“Junk is ew… but if it’s Beautiful Junk, then it’s fancy!”

Last week, children were introduced to “Beautiful Junk,” which are recycled materials that we can reuse and repurpose in the Studio and in PK classrooms.  Families received a letter asking for donations and were invited to drop off bags of materials in the bins outside of the Studio.  Please continue to donate and fill our bins throughout the year.  By the end of the week, bins should be labeled so that families can sort their materials for us to use!

We began by reading Not A Box by Antoinette Portis.  This book is great, as it’s all about a rabbit that uses a cardboard box and his imagination to create a race car, a pirate ship and a robot costume.

Following the read aloud, I brought a large shoebox to the table and children made predictions about what they thought was inside.  As I began to reveal the items, children instantly made connections to the book and were overflowing with ideas of what the materials could be used for.  We talked about what they were (can, blackberry box, cork, water bottle top) and about what material they were made from (metal, cardboard, plastic).  This will make sorting and labeling the bins easier next week!

Phoenix: My daddy has shoes from a box like that.

Waju: I wish Mrs.Hughes was here to see this special box.  She likes treasure boxes.

Autumn: This is a thing for eggs.  It’s a really special box.  It protects them.

Amal: The rabbit would like all the Beautiful Junk.  It would be like a beautiful present for him.

Trebor: We could use this junk to make a collage.

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Eli: You can use the materials to make a plan.

Mariyah: It’s a shoebox. I want to sit in it.

Elijah: It’s metal!  It clashes into metal and that’s what makes the sound.  It’s shiny and good to play with.  Did you know a magnet sticks to metal?

Waju: Beautiful Junk is if you’re at a scrap yard and you find junk and you think it’s good and you want to make something with it.

Isaac: Junk is like… dirty things.

Eden: This Beautiful Junk is amazing!

Ali: It’s so very yuck.

Jax: That’s a thing for babies (fabric)… like Pampers.

Luca: When I blew it (packaging peanuts), it flew all up in the air.  It flies up all by itself.  It mixes up and goes up and out.

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Amen: Maybe cats would like these (corks).  It looks like it came from a tree.

Elliott: That’s fabric for making a curtain.

Isabella: Beautiful Junk is what you use to make something cool.

Alden: That tube looks like a dough roller.

Elizabeth: It’s things for sauce (small cups) … like for ketchup.

Eva: It (corks) smell like candy and looks like a roly poly because it’s round.

Cameron: I saw so many junk in the hallway.

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After children were familiar with the materials, I invited them to openly explore and build with them in the sensory table.  Friends collaborated and enjoyed creating new objects together.

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Autumn: Let’s pretend the straw is like a magic wand.  Turn Ms.Cushner into a… frog!

Luca: Shiver me timbers… I’m a pirate!

Nazeer: I want to make a dump truck.  I need cardboard to do that.

Frances: Hey, that fabric is from my house.  Junk is ew… but if it’s Beautiful Junk, then it’s fancy!

Trebor: The straw is like a wand.  Abracadabra… turn my grandma into here!

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Mariyah: We love you, Beautiful Junk!

Naomi: Those are tops for wine, but you could use them to make a treehouse in the woods.

Kai: Ah! Stuff can fall out of the bottom of it (toilet paper tubes).

Belen: These look like cupcake cups.  I’ll make blueberry cupcakes.

Yuri: I’m a skeleton with tubes on my arms like the bones.

Frances: The ribbons are like dancing strings.

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Please continue to donate Beautiful Junk for us to build with throughout the year!

“Scissors are so powerful. They really can’t stop paper!”

Over the past couple of weeks, friends have been practicing with scissors and different types of materials to build the muscles in their hands.  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.  We also practiced how to use them correctly and safely.

Autumn: Scissors are dangerous for babies.

Diego: My mom, she cut my hair.  Not cut hair in here.

Isabella: Go to like, a hair salon or a beauty salon for a haircut.

Nydelyn: You could cut plastic with scissors.

Eli: I know, you can braid your hair but don’t cut your hair.

Trebor: If you cut your finger it’ll so hurt.

Eden: We could cut fabric and flint.

Drew: We could cut pictures of cars.

Frances: We could cut ribbon!

Samantha: We could cut crabs so we can eat them.

Next, friends practiced cutting paper with assorted shapes and lines provided.  Depending on their age and experience, children snipped around the outside of paper, were able to cut through the paper, or successfully cut out shapes.

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Kwame: Scissors are so powerful.  They really can’t stop paper!

Gionni: We have scissors in our class, that’s why we know how to use them.  We can cut our drawings out.  How can Isaac cut so good when he’s 3?  Good job, Isaac!

Stephanie: I did it.  I’m happy.

Joelle: Good job, Joelle.  I did a good job!

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Bella: I did it!  My first time using scissors!

Jax: If you can’t do it, you just practice.

Aurora: These scissors make a big mess with the paper.

Kimi: Open, shut, open, shut.  You did it, Anders!

Elliott: You could make a truck with these shapes.

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Nydelyn: I’m practicing so I get better.

Mileena: I could make a unicorn with this shape.  I like scissors.  I like cutting things.

Katherine: I cut the diamond!

Leonel: Open, shut, open, shut.  I love cutting them small so they are small like babies.

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After friends practiced with paper, they were invited to cut playdough.  Friends practiced rolling playdough “snakes” and then using dough scissors to cut them.  Friends noticed a difference between cutting paper and cutting playdough right away, as both feel different in your hands.  Children are very excited to finally have scissors available in the Studio and in their classrooms!

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Belen: What? Playdough scissors?

Jax: Cut the snake?  I don’t want him to be dead guys!

Torin: Cutting the playdough feels like snow because it feels squishy.

Brandon: Ouch, poor little snake.  I cut the big snake to make little snakes.

Julissa: It’s so harder to cut playdough.

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Eli: I’m pretending to give the snake a haircut.

Anders: I can roll a snake.  I can roll a ball.  I can cut a ball.  I can cut a snake.

Eva: It’s soft to cut playdough.  Sorry snake, I don’t want to cut you but I’m practicing.

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Elizabeth: Playdough is harder to cut than the paper.

Mateo: The snake broke and now there are two!

Frances: I’m cutting the snake up because he’s poisonous.  I’m cutting you up forever!

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“I’m coffee colored and I have a nice smile!”

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 both years.  We began by reading The Colors of Us by Karen Katz and talked a little about different shades of skin, eyes, hair, etc.

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

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Amal: I look beautiful!

Nazeer: My skin is a toast color.

Waju: I’m making my head an oval.  My skin is pancake color and my eyes are a little bit blue.  I look nice!  I’m drawing myself holding the pencil.  Wait, why do I kind of look like a huge potato?

Anders: Don’t forget your belly button.

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Autumn: Oh my!  I’m looking at myself.  Hi Autumn!  I see that I’m so hairy.  I have more than one hair on my head.

Isabella: I’m the color of spice.

Isaac: I’m coffee colored and I have a nice smile!

Konone: My eyes are dark brown like midnight brown.

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Phoenix: I’m chocolate brown and Autumn is chocolate brown too!

Mateo: I even want to draw my stinky feet.

Leonel: When you look in the mirror there’s another you.  My head looks so big because I have a big brain.

Gionni: My skin is brown like a brown  bear.

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Sophia: I’m sand colored.

Eden: I’m making mine silly and drawing my tongue!

Jax: I’m just like you… I have eyelashes too!

Aurora: I see my two ponytails.

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

 

“This is like a tiny paint… stadium!”

This was the first week that children came to the Studio for art groups, and we had an absolute blast!   Friends had many questions about the space and materials which made for enthusiastic and busy art groups.

Friends noticed and wondered many things about the Studio…

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Mariyah: Who’s making that sound over that wall?

Belen: You got a new carpet?  And an easel?  Wow!

Yuri: I hear Ms.Holmes.  Is she in that white box?

Dafnee: I wish there would be a wall so it’s more quieter.

Kaleb: Is this your house?

Brandon: You have a dee-doo dee-doo in your room for the fire drills.

Elliott: You got a new rug just like our class!

Nydelyn: Your bell sounds like the tooth fairy.

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Alden: Hey, that’s my classroom over that wall!

Eli: Why you got two boards now?

Gionni: This is like a tiny paint… stadium!

Kwame: That’s Mister Skinny Legs skin… do you remember him?

Frances: My very first time in this room!  There’s rainbows in here and now I’m turning into a rainbow!  And seashells! And a magical sink that makes a “bump bump” sound.

Anders: I just stepped on a rainbow!  It was on the floor.  Now it’s on my pants and my pants are actually my pajama pants.

Julian: I love it in this place.

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At the front table, children were introduced to liquid watercolors and used them to fill more pages of their sketchbooks.  We discussed mixing on the paper (not in the jars… for now…) and how to safely use and pass the glass jars.

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Luca: Glass breaks when you drop it.

Amen: I’m putting the brush in the green.  It stays green that way.  I’ll put the red on top like an experiment.

Mateo: Don’t break the glass so you don’t get a cut.

Isabella: Pass it gently and keep it away from that edge of the table.

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Naomi: Are the jars made out of concrete?

Amal: This is red like red blood on the bandaid.

Trebor: Phew, this painting is hard work!

Jax: Don’t hurt the brush.  Don’t bang it or the brush will die.

Elizabeth: This brush is big, but the one in the pink is small.

Isaac: I can’t believe it… I’m painting with blue!

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Once children were done painting, they could self select from the other centers in the Studio.  This week, friends could use markers at the back table, draw and erase at the easel, or build with shape and color puzzles on the carpet.

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Katherine: Let’s do this together because the board is really, really big.  It’s an ice cream cone with chocolate chips.

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* I have many group photos of children working that couldn’t be posted due to the confusion with media releases this year.  Looking forward to getting those lists updated so that more photos can be posted on the blog!🙂

“Yellow, yellow, who do you see? I see pink looking at me!”

Welcome back to the school, friends!  After a summer filled with travel, art-making and lots of time to relax, it feels great to be back in the PK Studio and kicking off year 5!  I’m so excited to continue to work with PK4’s and to begin working with the new PK3’s this year.

During the first 3 weeks of school, I joined children in their classrooms and introduced materials at their art centers.  We worked with crayons, oil pastels and finally… tempera paint.  I also introduced Studio Sketchbooks for the first time, which will help compile all of their art work from the beginning of the year.  They will take their sketchbooks home at the first conference day!  Next week, children will begin coming to the Studio for art groups… and I’m beyond excited🙂  Below is a snapshot of the beginning of the year work in their sketchbooks… enjoy!

Friends have used oil pastels, crayons and markers to begin illustrating stories and sharing their interests with myself and their peers.  Children enjoyed smudging and rolling the oil pastels, especially because they can be a little bit messy🙂

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Kimi: This says K-I-M-I.  It’s my book!

Samantha: This is not Josie’s?  This is mine?  This is my notebook?  It’s not Josie’s, it’s mine?  My sketchbook?

Dafnee: Like your sketchbook?  Now I have one!

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Brandon: I don’t like the paper on the crayons.  I got to see all the colors.  I need to put the paper in the trash.  Now everyone can see the colors!

Isabella: When you drag pastels on the side it looks like a rainbow.  I love being here at the art table.  It’s so relaxing.

Amal: When you blow on it, the oil pastel doesn’t go away.

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Jax: Pastels make your hands dirty like a monster.  I want to keep drawing.

Torin: My fingers got messy too.  Just like Drew!

Elliott: Hear that scratching sound?  That’s called rubbing.

Aurora: It feels good.  They roll.  I can roll it fast.

Frances: I miss crayons, but these pastels are funny.

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Eva: Julia’s hands turned green like an ogre.

Belen: Messy, messy, silly messy.  I love doing messy.

Siah: What should you call this color?  I’ll call it rainbow water!

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Throughout the week, we have been using different sized brushes to paint with tempera.  Children also practiced putting on smocks to protect their clothes.  Friends mixed colors in their sketchbooks and are really excited to have paint open at their easels soon!

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Kaleb: The smock is covered in red paint because I have red paint on my hand.

Gionni: Did you know blue and yellow makes green.

Jax: Yellow, yellow, who do you see?  I see pink looking at me!  Pink, pink, who do you see?  I see red looking at me!

Luca: The purple paint covers the brush like magic.

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Isaac: What do you think of my painting?  It’s footprints!

Amen: When this fat brush goes in the yellow, it turns to brown.  I want to show all of my family.

Torin: Blue and yellow made a green person.  Guys look, it’s so mixed up.

Nazeer: I spin the red in yellow.  It’s orange!

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“We can’t stay, we’re getting bigger!”

Just as the PK 3’s made gifts for the PK 4’s, the PK4’s returned the favor and created two special gifts for our rising leaders!

You may remember back in Spring when some children spent months learning about figure drawing through different printmaking processes.  We accumulated so many gorgeous Gelli prints of children posing alone, and with friends, that it seemed to lend itself to illustrations for a book.  Figures in the prints were expressive, and evoked many feelings.  Children added text to each image, ultimately creating a feelings/classroom rules book that friends will read at the beginning of the school year!  Below are some pages from the book…

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“You can always hug a teacher if you feel sad.”

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“That’s your teacher.  They help and play with you.”

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“You can look out the window to see your friends and remember how much fun you had.  You can look for us, but it might make you miss us more.”

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“You can give a friend a hug, a handshake or a high five.”

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“See, that’s being teamwork!”

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“Looks like they’re making a mess.  Don’t forget to clean it up!”

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“They’re playing.  The big one is four and the little one is three.  They’re going for a walk together and holding hands in the line.”

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“You can walk in the garden.  There are tomatoes, strawberries and flowers in there.”

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“Raise your hand is how you talk to someone.”

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“Technically, he’s not a spider.  He’s using his imagination.  Anything’s possible.”

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“Sometimes you’re gonna cry.  Teacher’s help you, friends can give a hug, or you can go to the cozy nook.”

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“Even though you’re small, you’re strong.”

In the back of the book, children wanted to take group photos for the authors page!

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PK 4’s also drew on transparent colored paper that was compiled into a stained glass window.  Their art will remain on the window next year so that PK3’s can continue to be inspired by their friends!

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Zoe: I’m going to miss you.  I want to stay!

William: My sister and Adrian’s brother might  be in the same class next year.  They will be friends.

Nayeli: They will miss us.  They can ask us to come back.  Can you please come back?

Maia: We can’t stay, we’re getting bigger.

Rayyan: I’m gonna miss you.  I’m gonna make you gifts.  Are you going to cry when we leave?

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Zavier: I’ll make my name and me and tiny lava I can step on.  Don’t tell no one about this because they will want to do it.  I can’t believe I’m going to Kindergarten.”

Zeina: Oh, it looks beautiful when the sun is coming through.

Destynee: When you be a leader, you show them how to do stuff.

Selwyn: We can still come back and visit.  We can see you in the hall.

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Have a great summer, everyone!

“I’ll go sad when they go to Kindergarten and I’m gonna cry so loud!”

How is it already June?  This year really flew by!  One of my favorite parts of the year is when I split PK3’s and PK4’s so they can create gifts for their classmates who are either going to Kindergarten or staying in PK for another year.

This year, the PK3’s created their own colors of paint to send to Kindergarten.  The idea is that when children open their easel the first week of school, they will have special colors waiting for them and reminding them of their friends in PK.  We read My Many Colored Days by Dr.Seuss and brainstormed what types of colors friends might want to incorporate into future paintings.

Trebor: Let’s make them pink.  They like it and they be happy.

Eli: Let’s mix the paint and make it like chocolate milk.

Jax: Special red orange.  Really special.  Best day ever.

Cameron: Elijah likes green, let’s make him that.  And Sophie likes purple!

We narrowed it down to two colors per group to create and got to work on our color experiments!  Friends took turns adding colors to jars and mixing until they were happy with the color.  Finally, they assigned each color a name.

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Autumn: I’m just gonna cry about them.

Jax: I’ll go sad when they go to Kindergarten and I’m gonna cry so loud!

Dafnee: I won’t tell them what we  made for the surprise.  I’ll just say we make a flower!

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Fatima: We can call it lettuce… we grew that.

Amen: It’s turning to dark blue.  It’s turned to dark pink.

Dafnee: It’s getting lighter.  It’s mixing colors.

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Dafnee: This pink is pink lemonade.  It takes like sweet lemonade and it’s my favorite color.

Belen: C’mon purple, you can do it.

Waju: The stick is gonna turn purple.  Let’s write the names, like broccoli, on the stick so they know!

Kai: I put just the right amount of white.

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Below are some shots of the finished jars of paints and the sticks that show what children chose to name each color.  Along with the paint , we will include a sweet letter that friends wrote.

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Dear Friends,

We will miss you when you go to Kindergarten.  Be nice.  You are our best friends but you have to go and make something new.  We’ll miss your singing, I like playing with you and thanks for playing with me.  Don’t worry, when you go to Kindergarten, you will see all our friends.  We could visit you and we could play out back.  Will there be babies in our class?  We’re gonna be in charge of the little teeny tiny kids.  We will be kind to the new friends, and we can help take kids to another classroom so they can find their teachers.  I’ll be a leader, leading them, like you showed  us.  I’ll share with them and show them how to freeze.

We hope you like the paint.  Can you paint one thing for us so we can see the colors we made?  We can’t wait to see what you paint.  

Love, your PK3 friends

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“I look good. That drawing is an impostor.”

As the year is winding down, friends in Pre-K work on end of the year portfolio additions, as well as reflecting on their year and their hard work.  For me this means… self portraits all week long!  I love working on self portraits with children because it’s always so exciting to see the amount of growth from fall to spring… and for Pre-K 4’s, they will have 4 portraits to compare!

Just like in the fall, we began by reading The Colors of Us by Karen Katz and discussing the different shades of colors and shapes that make up our faces.  Children observed themselves in the mirror and matched colors based on what they saw.

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Ra’Maya: My tooth is loose.  I’ll draw it!

Elijah: I’m the color of honey, but don’t eat me!

Christian: My skin is like chocolate.  My eyes are dark brown like night time.

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Nneka: My eyes look like football shapes.

Sophie: I’m drawing my hair sticking up in one spot because it’s really doing that.

Zavier: I’m looking fancy in this mirror.

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Zeina: I’m drawing my flower earring.  I noticed last year I didn’t have earrings.

Mae: I see five different colors on my face.

Zoe: I wasn’t even trying and it looks just like me!

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Andres: My eyes look like potatoes.  They are mostly round.

Elijah: All of these colors together look like myself.

William: I see three colors on my face like cinnamon, tan and chocolate.

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Waju: Look what I did… it’s me!

Reese: My hair is curly so I have to draw bumps.

Marquis: I look good.  That drawing is an impostor.

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Kavalli: A mirror makes another you that’s doing the same stuff you’re doing.

Naomi: Stop copying me, Naomi in the mirror!

Jariel: My skin is a little bit brown, like peach brown.

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William: Whoa, Reese’s self portrait looks like the real her!

Iris: I’m making the little freckle next to my eye.  That’s a detail.

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Below are a handful of self portraits from the fall and spring… check out all those details!  Apologies for scanning them in backwards, so fall is on the right and the most recent ones from spring are on the left!

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“The carrot looks like my brother with a fade on his head!”

Currently sitting in jury duty, and it seems like the perfect opportunity to blog about another canvas bag design process as we gear up for Friday’s Market!

There was so much enthusiasm around printmaking from the Sunflower and Fern groups after learning the processes during our figure drawing study that it seemed like a no brainer to incorporate these skills into our Expedition!  Friends began by observing details of fruits and vegetables under a magnifying screen or with magnifying glasses.  As friends observed the produce, they sketched what they saw onto pieces of styrofoam, creating their own stamps!

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Zoe: Whoa, these strawberries are huge!  Look at all the seeds.

Luke: Look at those big things.  The magnifying screen makes the beet look ginormous!

Briana: It makes them look so big!

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Elijah: The parsnip looks like the carrots cousin.  One is taller but they smell the same.

Mae: The strawberry is a “V” shape.  Let me check if there’s anything I missed.  I’m looking closely at the leaves.

Nayeli: Do beets have dots or just lines?

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William: People are going to flip out… the drawings are so good!

Elijah: The carrot looks like my brother with a fade on his head!

Mae: The pepper has little lumps on it and some little dots.  My stamp looks like a pepper party.

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After two weeks of creating styrofoam stamps, it was finally time to print on our canvas bags!  Each child chose which of their stamps they wanted to use, the color of fabric ink that accompanied them and the layout of the bag.  Friends are so excited to shop with their bags at our Market, as well as outside of school with their families!

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Trebor: My tomato is on my bag!

Miguel: You have to push hard so it goes on and is bright.

Zeina: I want to make mine a pattern.

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Sarah: This is my bag.  I can buy the focus spray and the seed balls and put it in my bag.  It’s gonna be mine and I’m gonna keep it forever and ever.  My own bag!

Reese: This is going to be my perfect bag.

Marquis: The carrots look cool on here.

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Ryan: My bag… oh yeah!

Carlos: I’m making my strawberry green so it’s not ready to eat yet.

Mae: This stamped the best because I pushed down hard and it made the brightest red.  It worked!

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Nneka: It feels like I’m ironing.

Carlos: I can already see the red pushing out when I roll on my stamp.

Zavier: We’re doing like teamwork to make the bags!

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Rayyan: The fabric ink makes a scratchy sound when you roll in it.

Ayub: Ink looks like toothpaste.

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Here is a small sampling of bag designs… Enjoy! See you at the Market from 2-3:30 on Friday!

“It’s a home for seeds. Cover them up with soil and they grow flowers!”

Last week in the Studio, all children in Pre-K learned how to make seed balls!  Friends had so much getting messy while fun rolling air dry clay in soil and wildflower seeds.  Once they dry, you can dig a little hole in the ground, plant and water them, and wildflowers will grow!  Seed balls will be available to purchase at our Pre-K Market this Friday, May 20th,  from 2-3:30!

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Alli: It’s a home for seeds.  Cover them up with soil and they grow flowers!

Christian: Seed balls look like Oreo cookie crunch, but don’t eat them because they are dirt balls.

Siena: Making seed balls is fun.  I like getting messy!

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Autumn: You can cover all the seeds up with clay.

Isabella: The seeds go in the clay and then you plant them in the ground and then flowers will grow!

Belen: A baby seed ball.  So cute!

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Elmys: Seed balls. So hard.  Like rocks.

Jariel: Don’t throw seed balls.  They are too hard.

Waju: Wow, flowers will grow from them?  But they feel like rocks!

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