Showing posts from March, 2010

A really useful tool

This little, tiny drill is a great tool for making holes in cardboard, popsicle sticks and other soft wood, and even layers of paper or fabric. I got it at a craft store years ago. At first I was hesitant to let children use it, but have found it to be safe and less prone to slip than other hand drills. I think that is because it is small child sized, and is turned just by the child's hand (there is no mechanism or moving parts). In the pictures, Nolan is using it to drill holes for electrical poles in his foam-core street.

Representing Place: Rainbow Room

The Rainbow Room children (4's turning 5), have done a lot of investigation of the Forest Space at our School (see for more on the history of that). The class goes outside most every day, and really knows it well. The children have each chosen a favorite place in the Forest and has photographed and drawn that place. Today Page brought in a group to continue working on making paintings of their favorite place in the Forest.
Some of these photos are not easy to paint. They don't have a clear focal point and contain elements like fallen leaves and running water (sorry about the flash reflection on the photo below). Still, the paintings are really beautiful, made over several sessions with much attention to detail. Besides practicing close observation and painting technique, Page has the children mixing paint colors to match the colors in their place.

Reese was just starting to paint in his drawing. I noticed that while mixing, he described the colors in the p…

Holidays in the Studio

At Sabot School,we try to keep true to our negotiated (or emergent, or contextual) curriculum, and one of the ways we do that is by not bringing holidays into the school. This leads, at certain times of the year, to a lovely respite of calm within the school, while outside, holiday hubbub reigns.

However, children often think about the holidays they have celebrated, and they bring those ideas back to school with them. We have had Halloween costumes on Valentines day and very often have much making and giving of presents in the weeks after the Winter Holidays. Last week, Afton brought Saint Patrick's Day to Sabot. Afton's big sister had a Leprechaun at her school, and he walked around and left green footprints where ever he went.

Afton drew this plan for a Leprechaun trap;

and showed it to her group of girl friends. They came
to the studio to make a trap that would catch a Leprechaun.

Here is the idea; A leprechaun might sneak into school at night. While he was looking around, …

Scenes from the 3rd and 4th grade class -project time

I have been enjoying helping the 3/4 class during their project time 3 days a week. We started with some simple questions about why people leave places and move to new ones, but as the students have learned more about their families and about the big ideas of immigration and migration, more and more questions have presented themselves.
I hope that the class can see that inquiry like this does take time. Even the students who quickly got a lot of family information and found out where their family was before they got to this country, now have to put that in context. What does it mean that my ancestor probably left Ireland between 1845 and 1855? (It was during the Irish Potato Famine). Now you have to go find out more about that! The students seem to get discouraged at times by the lack of easy answers, but are re-energized when good stories or potential connections are uncovered. I have faith in the cycle of inquiry, including the part where disequilibrium is felt. I know that this, wh…

Personal Maps

Through the inquiry into Place, our umbrella project for the year, I am starting to understand more about children's developing sense of place, as well as the development of the concept of 'map'. When Page brought this group of 4 year olds to the studio to draw maps, several chose to draw maps that are personal to them (as opposed to maps of the school or forest).  Lolita chose to show a map based on a game, "Indian Jones", complete with a path through a jungle. She is the first I have seen to draw a key to a map, something she learned from the game. She said 'This shows how many points you got from the people, there are guys with bow and arrows here, and the green part is the jungle." 
The brown part is Indian Jones whip " His brother can't go in the jungle, but Indian Jones can swing (on his whip), and he can go somewhere without his brother, and then he can bam something, and then his brother can go there too." 
This map incorporates landm…

Superheroes Defined?

Sara brought a group to the studio to do some work with super heroes. Hoping to encourage collaboration, we suggested they use a long piece of paper to draw a 'movie', a long story with lots of parts. They started off by listing the super heroes they would use in their 'movie'- The boys listed themselves first, and then few children who were not in the room,(McGuire and Emerson), Batman (who flies in the air), Supercat, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and then Beverly said "I like Dora". Lucas was alarmed: "Wait, No, she's not super. She's not a superhero. She doesn't have a cape like super heroes."
"I like Dora", Beverly replied.
"Dora is not a superhero. You need Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is a Super Hero, Dora is not."
"I like Dora", shrugged Beverly.

Sara asked if Spiderman has a cape, and we talked about McGuire and Emerson, and Super cat (he has paws that push him through the air), and if they had capes or not. L…

Purple People in the Garden Room

This is what happened when the girls who made themselves in to 'Purple People' in the studio, went back to their classroom. Sara did this piece of documentation.
-click on pictures to make them bigger.

A classroom relflection on the Rainbow Makers (Forest Room)