In September, our class went to the Studio, Anna, our atelierista, had placed a record player on a stool. Many of the children did not recognize the turn table.....they had never seen one before. They were open to all of the possibilities of the contraption before them.
Some of the children determined that the turntable looked and felt like a road. So after a lot of messing about the children attached a car to the needle using a wire. It traveled around the turntable and as it did Reese sang a tune. It was silly, fun, collaborative and engaging. As one child left the group, another would join and more would be figured out.
We asked Anna if we could borrow the record player. How could we represent the Trip To Nowhere (the name given to the song documenting all of the potential stops the car could make).
A circular piece of paper became a game board. It resembled a record. The boys sang the song and the waited for the tired turntable to run out of steam and stop. Would the car park at the gas station, the bathroom, the toll both or the hotel?
Tom thought we should make a fence around the turntable to keep the car from zooming off into the air. They constructed a a new model for the Trip to Nowhere. It was three dimensional and the children seemed very satisfied. The model did encounter some problems but the children were committed to solving the problems.
The children were telling the story through simple automation. The repurposed record player was a catalyst and also the means by which the Trip to Nowhere moved forward. Thestory spinning reminded several of the teachers of the old zoetropes.
Nancy, the Meadow Room teacher, had a Phenakistoscope which is very similar to a zoetrope. The children had many experiences with this nifty invention both in the classroom and in the Studio. They sketched their animation and watched as their drawings became a fluid story. It was the spinning motion of the disc that brought the story to life.
The children wanted to create a huge zoetrope. We struggled with this idea. How would we be able to scaffold this intention?
Cheri, returned to our classroom after an inspiring weekend in Charlottesville.
She had seen a large circular canvas capable of spinning. It seemed to meet some of the criteria. What would the children think? What story would we convey on the inside of the large zoetrope-like creation.
Pippin, our on-campus woodworker extraordinaire, supported our endeavour.
Let the story spinning begin.