Jasper illustrates “the airplane taking the sun to China!”


This week in the Pre-K Art Studio, we have been learning about the artistic process of crayon resist!  We introduced twist crayons and friends did preliminary illustrations using the new material.  After children finished drawing, they used watercolors to paint over the crayon and discovered that the oil and crayon and the water in the paint don’t mix!  This is always such an exciting process to learn and friends created really beautiful work.

Jasper: At first I was like, why do we need a smock to use twist crayons?  Then I noticed we were using paint to make the colors shine and that’s why we need a smock!

Ms.Cushner: What do you think makes the colors shine?

Jasper: Maybe the water?  These paintbrushes just love the water.  They really love swimming.

Ms.Cushner: Jasper, can you tell me about your painting?

Jasper: The red is the wings and the airplanes taking the sun to China.  What’s happening is it’s nighttime in DC and daytime in China.  The purple stuff is the exhaust.  Exhaust comes out of planes or cars when you drive.  It makes it go.  The red is the fire so it can fly to China so fast.  I put orange on the green crayon and now it’s so beautiful.

Artwork of the Week!



Phoenix: This is a party airplane.  It has decorations.  This party is for myself.  I need another one for decorations so it looks like a real party.

Jude: Mine is a party helicopter!

Phoenix: Oooh, Jude… I love that party helicopter.

Jude: It’s a party helicopter for you, Phoenix.  There’s a pool party at my party helicopter.  You like swimming, don’t you?

Phoenix: Yeah! My party airplane has a movie party.  Boys and girls and kids can come to the party.  This square is for the movie theater.

Jude: Wow, that’s cool!

Phoenix: If the whole school came to my party, everyone would be so happy.  Happy like if the school had a big smile on it!

This year, I decided to use my newsletter board for an Artwork of the Week display that will change every Wednesday!  Here is last weeks collaborative collage between Jude and Phoenix.  New art work will be up by the end of the day!

Beautiful Junk!


Beautiful Junk!

Thank you for the Beautiful Junk that you have shared with us! Friends have already begun working with these found materials in the Pre-K Art Studio and in their classrooms. Over the last week, art groups focused on familiarizing themselves with the materials that are now available to them and sorted the materials into different categories. Materials will now be easier to find and when families have more Beautiful Junk to share, they will know exactly where to put the materials! Thanks again for sharing all of your Beautiful Junk with us!

Minna brings her classroom plan into the Studio!


This week in the Studio, we have been sorting and exploring Beautiful Junk!  In Pre-K classrooms, children have been working on creating a “plan” for what they will work on during centers.  Plans range from cooking in Dramatic Play to building a house jet out of Beautiful Junk.  When I went in to pick up one of my art groups today, I learned a little about Minna’s plan that she’s been working on for a good portion of the week.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring classroom work into the Studio to elaborate on!

Minna: Look at those, those are treasure.

Ms.Cushner: Are they all treasure?

Minna: Not those ones.  And not these ones.  That one’s not a treasure, but that’s a treasure.  Treasure, treasure, treasure, treasure, treasure and treasure.  I meant that one’s not a treasure.  Wait, this one isn’t working… will you try?

Ms.Cushner: Hmmm… what should we try?  Tape?  Glue?

Minna: Here, I’ll give you some magic.  I cut the ribbon, see?

Ms.Cushner: Wow!  Can you tell me what you’re working on?

Minna: It’s a jet with animals.  The animals live in this jet.  See that orange box?  I put some animal soap in that orange box.

Ms.Cushner: And this whole part over here is the jet, too?

Minna: Uh huh… this is a house jet so there’s a house inside of the jet and together it’s all a house jet.

Beautiful Junk sorting has begun!

Over the last few weeks, many families have donated Beautiful Junk to the bins outside of the Pre-K Art Studio!  Children have been working with the found materials both in the Studio and in their classrooms.  Since materials are constantly moving throughout them, the Beautiful Junk bins have become disorganized.  It seemed that to know what we needed for projects, we first needed to know what types of materials we had available to us.  During Art Groups this week, children have been and will continue to explore found materials such as fabric, cans, bottle tops, stamps and boxes that we now have the opportunity to work with.  Next week, bins will be labeled based on the children’s categories to make materials easier to find.  Here are some highlights from Day 1 of Beautiful Junk sorting!

“It’s junk but it’s still being used by kids.”  -Jasper

“It’s beautiful… other people may not like it because it’s junk.  We can use paper and make designs with it!  Or build!”  -Neche

“How did this break?  I think we can still use it… it’s not trash.”  -Samantha



Mariah and Wallace comparing bottle tops based on size, shape and color.



Jasper working on a collage incorporating transparencies, paint chips and plastic ants.  He stated that he was making a celebration cave for the ants!



While sorting, Neche began filling plastic containers with corks, plastic eggs and bottle tops.  She taped the top shut and then compared the different sounds with Chris.  “It sounds like metal with a little plastic… like music!”


In one of the Beautiful Junk bins, AJ and Samantha found a stack of envelopes and date stamps.  They began by pretending to work in a library and checked books out to their friends.  After all the books were checked out, they pretended to be mailman and delivered letters to their friends.

Samantha: These are important things for me.  Letters and envelopes.  They have important news.

AJ: We have to stamp all the letters so they get to the right people.

Samantha: I’ll write, you stamp.

AJ: We are mailmen.  Here’s your letter.  We are delivering the mail… stamped and all!  We can wrap them with ribbon to deliver.

Do you ever wonder what birds pack for vacation?


Do you ever wonder what birds pack for vacation?

There were new materials available at the light table today that excited many children… especially Wallace and Georgi!

Georgi: We have to pack everything up for the birds. They are going on vacation!
Wallace: Baby bird, we’re going away on vacation… I’ll pack your bags for you.
Georgi: Hurry, we need to pack or the bird plane will leave without us.
Wallace: Where are they going again?
Georgi: California! Birds love California. And you need lots of bags to go to California.
Wallace: They have their food, their baby bird clothes and some baby bird toys.
Georgi: They need their pajamas! Oh… bird pajamas with birds!
Wallace: Hurry, hurry, the plane is going to leave! Get the bags!

“Tinkerbell floated over the wall to Ms.Lauchlan’s Room!”


Today was a wet, cold and dark day, which made for the perfect kind of day to continue to introduce the light table. Friends worked together creating an elaborate scene at the light table with a very imaginative story. This really brightened up my day rainy day!

Cole: It looks like Tinkerbell is trapped in here. She’s glowing on the light table!
Elias: This is the Wonderworld.
Cole: She’s stuck in the crystals. She doesn’t want to grow up.
Leah: Can we get her out?
Cole: She’s twirling. She’s so dizzy. But she’s still swirling.
Elias: Here’s a tower slide for fairies.
Cole: Tinkerbell’s friend is Silverness. Tinkerbell is at the top of the tower… she’s scared.
Elias: All my Tinkerbell’s are scared at the top!
Cole: All the Tinkerbell’s are in the yellow rectangles. Sometimes in the blue squares, too.
Leah: Tinkerbell’s stuck in this one now!
Cole: We need to get her out. The elevator was a nice elevator and got her out of the cube. The mean elevator just took her back and tricked her and took her back. She fell all the way to the bottom of the cube.
Elias: I got her!
Cole: Now I got her and she’s plop in a bubble. She’s floating away, it’s a magic bubble.
Leah: She could live in the bubble. She’s in there a long, long time. When all the people leave from Capital City, Tinkerbell will be like, “where did all the kids go?”
Cole: Someone will go inside the art room and find out she’s in the bubble. They can’t reach her because she’s all the way at the art room ceiling! No one can pop the bubble… she’s gonna be with Ms.Cushner all night living in the art room!
Leah: It’s spooky here at night. I think she would be scared. There might be vampires.
Cole: Or zombies. It came for Tinkerbell but he couldn’t get her. She’s in a crystal now… it’s green. Her wings are trapped in another crystal. She can’t fly, she’s just hopping and rocking all around. She’s gone, she floated over the wall to Ms.Lauchlans room!
Leah: Let her out of the bubble!
Cole: Silverness is back! I put her in the bubble with Tinkerbell. All the friends. Now she’s in a swirl.
Elias: I popped the swirl… she’s free!

“The Government shutdown” on the light table!


Today was a very exciting day in the Pre-K Studio because we introduced the light table! It was the perfect kind of day for this activity because it was dark from the looming storm and children were well rested from the weekend.

During my first group of the day, children began by designing a train track in the city. It quickly turned from just a train track to the DC metro and the government shutdown. Here is how the experience unfolded…

Kofi: Hey guys, lets make a train.
Ezekiel: We can make a house train. Or the DC metro!
Kofi: Ok now guys, oh no, don’t knock the train track. That road is blocked off from the government shutdown.
Ezekiel: Where can the train go?
Kofi: The train can take this route. It will go this way because we blocked off this whole road for the government shutdown.
Ezekiel: What do we do?
Kofi: I don’t care if it’s blocked off… I’ll just smash it. I don’t like the government shutdown, sorry dudettes. I’m not listening to the government shutdown, my train has to keep going.
Ezekiel: Chugga chugga, choo choo!

Happy Monday!