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Showing posts from January, 2013

Kindergarten signs, day 2

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Tannin, Jesse, Dante, Lydia, Peyton, Nora and I went outside into the blustery wind to look for signs around Sabot. The children brought their sketch books so that they could draw the signs we found. As we looked around, we talked about the signs. The children noticed that some were a little grouchy.



 Dante drew this sign that means 'three way stop' after asking me what it meant. I explained that it told drivers to stop and then take turns going through the intersection.
"I think that is a friendly sign" he said.

Kindergarten sign group

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Martin Luther King day inspired the kindergarteners to think about ways they could help the community, and so I told them about my dream of friendly signs all around Richmond. They agreed that this could be one of the things they would do. During the discussion at circle someone in the group mentioned that signs with funny faces on them would make people who were grouchy feel more friendly. 

The next day a group came to the studio to start planning some signs. My interpretation was that we would plan a way to take pictures of people making funny faces, and then make the photos into signs. But as we sat around the table to talk about it, Jesse said he wanted paper to draw signs on. Everyone agreed and so they got paper and markers and drew funny faces instead of photographing them. As they drew and laughed, an idea emerged for a sign-game called:
First people would see the sign above, and then a series of funny face signs would follow, making everyone feel friendly. 

game of games 3

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We brought the game of Mixture to the big room so the whole Meadow room class could play together.
It was a lot of fun, as you can see.

a game of games 2

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The boys came back to the studio practice their game and write down some rules (I'm the one who suggested they make rules). Tyler named it "Mixture", because it mixes together all of the games they like.


Rules 1. for ages 3-4-5-6 all the way up 2. put pieces on the start  (the good guy death star) 3. throw the dice 4. count the symbols (the dots on the dice) 5. move how many you count toward the deathstar
6.Get all of the characters of the good to fight all of the bad. (where ever you land, everybody plays that until the      bad guy is defeated) 7. redefend -that means, if you really hit someone, you       have to  go sit by the wall or on a bench, or you        have to do 16 pushups.

New Year's resolution

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Here at school I always have a long list of things I'd like to get better at. I know this is just a part of teaching, especially for a reflective practice which requires daily revisiting, re-thinking, revising and then re-launching the next day, the next week and the next school year.


However, for this new year, there is one thing that I really want to keep working on more than anything else, and that is the friendly sign project that began last year with the Rainbow room children. I can picture so clearly a series of child-designed signs popping up around the city, and this vision makes me want to make it happen. But I also think it would be a great project to use to bring together new collaborations. I have asked other classes, schools and college professors looking for someone to partner with, but haven't had much luck so far. 

Maybe it doesn't just have to happen here in Richmond. Maybe some of you reading this would like to collaborate with the Sabot preschool children …

A Game of Games

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The Meadow room teachers and I have been talking about engaging some children who want to play good guy/bad guy games, which sometimes get too rough. This has been a perennial topic for teachers who work with four and five year old children. With our whole-school focus on relationship as our umbrella project this year, Nancy and Robyn are focusing on the idea of bringing everyone into connection. Intellectually, that can seem more challenging when play revolves around lightsabers and battles, but in another way we can understand this play as designed for connecting with others, sometimes quite literally by banging bodies together. 
So a group came to the studio to think about fighting games. Some of the children play these games regularly and some do not. I asked the children "What games do you like to play?"