Tuesday, March 29. 2011
It’s all coming together
On one of our walks through the campus, the children saw a plethora of patterns. Patterns were everywhere, on the ground, on the architecture and, on the plants and insects.
Vittoria: I see a ladybug.
Emi: They have polka dots
Vittoria: The pattern on a ladybug is polka dots.
The children have been very interested in the animals that live in the environment here at the Lab School. They were inspired by our investigation of the phenology garden to find out what kinds of birds live here on our campus. We began this investigation by going on a bird hunt to all the different areas on our campus. In small groups we discovered that five different types of birds live here with us. There are ducks, crows, hummingbirds, finches and bluebirds. From here we made committees. Each bird has a dedicated group of children who are ready to investigate and report back their findings to the whole class.
The first group went to the library to check out some books that will give us much needed information.
Through these investigations, the children became aware of the indigenous birds of southern California that live on our campus. I observed the children building birdhouses in the block area. This initiated a conversation about birdhouses. What kind of house would a bird need? Did you notice any birds that needed houses in the phenology garden? I wonder if there are different sized birds that would need different sized homes? These conversations lead to further discussions about what birds eat, what birds would like to rest on and the conversations continue.
The children have been very curious about the birds that live in the environment here at the Lab School. They were inspired by our frequent visits to the phenology garden. In one of our visits a group of children saw some birds and wondered what kinds of birds live here on our campus. In small groups we began our investigation by exploring different areas of our campus to find out how many different type of birds lived here. We discovered five types of birds: ducks, crows, hummingbirds, finches and bluebirds. This lead to small group committees that would be responsible for investigating and learning more about a specific bird. Each group would focus on a particular bird species, collect documentation and share their findings with the class. Questions for research: What do they eat? How many eggs do they lay? Do they live together or alone? Do they make outside nests or are they cavity nesters?
During the past few weeks the children have been investigating the answers to these questions. Each group has taken walks throughout the campus in order to better understand their bird's natural environment. The children have also checked out books from the library to take their research further. Most recently, the children have been sketching their own birdhouse designs for their assigned birds. The sketches are informed by the research they have done, and the children are taking shape and size as well as where to place their birdhouse into careful consideration. The children have also been continuing their exploration of patterns by incorporating color and shape patterns into their designs. Our next step is to compile the sketches of the children from each group into unified plans from which we will build our five bird houses.
Sketching Crow Houses (4/25/11):
Ryan: This is a hole for the finch and this is a hole for the crow. This is where their bed is. There’s a circle right here to block the door just in case other birds try to come in. There are four poles because it has to stay up.
Teacher: What are the towers for?
Ryan: They’re for big birds. And this one is for many little ones. When they first come out they go through the heart one. It doesn’t have to climb because I made a little tree branch. These are branches and slides. The branches are so the babies won’t fall.
Haze: This is the baby’s bedroom and this is dirt under it. That’s the mom and that’s the dad and those are the baby twins.
Teacher: Oh, so an entire crow family can fit in the house.
Tolu: It’s a factory. It makes food and it puts flowers on the table.
Cole: This is a crow rocket ship house. This line is like a floor that moves and it moves the crow in and out of the house. It’s a long tube. A crow could sneak in here. There are two exit ways.
Sketching Duck Houses (4/29/11):
Lawson: My house is made of logs.
Nicholas: This is a window on the door. This is a chimney, and this is a diving board. The ducks climb up the stairs and then they jump into the water. You know why I drew the sun so low in the sky? It' the early early morning when the ducks just woke up.
Kauri: My house is in the water. It floats!
Clark: This is dirt. This is a swing and this is a gate. This hole is where the ducks come in and out.
Finch Houses by Avery and Hendrix:
Hummingbird Houses by Beckett and Emily:
Sunday, February 20. 2011
The children had a wonderful experience planting native California plants in our phenology garden. Our journey began as a result of a study of the creek that some of the older students did. The creek is a special and an essential part of our environment. It runs through our campus and continues underground, eventually reaching the ocean as part of the Ballona Creek watershed. In their study, the students in Intermediate became aware that the creek is unhealthy. It has high levels of chlorine and is surrounded by invasive, non-native vegetation. Because of these factors, the area doesn't provide much of a habitat for fish, birds, insects and other wildlife. In a school-wide effort to help restore the creek, every child helped replace some of the invasive plants along its banks with native grasses. This effort in turn inspired our phenology garden. For several weeks we have been observing and monitoring (in small groups) the growth of the plants in the garden and recording changes in the ecosystem. During these explorations the children will be learning about the characteristics of living organisms and thinking about the changes that occur in plants. Keep watch as the children continue to explore their ever-changing environment.
Phenology Garden Conversation 1/8/11
At the Phenology Garden:
Teacher: What do you notice about your plant? Has it changed?
Miles: The measuring stick is not even big enough for my plant!
Teacher: How did you measure it? How did you solve that problem?
Miles: By using two. You have to pull it really straight and add up the numbers.
Teacher: What do you know about plants? What do plants need?
Ryan: It makes the air be nice. If we didn’t have any plants we wouldn’t have oxygen. Plants need love and talking.
Kauri: If you
talk to a plant it will grow. Let’s try it! Hi, plant!
Jordana: Hello, plant!
Kauri: We talked to the plants and they just sat there. It doesn’t do anything. I think it just sits there and grows.
Teacher: Why do you think that happened? I wonder how long it takes for a plant to grow.
Ryan: Because they don’t have any water. The roots need water to grow bigger. These are squiggly roots. They drink from them. The water goes under the soil and then the roots get the water. If it’s a big plant it will take a long time.
Back at the classroom:
Miles: There were a very lot of slugs around one plant.
Teacher: I wonder why there were so many slugs near that plant. What do you think?
Miles: Maybe it smelled good.
Nicholas: Maybe they liked the leaves.
Ryan: They like the plants so they can eat the leaves.
Miles: Maybe there are Venus Flytraps and they can eat the slugs! Slugs eat leaves, I know that. They’re like worms; they’re good for the soil.
Nicholas: They’re like a snail out of a shell.
Phenology Garden Conversation 1/25/11
Teacher: What do you notice about your plants? Have
they changed? I wonder what will happen next.
Teacher: What do you notice about your plants? Have they changed? I wonder what will happen next.
Talia: Mine grew and it changed. It grew when we gave water to it, and it has leaves.
Beckett: It would get its leaves off because it’s fall.
Hendrix: The top leaves are more new; the bottom leaves are more brown.
The children are working collaboratively on an art piece that will represent the work they are gathering from the phenology garden. They are sketching and measuring their plant and then making a print. The children will be sewing each print together for a community project.
Mixing Skin Colors
The children are continuing to mix and name their skin color, coming up with very imaginative and important ideas.
Naming Skin Colors (2/10/11)
Joe: Because it looks like a peach.
Teacher: Why did you name your color “Bear”?
Ella Rose: Usually some bears are brown.
Teacher: But a lot of animals are brown. Why did you choose bear?
Ella Rose: Because they are interesting to me.
Teacher: Why did you name your color “Kauri’s Primary Color”?
Kauri: I think it’s an important color.
Teacher: Why did you name your color “Super Color”?
Clark: Because I’m super!
Teacher: Why did you name your color “Beach Peach?”
Zizi: Because I love the beach and it’s my favorite place.
Continuing self portraits using our mixed skin color
The process of self discovery began with a line drawing self-portrait. We then looked even closer at the parts of our faces; eyes, nose and mouth. To gain a deeper understanding the children represented these parts in a 3-dimensional clay relief self-portrait. We then had the experience of mixing our individual skin colors and naming them. As we are continuing our work on self, we will use our named skin color and introduce a new medium, oil and chalk pastel. The children are now working on a two-dimensional colored self-portrait. Having many experiences examining, discussing and representing self (using many different media) helps in understanding individuality and sameness.
Making letters out of clay
Having the children work with clay to build letters (as they did with numbers) helps in the process of understanding the letter by physically manipulating the clay to form it. We encouraged the children to examine each letter's unique identity. While the children worked we discussed their representations, giving them the opportunity to talk about their ideas and reflect on their work. This kind of work provides a foundation and practice for letter forming and recognition.
Tolu: How do you make this?
Zizi: You take balls of clay. Then score then take some slip and put in the shell. Push down, see here.
Kauri: Take this tiny tiny shell and poke it.
Piper: Put it in your hands and roll your hands.
Tolu: Like this?
Piper: (Looking at Tolu trying to roll) Yes!
Tolu: It looks like a pot. I’m going to put stuff around it.
We have been working very hard on our self portraits in relief and are sending them off to be fired. We will then match our skin color to the glazes.
Kaimana: I can see brown and black on my eye. There's red and pink.
Looking at nostrils
Miles: I notice my lips are really small.
Vittoria: Its kinda bumpy around the edges.
Piper Rose: There is a big hill right here (on nose).
Vittoria: It’s kinda bumpy.
Ella Rose: It’s thick.
Vittoria: It’s smooth.
Miles: I’m really blending it in. That sort of counts as a cheek.
Piper: I have a smooth part over here.
Ella Rose: My hair goes down to here.
Miles: How did you do that?
Emi: I did it with the paint brush. Like this (shows Miles with the paint brush).
Miles: Like sticking the back in it?
Friday, January 21. 2011
We began our week thinking about our upcoming holiday, Martin Luther King's birthday. We wanted to give the children a sense of who Dr. King was and what he found to be important. We read several books on his life and how he grew up. One of the books, called Martin's Big Words, uses Dr. King's Big Ideas and puts them into Big Words. In a whole group we discussed what these Big Words represented and how they were important to us. We then brainstormed Big Words of our own, what they meant to us and how they were important, all the while making connections to our own Safe School System. The word that meant the most to the children was...
“Big Words” Conversation (1/10/2011)
Teacher: Why did you choose the word "love?”
Vittoria: Because we love our moms.
Clark: and school.
Piper: Love the world.
Kauri: Love the earth.
Teacher: Can you tell me what love means? How do you treat someone when you love them?
Teacher: What does “dream” mean to you?
Ryan: When you’re asleep sometimes you dream about something that is beautiful.
Piper Rose: I dream about my mom and dad.
Cole: I dreamed I was a wolf.
Beckett: I dreamed about Sonic the blue hedgehog.
Kauri: A dream means that you dream of something you really like the best.
Hendrix: I dream about the whole school. Drawing, coloring and all the people.
Avery: I had a bad dream once.
Piper: We first thinked of another word but the paper wasn’t big enough. The word was “together.”
In our conversation on the meaning of the word "friends", it was interesting how many times the word "together" came up.
Cole: It’s nice because you’re together.
Vittoria: You play together, run together.
Jordana: Eat together. Because we love each other.
Tolu: Be together.
Nicholas: Because we like to be with each other.
Zizi: Sometimes when you’re friends, you want to get married when you grow up.
Talia: It doesn’t matter if we have different ideas.
Teacher: Tell me more about that.
Talia: If Avery has an idea and I have a different idea we can attach them together. Like if I wanted to go to the beach and Avery wanted to go to the park we could first go to the beach and then to the park.
Teacher: That’s really thinking about what both of you want and working together as friends.
Eyes, Nose and Mouth
Teacher: What do you notice about your eyes?
Vittoria: I see my eye lashes.
Piper: I see my little dots.
Miles: Me, too. I see the inside.
Piper: I can see the blue color.
Vittoria: My color too. Everyone has different eyes.
Emily: I have eyelashes.
Miles: They keep dust out of the eyes.
Vittoria: And there is a socket in your eye. To keep the eye in.
Jordana: I see the white stuff.
Teacher: What do you notice about your brows?
Vittoria: Little lines.
After the children finished working on their two-dimensional self-portraits, we continued to look even closer at our faces. In order to deepen their understanding of self, they have been creating their facial features three-dimensionally out of clay.
Zizi: Do your eyelashes go on top of your eyebrows or under? [she looks in the mirror]… oh, under. Look at my teeth!
Sophie: They are attached.
Ryan: Sometimes my bangs cover my eyebrows.
To support the children in glazing their clay self-portraits in relief, we began having conversations about our skin color and the similarities and differences. Taking a deeper look at ourselves helps the children to know more about themselves and each other, becoming more aware of how we are the same and how we are different. The children used tempera paint of many different colors to mix and match to their skin tones. To personalize the paint they mixed, each child named the skin color he or she made.
Mixing Skin Colors
Teacher: You mixed your skin colors today. How did it go?
Haze: First I used red, I put it in a pile I used with pink so then I called it “Flower Sparkle.”
Emily: I mixed some colors together. I called it “Heart Peach.”
Piper Rose: I kept trying to put all of the colors on here and I saw which one was my skin color.
Teacher: What did you end up naming your color?
Piper Rose: “Heart.”
Miles: “Fire Peach.”
Lawson: This was my color and I named it “Peach Tree.”
The tree project (Ongoing investigation)
The children have been observing the changing colors of our tree. Over winter break there were many changes. Now the tree is bare and the children went out to do some observational drawing and have conversations regarding the changes.
Teacher: What do you notice about the tree? How has it changed since we saw it last?
Lawson: There are only two leaves on it.
Kauri: It’s getting ready for winter. It’s so cold, all of the leaves fell off.
Teacher: I wonder what the tree would look like if we came back in a few weeks. What do you think will happen next?
Avery: All of it will fall.
Beckett: The leaves will come back.
Kauri: In the spring.
Avery: I know it is really true.
Teacher: If the leaves do come back, what color do you think they’ll be?
Lawson: I think the new ones will grow back yellow and red. By Kauri
Anusha: Maybe green, because they grow like green. You know, salad is made of leaves.
Kauri: I think in the spring all of the leaves will grow back green like they used to be.
Friday, January 7. 2011
We are on the move!
We continue to look closely as scientists, exploring our trees and leaves. The children are comparing the similarities and differences between broad leaves, needles and scales. In edition to these observations, the children are investigating the various textures and qualities of bark.
Blocks and Dramatic Play Conversation (1/7/2011)
The children in Room 17 are hard at work in the block building area building amazing stories with blocks.
Joe: A zoo. I got animals and blocks, that’s what I had. I made squares with the blocks. I put the animals in the squares.
Beckett: I made a big statue. The rhino was watching the fire on TV. The lion was napping, the seal was barking and the elephant was driving the truck.
Kaimana: I worked in the house.
Princesses at still alive and well as the children in Room 17 act out their make-believe fantasies.
Anusha: We were playing princesses. Vittoria was the mean mom.
Vittoria: But not to them, to other people.
Anusha: I was the nice queen.
Emi: I was princess Fiona.
Emily: Me too.
Building Numbers and Letters Out of Clay
The children worked with clay on cardboard building numbers and letters. This process of physically manipulating the clay to form the number encouraged the children to examine each number's unique identity. While the children worked we discussed their representations, giving them the opportunity to talk about their ideas and reflect on their work. This kind of work provides a foundation and practice for understanding number sequence and recognition.
Cole: I put clay on top of the cardboard. Then I painted the cardboard and the number.
Thursday, July 22. 2010
In the last days of the school year the children were busy sanding, painting and drawing imaginary trees on wood. They began by sanding their pieces of wood. Then we studied many different artists' renditions of trees.
The children mixed paints to make unique colored backgrounds.
Then on the painted wood they created with pencil their own whimsical trees, remembering all the important parts. Each child took their time painting each detail.
A special congratulations to Everett for publishing his poem "Nature" in the Los Angeles Times Kids' Reading Room, Sunday, July 11!
Yellow flowers bloom.
Green leaves glimmer in the sunlight.
Shining pools of water gush in the brook.
Have a Great Summer!
This is my last blog entry for this school year. I hope you'll join me again in September! I wonder what our kids will teach us then.
Saturday, July 3. 2010
Bark, Leaves, Trees, Roots. The 2009-2010 Room 17 investigation of trees and plants comes to an end. However, curiosity and wonder of the human spirit continue.
Through the movement of her hands, Kana explains how buds bloom:
Kana – We need to do tiny snakes like this; then the leave is going to come bigger and bigger.
Kate – You make tiny little snakes like when you use clay. There are more leaves and it is open more.
Simon – The bud exploded. The leaves look like a pancake.
The children watched closely as the buds on our liquid amber tree blossomed into leaves. This extraordinary event happened very quickly. Each day the buds opened up a little more to finally reveal their surprise, the leaf. To deepen their understanding, the children used clay to represent each stage of the buds in bloom.
As the children worked on their visual representations, they took their time looking closely at photographs of the buds in bloom.
We used these representations in a video that demonstrates one aspect of the children's year-long investigation into how the leaves of deciduous trees grow and change.
You can watch the video here:
The children worked hard on finishing our three-dimensional mural. They had in-depth discussions about bark--how it grows, where it grows, what the different textures are and whether the bark is alive at all. They had investigated and created different types of trees (deciduous and conifers) and looked closely at various leaves, such as pine needles and scales. Now we needed to create the leaves on our deciduous trees. We did this by drawing the silhouette of a leaf on colored burlap. The children then stitched the outline with yarn.
Some of the children chose to paint their leaf with watercolor on fabric. The outcome was beautiful and informative. All the children understood that the deciduous tree has a broad leaf.
Our study of roots had led us deep, down underground. We began our investigation by having a discussion about roots. What did we know about roots and what did we want to find out about them? We then read some information about roots and why they are so important to trees and plants. The children then had a wonderful time exploring the large root clusters of the sycamore tree behind Room 17. They were armed with paper, clipboards, pencils and magnifying glasses. Our scientific team discovered that many different kinds of insects live amongst the tangled roots.
Spencer - The roots helps the tree getting water and dirt.
Arwin - Animals live in the tree and on the roots. The roots go under the ground and the warms help them.
Yo - The roots grow.
Zaire – Little trees have little roots.
Danny – The roots keep the tree steady. The squirrels hide their nuts in the tree roots.
Danny – The tree looks cut down but the roots are still there
Teacher – I wonder why trees have roots?
Danny - To live.
Everett – To suck up water.
Eitan – To grow.
Dagmar – I water my tomatoes every day so they can grow over the plant cage.
Maggie – They need time to grow.
Zaire – Roots hold the tree still.
Teacher – If the tree didn’t have roots it could fall over?
Maggie – They are like our bosses, we work for them. They give us air.
Jessica – and paper.
Adrian – and food, like fruit.
Eitan – Trees also give us shade.
Simon – and animals a home and food like leaves.
Dagmar – We have tomato plants, great fruit trees, lime trees.
Teacher – and they all need…
Children - Oxygen.
Teacher - I wonder if the worms help the trees.
Teacher - I wonder if the worms help the trees.
Simon – There are worms. They carry leaves and go underground and put them on the roots.
Josie – I see the skin of the tree.
Marley – It looks like an octopus. The roots are rough.
Noah – The roots have little plants coming out and the small roots come together.
Simon – The roots look like spiders. They have lots of, maybe 100 of roots all twisted together.
Everett – The roots have lines. The roots feed the plants. They take in water.
Eitan - They look tangled. They are different sizes because they start small and they grow bigger. The roots take in the water.
Joanne - I see lines, some are shinny. I see rocks inside the big root.
Dagmar - Some of the roots have bumps on them. I saw a little on them.
Preston – The skin of the root is hard.
Everett – That root has another plant growing on it
Dagmar – I found something yucky. That one looks like an elephant's trunk.
This investigation led us back inside the classroom to create a root system for our tree mural. On these last days of school in June the children had a lot of fun talking and laughing while they worked together to make a complicated system of roots out of clay. They kept in mind to represent the taproot and the root hairs.
Simon – Roots are very strong.
Adrian – Roots suck up water into the tree. We are going to connect them to make them stronger.
Preston – The roots go over each other so it gets stronger, so the trees don’t fall down.
Simon - The roots are grabbing the earth. I'm making root hairs.
Eitan – Even bushes have roots.
Adrian – They do.
Preston – Yes, I think so.
Simon – No!
Everett – If a strong wind comes it won't blow away.
Teacher – I wonder how the water gets to the bush if they don’t have roots?
Simon – (taking a moment) Oh yeah, I guess they do need roots.
Everett – I want to make a long root because roots are long.
Zaire – Roots, they just don’t run straight. They run diagonal. Crooked. They never stop growing.
Teacher – I wonder why they are crooked?
Laila – Because they go in different directions to find the water. That’s why they are not straight.
When the children were finished creating the root system for their trees, we gave them color. We used watercolors of vibrant browns, greens and blues.
So… We end this wonderful school year looking forward to the next. I wonder what we in Room 17 will find lurking in the roots of our trees here at UCLA Lab School. Thank you for loaning me your brilliant, inquisitive, kind and -- most of all -- fun children. It was a truly remarkable and exciting experience to be able to listen and document your children’s thoughts, understandings and ideas.
Thursday, May 13. 2010
Continuing our long-term investigation. How does it all work?
We have been representing our ideas about what pine needles look like and how they work.
Everett: Let's get to work!
Adrian: I’m going to wrap this up.
Dagmar: I need lots of green wire.
Danny: I put the wire around the paper.
Everett: I think pine needles are evergreens.
Adrian: I taped paper on to make it straight. I put tape on it. Then I put wire to make it tight.
Noah: I used cardboard. Then I wrapped it with paper and tape. The tape made the paper stay on.
Everett: Me and Dagmar are working very hard!
Dagmar: I put tape all along the bottom of the fabric and then I taped it to the stick and then I put string around the tape. I also made a pine needle with wire.
Everett: I wrapped green tape all the way down until I almost reached the bottom. Then I wrapped soft string around them. I taped around the string and connected the three of them together.
We have been looking closely at our liquid amber tree to gain a deeper understanding of the life cycle of a deciduous tree. We are investigating when and how the leaves on these trees grow. We have discovered that it happens very fast! We needed to observe our tree every day to watch this miraculous process happen. Some of the children are still grappling with the question of: Will this tree have flowers or just leaves?
March 12 March 15
March 16 March 17
March 18 March 19
Jessica: Leaves are sprouting. The top ones are sprouting, because they are getting more sun.
Danielle: The top of the tree is sprouting first because it’s almost summer.
Arwin: I think the top of the tree sprouts first, before the bottom.
Jessica: The bud looks like a bumpy pencil.
Arwin: The bud is spiky like a thorn.
The tree is in its birthday suit.
Danny: The tree is in its birthday suit.
Donovan : The leaves are growing.
Kate: There are lots of them on the top.
Danny: I see little hoops by the bud. The bud feels smooth, but not behind it. They’re blooming and becoming trees.
Zaire: There are green buds. A flower or a leave. That’s true. Some trees have leaves and some have flowers.
I think a leaf is going to come out of the bud.
There were no leaves when we were here before, now there are more leaves.
Maggie: All the trees have leaves now. All the leaves had blown off. I noticed that there are little stumps up there. Like here, and they are round.
Dagmar: I think it’s a branch.
Zaire: They will grow and make a bud.
Dagmar: No, I think some of the branches are already cut off.
Zaire: It doesn’t look cut off.
Dagmar: Come over here and look.
Maggie: Look at these leaves up there. They are green. They look like flowers, but they're not.
Dagmar: Do you know why they are sprouting higher up?
Teacher: I wonder. Why?
Dagmar: Because the sun is up there. It’s getting more sun.
Buds on the rug
Marley: It’s like a baby out of its mommy’s tummy.
Eitan: I think some buds will be flowers and some leaves.
Laila: I think buds will form into flowers and leaves.
Danielle: I think the buds will fall off and the leaves will keep growing.
Dagmar: I know of a plant that has leaves to eat. Oregano.
Preston: I think the leaves coming out of the buds will be fuzzy.
Kate: The leaves come out kind of slow.
Preston: I think they are fuzzy because they can live longer.
Kate: I wonder why leaves are fuzzy?
To better understand the blooming of a leaf, we took an even closer look (as scientists) at the photos of our tree buds blooming and other buds blooming. We then sketched from the photos and the real-life tree buds. Having the children sketch buds helps them look even closer and notice more about how a bud blooms. Next, we will represent buds blooming using clay and dramatic arts.
An educator teaching at one of the childcare centers at Harvard university has read our blog to her children and they have written us a letter, saying they are interested in sharing ideas about trees.
After the teachers read the letter to the whole group, the children came up with some ideas of their own.
Zaire: Cool! How are we going to do it?
Dagmar: We can make a jacket for the book and send the pictures.
Eitan: We can give them bark and make pictures of the trees.
Our mural of understanding is well on its way. In our morning meeting we made a list of vocabulary words that we have been learning in our tree investigation. The children then wrote the words on paper to label our mural.
Working as a whole group to label our tree mural, the children discussed in great detail where the labels needed to be. Ramsey explains how redwood needles are different from pine needles.
Eitan: Yes, conifer and deciduous trees are different. The deciduous and evergreen are different, because the deciduous tree drops its leaves.
Zaire: Bark. The outside is dead, but the inside is alive.
Everett: The pine tree and redwood have needles.
Teacher: Are they deciduous or conifers?
Everett: Conifers. They don't fall off. They are evergreens.
Teacher: Which tree would have leaves that fall off?
Jessica: Sweet gum.
Teacher: And they have...
Children: Broad leaves that fall off in winter.
Currently we are working on broad leaves to finish our mural.
Saturday, February 27. 2010
We have been busy with many projects! We've been representing pine needles, preparing for our Chinese New Year celebration, painting our faces, glazing our clay self portraits and beginning our three-dimensional clay portraits.
Preston: This is fun!
Danielle: I put the fabric on the pointy side so it won't cut people. The tissue paper is (points to the twig at the base of the real pine needles.)
Maggie: I added leaves so it would look like a pine needle. I cut the leaves.
Zaire (coming over to the table): Can I do it? I want to do it!
Preston: It's really fun to do it!
Dagmar has an idea... She talks about cutting up some sticks. She shows me some loose pine needles and a teeny tiny twig. Then she suggests cutting up the wires to make pine needles.
Zaire: This is not easy.
Laila: I know how to do this.
Zaire: Don't ever give up! Or you won't be able to do it.
Josie: Don't give up.
Laila: I made it stick when there was tape on it. I used green paper for the needles, that's why I made them so big.
Josie: I did a lot of them and started tying them and I had fun with it.
Zaire: I cut little strips of paper and I made the pine needles -- like these strips -- and I put tape to wrap them, and that's what I made.
Eitan: I used a lot of pieces of paper. I cut strips, I put tape on the bottom to attach it, and then I put my name on the stem.
Donovan: I put lots of tape. It makes it tight.
Joanna: I made my pine needle with paper and sticks and wire. I wrapped the paper around the sticks.
Ramsey: I tied the wire around.
Expressing ourselves through face painting
Danielle: I was painting a mask with lots of colors. Kana was exploring the different colors.
Donovan: I am Mr. Incredible
Simon: I am a vampire. They suck blood
Everett, Jessica and Maggie are going to be clowns and be in the circus.
Celebrating Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is one of the most important times of the year in Chinese culture. Thank you to Kate's mom Jane, who has been helping us celebrate. The children have been creating individual lions and collaborating on a dragon.
A big THANK YOU to Maggie’s mom, Sharon. This week we had a glazing extravaganza. The children glazed their clay self-portrait reliefs last Friday. They used a color chart to best determine witch color would be closest to their skin, hair, eye and lip colors. The children loved the names of the glazes that matched the various colors of their faces. There was Brown Cow, Vanilla Dip, Birthday Suit, Butter Me Up, Blue Heaven, Down to Earth and more. Theses were wonderful new names as a way to tell the color of our skin.
We have began our three dimensional exploration of self, with help from Max, our clay expert, and his friends from the Graduate School of Art. In the last five months the children have mastered many skills working with clay. It was wonderful to see their focus and confidence as they worked on their three-dimensional portraits.
We began by putting newspaper around tha armature and covering it with a plastic bag. Then seccuring the plastic bag and newspaper with masking tape tightly to the armature (a huge thank you to Arwin’s dad, Erwin, who built 25 armatures). We then put slabs of clay over the plastic bag and newspaper. The children had to whack the clay very hard with a wooden paddle to thin it out and begin their portrait work.
Friday, January 22. 2010
After our two-week break, our Liquidambar (or Sweetgum) tree has lost all of its leaves. There have been many discussions regarding the changes that are happening. We have been observing and sketching the tree, its branches and buds. Most of the children believe that the buds will open into leaves and or flowers, but some are still not sure what will happen.
Eitan: The tree has no more leaves.
Kaitlyn: Is the tree dead? It has no leaves. The leaves fell off during the winter.
Danielle: I notice that there are only two leaves that are brown. It’s starting to grow again. I only see buds. Buds are when they grow again.
Danny: There are sprouting buds, little green flowers, and leaves will come out.
Donovan: Flowers and leaves will come out.
Adrian: Leaves will come out in Spring.
Maggie: I think that the tree will get lots of flowers.
Spencer: I think tulips will come out of the buds
Maggie Danielle Laila
We are in full swing designing our mural. Each child will work on a part of the mural to represent their understanding. The children have been looking closely at the differences and similarities before they begin to sketch their trees.
Arwin: The pine tree has leaves on the top of the tree, not on the bottom. I notice that the oak tree has one trunk. The pine has many trunks.
Everett: The pine is taller than the oak tree and the oak has more leaves.
Marley: The pine tree is skinny and the oak is wider.
Everett: The oak tree and the sweetgum look alike, they both have thick trunks and lots of leaves.
Yo: Sweetgums have lots of leaves.
Teacher: And sweetgums and oaks have what kind of leaves?
Everett: Oak leaves have broad leaves and so do sweetgums. Redwoods have the same shape, like big triangles.
Arwin: I know it is a redwood tree because it has pine needles.
The teacher holds up a photo of a eucalyptus tree.
Teacher: Lets take a look at this tree.
Yo: (motioning with his hands down) The leaves are down.
Arwin: They look like arrows pointing down.
[Looking at an oak tree]
Evertt: The branches on these kinds of trees grow huge.
Teacher: What other tree has leaves that grow in a similar way?
Some friends went out today and yesterday to continue gathering ideas regarding our tree and its changes. Back in the classroom, the children reported their findings.
Maggie: The tree was getting really old and had no leaves on it except one or two.
Teacher: Did the two little leaves look alive?
Everett: They are still on the tree.
Danny: The bark on the tree was peeling.
Teacher: Did anyone notice anything else?
The teacher then read some of the children’s words. Danielle said that it had only two leaves.
Teacher: I went to look at the tree and I also saw there were leaves caught in the tree. I wondered if my friends would notice them. But I also wondered what was happening to the tree.
Donovan: It got old because it is cracking.
Dagmar: I think that’s what a skeleton tree looks like.
Teacher: Donovan said flowers and leaves would come out of the tree buds.
Danny: Oh my gosh! There are buds sprouting on the ends.
Teacher: What will be coming out?
flowers and then leaves.
1-11-10 More conversation and ideas about what is happening to our Liquidamber.
Zaire: Wow! There’s only one leaf. All the leaves are gone except one.
Dagmar: The ends of the branches are pointy. It has no leaves, but it’s alive.
Eitan: Oh, I can see buds when I get closer.
Zaire: There’s a bud on every branch.
Laila: It kind of looks like a skeleton.
Josie: I see bumps on the branches. I think the leaves will grow from it.
Marley: It doesn’t have any leaves.
Jessica: There are lines on the bark.
Simon: A flower will come out of the bark.
Kana: I don’t know. What will come out of the bud?
Laila: I think leaves will come out of the bud.
Marley: Flowers will come out of the buds.
The clay self-portrait reliefs are finished and being fired. The children have been working very hard and are looking forward to the next step, which is for the children to glaze their reliefs in colors that most closely match their own eye, hair and skin tones.
Friday, December 11. 2009
We have been looking closely at trees, asking questions, and reading books about them. We have had many discussions about leaves, bark, and roots.
After many experiences with bark — feeling it, looking at, reading about it — we went to the library to ask for an expert's help in finding more information about whether bark is alive. Our librarian, Mrs. Kantor, led us to the encyclopedia.
The Difference Between Deciduous and Evergreen
To strengthen the children’s knowledge and understanding about deciduous (broadleaved) trees and evergreens (coniferous trees) and their bark, we read a book and had a whole group discussion. Some of the children are still grappling with the concepts and with understanding the differences between the trees. However, most are comfortable understanding bark and how it works. The children now know that bark is not alive, but the inside of the tree is. We still have to do more investigation on whether the very center of the trunk is alive. This, we are not sure of. We are at the point in our investigation where we are ready to represent our learning. We will do this by creating a mural about trees.
Our mural will represent our understanding of the trees around our school. To begin, we took a walk to look at all the different trees we have on our campus. We then decided to pick five trees (oak, liquidamber or sweetgum, eucalyptus, pine and redwood) to depict in the mural. Our mural will show the different textures of the tree trunks and their varying leaves.
Conifers — grow in cold places; have narrow hard leaves, needles and scales; and produce pine cones. They keep their needles.
Broadleaved — have broad, flat leaves; develop seeds, which often are enclosed in a hard nut; produce flowers; many shed their leaves in fall.
Teacher: Hmm… So is bark alive?
Teacher: Do you remember how the bark felt that we were investigating?
Looking at Faces
We are continuing to look closely at our faces and represent our thinking through clay. Next we hope to match the color of the glaze to our individual eye, hair and skin tones.
Spencer: My nose is strait then it has a bump. It isn't so sharp. It's a little smooth.
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