Monday, January 28, 2013

At this Moment in the Kindergarten

New Beginnings

At this moment in the Kindergarten many ideas are in process. We gave closure to our first project of the year, Defining the Line Up Tree (outside of our classroom). So now we are again playing, exploring, representing and exchanging thoughts, ideas and our interests. We are constructing and collaborating.

As teachers we are observing, listening, recording and documenting. We sit with Anna and reflect on all of the wondering and questions that are bubbling up to the surface. We keep in mind our umbrella project: Relationships.  We also are mindful of our science focus.

We will soon embark on a new investigative project.

Representing the Human Body

Sewing and Stitching Animals

The Heart we put into all of our work

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Snow Day at Sabot

There are days in the kindergarten that we know must never be forgotten. Friday was one of those days. 

The campus was covered  with a pristine blanket of the first winter's snow. It was quiet and still. 

The garden beckoned the children and the children answered with laughter, cartwheels and unbridled delight.

There were so many possibilities and an avalanche of ideas. Snowmen, snow angels, snow balls, ice, forts, igloos, skating, icicles....where to start?

The garden looked different. 

The trees that stand tall and harbor nests in the Spring were burdened with heavy snow and ice. Their branches scraped the ground and sealed the light out. The boys entered bravely----there was treachery inside to be dealt with by the brave and courageous.

One snow person would be lonely. Two seemed just right. 

The Garden Room joined us and shared the sleds they brought. How did we forget about the sleds? We were so grateful to the Garden Room for adding yet another layer of fun.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ninjago in the Forest

Ninjago in the Forest
Another day as a warrior

Every generation has  Ninjago.  There is a long history of the forces of good battling the forces of evil.  The litany would include the Lone Ranger, Batman and Robin, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Turtles, Star Wars and Star Trek. There is usually a show or a cartoon and toys and accessories to perpetuate the play. Although most parents report that their children have not watched shows or even the movies. Perhaps it is similar to an oral tradition--- the essence of the story and the characters spread from child to child through word of mouth.

We often ask our young ninjas, Trekkie's or mutant turtles if they can create their own play---come up with your own rules, storyline and characters. Yet every time I  research the latest craze, I am surprised by the intricate details of the characters, the six syllable names that must be pronounced, the complicated set of rules and doctrine established and memorized by children. I am stunned that the children understand it, can communicate the language with each other, debate the storyline and  reenact and stretch the scenes in ways that make sense to them. 

It is an opportunity for the 
children to connect, delve deep into play and test the boundaries existing between right and wrong. I asked the children that enjoy playing Ninjago in the forest to explain the story to me and describe their play.

J: We are trying to hide from Lord Garmondon, skeletons, snakes and stone army people. 

N: The stony army is better than the snakes.

C: The Overlord is actually a stone army person.

N: The Overlord is a portal thing that floats and talks and then finally he turns into a big dragon and then he is Garmadon.

G:The snake that is more powerful than the stony army is the Great Devourer.

N: We can't remember all of the episodes so we just make up all of it our ownself.

C:Yeah, because it is not fair to have to follow the rules.

I: We can only make traps and golden weapons and tornadoes.

R:We do not have force fields.
N: Force fields wouldn't be fun  because if you got caught in one you should stand there the whole time and not do anything.

I: We made this decision so it would be more fun.

T: We also made a decision that no one can never be invincible and never die.

What is that Sound?

Pippin wears many hats at Sabot. He leads us in the effort caring for our campus and buildings. He is a wood woodworker and the King of all Tinkerers (although we do have several Queens). He is a musician, specifically a percussionist. 

Pippin views all things as having possibilities. It might look like a coffee can to you but Pippin cam and will reinvent, reuse and recreate. 

When we ask ourselves at Sabot, "Where should I start, how can I contribute and what can I offer?", the impulse is to start with our strengths. It was very natural then for Pippin to contribute to our Music Circle with a installation called "What's that Sound".

Pippin's music/sound-making instrument contraption is always hidden by a few Vanna's and a white sheet. We listen and then the questions begin.

Is it a baton?

It is a metal tube that you hit with a maillot?
It it the thing outside of the Kindergarten that hangs on the wall?
Is it a xylophone?
A triangle?
A gong?
Does it involve a drum?

Pippin adds a clue. "You walk by it every day."

Is it a red thing outside of the front door?

If we see a big grin run across Pippin's face we know we have stumbled on the right answer.

Just because we guessed it though does not mean that questions end.

How did you make it Pippin? How does it make that sound?

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Protocol for Measuring

The Protocol for Measuring

We decided to measure our feet.  We set out together in small groups armed with our measuring tools. Popcubes.

When we reunited in circle as a class community we had questions and discussed the many variables we encountered.

Noah and Tanner measured their feet and realized that they each recorded eleven popcubes. When they placed their feet side by side, Tanner noticed that  Noah's foot was much bigger.
How did this happen?
Noah and Tanner shared their procedure for measuring and realized that Noah had measured his foot from the heel to his little toe. They decided that all feet should
be measured in the middle of the foot from heel to the middle toe.

Acadia also realized that we needed to decide as a class if we measured with our shoes on or shoes off. Her foot measured two cubes less when not wearing her shoes. The children determined that this would not be fair. We all had to do the same thing.

Gardner created an invention that would help us measure in a "fair" way. He connected a popcube tower to another  perpendicular popcube tower. Gardner said his invention reminded him of the "machine in a shoe store".

Ian. It works because you put your heel against it.
Tannin: You can take off pop-cubes if you need to.

One Cold Day: Glassblowing

Keep your eyes on the children faces. What do you notice? Curiosity,  smiles and even a frowning face concentrating (perhaps an icicle hanging from a nose). 

Ryan, a master glassblower, shared his craft with us one very cold day after our holiday break. We marveled as he blew into a long rod and glass, a material we know to be a solid, stretched into a bubble and acted like a liquid.  

Many of the children have seen the work of Chihuly at the VMFA. They knew that glass can have many colors and take many shapes but had never witnessed the process of making glass.

Ryan connected with the children through humor and responded to all of their questions.  He made the process seem attainable until he opened the furnace and we were reminded that the beautiful craft of glassblowing demands  collaboration with an intense  raging fire.