Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Spinning Dot" Theater's production of "Sedna: An Inuit Tale"

There are times when you experience something so magical, so brilliant, so lovely you can hardly give it adequate justice in a description.  The Lower School was honored with such an experience at various times today.  It was magical because the set design, scenery and music alone transformed you into another place and time within moments.  It was lovely.  From the sweep of a slow intentional hand to the masterful craftsmanship of the figurines, to the precision of a well placed beam of light-the execution was lovely.  It was brilliant!  Original, clever, eerily sad but hopeful and triumphant.  This production was brilliant!  The children were speechless throughout the whole show-(which is an amazing feat for a Kindergartner) but they later commented,  (spoiler alert)

"I loved it!"
"I loved it...I want to marry it!"
"The music was ding-dongy"
"Some people died."
"It might be a true story.  People died. That's something in nature.. that happens to us."
   "It might not be true.  Human beings cannot marry dogs.  Can they?"
"There was a lot of colored lights before everyone died...  maybe as a way of celebration."
"It's a nice story.  The dolls are really old."
"It's nice to be in a tent.  I liked the feeling of being in a tent."
"It has a couple of things of nature-people dying, dogs, sleds, no trees."

Check out the Spinning Dot website at:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Trip to Three Cedars Pumpkin Orchard in pictures!

Once Upon a Time at Wild Swan Theater!

Kindergartners ventured out to see a fantastic performance last Friday morning at Wild Swan Theater.  We witnessed recreations of The Three Little Pigs, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and Reynard the Fox.  The audience also had the opportunity to be fully participatory as a shadow, an echo, and as hiding places for a very tricky character.  The performance  also included a mini lesson in identifying various musical instruments that were used to enhance the show. 

We were delighted to speak with the performers afterward and take pictures with them.  We were extra thrilled to see our friend Sandy who (with the Wild Swan Troupe) is  one of our community collaborators and also partners with us for our After School Programming classes.

Viewing and participating in  Theater Arts gives us an opportunity to explore the Arts, use creativity and our imaginations, and practice problem solving and critical thinking skills.   The theater allows us to experience a story in new ways, to learn the historical significance of tales and other literature, and to integrate disciplines.

       We exited the theater with toothy smiles and can't wait to return in the spring!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Clothes" Encounters

As a part of our "Identity" unit, Kindergartners have been comparing and contrasting our clothing,  reading about how clothes are made, and even designed their own hats after listening to Caps for Sale

We talked about how we each make individual statements and how we often wear clothes that we enjoy and that make us feel good.  We were pleasantly surprised about how similar our tastes and styles were.     We were also (by the process of elimination) able to identify our classmates with clues given about each of our garments.

A few weeks ago, Kindergartners returned from Monday Morning Meeting and recalled how Mrs. Carpenter's class talked about "Read to Feed," their project to read lots of books in order to raise money to give to a village so that it could purchase a sheep for a family as a means to support themselves with the sale of it's wool.  Our Circle Time story,  Where Did My Clothes Come From? explained the process of extracting the wool from animals like sheep.  Coincidentally, another A.M. Meeting presentation by Elaine's class, "How to Make a Pillow from Start to Finish" was recalled by our class when that same book mentioned how garments (like pillows) are made on a sewing machine.  Kindergartners are able to make wonderful and useful connections with old and new information!

(Left) It was much too tempting not to make and wear a paper bag chapeau of my own.

Dillon had a bit of a design challenge with the correct  placement of eye holes for his cap.

Later in the week we read another classic story, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, and found out about a very clever gentleman who  reused and recycled his clothing periodically to create something new. This knowledge will come in handy as we prepare for our (formally Eco Fair) "Home Made Halloween" celebration on next Friday morning, October 30th.  Children are strongly encouraged to use their ingenuity, imagination and recycled materials to create a costume at home with their families in order to wear it at school next week for a parade and other festivities.

Monday, October 12, 2015

EB (Exploratory Block)- "Nature Worth Gold" Andy Goldsworthy

 Nature is that bonus area of any classroom that is already equipped with infinite art materials, creativity and possibility.  Environmental Artist Andy Goldsworthy demonstrated a keen awareness of nature's artistic potential and has created numerous temporary structures and installations all around the world.  

                                                                                                                 He has also created numerous volumes of books with his photographs showing evidence of his work.  Goldsworthy stated, however, that he is not trying to duplicate nature for it didn't need to be, but instead celebrate it.  After documenting his structures of leaves, rocks, twigs, snow or ice,  Goldsworthy returns items used to where he found them or allows nature to whisk them away with time.
Our  EB (Exploratory Block) workshop today consisted of viewing some of Goldsworthy's amazing photographs of his structures made from natural materials.  We then ventured outside with wicker baskets in tow to gather materials and create some structures of our own.

The children used mirrors to see their structures from a different perspective while working.

Our EB-ers chose to gather mostly rocks, sticks, large maple leaves, tiny pine cones, and pine needles.  They each made thoughtful arrangements of their own and photographed them (after a mini photography lesson on digital camera use and the proper "tripod" stance.)

Here are some of their first (and unaltered) photographs.  They showed keen eyes and creativity while making their natural structures.  
We lastly combined all of our materials and created a beautiful and clever collaborated structure.  At cleanup time and in the style of Goldworthy, we returned all of the rocks to the drainage bed and removed the large sticks from the parking space, but decided to let the wind carry our leaves and pine needles away as it chose to.  The tiny pine cones are decorating our classroom.

This first set of EBs will take place on Mondays 12:30-1:30 and Tuesdays 10-11:00 for three weeks October 12-27th and with several other topics throughout the school year.    EBs allow for opportunities to delve into a topic in a more intimate way and with  interested students.  (The children select from four different offerings each time.)  These multi-aged collaborations also allow for teachers to pursue some of their own passions and  explore topics in new ways along with the children.

EB-ers converged outside with another workshop of kids on our way back to class.  Mrs. Carpenter's group were just returning from a nature walk at County Farm Park and had collected flowers, twigs, and other nature finds to add to charming sticky bracelets.  Sweet! 

Check out this blog about Andy Goldsworthy sent from our lovely former Kindergarten Parent, Linda, and this NPR interview sent by another awesome K Parent, Jessica!   Thank you both for participating in our learning!