Showing posts from March, 2015

Filling in Facts: Looking at Leaders

This is Mayor Dwight Jones, who leads our city. New City Hall, where he works, is in the background.

Irene Carney, Executive Director of our school. "She doesn't have a principal's office, though"

President Barack Obama and a drawing of the White House where he works.

A wonderful moment as the children discussed how to draw President Obama.

There's always a big question about when and if to share information with children, especially "academic" information. To me, the time to share some facts is when either the children need some information that they aren't likely to stumble upon on their own, or when stopping to research one thing will stop momentum on something else that's really important.
In this case, the children have spent a lot of time learning about Richmond, but are kind of hazy about who runs it. Most have heard there is a Mayor in city hall, which they have explored quite a bit. However, when it came down to who is in charge of the…

balancing, tacit knowledge and teamwork : "we can know more than we can tell"

It began with Carter laying a big rock and some sticks on one end of the see-saw, but when he climbed on the other end, he went right down to the ground as usual. As he looked for more sticks to put on the pile, other boys-Tucker, Tavish, Oliver and Dyson came to help. Reed added his coat to the pile. They borrowed everything I had in my pockets and added that. Every couple of minutes someone would climb on the side opposite the growing pile of sticks, rocks, wood and car keys to see if the pile was heavy enough to hold them into the air. Eventually, when the pile was heavy enough, the boys took turns testing the balance, though that was not a word they used. Tavish was the one who discovered that if you lay and scooted way back you could move the (by now very heavy) pile up a bit. He also tried standing and bouncing his legs- another way to lift the heavy end of the see-saw.

I love these examples of children spontaneously testing theories together. Tacit knowledge is defined as know…

Teacher-research, children's sense of place, and maps

"I want to make the Earth in the Studio" What do you know about the Earth?
"The Earth is round and round and it has houses. I know the Earth has all kinds of things." -Sammy, 3

How do we learn to think about place? I have been puzzled by the way children may seem to know a place, to be able to represent it verbally or visually sometimes, and other times that knowledge seems to fall apart. How can you know and not know something? Why does it seem a child who has a 'mental map' of a place can appear to lose that picture when inquiring more deeply? I have just found a new idea, one that can help explain this phenomenon. It is the idea of a 'cognitive collage' posited by Barbara Tversky. Best as I can tell, her idea is that we assume a place appears in someone's head as something like a map we might pull up on a computer or have in our glovebox.  But really, until people know a place very, very well, the image we have in our heads is more like a coll…

Photography to Paint: Crossing Modes

Some children in the garden room have been taking photographs with an ipad. Most of the children are three, and some are starting to turn four. The pictures are interesting in that so many of them are very minimal and graphic. Many of them contain strong lines or shapes made by shadows. They have a different quality than the photographs we have seen children of this age take with a camera.
Sara and Jen, the teachers in that room, let me work with the children in re-thinking the photos in paint. The aim here was to draw attention to the composition, to encourage the children to notice the colors and shapes. I wanted to give them an opportunity to revisit the idea of composition, something they had discovered on their own with the ipad.
Here are some of the photographs with the paintings they inspired: