Thursday, June 7, 2012

Be present

Absorb each line and curve.

Delight in the tiniest of detail.

Wonder about a canvas that is round.

Observe the focus and concentration on the face of each painter.

Feel the pleasure as the colors dance to create

Enter the  "mind's eye" of the children

See the forest as they see it,

with texture, layers, life and moments embedded

How does a collaborative canvas evolve?

Moment by moment by moment

Time slowed 

So that decisions are intentional and thoughtful

The children paint using the smallest of small brushes

Breathes are taken and then exhaled

The painters stand back from the canvas and reflect

The painters leave the studio to touch, smell, observe and examine their subject.

It evolves two or three children at a time

It transforms from a white blank space

in moments, hours, days and weeks

without deadline or rush or hurry

free of judgement or expectation

(Beautiful striking pictures taken by Cheri Wolff, our artist in residency)


Think past the eye
Think past the stars
Think past the possible
And think of the impossible

a poem written by Kate Driebe (a fourth grader at our school)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


The Kindergarten has confessed that part of their motivation to build the Ferris wheel is the intrigue of the wood shop and working along side of Pippin. There are many tools and trying to figure out how each one works is part of the fun. 

It is similar to a segment from This Old House on PBS. The children guess what the use for tool the might be and then perhaps even demonstrate how it might work. Sometimes they are close to being accurate but other times they realize that they are holding the tool upside down or banging it when they should be slowly screwing. 

The children work with Pippin to bring their designs to life. They are the architects and the carpenters for the Ferris wheel. They have learned that there are times to hammer and times to glue. They have used both a drill and a clamp and made circles using a band saw. 

The fun is in the process of creating and designing. 
Although there is a sweet taste of satisfaction giving the  Ferris wheel a spin after three months of planning, collaborating, sketching, building, discussing and problem solving. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Small Steps

A white canvas sat in the Kindergarten for a few weeks.

Pippin created the circle canvas to support our intention to represent the Forest walk. 

It was both exciting and intimidating all at once. We knew that we would have to slow the process of representing so that the children could ALL own it and have their voices heard.

Drew  felt that our first step was to draw
 the line that existed between the sky and the land....the topography. The class again walked the Forest path but this time we experienced the path spatially.... as a series of "ups, downs, leveled land and turns".  

Oliver's photographic memory captured the nuances of the walk and then he alone began the tedious work of drawing the line that separated the sky and the land.
Lucas and Tom offered  solutions when Oliver encountered a problem.

"My pencil dropped off the canvas."
"The line-up tree (the departure point) needs to move up (on the canvas)."

When Fiona looked at the canvas she realized that Oliver would was short on space.... horizontally this time.
"The Canyon is too close to the end of the path."
The topography was like a puzzle. Completion could be achieved if all of the pieces fit perfectly.

In the Fall, many of the children messed about and then spent hours exploring the idea of color washes with Cheri.

As we began to represent the Forest on the circle canvas we decided to revisit the beauty of the Forest and the sky using color washes. 

Cheri offered Eric Carle's illustrations to inspire the children and give them a sense of what was possible.

Scratching with wooden sticks--
Blotting with paper
Blowing with straws
Creating layers that resembled the ground and the sky.

The children noticed that their paintings had texture, depth, a foreground and a background.

As the children sketched the landmarks on the Forest path  they did not seem to recognize the canvas as having a foreground and a background. Perhaps the curving canvas made this  difficult to discern for the children,

Lorenzo pointed out that the Forest was everywhere and so should exist all over the canvas not just on the Forest path. He said that this was also true for each landmark.