“Magical colors coming up!”

Last week, children learned about mixing tints and shades by adding white and black to their paint palette.  We began by reading Mix It Up by Herve Tullet, a really sweet gift that Ms.Morris picked up for me at the National Book Fair this fall!

This was such a fun book to read because it’s hands on and everyone was able to participate in changing the colors throughout the book.  Friends thought it was magical and continuously checked their fingers to see if the paint really left the page and was on their hands.

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Cameron: The book is magical because it made different colors. Some colors disappeared.

Frances: 1,2,3,4,5…. * gasp * it made my hand. Wait, it’s not on my hand. It’s magical!  It’s mysterious because it didn’t get on my hand but I could still change the colors.

Mateo: There’s a lot of colors on that page.

 

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Trebor: 1,2,3,4,5… all the colors went on my hand. But there’s no paint on them.

Naomi: This book as magical. I like when we got to put our hands on it.

Felipe: The book was beautiful.

Anders: The book is magical when you smushed the book together and it made grey.

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Next, friends began mixing their own colors and have started to really draw connections to the colors they make and objects that they know.

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Brandon: A little bit of blue and a little bit of red, let me see what happens. Looks like pink like the ice cream.

Elizabeth: How you make the light blue? Wait, actually you tricked me, it’s blue grey.

Ethan: Yeah, pancake pancake.

Luca: Look, I made light grey! More white makes it light.

Siah: This one’s my favorite. It’s peach pink.

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Elliott: Look what we both made. Red and black. Eva’s is lighter because of the red, and mine is darker because of more black. Mine is darker than Eva. Eva, look how dark mine is.

Kai: I think I’m gonna make pink. I made pink! How do I make pink darker?

Phoenix: That looks like ketchup and mustard.

Autumn: My hand is hurting because I keep painting.

Drew: Yellow and red, wait, wait, wait that’s not right. Yellow and blue makes green.

Dylan: Red, for Mater. I use red.

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Isabella: Snowy blue. Just like Elsa made with her powers.

Katherine: I used red, white and yellow to make pink, light pink.

Ali: A magical colors mean it has green.

Kimi: Wow, I mixed it… I did it!  I didn’t feel scaredy.

Waju: White will make it light, black will make it black.

Elijah: That color looks like honeycomb.

Gionni: My palette is filthy.

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Amal: If we put all the colors and put it here it makes grey. I hoped it was rainbow. Not fair, it’s grey.

Avery: Magical colors coming up!

Jax: *gasp* it turned play dough red!

Konone: Silver! All the colors made silver.

Nazeer: This looks like a toothbrush. And the paint is the toothpaste.

Amen: You can do light pink with I don’t remember, oh yeah, white and red like this.

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“Purple and yellow together made a dark yellow that looks like a rotten banana.”

For the second week of our color study, friends mixed colors using primary (red, yellow, blue) and secondary (orange, green, purple) colors.  We began by reading Color Dance by Ann Jonas, which gives really great visuals for how colors mix and change… especially highlighting that all colors mixed together make grey or brown.

Next, friends began mixing colors on their individual palettes and shared with friends what they noticed and wondered throughout the process.

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Autumn: What did I make? Red! But what kind of red? It’s yellow red!

Gerson: I made brown.  No, this is purple.

Phoenix: I made two purples… like twins.

Luca: Purple and yellow together made a dark yellow that looks like a rotten banana.

Naomi: Wow, this is a new color.  It’s so new that I don’t even know the name for it.  I guess I can call it yellow gold.

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Elijah: I made a special color.  It’s called violet jam.

Nazeer: I’m holding the palette in my hand like I’m an artist because I am an artist.

Daniel: Red like the lobster.  Red lobster.

Brandon: Let me see what happens.  I used all the colors and see, it made brown.

Leonel: This color is called dark rose.

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Frances: I think I made grassy green. And this kind looks like cactus green.

Elliott: On sunny days, I want to be cooled down. On cold days, I want to be warmed up. I’m going to make a color to make me really warm. A color like the sun makes me really warm, I used yellow and orange to make that.

Isabella: Does anyone know this color? It’s a dark stormy color.

Cora: I’m mixing Christmas-y colors. It made purple brown.

Trebor: I mixed a little bit of orange and a lot of green and it made monster green.

Elizabeth: Look look look what I made, it’s garbage green.

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Mileena: This color is like the clouds. Like outside the window on those clouds.

Gionni: What happens if I put a little more green on the blue… it got lighter! I put more blue and now it’s darker.

Eden: That’s how real artists actually do when they paint on the walls they hold the palette.

David: What color this is? Blue. Yes.

Siah: Let’s see how it changes. Orange, I got orange! Uhhhh, I used red and orange.

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Avery: I’m making black. But I’m not finished yet, I’m still making colors.

Anders: Let’s see what happens to this. It made green. I made light green and dark green. It looks like trees.

Jax: Some red and some yellow, mix the colors and now let’s see what happens now! It turns to an orange with…. Blood!

Julian: Mater is brown and McQueen is red.

Joelle: I’m gonna mix two colors. Not a lot of colors, just two colors. It looks like green beans, right?

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“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! 🙂

“It looks like bones because the people are white lines!”

To finish up our exploration of the figure and figure representation, the Sunflower and Fern groups learned how to make styrofoam prints!  We began by passing around large sheets of styrofoam and tried to figure out what they were, what they could be used for, and what they felt like.

Nneka: Feels floppy and hard.

Trebor: Softly!

Zoe: Why is it so fragile?

Nayeli: I like how it feels.

Sarah: It feels like a plate.  It’s flat.

Mae: I really thought it was real paper, but it’s not.  It’s foam.  It’s squishy.

William: It feels like it could pop.

Next, I invited a friend to come to the stage and strike a pose.  With the back of a paintbrush, I modeled how to represent the pose onto styrofoam, just as friends have been doing for weeks with figure drawing on paper and on the Gelli plates.  Since the styrofoam was large, we were able to combine all poses from each art group into one image.

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Trebor: We’re going on the stage, oh yeah!

Zavier: I want to make one hundred million little people on here.

Adrian: Zoe did such a good job.  It looks just like me!

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Luke: I see movements on the styrofoam.

Iris: How do you draw in it? What do you use? Your nails?

Elijah: You know this is just how I stand so I could pose like this for an hour.

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Miguel: I see Briana has a little tiny button, even smaller than my button.

Destynee: I see it now!  The sun is on so I can see the people on the styrofoam.

Florentina: It feels really like a fabric sponge.  We capture the movement on it.

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This week, children created their edition of prints!  Friends picked a color of block print ink, rolled it out on plexiglass into a smooth layer, rolled it onto their styrofoam and printed it on large paper.  This is the first time we have ever done such large prints in the Studio, and they came out better than I even could have imagined!  Post Spring Break, this work will be on display in the PK hallway 🙂

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Andres: Why wont it go into the white part? Is it because we pushed down to draw?

Trebor: It’s on the paper.  Wow!

Nneka: Push down hard to get it on the paper.  I’m so strong.

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Maia: Sticky.  Ink is sticky.

Siena: I like how it sounds.

Rayyan: Rolling the ink sounds crunchy like a cookie or wood chips.

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Destynee: The ink doesn’t cover the hair.  Why?

Sophie: It looks like bones because the people are white lines.

Elijah: The blue ink looks like my toothpaste.

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Cameron: The paper is blue but the people are white.

Abigail: Don’t forget to roll on all the sides.

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Zavier: I made all the creative stuff because I’m a creative kid.

Mae: I was right! It printed on the paper!

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“This… is art!”

The Rose and Lavender groups have been hard at work in the Studio on wooden sculptures. Friends spent a week exploring wooden shapes and trying to figure out which pieces worked together and which didn’t.  Children noticed that round shapes had a hard time balancing on flat shapes, but if both sides were flat, they could easily stick together.  Next, friends used wet glue to adhere their pieces to create one or more sculptures!

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Eli: I can mix the glue.  I can spread the glue.

Jax: Wow, so cool.  See, it can stand up!

Konone: I don’t know what I made!

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Christian: The ring and the ball look like a planet from outer space!

Bennett: I’m going to make a little kid.  It’s my sister.  No, no, I made a dinosaur with a spike on the back!

Naomi: This piece looks like a bracelet!

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Kavalli: Whewwwwww, the ball rolls.

Cathy: I balanced it!

Isabella: Wood feels cold, smooth and hard.

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The following week, friends were excited to see that their sculptures were dry!  Children used liquid watercolors to paint their wooden sculptures.

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Cathy: My sculpture looks like Mars.

Darby: This… is art!

Christian: My 3 headed monster!  I missed him!  I’m an artist because if someone is an artist, they just paint their sculptures.  Yep, I’m correct.  I’m an artist because I have to make him detailed.  It’s so crazy, the paint is drying so fast!

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Isabella: Victor, yours balanced!

Siah: I’m painting it gentle so it wont break.

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Jariel: The paint dried.  It dried fast.

Kai: Look at me.  I did this.

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This week, friends worked on adding collage materials to our sculptures.  Children collected feathers, buttons, googly eyes and other found materials from the Studio to add to their sculptures.

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Kavalli: It’s an experiment.  An eyeball fox man.

Naomi: Cathy, look! This material is shiny.  It can be the chocolate in the cookie.

Phoenix: The glue is rainbow.

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Siah: A star! A sprinkle star! So pretty.

Jariel: Mamma mia, stop sticking to me, you feather.

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“I saw an artist on TV, but it wasn’t your dad. It was a girl artist.”

Once friends felt comfortable posing by themselves in front of their art group, we began doing partner poses!  Children would get together in groups of two or three and make a plan for how they would stand, what they would do with their arms/legs, and how they could move their bodies in interesting ways.  Friends had so much fun doing partner poses that it actually stretched for two weeks because of the excitement around it!  See, figure drawing can be fun 🙂

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Trebor: I can pose with Kwame.  We can pose together!

Nayeli: It’s hard to model with a friend.  It’s silly and I couldn’t stay still.

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Sarah: I have an idea, you put your foot out and I’ll twist my leg.  That’ll look cool.

Destynee: Two people at the same time?  Oh, that’s why we need two stages!

Luke: Ayub, let’s pretend were calling each other.

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After sharing with my family how enthusiastic friends were with figure printing on Gelli plates, my dad asked if he could come in and model for a few of the groups.  Friends were SO excited to meet him, and couldn’t believe that he was an artist and an art teacher, too!  He modeled alone, with partners, and even did some of his own prints while others were modeling.

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Siena: You’re dad’s an artist?  I’m an artist too!

Carlos: I saw an artist on TV, but it wasn’t your dad.  It was a girl artist.

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Fatima: Mr.Cushner and Ms.Cushner? Ha!

Zavier: He paints all day? Whoa!

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Abigail: One day, I’m going to be a painter.  I love art.

Zoe: I can’t fit his legs on the paper, he’s too tall.

Zeina: Don’t forget, he has glasses.

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Braeden illustrates “Snoopy and the Pilot!”

Friends have really enjoyed using liquid watercolors with oil pastels and colored tape this week!  It has given me many ideas for upcoming projects and I am so excited to get some of them underway.  Below is a conversation between myself and Braeden about his future career goals and his painting titled “Snoopy and the Pilot!”

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Braeden: Now I need another color to draw in the little triangle.  It’s part of the airplane wing.  Look Ms.Cushner, you just swipe the brush so we don’t waste the paint.  You’re the best artist in the whole world.  You know everything in the whole world.

Ms.Cushner: Wow, Braeden… thank you!  I think you’re a fabulous artist too, and you always take such good care of our materials.

Braeden: It’s because I went to the store, the art store, with my family.  I actually think I’m gonna be the best artist when I grow up.  I got some paints and papers from the art store with my dad so I can practice.

Ms.Cushner: Do you want to be an art teacher or an artist?

Braeden: Not a teacher, just an artist.  I’m practicing to be one now!  See, this is still an airplane… a Snoopy airplane!  Snoopy the Pilot… it’s kind of funny!