“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!

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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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“Two secrets! This book is full of secrets!”

As our exploration of photography is coming to an end, we concluded by creating photo albums!  Last week, children cut their photos and began arranging them in the pages of paper bag books.  We had found some different types of handmade books the previous week and decided that paper bag books would be fun because the pockets were like “secret hiding spots.”  Once they were finished cutting, some friends traded their photos with their peers, while others added their own illustrations to their photographs.

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Jude: There’s a secret hiding spot in my book.  Don’t tell anyone… only our art group can see it.

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Jasper: It’s a story of how we took pictures of flashes.  It can tell a story about what are our favorite photos.

Alexia: I’m making a story.  It’s a story that shows friends are nice.  It’s like a memory book.

Chris: I took a picture of me… I’m a famous star!

Elias: I’m making it a book inside of a book.

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Chris: This book is gonna make me so famous.

Vandell: Look Minna… I took a picture of you and your mommy.  You both look so nice.

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Jasper: I’m going to hide this one so that people don’t know there’s a rainbow in here.  I want to make sure no one sees Sarah taking a picture.  It’s going in a secret place.  And I don’t want anyone to see this picture of me with no eyes.  I’ll put it in a spooky, scary spot.

Elias: Two secrets!  This book is full of secrets!

Owen: Almost every one of my photos will go in a compartment.  It’s like a pocket.

Minna: Don’t tell people if you stuff your pictures in pockets.  Then they will know.

Jasper: My mom and dad don’t know about a light table, so where should I put it so they can learn?  Next week can we add junk to our books?  I want my mom to laugh, so I’m going to put this one on the back.

Today, friends added collage elements and “junk” to their books.  Some children chose to frame individual photos, while others created intricate ways to tie their books so they would stay shut.

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Georgi: I look beautiful in this picture.

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Jasper: I have an idea… my plan is to wrap this ribbon around one way and a piece of string the other way and it will close.  I think my plan will work.

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Elias: I’m in a pickle.  How can I stick these?

AJ: My dad’s gonna love it.  He loves everything I make.

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Vandell: Even though I messed up some parts and some parts are ugly, she will like it.  My mom will still like it.

Owen: I’m making my book look like an alien!

Minna continues to build her jet and shares the progress with Jasmine

Last week, I posted about Minna and her jet made out of Beautiful Junk.  She had been working on it in her classroom and brought it to the Studio to make some additions.  On Wednesday, I was spending some time in Ms.Lauchlan’s room and sat with Minna, AJ and Jasmine as they were building with Beautiful Junk.  Everyone was engaged and excited about what they were building, as well as what their friends were creating.

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Minna: Treasure, treasure, I putted two treasure.  The gengine (engine) starts rumbling and it goes and goes and then blast off, it disappears.  The orange bead was on the ground… I need it for the fire by the gengine.  This box is their room.  They can just go into the box to sleep and the driver will still fly the jet.  It’s the jet bedroom… by the dungeon.  Oh cool… a bell and a tiger button.  That’s just what the jet needs!  I got some cool things and some pretty things.

Jasmine: Can I watch what you’re doing?  It’s not my work but I like it.

Minna: Yeah, bring a chair.  I’ll show you.

Jasmine: I like this bell.

Minna: It’s a bell button… listen!

Jasmine: What’s this bottle for?

Minna: Smell… soap!

Jasmine: I wish you had something in there that smells like perfume.  Minna, what’s this?

Minna: An alien from Mars.

Jasmine: Interesting yarn.  Minna, that button looks like a ring my mom had from when she wedded herself.

Minna: That’s cool.  Wait, I need to show you something.

Jasmine: Beautiful!

Minna: And shiny! Jasmine, you and Ms.Cushner can always watch what I’m doing.  Whenever you want, just come over to watch and maybe help if I ask!

Beautiful Junk!

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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!

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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

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

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

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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!”

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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.