Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Signs at Joes

So we took our Friendly Signs on the road and went out into the community to see what would happen if we waved our signs.  If people were feeling grouchy would the signs influence their feelings? Would they feel less grouchy?

We were excited but we took this expedition seriously. We documented the conversations that we had with the people we encountered.  We dropped to our knees and started writing immediately. 
Sometimes we had to establish systems to streamline the amount of feedback that we were receiving. Ella placed a happy face and a sad face at the top of her paper and then she would record the comments beneath the correct column.


"We stood outside Joe's Inn with our signs. I think Joe Driebe who is the owner came outside and said that the sings make him feel happy. It might have been a worker for the pizza restaurant. "

"I was walking around with the signs. Lots of people said that the signs made them happy.  One person said that he was happy to see happiness in the world. Another person said  they were going to go make more people happy in the world like we did."

I person said that  "I would love to have a piece of love on this Earth."

 "This is me zooming to a person with my sign and clipboard. I would ask if I could have a little time and they would say yes."

" We went inside Joe's Inn and we talked to two of the workers. One said that the smiley face sign looked like his friend. This made me laugh because the smiley face was very funny and I did not think it looked like his friend."

We returned to Sabot with the knowledge that our signs did brighten a little piece of the world that we touched that day.

 We reflected on our results and realized that "Ho, No! Too Many Happys" (note the giant clipboard on the sidewalk).

Monday, May 20, 2013

What we know about collage

The Forest is a profound experience for each child. 

Each year we consider a language for the children to express and document their time playing, learning, imagining, creating and absorbing the Forest. 

One of our intentions this year was to provide materials for collage as a  form of expression. We used loose material collage and paper collage during investigative research and also during story workshop. This language offers many affordances and can be liberating for young children with slowly developing fine motor skills. Mistakes which deepen understanding (and so encouraged) are easily remedied with collage.

As we worked with collage (below),  we acquired a shared framework for using it.. 

We discovered:

  • Collage works best if you attend to the background of a picture first. 
  • Smaller pieces of paper layered can provide dimension.
  • Planning before working with collage is important but sketching small details on the paper to collage does not work.
  • Using mixed media with collage(colored pencils, thinking pens) received mixed reviews. Some children thought it was distracting and detracted from their collage. 
  • The details of the foreground---a tree, person, bridge---can be assembled and then glued in its entirety to the collage.

A few of our finished works of art

Monday, May 13, 2013

Building Bridges

As we consider matters of the heart, the Kindergarten has given thought to connecting our hearts to others. 

How do we build community beyond the walls of our school? A powerful question to answer when you are very young.

We started the school year with the image of a string connecting all members of our community. If we say hurtful things or neglect to take care of each member  in our community the  strings are no longer connected and our community stops working. 

 This image became tangible on Martin Luther King day with the help of Renee, our PE teacher and our eighth grade buddies.  Renee gave the students a ball of yarn and asked them to offer it to a friend across the circle. Soon the ties that bind a community were visible. We could actually see the connections that exist between our hearts. 

We invited the Circle  Preschool, an inner city early education center, to visit us at our campus. The children began to plan the gathering. They felt it was important to include games that forged bridges between themselves and the visiting children. We played Telephone, Apples and Oranges (London Bridge is Falling Down) and included the game Renee had taught us. 

We began to build connections between our two communities.


A: I felt connected when we played telephone because we welcomed them with our message.

D: I liked it when I ate my snack with Mar ( from the Circle Pre-school). It made me feel good.

Tanne: I liked when we had snack together because we never have visitors at the table with us.

R: I liked it when we tossed the strings. I saw that when we tossed the ropes they were looking at me and when I saw them they smiled at me.

J: I was liked when we tossed the yarn because the yarn was love.

C: When we played the games I felt connected to them because they were new here and I wanted to them to be liked.


I: I liked when we said goodbye because I felt connected. It was only the second time we saw them and so I felt love inside.