Today in Art class, the students learned about the artist Michelangelo and his work. They read a story about his life and how he sculpted a number of very famous pieces that people travel all around the world to see. They also learned about when he painted the Sistine Chapel and how he had to paint laying down on scaffolding as he covered the entire ceiling with beautiful scenes from the heavens. It was great deal of hard work but the result was a masterpiece.
The pre-k got a chance to create some of their own masterpieces just like Michelangelo did so many years ago.
Goodness, I thought that updating the blog on Tuesdays would work out wonderfully with my schedule! So here I am, sitting at my computer, looking through last week’s photos for a memory jog. Great Googily Moogily! Who knew we’d have so many things to share with you? Using the most logical sequence, we’ll go chronologically.
Early last week, we moved the easel back into our room. Painting is always a popular activity in Pre-K. We love it for its fluid way of including experimentation (color, pressure, design, form, story development), fine and large motor development, and simple joy. Watching the children progress through stages of paint use during the year tells us much about their growth. Many early painters choose to paint large swaths of color, frequently mixing them on the page as they go. Others use the brush to tell a story (also including large “blobs” and lines of color) that can only be truly witnessed once. As the tale progresses, the previous parts become buried in the layers.
As the children gain more experience with paint and grow in their ability to represent their world abstractly, their paintings take on more “realistic” features. Isn’t that odd? As they make the connection between abstract symbols and their world, their pictures become more “lifelike”.
After a successful, if not dry, Applefest, our campus grounds are coated with a nice blanket of hay. This new material has inspired everything from planting, to “feather” coated art projects (using the hay seed stalks), to inspired fairy and dragon egg tending. A single project, however, grabbed the attention of the entire class. One morning, Mrs. Pless and I noticed a few children playing in an area that looked rather nest-like.
Being the inquisitive teachers we are, we asked what kind of nest it was. Lo and behold, it was not a nest! (I bet you guessed that already.) It was a campfire! The bumper around the edge was for leaning against, the logs were for sitting on, and piles of rocks and dirt were added to the middle for the “fire”. Well, I couldn’t let my children experience a campfire without the most important ingredient! I ran off to find some marshmallows (read: cotton balls). A few minutes later, the hunt was on for the perfect roasting stick. We tried fat sticks, short sticks, pieces of grass, parts of corn stalk, two pronged sticks, and even one piece of bark. The children jumped right into “roasting” their marshmallows complete with turning and blowing on them when removed from the fire. It was obvious some of them had had this experience before. Mrs. Pless and I were inspired to pull old camp songs out of our dusty memories to serenade the children with. I’m not sure they were that impressed with our singing, but they sure did enjoy the fire-side atmosphere.
(Disclaimer: Just in case it’s too hard to tell, there is not an actual fire in the middle of this hay pile. And our cotton balls just didn’t taste quite like marshmallows. Take my word for it.)
As many of you saw at Parent Night, the children are very interested in being interviewed. An activity that began spontaneously with two aliens who wanted to speak to the world, has now become a daily phenomenon. Sometimes they pretend to be fantastical creatures and other times they are simply themselves. We have passed on the interviewing position to the students, as well. It is interesting to note that some children who had no wish to be interviewed have become the most eager interviewees.
The social and language practice involved in this process is overtly apparent. The children are practicing conversational language, where one must wait for another person to stop talking before they can interject. They are discovering the power of asking questions to find out information. The children are also seeing the importance of taking turns and allowing others to join and leave the play.
Mrs. Pless and I were so inspired by this new form of play, we ran out and grabbed our favorite giant box so that the children could move their play into “the media”. We imagined that we could start an entire project based on “shows”. We would create a TV together. The children could make remotes. (Since today’s televisions really don’t have any buttons on them that children would use.) We could compare plays to television, reality to fantasy. Our imaginations went soaring off into the sunset. So far, decorating our giant television has gone quite well, as you can see in the photos below. However, as usually happens when a grown-up has a plan, the children have other ideas.
Today, the box was instantly dubbed a puppet theater and a home. While a group of children rushed to the art table to create finger puppets, another group set up house inside the box. Once the puppets were complete, the home owners were evicted and the puppets took possession. The only problem was that in order to hide from the audience, the children found they needed to lie down on the floor. This made puppet manipulation particularly difficult. Thus, a curtain was added to the theater. Now the puppets can pop out, but the puppeteers can sit safely hidden in the background.
As for the dreams of Mrs. Pless and Mrs. Forst, maybe the puppets will hold interviews?