Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Sensorium

We made it! After several false starts we finally embarked on our train ride from the suburbs of Richmond to the downtown station. It was an exciting and unforgettable experience.

We made the trek to gather more information, documentation and impressions of Richmond, our city.

Anna Golden, our atelierista, offered the children the use of cameras to document. We have posted many of the photographs in this entry. We returned to school and spent the rest of the week unpacking feelings, sensations, perspectives and memories generated by the train ride and the city. The children sketched to record their thinking.

Samuel, Eve, Annabel, Zoey, and Bryce volunteered to help me write this blog entry documenting the highlights of the trip.

 Staples Mill is a train station like a 600 feet train station.  It is the start of our field trip.

We are sitting waiting for our trip. Anna was giving some people cameras to use.
 Kate was trying to take a nap.

Syd is acting silly and fancy.

Avery was taking a picture of Cal and it was a soccer person. So Avery's camera has something special to it. You can push a button and you can turn anybody into anything. Well not anything.

This is the lollipop man and he gave us the lollipops. He worked at the train station in the snack shack. He was very happy and smiled.

We were waiting for the train to come and we saw a freight train. It is a  train. There was a gate thing that meant we could not go past it.

Avery is taking a picture in the train. We are all walking on the train. 

It felt kinda scary because it was only the second time I was boarding a train.
The stairs were really high. I had to look down on the ground and it was so scary. 
I had a shivering feeling when I was climbing the stairs.

This sitting person is my art, too. It is an army person. Annabel

He said that his job to do is to guard the airlines. He is like the commander of the air force place.

Scarlett said she saw a little forest from the train with birds flying.

This is a train bridge. I recognize that building. I see it every day on my way to school. 

Is it the children's hospital?

 It is raining on the train. There is a cloud that makes the rain.

That is definitely the city and there are shadows of the trees in the picture and it is raining on the window and that is making it blurry.There is a big skyscraper in the background. I think I see VCU.

This is a picture of new city hall with lots of people up in the observation deck but it is not us because we are in the train. I saw it from the train. I saw a flock of birds and a squirrel. Bryce

This is us in the train. Bryce

This is Cal's picture. He wrote the number of our train which is 67. It is a construction site behind the train. 

These are the flags and this is the conductor on the train. I am in the train with Bryce but I did not the get time to draw everyone else. There are flags in the background.  America is the first one.  Annabel

This is a picture of everyone on the train and I did not have enough time to draw everyone else. 

Bryce, did you count how many girls you did? 

Did you make thirteen girls and five boys? 


I remember this. It is a train bridge in front of VCU. There are many windows on this building at VCU because it is a skyscraper.

This is a train on the tracks and it is passing a construction site.

I am drawing with Caroline on the balcony at the Main Street station. I see she is looking very closely at what she is drawing.


This is us sitting having snack at Main Street station. There were stars on the ceiling above us. I could see them when I looked up. Eve

Kenny looked closely too. He saw all of the windows in the building. He noticed the animals in the city, too. I think that is a big bus below the building. You can tell the small building is behind the bus because of the way he drew 

We are walking across the street in the rain. We were waiting to cross the street. Cheri is directing the traffic.  

There was a walking sign telling us it was time to walk. It was clicking to let us know and to help the blind people know when to cross.

This is a government house and they make laws. They are called lawmakers. 

We think the statue is George Washington. It is outside of the law house. We googled it but don't know the answer.

We are standing on the big clock or is it a compass? I believe it is a giant compass. It is underground. Maybe they use it to tell which way to go.

We are walking on a one foot wall. It is like twelve inches tall. They are carrying an umbrella but I am not. Samuel

Kenny is laying down on a light up floor.   He is looking at cool stuff above him at old city hall. We think he is thinking how did they build this? I think he is thinking the cool stuff is on the top and not the bottom.


We are looking at the light up floor at old city hall.  We are wondering how the floor lights up. The man who lit the floor said it would take a while for the lights to warm up.

There are many designs There are many spikes and triangles and even on the outside of old city hall there were many triangles.  I noticed that there was a lot of lights.

Charlie: I was thinking about old city hall and it inspired me to do that.

Charlie and Avery replicated the design of the side of the staircase

The Kindergarten has spent some time reading poetry about the city.  A city is a sensorium....scents, sounds, feelings, sights and movement.  Poetry is a sensorium written down. We hope to have some time to play with words in response.  

Sing a Song of People

Sing a song of people
Walking fast or slow;
People in the city,
Up and down they go.

People on the sidewalk,
People on the bus;
People passing, passing,
In back and front of us.
People on the subway
Underneath the ground;
People riding taxis
Round and round and round.

People with their hats on,
Going in the doors;
People with umbrellas
When it rains and pours.
People in tall buildings
And in stores below;
Riding elevators
Up and down the go.

People walking singly,
People in a crowd;
People saying nothing,
People talking loud.
People laughing, smiling,
Grumpy people, too;
People who just hurry
And never look at you!

Sing a song of people
Who like to come and go;
Sing of city people
You see but never know!
      Lois Lenski


  1. Mary, the blog documentation is beautiful. How will you post this or put up to share? Or do you all just use the blog as the documentation as opposed to panels? What are you wondering's next with the children? I really like their perspectives that they shared, and so many different ideas.

    1. Ashley, thanks so much for your post. It was great to see your name pop up and recall memories of our time in Reggio. We have a collage of all of the posted pictures hanging on a documentation board. The next step is to put their recorded words along side the photographs. We do often print a blog entry and use it as classroom documentation. We find that the children are less attracted to it so we usually consider the intention and our audience when posting the documentation. Our hope is that the photographs and sketches will stimulate new thinking. We are doing some great work unpacking our trip at the block table with technology. Take a look at our atelierista's blog listed on the blog roll.

  2. Thank you for sharing the documentation and the story. I really enjoyed reading this post and the reflections of the children.

    1. It is wonderful to receive feedback. We are always interested in the reader's perspective.