Thursday, January 28, 2016

Toddler cooking: Quesadillas and Guacamole

The toddlers are among the willingest chefs I have ever encountered.  Today they jumped right into the task of preparing quesadillas and guacamole for snack.

 A few of them worked at washing the avocado pit in preparation for our soon to grow avocado plant.
 The morning class set the food out on the counter as the snack of the day.
 And then we gathered around a table to share our delicious food with friends.
When snack was complete the thrill of the studio resumed, with drawing, light explorations and more.
Another great toddler day in the studio.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

One-liner writing

The children made an interesting discovery... one-liner writing...which as you know is a lot like cursive.
I spoke with the Ward Hobbs teachers and they are going to introduce cursive writings materials into the classroom environment.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


A friend recently asked me for an example of studio/classroom collaborations and of course one such example arose in the school today. The Ward-Hobbs teachers have begun an exploration of Picasso's artwork with the children.  This morning, while I was making my pre-children cup of tea, I noticed Kirsten laminating a fewof Picasso's one-liner drawings for a tracing Montessori classroom activity.  I asked her about it and together we decided to extend the learning opportunities by offering some one-liner provocations in the studio.
When the first children were dismissed from line to studio work, they came down carrying the Picasso One-liners book.  We spent some time examining the one-liner drawings represented in the book and then I invited them to create a self portrait without lifting the pen from the paper.
The activity proved more challenging than any of us thought it would be.  Several of the children tried four or five drawings (and so did I).  It was surprisingly difficult to retrain our brain to interpret what was seen and then to reproduce it using a single drawn line, but the children were very proud of the result.
Sometimes classroom/studio collaborations span weeks, months or even years (as is the case with photography in the school) and sometimes they arise and fall in a single day.  Regardless of the duration, this ongoing collaboration and dialog enriches our program immensely and continues to integrate the philosophies of Montessori and Reggio into a common practice.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The movie is about to begin

These two lovely ladies worked together to create a "movie", using sharpies on a sheet of transparency and pulled across the projector.  When it was time for a show, they gathered their studio pals together to form an impromptu audience.
Their production inspired others.  On thursday a group of five dedicated artists worked together to create a wonderful movie entitled, "The Kite and the Tornado".
When they had finished they invited the whole extended primary class for an opening production.  There they explained the creative process with classmates before I pulled the colored transparency (composed of individual drawings spliced together with scotch tape) across the light projector, while reading their story aloud.
I anticipate more theatrical performances in the days ahead.

light and shadow continues

 The children continue to explore light and shadow in the studio, using transparent materials alongside opaque materials to investigate the properties of light and color.
 We added water to the mix and found out that it was difficult to see on the projector but it projected beautiful shape onto the wall.
 A prism create a wonderful interplay of light and color.
 A group of children began to investigate color mixing with colored water on the projector.
 These experiments were collaboratively recorded on a sheet of watercolor paper.
Their sense of wonder and enthusiasm continues to astonish me.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Toddlers in the big Studio

social constructivism in research

Social constructivism is an educational theory that focuses on the individual learning that takes place through group interaction.  The studio lends itself to this type of learning and one of my responsibilities is to offer up problems to solve together.  The large frozen cylinder has proven a wonderful opportunity for discovery. 
The children worked together trying different techniques to uncover the treasures buried in ice.  Some of their efforts included prying, brushing the surface with brushes and melted water, jabbing it to loosen the ice and then someone said, "We need to melt it!"  They went to the sink and began filling small cups with warm water.  Soon the ice surrendered its treasure and the children were pleased with their accomplishment.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Morning studio with the Toddlers

 Amy and I had a wonderful morning in the studio... actually it was just plain FUN.
 And the children agreed.
After some time playing with paint, we pulled out the light projector and that was even more fun...If that's possible.
 Light is always a huge success with the toddlers.
Regardless of what we do together, the toddlers are always eager to explore, investigate and have fun.  Hello!  We could all learn something here... learning is FUN... and life is one giant opportunity to learn.  I tell you these children are the best teachers!