Thursday, December 21, 2017

Shab e Yaalda

The Noori's have done it again!  For the third year in a row they have shared their beautiful Persian, Shalba- Yaalda, celebration with the children.
Pomegranates are a representative fruit of Shab e Yaalda and the children enjoyed the red, sticky, juicy mess involved in taking the seeds out to eat.

They also brought in a traditional rice and lentil dish along with some raisin cookies for tasting.  The reviews were a BIG thumbs up.
Another delicious success! Here is a note from the Nori's:
SHAB e YALDA: A Persian Celebration
Dear Families,
Today, the children learned about Shab e Yalda and had a tasting of the foods eaten.
Shab e Yalda is an evening of festivities and merriment that begins when the sun sets on the last day of fall and continues until the dawn of the first day of winter. It falls on the longest night of the year, this year being Thursday, December 21st. It is known as the birthday of the sun and as the “victory” of light taking over darkness. After this night the daytime starts to slowly increase. On this night families keep lights glowing to help the sun in its “battle” against darkness. They recite poetry (by Hafez), play music, tell jokes and stories, talk and eat and eat and talk until the sun reappears in the morning!

To this day Yalda remains as one of the most ancient festive ceremonies that has been celebrated in Iran for centuries. By tradition Iranians gather in the homes of the elders of family or friends on Yalda night, eat (fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts), drink tea and be merry. The main Yalda fruits are watermelon, pomegranate, persimmons, apples and pears. Nuts and dried fruit (particularly pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds and raisins) are eaten on Yalda night along with a specific dinner menu.
There is a saying in Farsi that goes something like this: I wish you a long and happy life like Shab e Yalda, sweet as watermelon and fruitful as pomegranates!
Happy Shab e Yalda!
With Love,
-The Nooris

Rice with Lentil (Adas Polo)

- 3 cups of rice
- 1.25 cups of lentil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon Table salt
- 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil (Canola oil)

1.  Mix rice and lentil and rinse the mixture well

2.  Put the mixture in the rice cooker and add add 6.5 cups of water.

3- add the salt, oil, turmeric and raisin and mix all ingredients

4- turn the rice cooker on and cook the above mix until the food is ready and the cooler stops

**Please note you need a rice cooker that holds at least 10 cups for this amount. Adjust proportions as needed for desired amount needed.

Persian Raisin Cookies (Shirini Kishmishi)

·       ½ cup butter, softened
·       1 cup white sugar
·       2 eggs
·       ½ teaspoon vanilla
·       ¼  teaspoon rose water
·       1 cup flour
·       ¼ teaspoon salt
·       1 cup raisins

1.     Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.     Cream together butter and sugar for 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and rose water; beat until incorporated. Slowly add the flour on low speed of the mixer. Mix until it forms a dough.
3.     Fold in raisins.
4.     Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop, drop teaspoonful sized cookies onto cookie sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart.
5.     Bake 15 minutes until golden around the edges. Cool for 4 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6.     Store in an airtight container.

Friday, December 8, 2017


As educators, we work to create a balance between independent and collaborative work.  Collaborations necessarily involve challenges which require us to negotiate, communicate and work together.  Social learning can maximize individual strengths, allow us to construct shared meaning and flex the, "We can do it!" muscle.  In the studio, collaborations determine the momentum and trajectory of our studies.   But independent work is equally important, providing opportunities for self reflection, skill development, focused attention and flexing the "I CAN DO IT" muscle.  Both are necessary to the learning process.  This week the children were clearly interested in learning together.  Here are a few photos to illustrate the balance:
Notice opportunities for collaborations in your lives alongside children.  What differences do you notice?  Challenges?  Benefits?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Reflections, Shadows and the Best Job in the world!

Children walk through a world of wonder.  They discover reflections in shiny holiday ornaments outside nearby stores and giggle as their images distort in the curved mirror  (this leads to a great talk about foreshortening).
They ask about the "life span" of a shadow and whether they stay put or move before disappearing at night.  
We use chalk to mark a trees shadow. On our way back we excitedly discover that it has MOVED.  Why?  The answers are varied but eventually we come to a consensus that shadows move "...because the sun moves... well no the earth really moves but it seems like the sun is moving... yeah because we are standing still! In the winter there are more shadows because it's colder... yeah the sun is getting tired...and the shadows are yawning."
Could I have given a more poetic description?  Nope.
Leave it to children to find the wonder inherent in ordinary things!  I'll say it again, "I have the best job in the world!"

Light and Shadows.

 Noticing natures artistry in light and shadow on our walk through Cherry Creek. One of the children remarked, "You have to have light in order to have shadows.  Shadows need light and light makes shadows."  A beautiful metaphor and noticing.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Painting Clay

The children have been in the studio painting clay works with Amy and the results are WONDERFUL!

Self representation continues

Self representation continues to be a point of interest in the studio!
The children carefully examine their features as they make artistic decisions on how best to interpret them on paper.
They are regularly telling and illustrating stories about their days and weeks to be added to their "story people".
We added new puzzles relating to the human body that are captivating the children's interest and often require 2-3 people working collaboratively to complete.
Stay tuned to see how this study develops in the weeks and months ahead.