Monday, June 6, 2016

Gymnastics: The Language Of Two Friends Shared With Others

Margot drew her friends in gymnastics class               Margot's map to gymnastics class showing
and the road around. "It takes a long time to                her street and Julianna's street along the way.
get there."

Margot and Julianna share an enthusiasm for gymnastics! They took a class together this year and brought their love of the experience to all of their friends at school. They began each day by building gymnastics with the large wooden blocks in our classroom. Soon all of the Forest Room children understood what an obstacle course was and how to make it a bit tricky. Overcoming challenges is part of the fun.

We wanted the other children to understand more of the girls' experience, so we invited them to join a small group. It is there that the experience shared between those children took on a new life.

Cell phones became provocative gadgets of communication.

Friends in their cars made plans on the way to gymnastics.

They stopped at the beach on the way. They had an idea!
They opened a sunglasses store and an ice cream shop.

After reading Abiyoyo, gymnastics became a way of expressing the story. 

Hiding from Abiyoyo.

After reading Abiyoyo, the children changed the distances in their jumps.

Did the story of Abiyoyo give the children a powerful feeling?

The obstacle course soon took up the entire space.

Julianna drew the course on paper.

                                      Julianna's plan to teach gymnastics moves to her friends.

                                          Julianna's map from gymnastics to Sabot School

                             Mapping became a way of sharing and understanding  relationships                                                        between favorite places.

                                           Luca drew a map from sabot to Kuba Kuba.

                                            Friends drawing roads to each other's houses.

                               Julianna's  passion for gymnastic class was something she shared
                         with Margot. We wonder if the girls recreated gymnastics at school to                                                       continue the close relationship they experienced during class.

                                      Margot shares her love for gymnastics and her feeling of success
                                      as she writes to Miss Carla.

Margot and Julianna continued to share their enthusiasm for gymnastics with the Forest Room. They included others in their plans to act out their gymnastics moves. Their relationship with each other continued to grow while they shared their language with friends.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Sound of Joy (Spring 2016)

Children love to create sounds. Recently a child worked with a teacher to create a drum set, complete with cymbals. He spent all morning in the book corner, making realistic noises that sounded very much like the beats from a variety of drums.

Other children tried out the drum set.

Some adjustments needed to be made periodically, and other children added guitars. For several days the children returned to the drum set. It was challenging work to tape the cymbals on so they didn't fall off.

The group created a stage from our bear block, decided they needed a chair for the drummer and shoulder straps for the guitars.

Several children tried out the instruments, some singing along (though not always the same song at the same time).

The joy these children exhibited as they worked was a pleasure to behold. I found it especially appealing that the instruments were made from open-ended, loose parts. They also became quite creative in finding drumsticks: markers and bamboo being the most popular objects used. Favorite songs so far are "The Hello Song," "Jingle Bells," "Abiyoyo," and a made up song with a repeating refrain (so satisfying for this age group): "If the stuff is broken, you can use the tape." (This referred to our struggle to find a satisfying and workable shoulder strap for the guitars).

One day some children decided to be the Beatles. It was obvious that some children had exposure to this group and gave themselves specific identities: "I'm Ringo!" "I'm George!"
When children are deeply invested in a project, they will work with patience and resilience, will find creative ways to overcome obstacles, and, sweetest of all, find joy in the work they do so diligently.