“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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“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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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.