“Is it a bag of cheese? It looks like a bag of cheese!”

Over the past couple of weeks, friends have been working with clay in the Studio!  Clay is one of my favorite mediums to introduce in the Studio because it’s open-ended and allows for rich conversation and imaginative play.

What do you think this material is?

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Kofi: It looks like paper mache.  It’s heavier though.

Maia: Soft and mushy.  Is it frozen?

Abigail: It’s cookie dough because it’s white and it’s cold.

Ronan: I think it’s clay.  Hey, I didn’t know it would be wet.

Selwyn: It’s a potato because it makes the table dirty and it’s the color of a potato.  It’s heavy to me but I’m strong, I’m so strong.  I can pick up the potato.

William: Is that slime?

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Adrian: I thought clay was brown.

Andres: Is it marshmallows?

Marley: Is it a bag of cheese?  It looks like a bag of cheese.

Alberto: If it’s clay then bricks are made from it.

Christian: It’s like a stone block.

Luke: When it dries, it’ll be hard like my skull.

Mae: Is it claydough?  Clay… like ballet.

Florentina: Hey, that feels interesting.  Is it wet paper that you put in a bag?

Once we discovered that the mystery material was clay, I introduced some different types of tools that would be available to use with the clay.

Daniel: It looks like what you use to flip a pancake.  And this one is a bammer… it bams spiders.

Ryler: That looks like a little fork.  It makes lines like a fork.

Abdoulaye: Cookers use that to make dough flat.

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Alberto: Tools can do much more things then hands.

Kofi: That tool looks like a duck beak.  The wire tool makes it flat like a pizza dough.  Or a pillow.  It’s perfect.

Yonathan: That tool scratches like a tiger.

Bennett: I’m using the hammer like my daddy.

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Mackenzi: The wire looks like nunchucks.

Mouhammadou: When you cut it with scissors, flatten it up with the hammer to make it feel better.

… and here are some finished sculptures!

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Kofi: That’s the thing about art… you have to get messy.  That’s the point.

“Is it a web? It looks like your fingers are swinging through a vine!”

Over the last couple weeks, friends have been learning how to weave in the Studio!  Children began by practicing on paper looms before putting their new skills to the test on the big classroom loom.

What is a loom?

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Daniel: It looks like a guitar.  Or a spider web.

Amaya: Is it a hula skirt?

Sylvie: It’s a stringy thing.  It goes over, under, over, under.

Justin: Is it a web?  It looks like your fingers are swinging through a vine!

Florentina: Is it a door?

Zuri: It’s a loom, I remember it from last year.

Ryler: It looks like part of an octopus.

Chrishelle: It looks like a belt.

Abdoulaye: It’s a guitar, or a cello.

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Kofi: I know how it works.  There are cuts in the paper and the paper zig zags through it.  It looks like a chess board.

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Children that had experience with the loom last year really stepped up as leaders and helped teach their new friends how to weave!

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Phoenix: I remember this… it goes over, under, over, under, through.

Asiah: It’s soft and the yarn makes a pattern.

Logan: It goes “schwoop schwoop” through the yarn.

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“Beautiful Junk is the most beautiful things in the world!”

This week in the Studio, friends began working with recycled materials, also known as Beautiful Junk!  Many people in the CCPCS community have been donating materials to the Studio over the past few weeks and we were very excited to sort, build and create with these open ended objects.  Thanks to everyone that has donated to us… and please continue to drop off materials in the bins in front of the Studio!  Within the next couple weeks, the bins will be clearly labeled so families will know where specific materials go :)

What is Beautiful Junk?

Daniel: Instead of throwing it in the trash, you keep it and think it’s beautiful so you turn it into something new.

Jose: Junk means like a junk yard.  Like trash.  Beautiful means like it looks nice.  It’s beautiful trash.

Noah: It’s for you to get stuff to build like a human, or a mouse, or a house.

Mae: Junk is something that’s empty that you can use.  You can make things with it but don’t break it.

Florentina: Beautiful Junk is the most beautiful things in the world.

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Mouhammadou: I like this Beautiful Junk.  It’s not stinky.

Roman: This is stuff for you to do your projects with.

Kofi: Beautiful Junk is things that people didn’t want to use that we can use for materials.  They put them in the box.

Abdoul: It’s recycled.  Then we can use it again.  They’re good.

Rayyan: Junk is like ew.

Once we talked about exactly what Beautiful Junk was, it was time to get to work!  Friends collaged and sculpted with the materials, while others were interested in sorting similar materials together.

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Luke: I found more bottle caps.  I’ll put them with the ones Daniel found.

Garumma: I’m making something.  It’s a tractor that’s driving a tiger.  The tiger needs a blanket.  Cardboard is a paper from paper towels.  It’s hard to cut.  It’s not hard to cut fabric.  I’m going back to my project now.

Marley: These are so soft.  Soft like a soft part.

Jose: If you snore so loud, you can put those (corks) in your ears.

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Adrian: This is for closing things like bread.

Zuri: This is like a collection.

Abdoulaye: One time I used Beautiful Junk to make a skateboard.  I used tops for wheels.  I used an egg carton for the board.

Alberto: If you see things that are the same you can put them together.  It’s like if you need some spare parts for your project, you can find them together.

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Josie: Perfect, I found just what I was looking for.

Maia: That (yarn) looks like rope for a cowboy!

Maceo: I know I used Beautiful Junk to make a plane, and then I broke it and made it into a barn.

Andres: Did the eggs hatch?  Where the eggs?

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“The Helicopters” by Angel

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“The Great Wall of China” by Alberto

Finally, we had a very special guest join us in the Studio today!  My dad came by and spent the morning making sculptures with us!  Friends were so excited to meet him and to learn that he was also an art teacher, just like me :)

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“You don’t go to the Art Studio to get a haircut, you go there to make your art!”

Over the last week and a half, friends have been practicing with scissors and different types of adhesives.  We began by talking about materials that were appropriate to cut with scissors, as well as materials that aren’t ok to cut with scissors.  Children were very excited to finally have scissors available in the Studio and practiced how to use them correctly and safely.

Luke: We don’t cut houses because we need them to live in.  Scissors do “open and close” like this.

Daniel: If you cut the table, the legs will break off and you’ll need a new table.

Sylvie: Ms.Cookie cut my hair but we do not cut our own hair or our friends hair.

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Sasha: You don’t cut your hair with scissors.  You go to my mom’s salon for a haircut.

Garumma: When I was a baby, I cut my finger.  I didn’t know how to use scissors.

Zavier: I open them.  Then I close them.  Clip, clap, clip, clap, scissors!

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Zuri:  Cutting is like magic.  If you snip around the paper, it’s like a hula skirt.

Yonathan: You don’t go to the Art Studio to get a haircut, you go there to make your art.

Logan: We should call squeeze scissors squeezers!

Once friends had lots of shapes of paper, they began assembling a collage.  Children worked with wet glue, glue sticks, tape and staplers as they experimented with adhering tissue paper, foil and card stock to construction paper.

Mouhammadou: It’s easy to make a rectangle.  Scissors are good at that.

Justin: I’m gluing it so I can put it all back together.

Vivian: This is going to be a bowtie.

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Ronan: Glue sticks look like lipstick.

Miles: I cut this shape and it looks like a shoe.

Alberto: The foil sounds like metal.  I can squish the metal.

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Jariel: Tissue paper like “achoo, achoo!”

Kofi: The wet glue looks like vanilla frosting.

Andres: Put it there, see it perfect.  Sure, it perfect.

This week, we also introduced the light table!  Children had the opportunity to work at the light table if there was time after they were finished collaging.  Videos to come of some of the work done at this area over the course of the week :)

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Finally, aside from a day of rain, it was a very sunny week in the Studio!  Friends continued to discover new prisms and crystals that were casting rainbows all over the classroom.

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“I’m looking good!”

It’s one of my favorite times of year in the Pre-K Studio… self portrait week!  Friends in Pre-K work on a self portrait for their portfolio at the beginning and the end of each school year.  It’s great to see how much their observations and skills change over the course of the year, and for children that are in Pre-K for two years, over the span of those years.  We begin by reading The Colors of Us by Karen Katz and talk a little about different shades of skin, eyes, hair, etc.

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Mae: Why did the mom say she would eat her up?  Because she was like cinnamon?  She didn’t really eat her at the end of the book.

Ronan: I see the same people on the cover on that page in the book.  It’s part of the picture from that page.

Next, I showed some different techniques for selecting colors that most closely matched the colors that were unique to each of them.  Children selected colors that they thought would work, and held them up next to their hands, hair, etc. to see which color would be the best.

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Daniel: Eyelashes go around the eyes.

Sasha: If you have glasses, you can draw them in your self portrait.

Abdoulaye: Eyelashes keep bugs out of your eyes.

Chrishelle: Draw boogers in your nose if you see them in the mirror.

Amaya: My nose is like a triangle with two holes on it.

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Claire: I have two heads… one in the mirror and this one on my body.

Allison: My hair like coffee brown.

Ronan: In the mirror, I see my dog shirt.

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Miles H.: You look at yourself in the mirror and then you draw yourself.  In the mirror, I see little red veins in my eyes.

Elle: I look beautiful!

Yonathan: I’m looking good!

Here are some of the finished self portraits from our week!

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