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Insights from the Intersection of Childhood and Education

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Rainbow City

A chain story is a story created by several participants. One child begins, chooses when to stop and points to the next child to continue. The following story was created by one of our 1st/2nd grade classes:

Rainbow City

There were tall buildings in a mystical city. It had rained and a wonderful rainbow had covered just one of the buildings. It was a magical rainbow. There were magical sea creatures on some of the seven floors. The two middle floors were covered with rainbow colored water that flowed to the sea. This building was so much of a problem that it was decided that the building needed to be torn down. But something strange happened when the new building was complete. The rainbow was still there! But now the rainbow was everywhere! It was all over the grass and the streets. It now covered the whole city. It was decided to rename the city. It was now going to be known as Rainbow City. 

As a nice wrap up to writing their own story, the kids then gathered with our librarian to read Harold and the Purple Crayon, a story about a small boy who creates his own path.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

If I Were a Tree...

Our 3- and 4-year-old Afternoon Explorers class has been doing an in-depth study of trees. 

We're lucky to have Washington Park across from the school where the children visited various trees and collected leaves. It is, after all, that time of year when you can get a close look at those leaves that are usually up on high!

The children then looked closely at the leaves of the white oak tree; here are some of their findings:

"It's like a rectangle but also like a big square." - Natalie

"The veins go on each side." - Sam

"It's like a starfish." - Noa

"The underside is a darker shade of white." - Aelwen

"The hole is the shape of my thumb." - Yoka

Upon reading the book If I Were a Tree, the kids were inspired to act out being a tree and subsequently took that idea even further: deciding what kind of tree they would be and actually creating a picture of their tree by making a monoprint.

First, the shape of a tree (really a branch) was projected onto the wall so the kids could trace the shadow for their tree's trunk.

Based on their earlier experience of making rubbings of bark, they created monoprints featuring patterns that they felt matched the bark they had observed.

Once dry, the prints were cut to the tree trunk shapes they had traced, and there it was: the bare shape of the tree. The kids then decorated it and recorded why they chose to be the following kinds of trees:

It's a deep thing to think about, isn't it: What kind of tree would you be?