makes it different?

Jada- the color is light, but the other rocks are black, brown and black, white, brown and black. There are three that are the best. I have two now and I have to find one other one.  Oh, this is a good one. There are three that are the prettiest and they need to be seen.

A display for the beautiful rocks

104- We drew their houses for the block house project.  I asked them to close their eyes and really think about the details on their houses, teaching them the word, "detail," in the process. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The students are continuing to experiment with different solid objects.  They have a list of descriptive words for the solid objects and this experimentation is free and open to allow them to make more discoveries about what they are working with. R- we are making a big giant castle.
Eliani shows me that she made a cross out of Popsicle sticks- This looks like it's for the God.
Deyneira attempts to measure the castle with a ruler to see how big it is.
J helps R build but then he accidentally knocks the structure over. "I'm so sorry," he exclaims.
R tells him, "it's okay."
R and J then become very upset by Eliani, whom they feel is taking their supplies. They start to snatch and hoard supplies. 
Teacher- do you think you could solve this problem in a better way.
R- she took my paper, Miss! 
Teacher- so what should you say?
R- Eliani, can you please give me my stuff back?
Eliani complies and the table settles back into working.
N and Jean Luis remain quiet, watching their loud friends. I notice that R has now taken all of their supplies.
Teacher- R, do you remember what it felt like when Eliani took your stuff? I think you might have done that to your friends over there.
looks over and quickly hands a pile of supplies back to his friends.
The mother

The baby in the baby's room

The experiment moves to the floor.

 Table three
Esmerelda asks for my attention again. She shows me what her table is building. 
Esmerelda- I'm making a person.
Jolimar is helping Esmerelda. 
Teacher- tell me about your person.
Esmerelda- This is a mommy and this other one is the baby. The mama said "do not cry" because the baby is crying and she wants the baby to go to sleep.
Teacher- do you have a baby in your house?
Esmerelda- I have a three-year-old brother.
She shows me parts of the body. The bottle cap is the belly. The Popsicle sticks with clothespins and twist-ties are the hands. She proceeds to make the baby's room. 
Teacher- What happens next? 
Esmerelda- the mommy will go to work and the baby will sleep.
Kialis notices the person.
Kialis- that looks like a ninja turtle!
Jolimar- yes, it does!

Table Two
Teacher- What are you guys making?
Gabriella- We're making things with clothespins.
Teacher- What is it? Tell me about it.
Gabriella tells me that she is making a chart like their class behavior chart, which uses clothespins to track their behavior. 

Table One
Table one has created a house out of the materials. The interesting thing I noticed about this table is that they moved to the floor to spread out. The table was too confining.  I thought that was an interesting development.

108- I wasn't sure if I'd be available the entire period, due to our visit, so I pushed in.  I was able to document two really interesting situations, so I'm glad I did!

The students in 108 are working with the blocks.
Teacher- can you tell me what you're making?
They tell me that one structure is a castle and the other is a restaurant. This is the class who turned their kitchen area into a restaurant and studied community helpers, so the restaurant idea is still intriguing to them. Castles are a constant theme in all of the classes, so I'm not surprised by that.
Kelis- I'm going to make the oven.
Jayden- how do the people get up here? Are they jumping?
Kelis- this is the fire! And the mailman is dropping off the mail.
Jailyn- the parents are talking
Kelis- this looks like a cake with people in it!
They build the restaurant to a height of about four feet and then they start to worry that it will fall on someone.
Jayden- maybe we should take one or two off
Kelis- don't add more- we can make another one!
Jayden- i have an idea! I want to put a person on each part
Kelis- we could just each make our own.
Nobody seems to like that idea, so they all continue to build one structure at a time, together.
The restaurant on the left and the castle on the right.

Jailyn notices that one of the thin blocks can create a teeter-totter effect. She tests this by tipping one side and the doll falls off.
Jailyn- if you throw something on this, it will pop up and fall.
At this point, the structure falls and they all erupt in laughter.
Teacher- jailyn, you noticed something with this block and a person.
She shows me now the person pops up when you hit the other end of the teeter-totter. The other students come over to test it out, as well.
The other structure "accidentally" gets knocked down (I'm not sure it was an accident) and they went back to building, abandoning this little physics experiment in favor of the building activity.
There is a definite understanding of balance and symmetry in these structures, even though they might not be able to describe what they are doing using those words.

At this point, they are no longer interested in building up. Instead, they build a wide rectangle that is only one block high all around.
J- this is our pool!
Jailyn tries to balance two thin pieces that meet at the top to create a slide for the pool. She painstakingly works to get the balance right and eventually succeeds. The boys place "diving boards" around the pool. Kelis and J start making a maze at the entrance to the pool.
Jayden- but we're making a pool!
 maze is how you get in the pool.
Jayden seems impressed with this cool entrance idea.
Jayden- so you go through the maze and then you get to swim in the pool!!
They added a fireman standing guard.
Teacher- what is the fireman for?
J- they are having a pool party so he's there to make sure there are no fires.
The maze continues to grow all around the carpet. Jayla is adding more diving boards. This is a pretty awesome swimming pool.
They build a bridge for people who want to skip the maze.

Jayden- the fireman is filling the pool with water for people to go inside it.
The pool with the maze entrance

Monah, yalin and joe are working with the gears. They've created fishing poles out of the gears and they are using the large bucket the gears came in as the water. Joe vividly describes the imaginary fish that Monah catches. 
Joe- you caught a little crawfish and now the shark ate it, so you can get him! It's a shark! It's huge with big teeth!
And they all scream in pretend fear.
Monah- oh no! Now I caught an electric eel!
She writhes around like she's being electrocuted and joe laughs.
Yalin is relaxing, fishing by himself in the reading chair. 
Aviyer comes over and yalin offers his fishing pole. 
Yalin- do you want to try?
He brings extra gears over and tells them that these are the fish.
Yalin- we need a lot of fish to fish! 
Aviyer started to put the fish in the bucket, but yalin said he wanted the rug to be the water. He's excited about all of the fish that are in the water now. 
Joe- this is a spiky fish!
Aviyer- the blue ones are the electric eels. Don't put one on me!
Monah immediately tosses one to him and he pretends to be electrocuted.
Yalin decides to build a fishing pole for Aviyer so they both have one. He then teaches Aviyer how to use it. 
I'm pleased with the social skills of this group. They are communicating well and paying attention to the ideas and feelings of the other students. 
Fishing is fun!